Naval Aviation Force
Anniversary of the Naval Aviation creation
On December 11, a huachano boat loaded with provisions entered the port of Callao. The Chilean steamer "Toro" who was on duty tried to capture him being attacked by the Peruvian boat "Urcos". The Chilean ships "Angamos", "Pilcomayo", "Huáscar", "Chacabuco" and "Princesa Luisa" went to the aid of the "Toro".
The "Angamos" that had resumed its bombings on the "Union" two days before and had managed to touch it several times, now dedicated himself especially to the "Arno", until his cannon went to the water and had to retreat. This was the last war episode of our navy that after losing its best ships was dedicated to using the terrible torpedoes against the enemy.
Construction of the B.A.P. "Union", with the keel placement.
After the glorious Naval Battle of Angamos, the Chilean Navy began preparations for the blockade of Callao, the most important port in our country. This operation began on April 10, 1880, using most of the ships of his squadron, which were later joined by some torpedo boats.
To contain and confront these forces, our sailors organized the so-called "Subtle Forces" using all available boats and working jointly with the torpedo brigade, performing, among other activities, night rounds in order to avoid surprise attacks by the Chileans forces
In one of those rounds, on the night of May 25, the steam boat Independencia, commanded by Lieutenant Junior José Gálvez Moreno, returned from its route, when an unexpected encounter took place with Chilean forces in circumstances in which it was intercepted by the enemy torpedo Janequeo, to which the Guacolda would later join.
When the battle was stopped, one of the ships tried to board it but the machine gun and the cannon did not work; neither Gálvez nor his companions thought about surrendering; on the contrary, they fought to the ultimate consequences.
With the help of midshipman Emilio San Martin and medical instructor Manuel Ugarte, they lifted a torpedo, throwing it against the largest of the enemy boats. Seeing that it did not detonate, Galvez unloaded two shots of his revolver on the device that when exploding caused the sinking of his own boat and the enemy Janequeo.
In this action of arms died the midshipman Emilio San Martin, the medicine practitioner Manuel Ugarte -whose corpse was stranded on May 31 in Bocanegra area- and the helmsman Andrés Gouden. Lieutenant Gálvez was taken seriously wounded on board a Chilean ship, whose commander ordered that for his bravery he be transferred to the Hospital Baquíjano del Callao and from there to Lima, where he was restored. This was a success for the Peruvian torpedo brigade composed of sailors and civilians, who had been experimenting for some time with mines and torpedoes to face the enemy, who increasingly closed their surveillance in the bay of Callao.
The intention was to surprise and scuttle any main ship of the invading fleet, and this was achieved by Ensign Carlos Bondy seconded by two sailors from Paiteños. It was by means of a sloop loaded with more than 100 kilos of dynamite, cleverly camouflaged with a supply of provisions that attracted the greed of the Chileans.
Bondy's sailboat, pretending to try to break the blockade, attracted the attention of the Loa's crew, in round service that day. His commander Juan Guillermo Peña, immediately ordered his capture and boarding. He arranged to take up the little ship and transfer the booty to his ship, without suspecting that under the last sack of foodstuffs a spring would trigger the detonator of the powerful charge of dynamite. At 6 o'clock in the afternoon a violent explosion shook the bay and practically split the Chilean ship in two, which in barely five minutes went to the bottom of the sea, taking with it its commander and 119 crew members.
That afternoon Chile lost a valuable ship, in addition to abundant provision, accoutrements and two modern Armstrong guns of 152 mm., Destined to the White Encalada armored. Although Ensign Bondy and his companions saved their lives by fleeing previously in a boat, nine Peruvian sailors had died before making tests for this mission to be successful. Indeed, in the first test carried out, the first cargo exploded prematurely and took the life of Ensign Gil Cárdenas and eight sailors.
In spite of the efforts to face it, the Chilean Blockade continued, but without beating the small Peruvian forces that defended the port of Callao. Thus, on December 6, the 30-ton Arno steam boat went out to perform its customary night round commanded by Lieutenant Antonio Jimeno, whose crew was made up of Ensign Juan Francisco Balta and the navy candidate Ernesto Flores, accompanied by 15 crew of the Navy Garrison battalion. This boat was barely armed with a small 40-lb gun. that had belonged to the Chanchamayo gunboat and a machine gun, a weapon that contrasted with the great courage and courage of the Peruvian sailors who endowed it.
Once his patrolling began, the blocking squad soon detected his movements in the dock and prepared his torpedo boats to intercept it. Then, when Jimeno came back at dawn, he was suddenly attacked by the torpedoes Fresia, Guacolda and Tucapel, who hid behind the dam, were stalking her early and broke on her very hot fire with their Hotchkiss guns of rapid fire.
In these circumstances, Jimeno, at the same time that he answered the fire and seeing that the enemies by his greater walk would always reach him, took the bold resolution to stop his machine to approach the opponents and to shoot on sure. When the Fresia approached taking advantage of its walk of 22 miles, the Arno shot an accurate cannon shot that crossed both sides to him in the line of water putting it out of combat and killing some crew to him. Then the other boats tried to help her, but Jimeno also forced them to retire damaged and with enough casualties.
To the battle bang came more enemy boats and from our side the Urcos, Captaincy and Protection and instants later broke the fire of the Chilean ships Huáscar, Magallanes and Chacabuco to which the Peruvian artillery of land also responded. The match ended at 7 hours 15 minutes when the Chileans withdrew.
Gentlemen: that the acts of courage and bravery demonstrated by our brave sailors since the beginning of our Glorious Navy and the lessons that our history has given us on the importance of staying alert and ready with the necessary elements to reject any external aggression , be a reason for reflection so that in the present and the future we are adequately prepared for the challenges that history brings us. Let us pay today the just homage that all those who with their blood and courage deserved a worthy example of self-denial and dedication for the homeland deserve, an example that as sailors of war we must learn and maintain forever.
Former Minister of the Navy
Rear Admiral Federico Diaz Dulanto, former Minister of the Navy and awarded with the El Sol of Peru order.
On the way to Antarctic
The B.I.C. "Humbolt", set sail from Callao with the Antar XVI Expedition.