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ir28.01.17   B-2 Report, Managua


28.01.17  •  B-2 Report  •  Managua  •  January 8-14, 1928  •  Lt. A. C. Larsen


17 January 1928

From: 0000  8 January 1928
To  : 2400 14 January 1928


          (a) There has been a feeling of unrest amongst the laborers throughout the neutral zone.

          (b) The outlying parts are normal with the exception of the bandit area. There is no resemblance of law and order in this area except in these places garrisoned by our forces.


          The coffee planters are very active in gathering this years' large crop. This work of gathering, drying, sorting, and shipping gives labor to a very large amount of men that would otherwise cause a serious labor situation at a time when our forces are busily engaged in active operations against the organized forces of bandits under Sandino.

          The strike of the laborers in Corinto has been temporarily stopped by an agreement managed by General Moncada whereby the strikers are now working under the old wage scales until the question of an increase is settled. Colonel C.D. Ham, Collector General of Customs has appointed a committee to investigate into the claims of the laborers and to submit recommendations as to increases of pay. If the strikers decide not to accept the recommendations of the committee and call another strike it will cause a serious question of supply for our forces.

          For a while it was thought that the railroad engineers were going to call a strike for an increase in wages but the Assistant General Manager of the railroad has stated that there is no danger of a strike at the present time.

          The government printers sent a committee to interview the President of Nicaragua concerning a readjustment of their wages. President Diaz promised that their wages would be regulated to the satisfaction of the printers.

          This unrest amongst the laboring classes is no doubt the result of the work of numerous agitators who have been spreading propaganda through the country. One of these is named Toribia Tegerine [Toribio Tijerino] who resides in New York City. The labor party of Leon has also been very active in spreading propaganda against the so called capitalists or Nicaragua.


          (a) The La Prensa, a newspaper of Managua, has in its pay the majority of the telegraph operators of Nicaragua. This newspaper will print anything that these operators send in. The greatest part of these articles are entirely false or so distorted that the real events can hardly be recognized.


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          (b) Of late the local newspapers have adopted a more friendly attitude towards our forces. It is only occasionally that there is an article printed that is anti-American or unfavorable to the policies of the occupying forces.


          (a) Routine work; nothing unusual to report.


          (a) At Bluefields on the 9th a murderer while attempting to escape was shot by a Marine. At La Cruz, Bluefields Department, one native was killed and one wounded when a native attempted to take a rifle away from a Marine.

          (b) About twenty civilians joined the mutineers at Somotillo during the outbreak there on the 8th. This mutiny is thought to have been organized and managed by General Peralta.


         (a) Sunday, the eight instant, an election for Alcalde was held in Materia, Province of Managua. A patrol of Marines covered this election for the purpose of observation. As in past instances, the Liberals requested that the Marines take active charge so that fairness would be shown. After the usual arguments over ballots, committee members, etc., the election commenced. Here, as in all other elections so far held, the Conservatives attempted to block the Liberals in obtaining a free election. A representative from Managua was sent to cause all the trouble possible and to retard the voting so that the Conservative candidate would win. Due to the presence of the Marines there was no trouble at the poll. The final count, after the poll was closed, was seventy-six (76) votes for the Liberal candidate and sixty-eight (68) for the Conservative. The Liberal candidate's name was misspelled on the ballot so the Conservative members of the election board entered a protest that there was no such man as Pilar Espinosa P., a resident of Materia, and that therefore the election of the liberal candidate should not be recognized.

         (b) General Moncada, enroute from Corinto to Managua, on Monday, January 9th, made a speech to the public of Leon in which he stressed the continual accusation against the liberals of Leon of aiding and abetting Sandino. He requested that the liberals would in no way commit themselves to this accusation, because it had been hurting their party a great deal. It is reliably reported that at the completion of Moncada's speech, "Viva Honduras" was shouted by some of those in the rear part of the crowd.

         (c) Mr. Cesar, the Nicaraguan Minister to the United States, had cabled to the President of Nicaragua that Mr. J. B. Sacasa had expressed a favorable opinion of the Bandit Sandino. He has stated that these American press articles had produced favorable reaction.

         The principle parts of Sacasa's declaration to the press is as follows:


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          (c)  Cont'd:

          "Since moment which I dissolved Constitutional Government Nicaragua established in Puerta Cabeza after having complied with duty imposted upon me in connection with my place as legitimate head of Government and after having given full account of armed intervention of powerful United States Government which has opposed to constitutional reorganization of my country have held all of from Nicaraguan politics stop see in Sandinos movements patriotic gesture although understand that any hope of triumph for him completely outweighed by disproportional conditions prevailing in warfare stop I'm greatly skeptical as to value of promises made by present United States Government stop I who am friend of America, educated in United States cannot but deplore imperialistic policy of United States in my country. Cesar."

