Thursday, October 7, 2021

AAR - Scenario 1 - The Liberation of Mexicali

I'm planning to release all of these Suneos de Libertad scenarios in a large PDF, and release the rules as a second PDF, hopefully early next year. However, before doing so, I wanted to test out the rules and some scenarios on real humans. My friends Chris and John were kind enough to play guinea pigs last weekend. We started with the first scenario: The Liberation of Mexicali.

As described in the link above, this scenario attempts to recreate the first action of the Baja California campaign undertaken by the PLM at the end of January, 1911. Mexicali, little more than a workers' colony for the Colorado River Land Company at the time, was pressed right up against the US border (the green, grassy area on the right edge of the table is the US.)

The Alamo Canal ran south of the town, and below that, only Little's Ranch stood out in the the desert.

John got to play as the rebels, who approached the town in three small forces. The PLM had scouted Mexicali earlier. Given the tiny garrison, PLM's Organizing Board determined it'd be best to strike quietly and quickly with a small force, and to assemble a new Baja California Division in the town after its liberation. Below are John's three small groups.

The scouting efforts had been largely successful. Though one PLM operative was captured and jailed in the town, the region's governor could not imagine the anarchists would launch a successful revolt, and so made no efforts to reinforce or fortify the town. The PLM, on the other hand, had selected three essential objectives. They learned that the subprefect resided in the house, bottom-right of the photo below, called "The Yellow House."

(The five Rurales officers standing in the town square above were "off-duty," and Chris hid them in houses scattered across town.) The second objective was the Customs House right on the main intersection and near the border. The Customs House held money the rebels needed to fund their revolution, and was guarded by only two officers.

The last objective was the town jail, a rectangular stone building on the south-east edge of Mexicali. A jailer and 10 officers (pictured below) guarded the jail, though remained inside until they were alerted to the attack.

Chris's only other forces were two patrolling Rurales, who rode up and down the main road running south from the border toward the bridge over the Alamo Canal.

Mini Makhno and Tiny Durruti surveyed the battle field before the attack began. 

It was pitch black, and a cold snow fell on the desert as John successfully rolled to bring his first group onto the table. They entered on the northeastern edge, at a farm on the US side of the border. Their target was the Customs House, but given the conditions, they could only see 10" (at our 1/72 scale) in front of them.

The second rebel group came down from the mountain south-west of town. They marched toward the "Yellow House" to attempt to capture the subprefect.

John's final group appeared south-east of town, headed to free their comrades and fellow workers in the jail.

Chris, who's forces had not been alerted to the attack, could do little but watch John move his groups toward their objectives.

Only the mounted patrolmen were awake in the cold night, and they rode into the town square as their unseen enemies circled around them.

The first rebel group vaulted a log wall and they were on Mexican soil.

The second group descended from the mountain and marched slowly toward the canal.

The third group crossed the canal and attempted to approach the jail from the east, trying to avoid the doors so as not to be seen by the jail's garrison. The jail had no windows.

In general, John moved his attackers at a walk so as to make as little sound as possible. Once the defenders were alerted, the element of surprise would be lost to the rebels.

As John's third group approached the bridge over the Alamo Canal, Chris's patrol rode steadily south. It seemed the confrontation was imminent.

On the next turn, however, the rebels rushed off the road and entered the canal bed, on the way to the Yellow House, avoiding detection.

Down the canal road to the east, the second rebel group vaulted the stone wall around the jail. They prepared to set fire to the jail's doors. The garrison had still not been alerted, as my rules have no specification for footsteps alerting unsuspecting defenders (yet, more on this below).

On the north edge of town, however, the battle was about to ignite. At the start of Round Three, the first PLM group waked right up to the Customs House. John won the initiative roll, and his rebels wasted the poor customs guards before they could draw their weapons.

The shooting alerted the US border guards, who ran out to see what was happening. Without orders to cross the border, they could only watch helplessly. 

