Battle Report: 30th December 1998

United States 1835-50 ~vs~ Early Mexican

(Robert Avery ~vs~ Richard Avery) .

United States 1835-50

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s Org. Class Weapons Pts/Fig Points
  CinC 1         100
1st 2inC 1         50
Brigade 1st Us Volunteers 20 4x5 MilC mlr   180
  Rough Riders 20 4x5 MilB mlr   180
  4th Mitchigan Volunteers 20 4x5 MilC mlr   180
2nd USMC 16 4x4 RegB sbm   168
Brigade 2nd Massachussetts 16 4x4 RegC mlr   152
  Buffalo Soldiers 16 4x4 RegC sbm   152
3rd 1st Texican Volunteers 15 3x5 MilB sbm   120
Brigade 2nd Texican Volunteers 15 3x5 MilB sbm   120
  3rd Texican Volunteers 15 3x5 MilB sbm   120
Cavalry Personality 1         25
  7th Cavalry 10 2x5 RegB s, mlc   190
Artillery 1st US Artillery 2 2x1 RegC light mlsb FA   158
  Ammo Wagon 1         50
              1937
.

Early Mexican

Brigade

Unit

Fig.'s

Org.

Class

Weapons

Pts/Fig

Points

.

CinC

1

 

 

 

  100
  Los Supremos Podres 30 6x5 RegC sbm   270
1st 2inC 1         50
Brigade 1st Bttn Saltillo 30 6x5 MilC sbm   240
  2nd Bttn Saltillo 30 6x5 MilC sbm   240
  3rd Bttn Saltillo 30 6x5 MilD sbm   180
  4th Bttn Saltillo 30 6x5 MilD sbm   180
Cavalry 2inC 1         50
Brigade 1st Holy Lancers 12 2x6 RegC s, l   164
  1st Divine Line 12 2x6 RegC s   164
Artillery 1st Battery 3 3x1 RegC light mlsb FA   237
  Ammo Wagon 1         50
              1937
.
. US Mexican
Foot 3060 3000
Horse 200 480
Guns 4 6
 

Report

The battle opened with the Americans deploying in their three brigades: with the 1st on the left, positioned to outflank the Mexican right; the 2nd on the right, again outflanking, and supported by the cavalry; and the 3rd in the centre, supported by the artillery.

The Mexicans deployed the 2nd and 3rd Line infantry, supported by one section of artillery and the Line cavalry, on their left; the 1st Line, the Lancers and a second section of artillery on their right; with the 4th Line infantry, the Los Supremos Podres (LSP) and the final section of artillery in the centre, aiming to invest a stone-wall surrounded village.

The battle was divided into two areas of operation. On the US right flank, the Marines doubled forward successfully:  reaching the crest of the hill by the river. The other two infantry battalions unfortunately became disordered. From their crest, the Marines saw the two Mexican columns start to charge them and so, after firing a quick volley, disengaged: aiming to take cover behind their colleagues who were rapidly forming line. Meanwhile, the Mexican cavalry had charged their US counterparts.

The infantry forces met: with the held Americans going shaken as they waited until point blank range to open fire. Despite being shaken, the Mexican columns were halted, also shaken, and returned fire: doing a few casualties to the Americans.

The Mexican cavalry, meanwhile, had also shaken the US cavalry, but had also, in turn, been stopped by fire. Three shaken units faced three shaken units. At this point, fate intervened: as both sides lost their officers to enemy fire: the Mexican 2inC suffering a spectacular death! This destroyed the morale of each side so that where, a moment ago, three had faced three, suddenly everyone was routing. It seemed that the actions on this flank were over!

In the centre and on the left, the Americans advanced quickly. To the centre, the 3rd Brigade attacked the village, which had been invested by the LSP’s. Although the 3rd Battalion of Texican Volunteers managed to charge forward and take a section of Mexican artillery, they ended up under the guns of the LSP’s and, despite the LSP’s going “out of ammo”, were soon dispersed. The other two Texican regiments settled down to a firefight with the LSP’s.

On the left, the mlr-armed 1st US Brigade fired a few volleys at the Mexican 1st Line Regiment and then made the mistake that would eventually decide the battle. The 1st Regiment charged to the right, dispersing the 4th Line Regiment of Mexicans. Unfortunately, this exposed their flank to the section of Mexican artillery far to the Mexican right. Twice the guns fired, and the 1st US Volunteers fled.

With the US losses on the right flank, this rout began a domino effect that eventually led to the US departing the field. At the same time, the Mexicans almost suffered the same fate: but the CinC and the LSP’s provided a rallying point.

Casualties

The Mexicans lost 180 LSP’s; 140 from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Line Battalions each; 320 from the 4th Line; and 40 Line cavalry. The cavalry 2inC also suffered a spectacular death. A total of 960 casualties.

The Americans lost 160 men from the 1st Brigade; 200 Texicans (mostly from the 3rd Battalion); and 140 from the 3rd Brigade. They also lost their cavalry Personality. A total of 500 casualties.

Results

A (very) narrow victory for the Mexicans.

Analysis

Both sides attacked extremely aggressively: coming to grips after only 15 minutes of time had elapsed. Luck was with the US: their die-rolling was extraordinary, and the fact that, with this luck, they still lost was down to three things. Firstly, the skill of the Mexican commander; secondly waiting for a FOC morale check on the right flank before firing at the charging Mexicans; and thirdly making two charges too many in the centre.