Eagle of the Andes V2.0

Not open for further replies.
Not really, they would love Phantoms, but they're too expensive to buy especially since you would need to have new model Spey engine Phantoms in order to really run the carrier. The problem is that by the 70's most of the carriers that were WWII era ships were run down in reserves or they were bought up by others leaving there very few options for the Chileans to consider. On top of that Chile really needs to go quality over quantity since they cannot man the number of hulls they would need to win a war with both their primary opponent's and the Argentines and Peruvians would jump the Chileans if given half a chance, not to mention the mess that the Bolivians would get into if they thought they had a half a chance of reclaiming their shores.
“Copper, it is both our blessing and our curse,” Luis Ferro said as he looked around the room he was making his presentation to. He and his brother had finally inherited their fathers Hacienda and promptly sold it off. Neither of them were interested in either farming or in managing a large population of campesinos scrapping out marginal livings. As such they had set their sights on actually increasing their family’s wealth, and thought that they had found the way to do that. As an additional bonus once this venture was off the ground, they could hire managers and do less work then they would have had to do for the Hacienda. They and their descendants could simply sit back and rake in the profits while doing what they actually wanted, at least that was their plan. Given that the government was practically throwing money at their class it seemed that this was the best time to make the move from land owner to industrialist. Especially with the talk of rising land taxes on more substantial Hacienda’s. “As the largest producer in the world we have something that almost every country wants, but we have failed to capitalize on this. Copper is one of the metals whose price is notoriously unstable and instead of selling refined copper, and finished products, we have continued to sell it as an ore or as blanks. This was and continues to be, a mistake.”

Looking around the room as he took a sip of water Luis was relieved that he had not lost any of his audience. He was giving them facts and figures that they damn well should know, but you could never tell with bankers and lawyers. They were a slippery bunch after all. Especially these bankers. He had chosen them because they were all private banks, and with his pay out from the government he thought that they would be inclined to back him. It they didn’t then he and his brother would go to Banco del Estado de Chile but they wanted to keep that source of funding in reserve. If they could capitalize their business on their own then the terms they would be offered by Banco del Estado de Chile would be better, much better.

“We as a nation currently produce around a third of the worlds copper but we refine much less than that. The Ferro group seeks to change this, and use this gap as an engine to drive profits. An example of this potential can be found when one examines the most basic use of copper; wire. As of yesterdays close on the New York market copper was valued at fifty cents per pound, and that is a high price, as compared to two dollars and fifty cents per pound of wire. Think about the difference that just a few machines can make. With the addition of one worker, and one machine, the profit increases by leaps and bounds.” Luis paused and looked around the room, he had been hoping for more of a reaction then he had gotten, but it hadn’t happened so he let it go and moved on.

“This, gentleman, represents a multimillion dollar investment. Some of the best minds in the world have worked on it, and I show it to you today in the hopes that you will be willing to invest some of your money in it.” Luis gestured grandly as he swept the sheet off his model. “The central building is a refinery. Cooper ore is smelted and refined. The bottom building is a wire drawing mill, with a pipe manufacture to the left, and an undifferentiated factory to the right. It has a direct rail shunt so shipping cost should be negligible. In terms of technology these factories will have the very best German machines tools and the management plan is to use Japanese best practices in order to maximize profits. Statistical examination of the Japanese and Korean land management practice are the reason for the undifferentiated facility. Expirence in those two countries has shown that prime real estate for factory facilities increases in cost exponentially when a ‘new’ industry takes off. As we fully expect other entropenures and foreign companies to follow our lead in moving copper refinement and manufacturing closer to the source then the land will grow in value at a rate commiserate with the expansion of industry. Technology is changing, and copper is already a big part in that. It is felt that in five to ten years electronics manufacture or something of that nature will be the biggest industry around. The point of the wire mill and the pipe manufacture is to get us to that point and provide a steady backdrop of profit.”

“I can see that you have thought about this pretty comprehensively, although I do have some questions about a few of your funding decisions,” Hector Ilium stated blandly after glancing around at the other bankers. “For instance, just why did you decide not to take advantage of the government industrialization loans you are eligible for?”

“My brother and I felt that those loans would be most beneficial in phase two of our plans. After the initial set up had been complete and we had a steady business in place then expansion through low interest loans would be preferable to trying to expand at the market rate. The instabilities in the copper market mean that risk management will be difficult in the first five years of our venture, after that we will either be established or have failed.”