One sleeping, off-duty Rurale, however, was in earshot of the gunfire. He grabbed his carbine and rushed out onto the street. Seeing rebels attacking the Customs House, he fired, shooting one rebel in the back.

Meanwhile, down at the jail, a second skirmish unfolded. The rebels used their action turn attempting to light to jail's wooden doors on fire. Instead of attempting to start the fires one player at a time, John rolled for everyone to light their matches. They succeeded in starting the fire, but when the jail's garrison heard the commotion and rushed outside, the rebels had all already acted for the turn and were caught defenseless. Chris's Rurales mercilessly obliterated the entire second rebel group.

The patrolmen in the town square heard the gunfire ringing out in the night, and turned to race toward the customs house. Off-duty officers came out of the Yellow House and the two-story house next to it, pausing to get their bearings.

When the mounted officers arrived at the border at the beginning of Round Four, two rebels had already run inside the customs house. The four remaining PLM insurrectos stood in the road between the horsemen and the off-duty officer, his gun still smoking. 

John won the initiative roll, however, and made quick work of the officers. Joined by their two comrades, exiting the customs house with the revenue chest, the first group headed south into the heart of town.

With the Customs House conquered by the rebels, and the jail firmly in the government's hands, the future of Mexicali was unclear. Chris worked to consolidate his forces. 

Chris pulled the two off-duty officers at his disposal into the courtyard of the "Yellow House," and set about defending the area around the jail with the bulk of his forces.

Just south of the "Yellow House," another off duty officer rushed out, only to fall into the hands of John's third group, who were still slowly making their way toward their objective. The rebels captured the hapless officer, and John set one of his figures to guard their prisoner.

With a group approaching from the north and another from the south, Chris decided to evacuate the Subprefect and abandon the "Yellow House." The leading political authority in town was the actual objective, not the building itself. Thus, Chris was wisely consolidating his forces toward a more easily-defendable position.

As the Subprefect and his escorts fled for their lives toward the jail, however, Chris mobilized a group of officers to march out and meet the rebels.

The subprefect and his two escorts were joined by another off-duty officer, and the four passed the bullring on the way across the square to the jail.

 It was now Round Five, and John's two remaining rebel squads headed to the "Yellow House," as they could not know that the subprefect had left.

They arrived at the start of Round six. Discovering their target had vanished, the remaining rebels regrouped into two even-sized forces to attack the jail. One of the rebels stole the subprefect's horse.

Meanwhile, the subprefect arrived at the jail. There, the doors had finished burning off, requiring Chris to leave 4 guards to defend the twelve inmates of the jail.

The remainder of Chris's Rurales reached the intersections south-east of the "Yellow House," where they met half of John's forces out in the open. Chris won the initiative and acted quickly. Two of the officers rushed into a nearby building, while the rest fired on the rebels, caught in the open.

The skirmish lasted a few more rounds, with both sides shooting at close range, and neither breaking to run. Ultimately, Chris's officers won the intersection, with four Rurales standing in the road and two more inside the house, and all the rebels dead. With only one group of rebels left, and a well-fortified objective left to capture, the situation looked bleak for the PLM.

John's last group, however, bravely charged ahead on turn 9. At this desperate moment, John won the initiative roll, fired two incredibly accurate shots into the house, killing both officers there, and then easily dispatching the rest of the Rurales in the road. 

Next, the surviving six rebels turned the corner to assault the jail, guarded by six Rurales protected by a stone wall.

John sent his two mounted rebels wide to the south, and moved on the jail. 

Chris won the roll for initiative for Round 11. It seemed that all hope was lost for the revolutionaries, caught again in the open. But every single Rural missed his mark at this crucial moment. The rebels returned fire, hitting all but two of the defenders. The surviving Rurales retreated inside the jail. They were now outnumbered severely by the prisoners inside. Rolling for a prison revolt, however, was unsuccessful, so the prisoners continued to cower even though the jail had no doors left. On turn 12, John's rebels reached the courtyard. The defenders fired through the open doors, killing one horseman, but the situation was hopeless.

