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Civilian casualties on 16 June, 1955

The bombing of Plaza de Mayo is an event in Argentine history.

On June 16, 1955, starting at 12:40 PM, a force of aircraft from the Argentine Air Force strafed and bombed Plaza de Mayo, in what remains to this day the only air assault ever on the Argentine mainland. The attack targeted the square as a large crowd was expressing support for president Juan Perón. In the organizers' version, the flight was meant to repair an offense to the national flag allegedly carried out by supporters of Perón. Actually, the episode was to be the first action in an eventually aborted coup d'êtat.

Thirty-four Argentine Navy airplanes, consisting of twenty-two North American AT-6, five Beechcraft AT-11, three Consolidated PBY Catalina amphibians, and four Gloster Meteor, took part in the attack.

A total of 9.5 tonnes of ordnance were dropped, killing 364 (mostly civilians) and injuring more than 800. Fire ceased at 5:20 PM local time. Three planes were downed by hastily-mounted anti-aircraft guns.

After the failure of the intended coup (as neither the Army nor the Air Force joined in), the aviators received orders to flee to Uruguay and ask for asylum.

In September of that year, all the armed forces would join in the Revolución Libertadora, which overthrew President Perón and started a period of military rule that ended in the 1958 presidential elections, won by Arturo Frondizi of the UCRI. Even though the Peronist party was not allowed to enter the ballot, Frondizi's victory was influenced by Perón's instructions to his loyal base, given from his exile in Madrid, to tactically vote for Frondizi.

Bullet marks are still visible on some buildings on the south side of the Plaza.


(Spanish) Article


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