Monday, May 27, 2019

The Battle of Churutabasco A Mexican War game using Gone Too See The Elephant

The Assault on Churutabasco
12 June 1847

Situation: American forces are attempting to breakthrough Mexican lines and capture the river crossing West of San Geronimo near the Convent of Churutabasco.

Victory Conditions: US players must capture the Convent and Redan and exit their forces along the road on either board edge north of the Rio Nacho by game’s end. If the US player captures only 2 of the objectives the game is a draw. If by game’s end the US players capture 1 or less objectives the game is a Mexican victory. The game lasts 15 turns.

Opposing forces

American forces
US Regular Division
General Pillow Lackluster Poltroon

Caldwell’s Brigade
Col. Caldwell Competent Lion Heart
6th US Infantry plus attached Engineers 10 stands Resolve 18
11th US Infantry 8 stands Resolve 18
Battery C 4th U.S. Artillery 4 6 pdr guns Resolve 18

Hayes’s Brigade
Lt .Col, Hayes Competent Average
8th US Infantry   8 stands Resolve 19
US Mounted Rifles 8 stands Resolve 18
Battery A 5th US Artillery 4 6 pdr guns Resolve 18

Smith’s Brigade
Major Warfield Smith Competent Average
Red Leg Infantry   8 stands Resolve 19
9th US Infantry   8 stands Resolve 18
Battery A 3rd US Artillery 4 6 pdr guns Resolve 18

Mexican forces

Bendayo’s Division
General Don Felipe Gonzales Bendayo Competent Average

Reyna’s Brigade
Gen Jose Reyna Competent Average
2nd Light Infantry 8 stands Resolve 19
San Blas Battalion 10 stands Resolve 15
San Marcos Militia Battalion 10 stands Resolve 14
San Patricio Battalion 4 8 pdr guns Resolve 20
Gueva’s Battery 4 8 pdr guns Resolve 15

Calderon’s Brigade
Gen Emanuel Calderon Competent Poltroon
8th Infantry 8 stands Resolve 19
Tampico Coast Guard Battalion 10 stands Resolve 18
Hernando’s Battery 4 7 pdr Howitzers Resolve 16

US Deployment restrictions: The US players may enter along any road on the West side, South side or East side of the board south of the Rio Nacho.

Mexican deployment restriction: The clergy of the Convent will not allow any non local combat troops within its walls only the San Marcos Militia Battalion may set up within its holy walls. There is no restriction for non combat troops.

The Mexican Brigade under Gen. Reyna prepares to defend the Convent

The San Marcos Militia Battalion Colors defiantly wave from the top of the Convent.

The Mexican Army Medical Corps sets up shop while Padre Paulo performs mass to the troops

The Processional proceeds on its Holy mission.

The Soldados of Calderon’s Brigade brace for the coming battle their spirit buoyed by their faith and the strong defenses of the Redan.

This battle was fought using Patrick Wilson’s excellent Mexican War rules Gone to See the Elephant” which are available on his website TVAG To reflect the uncertainly of the Mexican Politics before the game the Mexican General in Charge must check to see if his brigadiers are political rivals or allies. The check was made and General Bendayo   was respected by General Reyna (incidentally his brother in law) who will follow his commands; however General Calderon still bears a deep hatred of Bendayo’s snub of his wife, Senora Gordo at the last fandango and refuses to be ordered around by someone of his demeanor. This will have an important effect during the game.
On Turn One orders are placed and each General draws an order card there is a chance on each card to have a command event happen which occurs for Both sides Division commanders. The Mexican wins imitative and side Gen. Bendayo’s card indicates he sees weakness in the Yanquis’s attack plan and requires him to issue charge orders for all under his command which Gen. Reyna immediately obeys and orders his men out of their entrenched positions to attack the enemy advancing upon them. Gen. Calderon’s reaction was to continue eating his lunch and enjoying his fine claret.

Unmoved by Bendayo's threats the General Calderon enjoys his lunch while his men rest.


The San Marcos charge forward toward the Norte Americanos

The San Blas Battalion and the 2nd light advance against the Yanquis also.

The US players are next to move and Gen. Pillow receives command event also and the unwanted attention of a Mexican 8 pdr cannonball which reduces him to well… it was hard to tell him from his horse…at least it was a quick death.

“Sir, don’t you think it would be safer behind the troops””Nonsense captain the men must see their General today”

“Where’s Gen. Pillow?” “I think he’s over yonder Sir!

The US forces advance on the Mexican line.

The Mounted Rifles advance in the tall grass towards Churatabsco.

Turn 3 Mexican forces under Reyna continue to push forward as the Us Forces drive through the tall grass towards the Convent. The US player deployed a light skirmish screen in front of his brigade which as it nears the edge of the tall grass comes into contact with the Mexican 2nd light and a brisk firefight ensues.

  The Mexican 2nd light takes on Hayes’s Brigade.

The US skirmish screen is too light to have any effect on the Elite troops of the 2nd Light and fails to disrupt their ranks. The next turn they win initiative and charge the screen driving it back upon its supports who fire upon the 2nd and inflict 25% losses as they close in. Undeterred the 2nd charges home and close combat ensues with the 2nd by the grace of God defeating Hayes’s Brigade and capturing all four stands of colors. On their left the San Marcos advance and trade volleys with the men of Caldwell’s Brigade.

The San Marcos close in.

The firefight goes badly for the San Marcos who after losing several stands suffer a command event and are forced back only to be subjected to a bayonet charge by the 6th Infantry on Turn 4 which drives them back towards the Convent.

The San Marcos Battalion retreats from the murderous fire of the 6th Infantry.

In the chaos of Battle the opposing lines became intermixed.