On Turn 13, Chris won the roll again and killed one more rebel. But the jig was up. Three of the surviving four rebels ran into the jail, killing the last guard, freeing the prisoners, and capturing the subprefect. 

Chris graciously conceded defeat, and the battle drew to a close 

This was an enjoyable battle to watch/referee, one in which the outcome wasn't clear until the very end. Being the first test of these rules and scenarios played by two humans (as opposed to myself playing against a single-player mechanism), it was interesting to see how Chris and John interpreted the rules and used them to their advantage. I thought Chris showed some moments of strategic clarity, such as deciding to consolidate remaining forces at the jail. But ultimately, he was sabotaged by his poor rolling, allowing John to overcome early setbacks and accomplish the difficult task of capturing the jail. 

I mentioned to them after the game my surprise at how little attention both players paid to the buildings themselves, which offer 2 points against each firing roll as "Hard cover." They both complained that my rules had no mechanism for sleeping or unaware defenders to hear approaching attackers. We discussed the addition of an "Alert rule," wherein unsuspecting defenders can hear approaching footsteps and whispered voices at 3/4 the range of sight. For this scenario, for example, where the dark of night and the snow reduced visibility to 10", the defenders may have heard rebels that passed within 7.5" of their positions. In daytime/clear weather scenarios, however, a 40" visibility would mean a 30" Alert range, which won't do, so we'll have to think through this rule change a little more. Ultimately, this is likely the only scenario in the entire campaign where such a rule is necessary, as after the PLM liberated Mexicali, everyone knew the war was on, forces dug in or march on fortified towns, and there was little sneaking around or surprising anyone after that. However, such a rule addition is still warranted.

John and Chris also took issue with my Fire Starting rule, wherein each individual mini figure can start a fire, if they roll 3+ once to light the match, and then a second 3+ to light the fire. While I prefer my way, as anyone with a match can start a fire, and its fun to watch things burn..., my friends suggested fire-starting could be a whole-unit action, with bonuses for numbers of figures within each unit. Clearly, I have some editing to do!

Compared to both my solo play through and the actual historic event, this First Battle of Mexicali play-through was far bloodier. It was fun to watch, but John's four surviving rebels would have had a hard time defending the town! My rules do not allow for wounds: each hit tallied is a death. Thus, these games are usually bloodier than the historical engagements they are based on. However, as with many of the flaws in my rules, for me, the need for simplicity and brevity often outweighs other considerations.

We all had a great time drinking beer in the basement and enjoying a tense contest. We plan to give it another go in two weeks, skipping ahead to the next battle over this town: Scenario Four - The Defense of Mexicali. While we are not yet sure who will field which side, as John won this game, he will be awarded 15 additional recruits plus the roll of 1D6 to his forces.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Scenario 15: The Second Battle of Tijuana, June 22, 1911.

Tijuana, captured by the Second Division (or Foriegn Legion) of the Liberal Army of Baja on May 9th, 1911, came under attack by government forces on June 22nd. In the month and a half between the two battles, the political situation in Mexico changed drastically. Diaz surrendered and left the country, Madero’s party came to power, and both sides cooperated to crush the Liberal revolutionaries and others who wouldn’t give up. Many peasants, workers, and Indigenous communities intended to fight until the aims of the revolution were won. To put down the revolution he had called for less than a year prior, Madero had the eager assistance of both his former enemies in the Federal Army, and the United States.

On June 17, Colonel Vega’s column of 551 troops and 24 officers left Ensenada, marching north on Tijuana. According to Bartra and Barrera, of the 551, “254 soldiers come from the 8th Battalion, 99 from the fixed company under First Captain Juan Lajero, 17 from the machine gun section under Lieutenant Zarzosa, and 181 volunteers from San Diego and Los Angeles,” who sailed into Ensenada two weeks prior on an expedition organized by the Association for the Defense of National Integrity (Bartra and Barrera 238-239).

