It 26 May, 1941. Argentina is at War, with both Chile and with the Western Allies. This latter fact is going to come a something of a surprise to our hero, but he will handle it well.
The Place: Antofagasta, on the Chilean side of the border.
The Man: President Roberto María Ortiz, known to the people of Argentina as “El Caudillo,” or “El Presidente.”
We join El Presidente as he walks down the streets of Occupied Antofagasta, he is presiding over a ceremony to pin medals on the chests of the Heroes of 8. Infantry Division.
“Gentlemen! It only took you eight days to seize Fabled Antofagusta! And since then, you have held it against continuous counter-attacks. Well, that is over. Tomorrow, you move south. Today, you celebrate.
A few hours later, we find El Presidente gazing happily at his latest acquisition.
“Ah, look at that Field Marshal. Isn’t it a glorious sight?”
“Does it always smell this bad?”
Ortiz was lost in reverie. He replied, softly, “no Field Marshal. Only when the wind blows.” He wiped a tear from his eye.
“Yeah. Anyway, sir, I must get going. ..”
“…I’m leaving 9th Mountain Division to guard…well…these mountains.” The Field Marshal cringed at the thought. Poor mountaineers. “But, uh, the rest of us need to head south. We’re having trouble taking Santiago. In fact, there are reports of large Gringo forces guarding the city.”
Would the Field Marshal never shut up? Roberto was getting annoyed. His special moment was being ruined. “Americans? Highly unlikely. Maybe some volunteers or something, but I can’t see why an American army would be in Santiago.” El Presidente snorted his derision as the Field Marshal ran off.
“Ah yes…just me and my mountain…”
“Sir! Sir!” Felipe was gasping for air as he ran up the trail. “It’s the Americans! They’ve declared war! And the Paraguaians, but that isn’t nearly as frightening!”
“Intelligence Minister Felipe? What brings you all the way to Antofagusta?”
“A very angry Parliament. It seems, El Presidente, that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew this time. We’ve already launched an invasion into Paraguay, they won’t last long. But the Americans…”
Ortiz scoffed at the notion. “Bah, the Americans? They never do anything. I expect they’re whole army is sitting in Washington right now.”
Felipe was annoyed. “This is serious sir! You’ve defied the Constitution, you’ve defied Parliament, you’ve defied common sense and for what? Shit Mountain? You are a Mad-Man!”
Ortiz rounded on Felipe, furiously, “you can insult me, you can insult Argentina, but you can never…NEVER...insult the Guano Mounds, they are going to save our industry! They are going to make us the dominant force in Latin America…no! In the World!”
“But the Americans…”
“Oh shut up about the Americans already…mark my words there is no way, NO WAY, they are going to come all the way down to Argentina. We are home free Felipe, I promise you.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Bahia Blanca, Argentina’s 2nd largest port.