Despite its importance, the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848, has received relatively little attention from wargame designers. There are some battle simulations but only Rush for Glory: War with Mexico, 1846-1847, presented in Strategy & Tactics 127, covered the entire war. The game itself works reasonably well to simulate the conflict, but its mechanics also make it an exercise in tedium. It is best played using Paul Haase's variant posted on Web-Grognards. This revision makes the game easier to play and corrects some of the more obvious historical errors in the original version.
The Mexican-American War had its origins in the Texas Revolution of 1835-1836. The Mexican province of Texas was mostly uninhabited when Mexico became independent in 1821. Moses Austin, encouraged by the Mexican government, began a movement to colonize the area with American farmers. These settlers soon chafed under Mexican authority, while the latter worried about maintaining control of the area. Complicating matters was the Liberal-Conservative split in the country. Both groups favored strengthening government control over the area, but Texans tended to side with the Liberal Party. When the former President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna returned to power as a Conservative in 1834, it was seen as the last straw.
In July 1835, Stephen Austin, Moses's son, called for rebellion and most Texans, Americans and Mexicans alike, joined in. Open warfare broke out in September, with the seizure of San Antonio in December giving the rebels control over most of the province. Santa Anna built up his strength and invaded Texas in January 1836 with over 6000 men. Texas had key defensive positions at the Alamo in San Antonio and Goliad. The Mexicans took the Alamo in an epic siege, and then forced the Goliad forces to surrender, subsequently massacring both groups of rebels.
Santa Anna continued to push eastwards after these victories, causing the settlers to run (The Runaway Scrape) and Sam Houston to rebuild the Texas army frantically before all was lost. He remembered the Alamo at San Jacinto in April, destroying the Mexican army, capturing Santa Anna, and forcing him to recognize the new country.
San Jacinto was really not much more than a truce. Mexico refused to accept the new situation and schemed to get the province back, with only internal strife keeping her from consummating these plans. The Cherokees and other tribes launched raids in response to Texan mistreatment, which then brought the forcible Cherokee removal in 1839. Meanwhile, Texas supported secession movements in northern Mexico and the Yucatan, and plotted to annex New Mexoico. August 1840 brought a large Comanche raid on Victoria and Linnville, apparently with Mexican help. In March 1842, about 700 Mexican troops invaded Texas and reached a San Antonio-Victoria line before evacuating without clashing with the Texas forces. In September, a larger invasion also reached San Antonio, and withdrew after some fighting in the area.
These incursions led to the retaliatory Somervell and Mier Expeditions later in the year. Alexander Somervell gathered 700 men and seized Laredo and Guerrero in December. After Somervell ended the expedition, some 300 men continued into Mexico, seizing Mier but then being defeated handily by vastly larger forces within a week.
Rush for Glory Variant
These conflicts can be merged into Rush for Glory as prequels to the game itself. After all, some different outcomes would have affected the Mexican-American War in various ways.
The first thing that needs to be done is adapting the RFG map for the Texas campaigns. The map itself bears only a passing resemblance to geographic reality so modifying it should be done for the main game also. See Haase's variant for needed changes and corrections. For Texas, use either an overlay or some extra counters to mark these changes:
Matamoros, San Antonio, Goliad -- no change
Fort Texas becomes Refugio. FP removal 3. Morale Point 1
Port Isabel becomes Matagorda/Velasco. 3-1
Refugio becomes New Washington/Galveston. 8-5
Austin becomes Gonzales. 5-5
Natchitoches becomes San Felipe/Washington-on-The-Brazos. 10-10
Add Laredo between Goliad and Mier. 3-1
Route Friction Point Changes:
Goliad to New Washington/Galveston: 8
Goliad to Refugio: 2
Refugio to Matagoros: 4
Refugio to Matamoros: 4
Refugio to New Washington/Galveston: 8
Gonzales to San Felipe/Washington-On-The-Brazos: 6
New Routes Added:
Gonzales to New Washington/Galveston: 8 FPs
San Felipe/Washington-On-The-Brazos to New Washington/Galveston: 5
Goliad to Laredo: 6
San Antonio to Laredo 6
Laredo to Mier: 3
Texas Revolution, 1835-1836
Length: 8 turns
Turn 1: September 1835: San Antonio 3 Reg, 1 Cav. Matamoros: 3 Reg, Cos 0-0, Ugartechea 2-0
Turn 2: October 1835: add 3 Reg in San Antonio
Turn 4: December 1835: add Santa Anna 2-0, 1 FArty, 8 Cons, 18 Reg, 6 Cav in San Luis Potosi
Turn 1: September 1835: 1 Cav, 1 Reg, Austin 2-0 in Gonzales.
