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This Day in History: March 9, 1916

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by Simonov
This Day in History: March 2, 2002
This Day in History: March 16, 1979
On March 9, 1916, Mexican Revolutionary general Pancho Villa leads a force of nearly 500 men in a raid on the border town of Columbus, New Mexico. The raid, likely the result of supply shortages among Villa's forces following their crippling defeat at the Battle of Celaya the year before, began before dawn on with the Villistas (Villa's troops) burning and looting the settlement. While the Villistas had previously sent a few men into the town in order to determine the strength of the American cavalry force stationed there, their information proved to be entirely incorrect. Initially expecting only 30 or so soldiers, the actually number of American troops stationed there amounted to 341 men and 12 officers of the 13th Cavalry Regiment, though about half of this force were outside of the camp on patrol or other assignments on the night of the attack. However, this still meant a much greater force than the Villistas had anticipated and soon the raid escalated into a full-scale battle as the cavalrymen, armed with not only Springfield rifles but also four Benét–Mercié machine guns, and citizens of the settlement engaged and soon repelled the attack. The 3rd Squadron of the 13th Cavalry Regiment, led by Major Frank Tompkins, pursued the retreating Villistas approximately 15 miles into Mexico before breaking off the pursuit due to running low on water and ammunition.

Casualties for the Americans in the Battle of Columbus numbered 8 soldiers and 15 civilians killed with a further ~8 soldiers wounded. For the Villa's troops, estimates range from 70 to 150 killed (with the higher number including those reported killed by Major Tompkins during the 3rd Squadron's pursuit), though most estimates report ~90 killed. While Villa had succeeded in capturing desperately needed supplies, the raid was a complete tactical disaster due to the high casualty rate, men which he simply couldn't afford to lose. The raid also resulted in a swift and strong reaction from the United States government as a force of approximately 10,000 men, led by General John J. Pershing, was deployed into Mexico with the objective of capturing Pancho Villa. Known as the Punitive Expedition (as well as the Pancho Villa Expedition and the Mexican Expedition), the operation began on March 14, 1916, and ended on February 7, 1917, with the withdrawal of American troops from Mexico due to the growing potential of the US entry into World War I and pressure from the Mexican government. Though the expedition had succeeded in destroying much of Villa's command that had been responsible for planning the raid on Columbus, it ultimately failed in its goal of capturing Villa himself.

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Published: 1 year, 2 months ago
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1 year, 2 months ago
also Patton been there with famous 45 colt to shoot few Mexico revolt, too
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