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Mexican Punitive Expedition, 1916

Discussion in '20th Century Not Listed' started by Dan Morton, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Wikipedia -
    The Pancho Villa Expedition—now known officially in the United States as the Mexican Expedition[3] but originally referred to as the "Punitive Expedition, U.S. Army"[1]—was a military operation conducted by the United States Army against the paramilitary forces of Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa from March 14, 1916, to February 7, 1917, during the Mexican Revolution 1910–1920.
    The expedition was launched in retaliation for Villa's attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico, and was the most remembered event of the Border War. The declared objective of the expedition by the Wilson administration was the capture of Villa.[4] Despite successfully locating and defeating the main body of Villa's command, responsible for the raid on Columbus, U.S. forces were unable to prevent Villa's escape and so the main objective of the U.S. incursion was not achieved.
    The active search for Villa ended after a month in the field when troops sent by Venustiano Carranza, the head of the Constitutionalist faction of the revolution and now the head of the Mexican government, resisted the U.S. incursion. The Constitutionalist forces used arms at the town of Parral to resist passage of a U.S. Army column. The U.S. mission was changed to prevent further attacks on it by Mexican troops and to plan for war in the eventuality it broke out.[5] When war was averted diplomatically, the expedition remained in Mexico until February 1917 to encourage Carranza's government to pursue Villa and prevent further raids across the border.
    Trouble between the United States and Pancho Villa had been growing since October 1915, when the United States government officially recognized Villa's rival and former ally Venustiano Carranza as head of the government of Mexico. The U.S. also provided rail transportation through the United States, from Eagle Pass, Texas to Douglas, Arizona, for the movement of more than 5,000 Carrancista forces to fight Villa at the Battle of Agua Prieta; Villa's seasoned División del Norte was smashed.[6] Feeling betrayed, Villa began attacking U.S. nationals and their property in northern Mexico.[7]
    On January 11, 1916, sixteen American employees of the American Smelting and Refining Company were removed from a train near Santa Isabel, Chihuahua and summarily stripped and executed. Brigadier General John J. Pershing, commanding the district headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas, received information that Villa with a new force was on the border and about to make an attack that would force the United States to intervene, embarrassing the Carranza government.[8][n 2] Raids were so commonplace, however, that the rumor was not seen as credible.[7]
    But at about 4:00 am on March 9, 1916, Villa's troops attacked Columbus, New Mexico, and Camp Furlong, the U.S. Army post there, where four troops of the 13th Cavalry Regiment had been stationed since September 1912. Ten civilians and eight soldiers were killed in the attack, and two civilians and six soldiers wounded.[9] The raiders burned the town, stole horses and mules, and seized machine guns, ammunition and merchandise, before fleeing back to Mexico.[7]
    However, Villa's troops had suffered considerable losses, with at least sixty-seven dead and dozens more wounded. Many of the casualties were inflicted when the machine gun troop of the 13th Cavalry led by 2nd Lt. John P. Lucas set up its Hotchkiss M1909 Benét–Mercié machine guns under fire along the north boundary of Camp Furlong, firing over 5,000 rounds apiece using the glow of burning buildings to illuminate targets.[10][n 3] About thirteen of Villa's wounded later died of their wounds, and five wounded Villistas taken prisoner by the Americans were tried and hanged for murder. Local lore in Columbus holds that the attack may have been caused by a merchant in Columbus who supplied Villa with arms and ammunition. Villa is said to have paid several thousand dollars in cash for the weapons, but the merchant refused to deliver them unless he was paid in gold, giving "cause" for the raid.[7][11]
    The next day, acting on the recommendations of the commanders of his cavalry regiments, Southern Department commanding general Frederick Funston recommended an immediate pursuit in force into Mexico. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson concurred, designating Pershing to command the force and releasing a statement to the press:
    An adequate force will be sent at once in pursuit of Villa with the single object of capturing him and putting a stop to his forays. This can and will be done in entirely friendly aid to the constituted authorities in Mexico and with scrupulous respect for the sovereignty of that Republic.[12]


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  2. Dan Morton A Fixture

    From: https://uswarhorse.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/order-of-battle-the-punitive-expedition-1916/

    Provisional order of battle for the US forces entering Mexico.
    5 Cavalry
    7 Cavalry
    10 Cavalry
    11 Cavalry
    13 Cavalry
    6 Infantry
    16 Infantry
    4 Field Artillery Regiment
    6 Field Artillery Regiment
    For political and operational reasons, no National Guard units were sent into Mexico but rather, were retained for guarding the border. Also, while the 1 New Mexico Infantry and the 2 Massachusetts Infantry were administratively assigned to the expedition, they were stationed at Columbus, New Mexico to guard the base facilities.

    Functionally, the order of battle went like this:
    First Provisional Cavalry Brigade:
    11 Cavalry
    13 Cavalry
    Battery C, 6 Field Artillery Regiment
    Second Provisional Cavalry Brigade:
    7 Cavalry
    10 Cavalry
    Battery B, 6 Field Artillery Regiment
    First Provisional Infantry Brigade:
    6 Infantry
    16 Infantry
    Cos. E & H, 2 Engineer Battallion
    The expedition was later reinforced by the 5 and 11 Cavalry Regiments.

    Attached Files:

  3. Dan Morton A Fixture

    More photos....

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  4. Dan Morton A Fixture

    More photos...

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