Country Listing

Chile Table of Contents


Growth of United States Influence

Beginning in the 1940s, United States military missions have imparted certain tactical doctrinal concepts. However, they diluted the original German influence to a markedly lesser degree than elsewhere in the region. In 1941, following the entry of the United States into World War II, a United States air mission was established in Chile and charged with reorganizing the FACh. In 1944 significant quantities of equipment for the army and air force, including 230 aircraft procured under the Lend-Lease Agreement, the legal apparatus for military equipment transfers during World War II, began to arrive in exchange for the availability of Chilean bases to the United States. However, Chile received no matériel assistance from the United States during the war period because the Chilean Navy had refused to sell the 28,000- ton battleship Latorre, the six destroyers of the Serrano class, and the submarine depot ship Araucano to the United States Navy following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Chile received only some coastal artillery equipment for the defense of the copper-mining zone, whose products were considered vital to the Allied war effort.

Following the conclusion of World War II, and with the signing of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 ( Rio Treaty--see Glossary), additional United States matériel was also acquired by the army and air force. This time, acquisitions were also made by the navy. The formation of an amphibious warfare force equipped with United States war-surplus gear stimulated expansion and reorganization of the Coast Artillery (Artillería de Costas), which had been subordinate to the navy since 1904. The name of the organization was changed from Coast Artillery to the Navy Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infantería de la Marina--CIM), a reflection of the newly dominant role of the CIM's marine mission. Naval aviation was revived in 1953. Initially equipped with a few light transports and helicopters, the naval air force operated from a new naval air base at El Belloto, Valparaíso. In 1958 a group of frogmen commandos, modeled after the United States Navy SEALs (sea-air-land team), was also formed.

Postwar expansion of the army also brought some organizational changes. The Magallanes military district was raised to the status of a full Military Area (área militar--AM); its garrison was expanded into the army's Fifth Division. The Sixth Division was later established in the region adjoining the Bolivian and Peruvian borders; it also acquired the status of an AM. In 1965 the army formed a paratroop/special forces battalion, and in 1970 it regained its own aviation arm with the establishment of the Army Aviation Command (Comando de Aviación del Ejército--CAE). The CAE was initially equipped with a few light communications and observation aircraft transferred from the air force. The Seventh Brigade, raised in the southern part of AM 4 during the tension with Argentina over the Beagle Channel in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was raised to divisional status in 1990. This brought the total number of AMs and divisions to seven.

Data as of March 1994