On June 20th, Brigadier Manuel Gordillo Escudero led 1,000 federal soldiers, from Battalions 6, 12, and 17, and Cavalry units from Regiments 2 and 3, a machine gun section and a mountain artillery section, out of Chihuahua to board trains in Ciudad Juárez. The trains would cross the border and travel through the United States, so the troops could assault Mexicali and Tijuana from behind.

While Madero’s soldiers performed their maneuvers, Madero’s new agents--former PLM members and even a Magón brother--recruited by the new governor of Chihuahua, arrived to attempt to negotiate the surrender of the PLM fighters. The First Division of the Liberal Army in Baja California, stationed at Mexicali, gave in to this pressure on June 17th. On June 20th, former commander Leyva, and other former PLM members Monroy, Elías, and Sandoval were in San Diego, and in communication with Jack Mosby: the Second Division’s new commander (with Pryce in Los Angeles.) The following day, they met with Mosby and Ladflit near the US-Mexican border. The agents of Madero were surprised at Mosby’s “belligerent attitude,” in comparison to “Quijada's peaceful behavior in the Mexicali negotiations''  (Bartra and Barrera 239). The two sides could not agree on terms for the Second Division’s surrender, and they departed to meet again the following day. At 5am, Mosby met the Maderista convoy again, and the sides agreed Mosby would take inventory of his forces, animals, supplies, and equipment, and they would meet again at noon. However, back in town, Mosby learned that Vega’s column from Ensenada was headed north along the San Diego and Arizona Railroad line and would soon arrive in Tijuana.

Mosby and his comrades used the trains at their disposal in Tijuana in their defense plan. They prepared one train to bring the volunteers to meet Vega, leaving some other cars behind to protect the town. At 9:30am, 17 rebels, including the famous IWW folk singer Joe Hill, climbed a hill south of town by the railway bridge over the river, and occupied the farm there. At 10am, the Federal forces arrived along the railroad, and caught sight of the small outpost on the hill. Vega ordered two sections to attack the farm. One section, led by Lieutenant Vázquez, charged the 17 rebels, and the second, fifty volunteers led by Martín Mendoza, attacked on the eastern flank. The rebels retreated to the top of the hill, and stood strong there. Mosby sent the train out to meet the soldiers in the field. The rebels jumped out by the bridge over the Tijuana River. 

Set up: At the very north end of the table, place the edge of the town of Tijuana. The Tijuana River will flow down the eastern side of the table, with the railway beginning in the very northeast corner, and crossing the Tijuana River about halfway down the table, to continue running alongside the water, just now to the west. By the train bridge, place two raised sections: large hills on the east side of the river, with a farm on one of them, and a low hill to the west. The low hill will represent the Lomas de Agua Caliente, which translates to hot spring hills. There are a few small buildings, such as a bathhouse, by the hot springs, as well as palm trees, scrub, and other foliage. The rest of the table should be fairly open, with some desert and some coastal flora.

Conditions: Clear - normal visibility 

Supply: 10 rounds of ammo for defenders, 7 rounds for rebels.

Forces: The following are as accurate to the true numbers as I could manage. I suggest fielding these forces at ½ size, however. See “Game play” for instructions on when and how to populate the battlefield with these units):

560 pro-government forces face 230 revolutionaries.

PLM Forces:

-Outpost: Joe hill and 16 rebels

-163 infantry

-50 Cavalry

-2 trains

-wagon with 50pts ammunition

Government forces:  

-8th Battalion: Vega and 254 soldiers

-Fixed Company: First Captain Juan Lajero and 99 soldiers

-Machine Gun Company: Lieutenant Zarzosa and 17 soldiers

-Defenders of National Integrity: Martín Mendoza and 180 volunteers.

