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"When Americans Marched to Mexico City" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 2:29 p.m. PST

"One hundred seventy-three years ago, American soldiers captured Mexico City. Quite forgotten in the annals of military history, Gen. Winfield Scott's campaign begun at Vera Cruz ended the Mexican-American War. Peace terms resulted in the $15 USD million purchase of territory that in time produced Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as portions of what would become Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Scholars have engaged in a considerable amount of handwringing over the ethics of this acquisition. Orthodoxy among historians holds that the Mexican-American War was cruel, wicked, and unjust.

Still, the Mexico City campaign and the military context in which it occurred are significant for other reasons: Though it belongs to another age, Scott's march to Mexico City and his subsequent occupation of the enemy capital nevertheless offers a textbook example of campaigning consistent with Army operational doctrine that evolved later. From his establishment of tenets and principles down to the projection of landpower, Scott staged a historic campaign that still speaks to military professionals in the 21st century who, like their predecessors, need to anticipate risk, chance, and uncertainty enduring features of warfare "inherent in all military operations."

Identifying the enemy's historical center of gravity Mexico City was one thing, for Scott was an astute student of history as well as military science. The application of landpower to neutralize the capital, however, and to achieve peace with Mexico (the desired end state of the U.S. Army command and civil leadership) was quite another. At the onset of hostilities with Mexico in 1846, the U.S. War Department lacked reliable information from which it could formulate operational plans. Officials had only basic data about Mexico's climate, natural resources, and topography. True, a rigorous curriculum of engineering and drawing at the U.S. Military Academy had produced officers capable of drawing good maps by 1847, but neither recent nor reliable renderings of routes to Mexico City existed in the U.S. Army on the eve of the war. These would be produced on the ground, after careful but limited reconnaissance over difficult terrain, and among communities hostile to the American intervention. What is more, Americans knew little about the extent and quality of Mexican roads, a central consideration since ordnance and subsistence would be drawn by wagons and mules. These logistical difficulties were much on the minds of American soldiers well into the 20th century. Army officers at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for instance, performed detailed analyses of geography and topography in their assessments of the military challenge and operational environment in Mexico…"
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian16 Sep 2020 2:48 p.m. PST

Two of my ancestors were there! Two brothers, surprised to meet in Mexico City… LOL

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse16 Sep 2020 6:08 p.m. PST

And some Irishmen too!
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 11:02 a.m. PST


Bill… from which side…?


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