“Ah, so you are aware of the instabilities in the market. How do you intend to combat that uncertainty given how closely you will be tied to the commodities market?”

“Just on time manufacturing will allow us to vary the price on our tenders per the market, keeping the price low as possible while responding to the markets. We feel that the variability will be offset by the theoretically lower price we could offer. If the government does go through with the planned electrification of the rail lines between the mines and the manufacturing and shipping destinations as they have stated then our overhead will be lowered exponentially. We have not built that assumption into our business plan though, but view it as likely with the cooperation between the Chinese and Zambian government. We believe that will put pressure on our own government to invest in the infrastructure to support the copper industry, although our current prospectus does not take that into account as we have no idea just what the governments response will be at this time. We sought to use the most pessimistic assumptions in our prospectus so as to show that this is a viable opportunity for profit generation even under the worst circumstances.”

From there the questioning continued for an hour and a half. The bankers were by their very nature conservative, but at least on paper the Ferro brothers had provided a very respectable plan to take advantage of a perceived gap in the market. Most of the questions had been covered in the prospectus and business plan but they had wanted to make sure that the brothers hadn’t had the plan ghost written and actually knew their stuff. In the end they came away convinced that this had the possibility of being a viable business, but even so they refrained from committing themselves. They would take their observations back to their bosses and discuss the plans and presentation before they committed to anything. The Ferro brothers had known that would be the case so they were not disappointed, nor were they surprised when the offers started to come in a month later. By the end of the year the machines had been ordered and construction had started on their factories. They would open their doors in nineteen seventy two.
Carlos Prats really didn’t want to deal with Lt. Colonel Roberto Federico Souper Onfray. If there had been any justice in the world he would have joined his natural niche and fallen in with Pinochet and the other low effort boot lickers where he could be either sidelined or dismissed as needed. The man was both ambitious and a firm believer in the deep state philosophy that had become so in vogue with the younger officers. This should have made him a natural ally of the cabal of officers who seemed to be gravitating to that peasant ass Pinochet, as opposed to what had happened with him joining Prats camp. The man didn’t believe in the Schneider doctrine, but he had come over because Prats had succeeded in replacing the M-24 Chaffee light tanks, a world war two vintage machine, with recently overhauled AMX-13 tanks. Carlos was of the firm belief that if he managed to replace their aging fleet of M-4 Sherman’s with real main battle tanks then Roberto would offer to bear his children.

It was one of Carlos long held dreams to dismiss the man from service, but that wasn’t a possibility. He was one of the few armor officers who had chosen a side in the inter office politics, and he was widely regarded as one of the better ones. Dismissing him would have hurt Carlos political side and helped Pinochet or more accurately whomever was pulling the fools strings. That wasn’t going to happen. Still he did wish that someone else could deal with the man. It didn’t help that he had started off in artillery and still was biased in favor of that branch of service. Tanks were all well and good but artillery was called the queen of the battlefield for a reason. It didn’t help that the two branches were in direct competition for funding, and it showed.

“Enough,” Prats said mildly, but with a clear edge of threat in his voice. “I understand your point. Our armor is sadly out of date even with the improvements I have made. I understand that, just as I understand that you are thinking of getting more help from the Israelis. I understand that you want to have improvements made on the Sherman’s at a minimum…. But let’s be realistic, they have been out of date for years.”

“I know they are out of date, everyone knows that, but the improvements are the minimum required for the tanks to be even remotely competitive. What do you want me to do? We need these improvements! The M-24 replacement was a good step forward, especially as the AMX-13 has been proven to be a platform that takes to modernization well. We have the M-41 Bulldogs, but despite not being a true light tank they are also not a main battle tank. We need a modern MBT.” Roberto Souper threw up his hands in exasperation.

“Who has modern tanks in the region? Just how badly do we need them? I have to ask you this because the budget is already stretched even with the improvements in funding that we are getting. I am trying to balance things so that we modernize at an acceptable pace while not putting us too deeply in debt.”