Turn 2: October 1835: add 3 Reg, Bowie 1-0 in Goliad.
Turn 3: November 1835: add 1 Reg, Fannin 0-0 in Gonzales.
Turn 4: December 1835: add 1 FArty if San Antonio taken. 2 Reg in Refugio.
Turn 6: March 1836: add 1 Cav, 4 Reg, Houston 3-2 in San Felipe/Washington-On-The-Brazos.
Turn 7: April 1836: add 2 Cav, 5 Reg in San Felipe/Washington-On-The-Brazos
Mexico must garrison all cities taken with one strength point. To win the game, she must control all 9 cities listed in the map change section. Texas wins if she holds 4 cities at the end of the game. To use this minigame as a prequel to RFG, start the game with each side holding what they took in the Texas game.
Cordova Rebellion, 1838
2 Turns: August-September. Texas: 2 Cav, 3 Reg in Gonzales. Must eliminate 3 Cordovan Cav in San Felipe within 2 turns. Otherwise Cordova wins.
Cherokee War, 1839
3 Turns: May-July. Texas: 2 Cav, 3 Reg in Gonzales. Must eliminate or drive out 3 Cherokee Cav in San Felipe into Fort Jessup within 3 turns. Otherwise Cherokees win.
Comanche Raid, 1840
2 Turns: July-August. 5 Comanche Cav begin in San Antonio. 3 Texas Cav start in Matagorda. Whoever holds Refugio at the end of the game wins.
Vasquez Raid, 1842
2 Turns: March-April 1842. Vasquez 1-0, 5 Reg. 2 Cav begin in Mier. They must occupy San Antonio and either Refugio or Goliad to win. Texas: 3 Reg. Somervell 2-0 in Gonzales. Must deny Mexican victory to win.
Woll Raid, 1842
2 Turns: September-October 1842. Woll 1-0, 10 Reg. 5 Cav begin in Mier. They must occupy San Antonio and either Refugio or Goliad to win. Texas: 3 Reg. Caldwell 2-0 in Refugio. Must deny Mexican victory to win.
Somervell/Mier Expedition, 1842
2 Turns: November-December 1842. Somervell 2-0, Fisher 1-0, 3 Cav, 4 Reg in San Antonio. Mexican: 30 Cons, Ampudia 2-0. 3 deployed in Mier, Mt. Monclova, Camargo, Matamoros, and Laredo each at the start. 15 and Ampudia arrive on Turn 2. Remove Somervell at the start of Turn 2. Texas wins if it holds Laredo and any other Mexican city at the end of the game.
Note: Unit strengths in the Texas Revolution scenario represent about 150 men. They represent about 100 in the other scenarios. This is a difference from the RFG strengths. Ignore supply rules in all scenarios.
The Alamo! (SDC in Conflict 7. 1974).
The Alamo (SPI and Decision. 1981 and 1994).
The Alamo (Command 44. 1994).
Deguello: The War for Texas Independence, 1835 (2 Hour Wargames, n.d.). Miniatures system.
Remember the Alamo (TSR. 1982).
Rush for Glory: War with Mexico, 1846-1847 (Strategy & Tactics 127. 1989). Articles on RFG can be found in Wargamer, vol. 2, 15 (review and variant), 16 (replay), and 24 (variant), and on Web-Grognards.
Texas Revolution (Mings Enterprises. 1982). Reviews of this can be found in Fire & Movement 50 and 62, Wargamer, vol. 1, 18, VIP of Gaming 3, Paper Wars 1, Grenadier 16, and BERG's Review of Games 15. Advertisements can be found in various wargaming magazines, including Wargamer, vol. 1, 35.
Robert F. Burke. "A Test of Leadership: The Campaign in Texas, 1835-36." Command no. 27 (March-April 1994):48-62.
Robert F. Burke. "The Alamo: American Thermopylae." Command no. 30 (September-October 1994):50-74.
Paul Haase. Rush for Glory Variant.
Richard Hitchman. "Rush for Glory: The U.S. Mexican War, 1846-1848." Strategy & Tactics no. 127 (June-July 1989):14-26, 60.
A.A. Nofi. "The Alamo and the Texas War for Independence, September 30, 1835-April 21, 1836." Strategy & Tactics no. 86 (May/June 1981):41-50.
Albert A. Nofi. The Alamo and the Texas War for Independence, September 30, 1835 to April 21, 1836: Heroes, Myths, and History. Conshohocken, Penn.:Combined Books, 1992.
Texas State Historical Association. The Handbook of Texas Online. The Handbook of Texas Online
Peter L. de Rosa
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