The 1916 War Between Pancho Villa and the U.S. Army: The Military Legacy of the US/Mexican Border

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The United States Army’s 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico is one of the lesser known and more misunderstood military campaigns in US history. General Francisco “Pancho” Villa and his army of Villistas’ attack on the town of Columbus, New Mexico in March 1916 instigated a US invasion of Mexico. Over the next eleven months, Brigadier General John J. Pershing led ten thousand US soldiers in search of Villa and his troops across the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Pershing’s expedition and the National Guard’s border defense resulted in ten battles and skirmishes, dozens of US casualties, and hundreds of Mexican casualties. This title includes 4 color photos and 8 black and white photos.


"Some scholars and historians assign significance to the 1916 campaign by casting it as the army’s 'dress rehearsal' for the Great War. McLynn refers to this as the “revisionist” interpretation. Dorsey portrays Mexico as the American Expeditionary Forces’ (AEF) 'training ground.' Boot lends “some justice” to the 'dress rehearsal' assertion by pointing out how the operation gave the army its first wartime experience using machine guns, automobiles, and aircraft. Prieto claims the 'lessons learned' in Mexico and on the border helped the army 'close the technology gap with its European counterparts' fighting the Great War. Miller agrees, stating that the army’s “learned lessons … would be applied in France less than a year later.”
From the Introduction

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Prelude to the 1916 Campaign

Chapter 2: The 1916 Campaign

Chapter 3: Reflections and Assessments



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