The men, weapons and military operations of the Mexican War

Date

1977

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the war between Mexico and the United States in the areas of the structure and personnel of the army, the weapons these men used, and the strategical and tactical employment of these men. The United States Army entered the war totally unprepared in terms of man and supply reserves. It was reinforced by ten regiments of regulars raised for the war and three categories of volunteers based on differing terms of service. Although over one hundred thousand man were mobilized during the war, no more than twelve thousand ever participated in any major engagement. In each engagement the small Regular Army provided the nucleus of the American fighting force that fought in the midst of each battle. The United States Army was armed with muskets and smoothbored cannons. These arms were based on designs used in the War of 1812 and were comparable to the reconditioned English muskets used by the Mexican army. The Mexican artillery was equal to the American artillery in poundage and brass but lacked the modifications designed to improve its mobility. The lack of mobility of the Mexican artillery rendered it almost useless and emphasized the relative tactical superiority of the American artillery. The strategy of each country was feasible but the internal turmoil of the Mexican government and army reduced its tactical capabilities. These tactical deficiencies allowed the American army with its corps of professional officers and men to defeat the Mexican army at each engagement. This tactical superiority resulted in the fulfillment of the American strategy and the winning of the war. The conclusion of this study is that the United States won the war with Mexico because the United States Army defeated the Mexican Army at each engagement. These victories resulted from the activities of the professional officers and men of the United States Army and the deficiencies in the Mexican system but not from a superiority of arms. These victories validated the war strategy of the United States and defeated Mexico.

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Keywords

Mexican War, 1846-1848--Campaigns, personel of army, weapons used, strategy and tactics

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