-train or wagon with 100pts ammunition


Before the game - 

Defenders may set up a small outpost on the eastern hill with the farm, with the Joe Hill group of 17. 

Defenders may set up 2 trains, one to remain behind to defend the town, the second loaded with 50 rebels from Infantry Group 1.

Defenders may place the 50 rebels of Infantry Group 2 within the town of Tijuana as a last line of defense.

Defenders may place the 25 riders of Cavalry Squadron 1 within the town or behind the train.

Attackers may place Martín Mendoza’s volunteer 1st Company of 50 militia on the southeast corner of the table. 

Attackers may place Lieutenant Vázquez’s 1st Company of 50 Federal Soldiers on the southwest corner of the table. 

10:00AM June 22, Attackers move first to commence round 1.

Beginning round 2 - both sides may attempt to field (with 4+ by the roll of a D6, per section per round) the following sections:


-Headquarters: Mosby and 12 rebels

-Cavalry Squadron 2: 25 riders

-Infantry Group 3: 50 rebels

-Wagon with 50pts ammunition


-8th Battalion Headquarters: Colonel Vega and 3 officers.

-2nd Company, 50 soldiers

-3rd Company, 50 soldiers

-4th Company, 50 soldiers

-Machine Gun Company HQ, Lieutenant Zarzosa and 4 officers, 4 machine guns with three crew each.

-Fixed Company - First Captain Juan Lajero

99 soldiers

-Defenders of National Integrity 

-Headquarters, 6 officers

-2nd Company, 50 soldiers

-3rd Company, 50 soldiers

-4th Company, 50 soldiers

-9th platoon, 20 soldiers

-Train or wagon with 100pts ammunition

Victory Conditions:

-The attackers win if they manage to A. enter the town of Tijuana with at least 50% of any section of their forces; B. destroy all rebels; or C. cause enough damage to convince the defending player to give up.

-Defenders win if they can A. eliminate enough attackers to make a government victory impossible, or B. if they can capture or kill Colonel Vega while at least 50% of rebel forces remain.


-A Government victory here spells the end of the international involvement in the PLM insurrection, and the beginning of a great decline in the popularity of the Liberal Party. Indigenous and other Mexican workers and peasants would continue on a guerilla struggle in Northern Mexico for years to come, in the name of the PLM, but could no longer liberate any large territory. However, all of Ricardo Flores Magón’s predictions about the Madero government proved accurate. The reformist politician placated the conservatives, rather than solving the social issues which caused the revolution to begin with. Within two years, Madero would be assassinated, and the Mexican Revolution renewed with even greater fury and force, carrying forward the fight for Land and Liberty!

-A rebel victory would shock the world and reignite the Mexican Revolution, this time under the leadership of anarchist ideas and against the reformist capitalism of Madero. With Vega’s force--the largest yet seen in Baja California--crushed, the pathway to Ensenada lay open to the victorious Second Division of the Liberal Army of Baja California (theoretically). On the other hand, the political fallout would include renewed pushes from many sides for the involvement of the United States armed forces to protect the interests of international capitalists.

        (Photo: Rebel cavalry before the battle. GhostsinHistory)

Historical note: 

The battle began on the morning of June 22, when Mosby sent forward a scouting party to meet Vega’s column. At 9:30am, 17 rebels, including the famous IWW folk singer Joe Hill, climbed a hill south of town by the railway bridge over the river, and occupied the farm there. 

At 10am, the Federal forces arrived along the railroad, and caught sight of the small outpost on the hill. Vega ordered two sections to attack the farm. One section, led by Lieutenant Vázquez, charged the 17 rebels, and the second, fifty volunteers led by Martín Mendoza, attacked on the eastern flank. The rebels retreated to the top of the hill, and stood strong there.

