Nanawa, Battle of

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Nanawa, Battle of

In 1933 two major battles of the Chaco War (1932–1935) between Bolivia and Paraguay occurred around a fortified Paraguayan position known as Nanawa. The Bolivian commander Hans Kundt envisioned the first assault on Nanawa as an opportunity to turn the southern flank of the Paraguayans. Nanawa was a position strengthened by barbed wire, mines, shallow trenches, and log redoubts. The Bolivian Seventh Division sought to envelop and destroy the Paraguayan Fifth Division. The assault began on January 20, 1933, and ground to a halt on January 26, 1933, with a Paraguayan counterattack. After the battle a stalemate developed involving prolonged trench warfare. In July 1933 Kundt again decided to concentrate on the seizure of Nanawa. The Bolivians marshaled 7,600 soldiers; the Paraguayans had 6,000 defenders. The Bolivian army unleashed its attack on July 4, 1933. By the end of July 8, Kundt called a halt to the assault. After the second battle, the Paraguayans admitted to 150 men killed; the Bolivians reported 2,000 to 3,000 casualties. The second Bolivian failure at Nanawa allowed the strategic initiative to swing in favor of the Paraguayans; the Paraguayan commander José Félix Estigarribia immediately launched successful offensives to the northwest.

See alsoChaco War .


Farcau, Bruce W. The Chaco War: Bolivia and Paraguay, 1932–1935. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996.

Vergara Vicuña, Aquiles. Historia de la Guerra del Chaco. 7 vols. La Paz, Bolivia: Litografías e Imprentas Unidas, 1944.

                                          Robert Smale