With the express consent of the Brazilian government, a combined operation of the Gendarmeria Nacional Argentina (Argentine's National Border military force) and the Ejercito Argentino (Argentine Army) was implemented on a stretch of the Uruguay River. Operation Gaucho Bravo combines riverine patrols by the Gendarmeria and nimble quick reaction forces from the Mechanized Infantry Regiment 25 (Argentine Army).
On a quiet and sunny Friday afternoon, human intelligence (HUMINT) was received regarding an ongoing contraband operation protected by armed men. Upon confirmation by aerial observation with a Grand Caravan aircraft from the Argentine Air Force, an armed speed boat was immediately dispatched to meet with the leader of the Argentine Army fire-team sized observation post closest to the reported illegal activity.
Both the riverine (Gendarmeria) and the land-based (Army) teams met and agreed on coordination measures for a quick assault intended to neutralize the armed guerrillas.
|Small, quick and quiet. That was the bet of the land component of the task force. This picture was taken during a drill in a different town, a few days earlier than the action reported here.
|The ground-based Army forces (foreground) and the riverine (Gendarmeria) speed boat (in the background) keeping an eye on each other while moving fast towards the action.
|A light guerrilla patrol was taken by surprise. By the time the guerrilla quad biker realized that he had the Argentine Army on his tail, it was too late.
|Shot from the truck in movement, the guerrilla patrol takes his last gasps of air.
|The minigun firing at the coast. A guerrilla fighter can be seen in the far background.
|The enemy puts out a brave fight. The Argentine's river-based firepower is strong but too distant to be completely effective. This guerrilla machine gunner killed the driver of the speed boat.
|The Argentine Army soldiers ramp up their pace to move out from the road and towards the coast of the river.
|With such a fantastic concealment provided by the vegetation, the soldiers can move down the river without being detected.
|Final moments of the afternoon's firefight.
|Waiting for the arrival of the demolition experts.
The final tally was:
13 guerrilla fighters killed
1 Gendarme killed in the speed boat.