The Road to Tierra Blanca
November 23rd 1913
After the fall of Ciudad Juarez the next major obstacle to Villa`s forces was Tierra Blanca which is thirty kilometers from Chihuahua City.
The Federal forces commanded by Pascual Orozco & Jose Inez Salazar tried to form a fan of defensive positions outside Tierra Blanca in order to prevent Villa`s forces from organising their assault.
In practice this actually worked against the Federals as the mobility and speed of Villa`s forces often created isolated little actions, which the Federals couldn`t support or reinforce allowing the Villistas to destroy them piecemeal.
Federal Colonel Francisco Diez has been given command of the defence of Pueblo Monteo. The Colonel has a low opinion of “that bandit Villa” and wants to destroy the myth. He commands a mixed force of infantry backed with a few guns.
Col. Diez`s force
The entire force
Machine gun and Vickers 1pdr pom-pom
Col. Diez and staff
Cavalry and infantry
Chicas del Muerta
Artillery & command
Villa and his staff
Light battery – 37mm Hotchkiss pom-pom & Hotchkiss 37mm revolving cannon
Federal deployment saw Col. Diez place half his infantry across the river, the company command centred on the ruined hacienda, the companies commander spread his platoons out either side of the road dug-in either in trenches or behind the stone walls along with the Vickers pom-pom. A platoon from second company was placed further back on the river bank to act as a reserve. The rest of his command occupied the pueblo, his two larger field pieces were placed in such a way as to support the 1st company by direct fire (be it at long range). Last off one platoon was placed on the far right in case of a flanking move.
Villa decided to attack head-on with infantry supported by his guns, the advancing infantry will be accompanied by the Colt Machin gun and Hotchkiss pom-pom which will travel down the road to keep up with the infantry. His cavalry accompanied by the Hotchkiss revolving cannon will make a dash around the left side of the table once the infantry have engaged the Federals. A nasty surprise for the Federals comes on turn 10 when Villa`s vicious Yaqui scouts arrive at the river entering the table from the Federal left!
Initial disposition of Villa`s troops
The first couple of turns saw Villa`s guns pound the Hacienda causing casualties among the Federals! Some excellent long range shooting by the Federals caused casualties among Villa`s troops too.
Villa`s cavalry arrive on table turn 5 as his infantry fight to clear the Federal line
Villa orders the Machine gun and Hotchkiss pom-pom to move forward to support his infantry
Turn 6 saw Villa`s infantry start a protracted battle for the hacienda
Also an excellent long shot (12 on double D6) saw Villa`s 75mm destroy the Federal one!
Turns 7 & 8 sees the general advance continue (except for those battling Hacienda garrison) the Federal 105mm howitzer inflicted quite a few casualties, but all of the Federals south of the river were killed or captured during these turns. Villa`s cavalry continue their drive towards the Federal right.
Turn 9 the Colt machine goes into action against the last defenders of the hacienda
Turn 10 sees the Yaqui appear on the Federal left
Turns 11 & 12 sees the Yaqui wipe out a Federal squad and the Hacienda defenders surrender after the officer is killed!
Turn 13, The Hotchkiss pom-pom engages the 105mm over open sights, but is destroyed! Villa`s 70mm battery has moved and now targets the buildings across the bridge!
Turn 14 saw several units of villa`s infantry cross the river, his cavalry were now engaged on the Federal right and the Yaqui were slaughtering every Federal they could find over on the left.
Turn 15 Diez is in trouble he sends runners to gather his reserves from the back of the village, his own security platoon is exchanging fire with the Yaqui! The valiant 105mm takes a direct hit, though to be honest Villa`s lead infantry would have been on it next turn.
Turn 16 sees more Federal casualties, Villa`s cavalry have broken through on the right, both Yaqui and Villa`s infantry are moving against the pueblo. Diez`s morale cracks and he leaps into his automobile and flees leaving his men to their fate……..