“Peru has ordered twenty four T-55’s for ‘evaluation’ porpoises,” Roberto said with a look of complete contempt. “Just how stupid they think we are I do not know, but it is clear that these tanks are meant to train their forces in the operation of the T-55. I do not know just how many they intend to purchase, but it will not be a minor order. The Bolivians… I will admit I am less worried about. They have been talking to the Austrians about the purchase of SK-105 Kürassier light tanks. Those I am sure we could take with what we already have. You undoubtedly know about the Argentines Firefly’s so I feel no need to go into that…”

“Damn… I was hoping to delay any tank purchase until we had dealt with the infantry…” Prats muttered.

“I think we wait for a bit,” Roberto shook his head, as if to shake off a fly, “I know you think I am too monomaniacal on the subject of tanks but we do need to start at least thinking about a MBT buy. I’m not saying that we need to do one immediately, but thinking and planning we should do…”

“I’m not about to authorize a full buy but I do want you to get with the Israelis. If the Peruvians are going to deploy the T-55 I want our officers fully familiar with its capabilities and how to knock them out… or operate them should we capture a few. I’m sure that you can convince the Israelis to sell us four or so for that purpose.” Prats mad a snap decision, it seemed to be the right one but only time would tell.

“I will get on that, I presume you will at least think about what I have said?”

“I am thinking of it, tanks are an area I know we need to address. I just need to figure out where to get the money from.” Carlos grimaced. “I have a lot of projects like that, including several ambitious artillery projects, all of which are on hold until I deal with the infantry. To add to that we are not in the best odor in La Monda, the navy is the flavor of the week and the apple of the presidents eye right now. He is not best pleased with our more… political… shall we say, officers and their actions. I, and Schnieder, are trying to fix the issue but it will not be an easy thing to deal with.”

“There’s more then you licensing the TAP47 pattern cammo? I know about the monetary issues, but planning costs us very little for when we are back in the drivers seat in terms of funding. I would much rather we be in a position to make an informed decision when we get the money rather then it being a snap decision we will have to deal with after the fact like the assault rifle purchase.” Roberto asked with a raised eyebrow.

“And getting them new rifles to correct the error of our snap decision earlier, looking at their mortars, new fighting knives beyond the traditional Corvo, the new model Stahlhelm commission is still riding me over helmets as well. All in all things are a bit of a mess.”

“I thought that the helmet issue was resolved,” Roberto asked with more than a little amusement leaking into his voice. “I thought that the politicians had finally accepted that the new American helmets were better than the pre-world war to stahlhelms we were using…”

“They did, and then they ordered me to get a native Chilean stahlhelm as opposed to buying the American helmets,” Carlos sighed deeply as he said that. “Given we don’t currently have a helmet manufacturing company, or any clue of how to get a better helmet… well that’s turning into a bitch of a project. One where we are going to spend a lot of money on research for a gain that could be achieved simply by buying from another country.”

“Politicians, they see the small systems and they ask just why we don’t make it. They never think of just how complicated it actually is to make the thing. I had a similar discussion with one of the senators over the optics on my tanks, they seemed to be under the impression that such were easy to make and we should have bought Chilean rather than allowing the Israelis to do it.” Roberto was sympathetic, and then a thought hit him. “Perhaps you might just buy the research off the British or the Americans. I know it will not be everything that you need but… it could cut some of the time and costs from the project.”

“I would but the research is classified and you know that neither of those nations has any respect for the Latin intelligence services. They are rather sulphurous about those Latin nations in Europe and their intelligence services…” Carlos shrugged. “I think that it will just be a project that will take time and money. Thought we may be able to recover some of that should we get lucky.”

“Luck is a matter of skill,” Roberto replied simply repeating the maxim that most of the army lived on. “I doubt that our scientific establishment is anywhere in the league of those in the Estados Unitos or the brits. Have you thought about asking the Israelis’ if they have any ideas? They were almost a pariah state for some time and they probably have at least some idea of how to go about getting what we need or have research of their own they would sell to us…”

“No they are not, but they are also not incompetent. If we support them with enough funds then there may be discoveries made… besides supporting our own scientific establishment is the only way to allow it to grow in both size and competence. That is something that we will need. Especially if this latest memo from the air force is true…” Prats paused and really thought about what Roberto had suggested. He quickly jotted himself a note, that was an idea worth following up on. He doubted there would be much but it was better then nothing. “I had not thought about the Isrealies and their situation in this context, especially as they have attracted the favor of the Estados Unitos in recent years.”


“Aren’t there always?”
Not open for further replies.