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Second Battle of Topolobampo

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Title: Second Battle of Topolobampo  
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Subject: First Battle of Topolobampo, Fourth Battle of Topolobampo, Third Battle of Topolobampo, Action of 9 April 1914, United States occupation of Veracruz
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Second Battle of Topolobampo

The Second Battle of Topolobampo was a bloodless naval engagement during the Mexican Revolution. In March 1914, a rebel Constitutionalist gunboat attempted to break the blockade of Topolobampo, Sinaloa in Mexico. The attack forced federal gunboats to a further distance but failed to lift the blockade.

Battle

On March 13, 1914, at 8:50 am, the rebel gunboat Tampico, under Lieutenant Hilario Malpico, stood out for an attack on the federal gunboats, Guerrero and Morelos, commanded by Captain Navio Torres. Tampico was spotted sailing out past the bar and as fast as possible the two federal warships were underway in Tampico‍ '​s direction. The Guerrero fired the first shots at 9:00 am with her gun battery of six 4 inch guns. Just like during the First Battle of Topolobampo, as soon as the Tampico cleared Shell Point, she fired her broadside of two 4 inch guns and one 6-pounder on the Morelos. Her first shot landed about twenty yards too short at a range of 9,000 to 10,000 yards; none of the others hit Morelos.

The Guerrero and Morelos followed Tampico until stopping so Morelos could return Tampico‍ '​s broadside with some of her own fire. Morelos fires and then turned about to retreat southwestward; none of her shots hit either. During the retreat, Tampico continued to fire on Morelos which put the USS New Orleans, who was observing the battle, in direct line of Tampico‍ '​s fire. Realizing that he may hit a neutral vessel, Lieutenant Malpica shifted Tampico‍ '​s fire to the Guerrero. Captain Torres in the Guerrero, receiving fire again, chose to do the same as Morelos by turning around and fleeing, apparently in fear of Tampico‍ '​s guns. The New Orleans, shifted berth as well, to a safer position in the battle area.

Tampico steamed back to the safe side of the bar and the two federal gunboats anchored farther south than their prior anchorage. All the firing ceased by 9:12 am; the Guerrero fired a total of thirteen shells, the Morelos nine, and the Tampico fired six rounds. The range varied between 9,000-10,000 yards and no hits were made. This time the officers of USS New Orleans noted in their log that the gunnery of the Tampico was considerably better than that of the Guerrero or Morelos.

Aftermath

Ultimately Lieutenant Malpica in the Tampico failed to lift the federal blockade, but in the gunnery duel she was able to force the Guerrero and Morelos to break off their attack, despite not actually hitting the federal ships with her guns. Tampico won a tactical victory by forcing the federal gunboats away though the federal gunboats continued a naval blockade of Topolobambo. The Morelos left for Altata on March 30, a day before the Third Battle of Topolobampo and the sinking of Tampico. Guerrero continued the blockade.

See also

References

  • http://www.semar.gob.mx/informes/politicas_armada/parte_dos/capitulo_3.htm
  • Stefoff, Rebecca. Independence and Revolution in Mexico. (New York, Facts On File Inc, 1993).

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