Also on Turn 4 the 2nd Light drives off shattered remains of Hayes’s Brigade while to San Blas Battalion advances in support and the San Marcos retreat. Caldwell’s Brigade advances to the right of Hayes’s Brigade toward the Redan while Smith’s Brigade advances on the US right into a grove of trees to attempt a turning maneuver. Gen. Calderon in the Redan orders his artillery to reposition and also orders the 8th line to advance to the wall in front of the grove of trees to stem the flanking maneuver.

Red Leg infantry leads Smith’s Brigade into the grove

Caldwell’s Brigade prepares to advance.

The situation on the end of Turn 4 has Hayes’s Brigade reduced to its artillery battery attempting to hold the turning maneuver of 2nd Light infantry and the San Blas Battalion. In the US center Caldwell’s Brigade advances up to chase of the San Marcos with the 11th Infantry and Artillery in reserve while Smith’s Brigade enters the grove in its efforts to turn the Mexican left and Smith deploys his artillery to buy time for the infantry traverse the grove and halt the advancing  Mexican infantry to his front.

The San Blas battalion advances in support of the 2nd Light battalion.

The 8th Mexican line begins its advance into fame and the history books.

On Turn 5 The Mexican right successfully drives off the infantry of Hayes’s brigade and the US artillery attempts to halt the advance with case shot fired from point blank range. In the center Caldwell’s brigade advances driving the San Marcos back and approaching the Convent and Redan their objectives. While on the right Smith’s Brigade crosses the grove while his artillery fires on the Mexican 8th infantry. In the Redan the Mexican Artillery is repositioned and begins to counter battery fire on Smith’s Artillery battery deploy to their front killing a gun crew section. In front of the Convent the San Patricio battery redeploys its guns to bring fire down on the advance of the infantry of Caldwell’s brigade.

The 6th US infantry drives the San Marco back.

Battery A 5th US Artillery fires point blank at the advancing Mexican line.

The San Patricio’s fire their cannon on the US infantry advance.

The Red Leg infantry clear the grove. 

The Redan battery trains on the US artillery.

Turn 6 The Mexican 8th infantry succeeds in advancing to the stone wall despite losing 3 stands to cannon fire just as Smith’s Brigade enters the field north of the grove.

Meanwhile on the US left the 2nd Light and the San Blas Battalion drive off the remaining US artillery as Caldwell’s Brigade in the center begins its attack on the Redan. Gen. Bendayo orders a second artillery battery up to provide flank fire into the batteries supporting Caldwell’s and Smith’s attacks.

The US 6th infantry launches a charge against the demoralized San Marcos Battalion killing the famed Solderra “San Jacinto” and scattering what’s left of the Battalion. On Turn 7 Caldwell's Brigade advances and begins firing volleys at the entrenched Tampico Coast Guard Battalion which returns their fire.

The battered San Marcos Battalion flees the field.

The infantry of Caldwell’s Brigade advance on the Redan while far to the rear the Mexicans continue to drive off the remaining US troops and artillery of Hayes’s Brigade.

Gen Calderon directs the defense of the Redan.

At the atone wall on the Mexican far left the 8th Mexican line holds its own against the skirmishers of Smith’s Brigade and the close range fire of his supporting artillery.

Beginning Turn 8 the massed batteries in front of the Convent and the battery in the Redan counter battery firing on the guns of the 5th US Artillery kill half of the remaining gunners and 2 limber horses forcing it to retire from the field past the Mexican 2nd Light infantry and the reforming San Blas Battalion in the US rear. The Troops in front of and in the Redan continue to blaze away cutting swaths through the firing lines. The battery supporting Caldwell draws a command event and performs an Artillery charge bringing their guns into short range of the Redan.

At the beginning of Turn 9 the Red Leg infantry draw a command event and are disordered by rattlesnakes that were disturbed when they occupied their nesting ground throwing the unit into disorder which brought disaster down in the form of flanking fire from the 2 Mexican artillery batteries to their left flank killing 2 stands and dropping their morale to barely steady. To their right flank the 9th US infantry launch a charge at the Mexican 8th behind the stone wall that despite heavy losses from musket and artillery fire repulse the 9th’s charge forcing it back into the grove. In front of the Redan Gen. Caldwell orders Col Price of the 6th US infantry to turn his battalion and order his attached engineers to breach the Convents walls per his original pre battle instructions.

The Mexican 8th clings tenaciously to the stone wall.

The 6th US Infantry assault Churatabsco encountering no resistance they occupy the Convent and capture the Mexican filed hospital spotting Gen Bendayo in the plaza several men take potshots at him and his staff missing their mark.

On Turn 10 the Redan becomes the main point of the battle with the exception of the last stand of the 8th at the stone wall which concludes with both sides retreating shaken and at half strength effectively out of action., Caldwell’s remaining infantry and his supporting battery face off against the much depleted Tampico Coast Guard battalion and the howitzer battery supporting it. Meanwhile in the US rear the 2nd Light drives off the remaining units of Hayes’s Brigade and watches as Smith’s Brigade retreats out of the battle area to their rear.

By Turn 11 the all that remains in the Redan is the howitzer battery, the Tampico Coast Guard battalion has literally been obliterated from the combined fire of the US infantry and artillery. The US players do control the Convent and will most likely be able to seize the Redan but has 2 Brigades withdrawn from the field and a Mexican Brigade almost full strength reforming on their line of retreat. They decide to withdraw and regroup while they can.The Mexican forces  suffered heavily with one Brigade all but wiped out and the second Brigade suffering around 33% losses and unable to pursue the Americans until reinforced.

Battle Result Draw


US 550 men 4 stand of colors and of course, Gen Pillow

Mexican 950 men