Mosby decided to meet Vega’s larger force out in the open, hoping to throw them back on their heels. As a desperate skirmish unfolded on the hill by the trainbridge, a railcar full of PLM volunteers lurched out of Tijuana, headed south. Fifty riders of the anarchist cavalry followed the train. The rebels, “at the height of the bridge over the Tijuana River, made contact with Vega’s troops.” The rebels leapt from the train and attacked the Federal column. But Vega had set up his machine guns, and the rebels were caught in the open. The Second Division of the Liberal Army in Baja California held out for an hour, fighting outnumbered and outgunned, until they put the train in reverse and retreated to Tijuana. Joe Hill’s group on the hill continued to resist while the train and column withdrew, but soon they, too, were fleeing north (Bartra and Barrera 240-241). 

Back in town, Mosby and the rebels knew the jig was up. They formed an orderly line and walked to the border to surrender to the US forces under Captain Wilcox. At 12:45PM, Mosby and the other foreigners began negotiations with Wilcox. Mosby said:

“We have come to surrender. They have 1500 men and 6 machine guns (...) we have fought the best we know how but we cannot counteract the terrible work of these machines, and the forces outnumber us in such numbers that it would be a suicide to try to continue.... We surrender to you unconditionally, hoping only that we will be given the protection that is due to any human being who fights for a good cause” (Bartra and Barrera 242). 

At 1PM, both sides had accepted the terms of the surrender, and the 106 volunteers left Mexican soil, headed for detention at Fort Rosencranz (Bartra and Barrera 242). 

But the battle wasn’t quite over. Not wanting to miss out on the glory of defeating the alleged filibusters, a force of anti-Liberal volunteers from the United States, led by the Doctor Horacio López, committed their own Neutrality Act violation by rushing across the border to chase after a group of 50 surviving rebels who had left Tijuana, headed west, instead of north with the rest of the contingent. This final section of the Second Division held out for several more hours, until the rest of Vega’s column managed to defeat them. After the three hour battle, the PLM volunteers had lost 37 men killed, but there was only one rebel reported wounded, as the Federals took no prisoners, executing all captured Liberals on the spot. According to Vega, only 4 of his soldiers died, and an additional five were wounded. Magón claimed in his article in Regeneracción printed two days after the battle, that 30 Federal soldiers had died: “Eight hundred Maderista federals attacked a handful of Liberals. After three hours of fighting, with 16 casualties... the surviving fighting men crossed the dividing line with the United States and were arrested and disarmed. The federals, for their part, had 30 deaths...due to the circumstances in which the combat took place, our defeat is a moral triumph of great value, because it has been shown that liberals fight for principles and are firm” (Magón, Regeneracción June 24, 1911).

The day after the article appeared, on June 25th, most of the international volunteers confined at Fort Rosencranz were set free, except for the leaders Mosby, Ladflin, and Reed.

The final group of home-grown PLMistas had been defeated, but not destroyed. The survivors vanished into the countryside, to regroup and resume raids and attacks. Emilío Guerrero would continue the lead bands of local Indigenous revolutionaries against the towns and labor colonies south of Ensenada. On June 25th, 50 soldiers from Vega’s 8th Battalion attacked Guerrero’s band at their headquarters in Las Animas Canyon, where the rebels were celebrating San Juan’s day. Though caught off-guard, the Indigenous revolutionaries drove off the attackers, killing three and wounding six more. The next day, the 8th Battalion returned in force and, finding the rebels still celebrating, killed two rebels and drove the rest from the canyon. Guerrero’s band survived, however, and fought on for another month until they were defeated on July 27th. According to Bartra and Barrera, “Guerrero and three of his men surrendered to Cantú's forces, who took them to Ensenada, forcing them at bayonet-point to travel 100 kilometers on foot. Upon reaching the port, Guerrero dies” Bartra and Barrera 244). There is, however, evidence that Guerrero survived, for his testimony at his own trial is recorded on September 8th, 1911. (Ensenada. Declaración De Emilio Guerrero a Los Cargos De Asalto En San Quintín. 8 Sept. 1911). 

