The ERP was founded as the armed wing of the PRT, a communist party emerging from the Trotskyist tradition, but soon turned to the Maoist theory, especially the Cultural Revolution. During the 1960s, the PRT adopted the foquista strategy of insurgency associated with Che Guevara, who had fought alongside Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution.
The ERP launched its guerrilla campaign against the Argentine military dictatorship headed by Juan Carlos Onganía in 1969, using targeted urban guerrilla warfare methods such as assassinations and kidnappings of government officials and foreign company executives. For example, in 1974 Enrique Gorriarán Merlo and Benito Urteaga led the ERP kidnapping of Esso executive Víctor Samuelsson and obtaining a ransom of $12 million. However most kidnappings ended in the death of the hostage, especially when not a person of particular importance. They also assaulted several companies' offices using heavily armed commandos of the ERP's elite "Special Squad". Although claim and counter-claim are invariably difficult to reconcile, figures released for an official publication, Crónica de la subversión en la Argentina (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Depalma) at least give an indication of the kind of guerrilla activity undertaken, with claims the rural guerrillas occupied 52 towns, robbed 166 banks and took US $76 million in ransoms for the kidnappings of 185 people.
The group continued the violent campaign even after democratic elections and the return to civilian rule in 1973, with Juan Peron's return. On June 20, 1973 the Peronist movement split after the Ezeiza massacre, perpetrated by far-right Peronists the day of Peron's return from exile. Victor E. Samuelson, an Exxon executive, was abducted on 6 December, 1973 by the ERP. He was released after 49 days in captivity, after the Exxon Corporation paid a record ransom of $14.2 million. The avowed aim of the ERP was a communist revolution against the Argentine government in pursuit of "proletarian rule."
The ERP publicly remained in the forefront. ERP guerrilla activity took the form of attacks on military outposts, police stations and convoys. In 1971, 57 policemen were killed, and in 1972 another 38 policemen were gunned down.
In January 1974 the ERP Compañía Héroes de Trelew, named in commemoration of the 1972 Massacre of Trelew, during which 16 political prisoners who had attempted to escape had been mowed down, attacked the barracks at Azul, which resulted in the death of the Commanding Officer and his wife and the capture of a lieutenant-colonel. The trick did not work twice: in August an assault on the Argentine Army's Villa Maria explosives factory in Cordoba and 17th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Catamarca by 70 ERP guerrillas dressed in army fatigues, met mixed fortune after killing and wounding eight policemen and soldiers and they lost 16 men who were shot after they surrendered to 300 paratroopers of the 17th Airborne Infantry Regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Eduardo Humberto Cubas. In December 1975 a force of some 300 ERP guerrillas and supporting militants attacked the Monte Chingolo barracks outside Buenos Aires but lost 63 dead, many of whom were wounded in the attack and subsequently killed. In addition, seven army troops and three policemen were killed. In all, 293 Argentine servicemen and police were killed fighting guerrillas between 1975 and 1976.
In 1976 there had been plans to send great part of the Uruguayan Tupamaros (MLN-T), the Chilean Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR) and the Bolivian National Liberation Army (ELN) to fight alongside the ERP and Montoneros in Argentina, but the plans failed to materialize largely due to the military coup.
After the destruction of the left in Argentina, some revolutionary cadres made their way to Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas had taken power in 1979. An ERP commando team comprising veterans of Argentina's "Dirty War" under Gorriarán, for example, demonstrated their active involvement in the revolutionary struggle by killing ex-dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1980.
Battle vs. the Waffen SS (by Sidekickman)Edit
Weapons used by the E.R.P.: Ballester Molina 11,25 caliber pistol, PP semi automatic machine gun, FN FAL and SFM-4 grenade.
Six members of the Waffen SS are walking trough a forest, heading towards a small abandoned town. The Gestapo had informed that an arms factory of the E.R.P. is functioning somewhere in that town, and they have been sent there to destroy those Communists. All of them have a Three of them are armed with a Model 24 grenade and a Walther P38 in their belt holsters. Three have MP-18s and the other three have StG 44s. As they reach the edge of the forest, they see the small abandoned town. There are several brick buildings, and the E.R.P. arms factory could be in any one of them. The leader of the Waffen SS group makes a signal, and they divide themselves in two groups, the 3 with the MP-18s go to one side while the other 3 with the StG-44s go to the other side. “Gehen wir töten die Kommunisten!“ said the leader to the rest.
