Wargames set in the Americas from the 11th to 19th centuries

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Matamoros Battalion Completed

Here is the first of my completed Mexican units for the Alamo: The Matamoros Battalion.  They were a permanante regiment of regulars and were part of the third column which assaulted the eastern wall.  Their cazadores and granaderos went into composite units of the same type; the cazadores as part of the much smaller fourth column and the granaderos as part of the reserve.  

Cazadores with their Baker rifles

I have represented them here at a rough ratio of 1:10 but may well, in the future increase their number.  Some illustrations have them wearing the earlier 1832 double breasted coat but no one makes those figures so I am happy with the way they are in their 1833 regulation uniforms.  I'm sure there were a mixture in use at the time.

The commander of the unit at the Alamo was the 38 year old Colonel José Maria Romero, who also led the whole third column attack.  He was captured at San Jacinto but later released.  I have since bought a pack of senior officers from Boot Hill so might paint one of these up to represent Col Romero and demote the existing officer to an activo battalion.

The unit was originally formed in 1823 and by the time of the Alamo was one of the Mexican army's top battalions.  Despite taking heavy casualties at the Alamo ,Santa Anna had them as part of the army which pursued Sam Houston's force.  At the Battle of San Jacinto they were virtually annihilated, their standard was captured and is now in the Texas State Archives.  

To make my standard I took the flag you can buy from Boot Hill Miniatures but added my own scan of the Mexican Eagle from a picture of the original flag, for added authenticity.

Mariano Matamoros

The battalion was, like all of the 10 permanente battalions, named after a Mexican hero; in this case Fray Mariano Matamoros, a priest who became a military commander during the fight for Mexican independence but who was captured and executed by the Spanish.  The name does not, as might be thought, indicate that the troops came from the region around the town of Matamoros; the town part of the Texian forces launched a military expedition against before the Alamo siege, thereby dividing their forces.  The town of Matamoros was named for Fray Mariano as well, the name being changed from its original San Juan de los Esteros Hermosos in 1826.  Only the activo militia battalions came from particular regions reflected in their names.