Scenario 14: Finishing the Job: Attack on Diaz’s Train, May 30*, 1911.

President Diaz finally stepped down on May 25th, 1911. Soon, he was on a train heading from Mexico City to Veracruz, where he would board a ship to begin his journey into European exile. Sitting in the train, Diaz said, “Madero has unleashed the Tiger, lets see if he can control it.” But somewhere along the route to Veracruz, a large group of PLM rebels stopped the train, tore up the tracks, and threw dynomite at the train. Not satisfied with Madero’s settlement, the people of Mexico intended to say farewell to the dictator in their own way.

                            (Photo: Diaz in exile, from Wikipedia)

Set up: Lay a train track down the length of the table. Arrange the terrain as you would like, suitable for central Mexico or the Atlantic coastal area. 

Create a map of the terrain, and a separate map of the train, with each car drawn separately. If two opposing players are playing this scenario, the attacking/ambushing side gets the terrain map, and must mark the location on the track where the dynomite is placed. 

The defending player takes the map of the train, and must mark in which car the former President sits, and in which cars the escorts/Federal soldiers are stationed, their numbers etc. 

If you are playing this scenario as a solo game, make the map of the terrain and the dynamite as described above. For the train, make 1 blank card for each train car (excluding the engine or other sections with few riders), 1 card for Diaz, and 1 card for each unit of guards on board the train. Shuffle the small deck, and do not check the deck until the train becomes damaged. The cards above each train car card depict who is in said car. 


Clear - normal visibility 

Supply: 7 rounds of ammo for defenders, 5 rounds for rebels.


PLM Forces:

-40 rebels, organized as player chooses

Government forces:  

-Diaz, family and staff

-Maderista officer and staff

-1st platon, Federal soldiers

Captain plus 19 men

-2nd platon, Federal soldiers

Captain plus 19 men

Victory Conditions:

This whole scenario is based upon the life of the dictator. If Diaz dies, the rebels win. If not, the government wins. 

Historical note:

The anarchists of the PLM, refusing to recognize Madero’s new government and furious at the terms of the peace treaty, sprang upon the train carrying Diaz into his exile. The rebels tore up the train tracks, threw a stick of dynamite at the train, then, when the Federal soldiers guarding the deposed despot rush out to meet them, fought to get at the hated man. As Trejo writes, The Liberals were not willing to let the dictator who had caused so much suffering to the people of Mexico leave alive. However, the former president escaped the attack well. The press estimated at twenty the dead, three of whom were federal soldiers” (Trejo 223).

Magón, reflecting on the action, wrote “The liberal force tried to arrest and execute on the spot the monster that for more than thirty years had made the Mexican people unhappy; But a strong Maderista column rushed upon our companions with such fury, with such fierceness, that ours perished in great numbers. Good men died who wanted to do an act of justice...What is all this but plain and simple betrayal?“ (Magón, "The infamies of Madero and his henchmen", in Regeneración, No. 40, June 3, 1911).

Diaz escaped justice, and continued on into exile in Paris, where he died of natural causes four years later. The Magónistas and other lower class rebels continued to fight against the new government across the country.

*I have not been able to pin down the date of this occurrence, but it likely occurred on May 29, 30, or 31st.

Scenario 13: The Liberation of San Quintín, May 13, 1911.

