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"Mexican federal cavalry uniforms, Early Rev period." Topic

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Makhno191828 Dec 2021 7:02 a.m. PST

Hi all,
I'm looking for a little help with images or descriptions of Mexican Federal uniforms for cavalry forces in 1910/1911, before the death of Madero. I've found one photo online, though couldn't track down any details on when and where it was taken, plus it's grainy.


It's from the book The Story of Mexico by Charles Morris, from the chapter The Iron Hand of the Liberals (which is followed by a chapter called The Madero Revolution…) I was able to get to the PDF of the book, but there wasn't much there to describe the image: link

Looks to me from the photo like they are wearing blue uniforms with a white stripe on their peaked caps. Is that a bandoleer on the horses' necks? What arms and kit did the riders and horses carry and how?

This is just about my last project for my Mexican Rev armies, at least for a while. I've bought a few sets of HaT British Wwi cav I'm planning to convert. I'm not planning to buy any new books (though future searchers may find those suggestions useful) but if anyone could share images or descriptions, or even just your opinions on the photo I found, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

khanscom28 Dec 2021 9:53 a.m. PST

Might be something here that will help:

Knotel provides a brief description of Mexican uniforms based on 1900 regulations.

Makhno191828 Dec 2021 2:27 p.m. PST

thanks for that! Looks like, from Knotel's description, I should paint them in khaki uniforms, the blue was a dress uniform (makes sense for the parade photo), and I'm screwed on the peak caps. Knotel writes cavalry didn't typically wear them, especially not early in the war. Also notes that federal cavalry didn't typically wear crossed bandoleers. I'd still love to see any images or descriptions of how the horses were fitted out, how the riders carried their firearms etc, if anyone knows of more sources. Thanks again!

Prince Alberts Revenge28 Dec 2021 5:47 p.m. PST

Just looked in the Blake book on the Revolution and there's a photo of Mexican cavalry in front oh Hotel Suiza. They appear to be Federal, which khaki uniforms, a French looking kepi and rifles slung over the back.

The book states that equipment was a waist belt with shoulder belts that went vertical in the front and crossed in the back. Crossed open cartridge bandoliers were used but not common (in 1903 cavalry were given bandoliers with 8 buttoned pouches). Saddle went over a blue saddle cloth edges red. Based on everything I have read, this would be an ideal and often things between service and campaign gear would be a mix match.

Hope this helps.

Makhno191829 Dec 2021 10:41 a.m. PST

Thank you to Prince Alberts Revenge and Khanscom! Great tidbits to set me on the right direction. I'll be working on these tonight, and will be sure to post photos to my blog in a few weeks when they're finished:

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2021 5:06 p.m. PST

Mexican uniforms in the early 20th century were considered old fashioned – I agree that a khaki uniform would be usual working uniform with a kepi or peaked cap; as to weapons, despite old fashioned uniforms their weapons were pretty up to date; the standard cavalry long arm for the Diaz era army was as I recall the Mauser M1895 carbine. For my Mexican Revolution government armies I have cavalry in khaki, some units in khaki peaked caps and some in blue kepis

Prince Alberts Revenge29 Dec 2021 8:49 p.m. PST

Look forward to seeing the finished product Makhno, I peak into your blog from time to time and always enjoy the posts.

One day I will tackle the Mexican Revolution, if only there was a 10mm range. Sigh….

Richard Baber05 Jan 2022 4:43 a.m. PST

After Madero was killed the Kepi was considered the symbol of the Huerta/Diaz era and looked upon with distain by the constitutionalists and phased out.

Henry Martini07 Jan 2022 11:26 p.m. PST

As this subject has been a special interest of mine in times past I thought I'd just emerge from the shadows of lurkdom for a moment to point out that khaki didn't start to appear amongst Mexican federal forces until 1913; up to that point dark blue for cool weather/formal wear and white for summer/campaign uniforms were the norm. The same applies to the flat peaked cap.

Makhno191808 Jan 2022 9:26 a.m. PST

oh very interesting, thanks Henry Martini. So then these soldiers in Mexicali 1911 would have been wearing white, not khaki?


source info: link

I'll have to repaint my entire federal army!

Henry Martini11 Jan 2022 3:14 a.m. PST

The uniforms in the photo do appear to vary in 'whiteness', but I'd put that down to a combination of varying shade conditions and slight actual colour variation. You'd expect just such a degree of variation given that uniforms weren't usually dyed white, but rather just left in the natural undyed linen colour.

For my own 'white' uniformed federales I used Army Painter soft tone 'dip' over a white undercoat, dry-brushing and repainting highlights with white as necessary to restore most of the whiteness the dip 'browned'.

The final effect is a slighty off-white shaded light brown, which I think represents the historical colour quite reasonably, and which also closely matches the effect depicted in the Osprey book.

Yes – I insist that you do a complete repaint before breakfast!

Makhno191818 Jan 2022 1:57 p.m. PST

thanks Henry, It'll be a while before I get to breakfast ;-). I won't repaint all of my infantry, just the ones in kepis. The rest can serve as later-war units. I've got some cheap plastic minis from the American Civil War coming, which I'll convert for federals in kepis. My cavalry ended up in white with the peaked caps they likely never wore, but I think they're coming out well so far. I went with a clean, bright white, which is also historically unlikely, but I like their juxtaposition against my dusty, multicolored rebels. Thanks all for the input

Stalkey and Co Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2022 6:21 a.m. PST

These two ain't cheap, but I ordered them as they will save buckets of time for me doing research:

ARMIES OF THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION: Uniforms, Equipment & Weapons of the Armed Forces in Mexico 1910-20
Author: Blake, Mike

VIVA LA REVOLUTION, VIVA MEXICO: A Wargamer's Guide to Refighting the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920
Author: Blake, Mike & Swan, Chris

They are around 300+ pages total, so there should be loads of data in there, and I've been very pleased with some of the other books like this I ordered [Turkish army uniforms was amazing].

The way I see it, I want to not just have [reasonably] accurate uniforms, I want to be able to pick the period with the fighting and uniforms I like!

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