As they enter the city, they don’t notice an E.R.P. member looking at them from one of the building’s rooftops. He quickly runs downstairs to the house’s ground level, he moves a wooden board on the floor, uncovering a hidden trap door with a stairways leading to a secret basement. He goes down the stairs, replacing the wooden board as he goes down. At the hidden basement there are five other members of the E.R.P. working at the secret weapons factory, some are building PP submachine guns and others SFM-4 grenades. There are also three FAL rifles and six Ballester Molina Pistols set aside on a nearby table.
“Un grupo de Nazis llego al pueblo.” says the E.R.P member to the others. “Preparense para la batalla compañeros, tomen sus armas.” replies one of the other E.R.P. members. The E.R.P. members take some SFM-4 grenades and each one grabs one of the Ballester Molina Pistols, placing them on the belt of their pants. Three of them then grabs the FAL rifles, and the other three grab a PP submachine gun that was already finished from the workshop table of the secret factory. Nodding at each other, they silently make their way up through the secret trap door.
As the six members of the E.R.P. exit trough the trap door to their secret factory and hide it again with the wooden board, they decide to split up. The three men with the FALs will go up on the roof, while the three men with the PP submachine guns will go out through the back door.
As they were on the roof, the E.R.P. members wait for the Waffen SS soldiers to come closer, and then they start shooting at them with their FALs. One of the Waffen SS soldier falls dead from the shots, while the other two run for cover, surprised from the attack. The Waffen SS soldiers shot back at the E.R.P. members using their StG 44s, and they manage to down one of them, while the other get down on the rooftop, to take cover.
The two Waffen SS soldiers get closer to the house and one of them grabs a Model 24 grenade, activating it and throwing it at the rooftop. The two E.R.P. members see the grenade, and try to run away, but it explodes before they can get away. The grenade explodes, sending them both flying, killing them instantly.
Suddenly, the door to the house opens, and out emerges one of the three E.R.P. members with his PP submachine gun. He starts shooting at the two Waffen SS members, emptying a whole cartridge. The two Waffen SS soldiers drop down, dead.
The three E.R.P. member takes out his Ballester Molina pistol, as the PP has ran out of bullets, and calls his two companions from within the house. They come out and the three of them start running away from the house and into an alley.
Having heard the gunshots and the grenade explosion, the remaining three Waffen SS soldiers come over to the house, and see the dead bodies of the Waffen SS soldiers on the ground. They hold their MP-18 submachine guns firmly, and look around, looking for any signs of danger.
Seemingly from nowhere, an SFM-4 grenade falls down in between them. They run away, but one of them does not make it in time, as the grenade explodes too close to him. The Waffen SS soldier falls down from the explosion, dead.
Using the surprise factor from the grenade explosion, the two E.R.P. members with the PP submachine guns emerge from their hiding place from within the alley, and start shooting at the two remaining Waffen SS soldiers. They manage to kill one, but the other Waffen SS soldier empties his whole MP-18 submachine gun cartridge and kills the two E.R.P. members.
He suddenly turns around, as he heard two gunshots from far to the left, and sees how the remaining E.R.P. member has shot at him with his Ballester Molina, but missed. The E.R.P. member starts running towards the forest surrounding the small abandoned town.
Having no more bullets on the MP-18 submachine gun, the Waffen SS soldier takes out his Walther P38 pistol from his holster, and runs towards the woods, following the E.R.P. member.
The Waffen SS soldier walks through the deep forest, holding his Walther P38 firmly on his hand. He hears a noise behind him, and quickly turns around, shooting. But there is nothing there. Again he hears a sound to his right, he turns and shoots, but again he is met with just empty space. Once again he hears a sound to his left, and again turns around. He tries to shoot but he has run out of bullets on his Walther P38 pistol. He suddenly gets still as he feels a cold and hard metallic object on the back of his head. “Ya te tengo, maldito Nazi.” says the E.R.P. member, as he pulls the trigger of his Ballester Molina pistol.
The E.R.P. member looks at the body of the Waffen SS soldier as he falls down, lifeless in the ground of the forest. He lifts up his left fist and yells out “Viva la revolución proletaria!”