San Quintin is a small, remote town on the Pacific coast of Baja, Mexico, about 120 miles south of Ensenada. In 1911, 

It was home to 338 people (Zazueta). San Quintín sits beside a protected bay, called the Inner Bahiá San Quintín, which itself is within the larger San Quintín Bay, in turn, inside the Bajía Santa María.  San Quintin was established as a wheat-production region by the Compañía Mexicana de Terrenos y Colonización, a British land company (who in turn bought the land from a United States land company in 1880). Hundreds of British colonists established wheat farms around the inner bay, on which they built a state-of-the-art flour mill, a water purification company, the beginnings of a rail line to Yuma and a pier in the inner bay for their exports. After the English founded the colony, however, they learned that the normal rainfall there would not allow for wheat production, and in the decades before the Revolution, the colonists began to abandon the town, which fell into disrepair. Workers tore up the train tracks and shipped them to Arizona for a mining area. One locomotive, whilst being loaded onto a ship to be taken away, fell into the water and remains there, at the mouth of the bay, to this day.

A battle almost occurred at this town in April of 1911, when Juan Emilio Guerrero led a small force of 30 Mexican and Cocopah Liberals, who had recently left Mosdby’s group at El Álamo, to occupy most of the town. However, the English Navy happened to be nearby to restock on fresh water, and they actually landed 30 marines and a machine gun and crew to oppose the Magónistas, who withdrew rather than to engage in such an unequal contest. 

Around the same time as Pryce’s liberation of Tijuana, Guerrero returned with his group to finish the job.

Set up: San Quintin sits just northeast of the inner bay, an inlet inside the Bahía San Quintin. Across the bay from the town, four mountainous volcano peaks rise from the lush greenery beside the Pacific Ocean. North and south of town, desert and scrub butts up against the shoreline. To the east of town, dry ridges rise into the Mesa San Simon.

Conditions: Clear - normal visibility 

Supply: 7 rounds of ammo for defenders, 5 rounds for rebels.


PLM Forces:

Juan Emilio Guerrero and 12 revolutionaries (Mexican and Cocopah)

Government forces:  

10 Rurales

8 Local Militia

Victory Conditions: The side which possesses the town at the end of 15 turns wins. 


The victory of Geurrero’s small Liberal band at San Quintín left Baja California’s capital, Ensenada, surrounded, with PLM forces occupying important strategic points both to the north and south. “This time, no English sailors halted them. In terms of possession of population centers, the twin victories at Tijuana and San Quintín brought the Liberals to their peak” (Trejo). Guerrero’s group remained in San Quintín for three weeks, but headed for Tijuana around May 28th. Guerrero’s group did not surrender when the foriegn volunteers did, however. Instead they continued raiding towns around Ensenada.

Emilio Guerrero was, at the time of his appearance before the court in September of 1911, thirty-eight years old. He was married, had worked as a miner, lived in Mexicali for many years, and was currently confined to the jail there. He grew up in Mulegé, Baja California, and was Indigenous. He told the court that he had, indeed, rode into San Quintín on April 19th, with 12 men riding under his command. His second in command was Pedro Cables, Teófilo Flores was the secretary, and other members of the group included Juan Ponce, Francisco Reogríguez, Zeferino Lieras, Heraclio Remero, three others,  a José who’s name the court clerk wrote too messily, and an Ursino who’s last name Guerrero forgot. The action of April 19th was a raid, in which the Liberals intended to secure funds and supplies for the campaign. The rebels remained in San Quintín for the night. Guerrero admitted to looting several homes and stores in San Quintín, including the store of Tomás León Ley y Compañía. Guerrero also said that after he had left the town with most of the group early on the morning of April 20th, Pedro Cables and Pancho Rodríguez set the Ley y Compañía house on fire, then joined up with the rest later. The court was curious why Guerrero’s band didn’t rob or destroy the property of Harry N. Cannon, whom Guerrero visited with Teófilo Flores, Pedro Cables, and Ursino, but rather they purchased coffee and flour from Cannon. The court asked Guerrero why no harm came to Cannon, to which the accused said, according to the summary, “because he agreed to deal with him and his people.” The Judge’s name was Alejandro Lamadrid, and the defense attorney was Gustavo Appel. (Ensenada. Declaración De Emilio Guerrero a Los Cargos De Asalto En San Quintín. 8 Sept. 1911).