          (d) Chamorro, the Conservative leader, at the present time, is using his influence to the utmost in an effort to bring about a radical change in the electoral laws of Nicaragua; so as to defeat the aim of the United States in giving to Nicaragua, for the first time, an election conducted in an honest manner. The Nicaraguan Senate have passed a bill in favor of the Marines supervising the coming presidential elections. This bill at present in house of deputies, where the friends of Chamorro are making all possible moves to block it. An effort is also being made to alter the laws governing the Guardia Nacional. Under the present laws the Guardia cannot be used as pawns to further the personal interest of any one individual or political faction; as the military forces of Nicaragua have in the past.


          General Moncada has guaranteed the conduct of General Parajon to the American Legation. He stated that he did not think that Parajon would join the bandits in the field but that he might bear watching. From his past actions and the fact that he is not considered as Vice-Presidential timber and that he is one the outs with Moncada he may try to assist Sandino with sending men and a supplies from Leon.

          Parajon is very bitter against our intervention as he believes that if United States had kept hands off he would now be high personage in the ruling of Nicaragua.

          As for Castro Wassmer, Moncada feels that he is a dangerous man because of his big following and his craving for power. Wassmer is considered a clever and intelligent leader of the Moze class much like Parajon. Moncada also mentioned Agustin Sanchez Salinas, a rancher, living on a small place between Posoltega and Chichigalpa as a person he thought was aiding Sandino in one way or another.


          See attached sheet.

                                      A. C. Larsen


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     Bandits: Sandino and his forces have withdrawn to the mountain stronghold EL CHIPOTE.

     Marines: Marine forces being concentrated as SAN ALBINO.
Marine garrision at the following towns in the bandit area:- JICARO, SOMOTO, SAN FERNANDO, PUEBLO-NUEVO, PATASTE, TELPANECA, and OCOTAL.


     Bandits: Small independent bands and foraging parties from SANDINO active in the towns and roads not patrolled by Marines.

     Marines: The Special Combat Expedition against EL CHIPOTE commanded by Captain Peard cleared QUILALI on the 10th arriving in SAN ALBINO on the 11th.

          Major Young with a column of two Officers and sixty enlisted Marines cleared OCOTAL on the 7th for SAN ALBINO, arriving there on the 11th.

          A column of two Officers and seventy enlisted Marines and twenty pack animals commanded by Lieutenant Kenyon cleared OCOTAL on the 8th, arriving in SAN ALBINO on the 12th.

          A column of two Officers and seventy-nine enlisted Marines cleared ESTELI on the 8th, Commanded by Captain Kingston, for SAN ALBINO, arriving at SAN FERNANDO on the 13th; on the 14th enroute from SAN FERNANDA to SAN ALBINO.


     Bandits: During recent contacts with our forces the bandits have used Machine guns, automatic rifles, dynamite bombs, rifles and pistols. Against the air forces they have used Anti-aircraft guns and rockets of an incendiary type.

     Marines: Medical supplies, food, clothing and munitions have been furnished our field units by truck trains, ox-carts, pack trains and by the large transport planes of our air forces.


     January 7th.

     Lieutenant Cronmiller reports from PUEBLO NUEVO that on the night of the seventh a Guardia patrol was fired on in the vicinity of MAL PASO. The Guardia succeeded in routing the bandits and captured one rifle. There wre no Guardia casualties. The bandit casualties are unknown.

     January 8th.

     The presence of a group of 150 bandits at CUJE under the leadership of Alejandro Ferrera, (Hondurian), one of Sandino's Jefes, were reported to the Commanding Officer Guardia Detachment


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at TELPANECA, on January 6th. Upon receipt of this information coming from reliable sources, a patrol of twenty Marines and ten Guardia cleared TELPANECA at 0380 January 8th for CUJE.

     The bandit camp was reached at 0830; not at daybreak as had been planned, thus, all possible chances of a surprise attack were eliminated.

     The bandit camp of about fifty was located on a small hill where they were using seven native houses as quarters and was very difficult of approach. There was a densely wooded ridge paralleling the trail between the patrol and bandits. Taking advantage of all possible cover the patrol was able to gain a point about one hundred yards from the houses before fire was opened. The action continued for about ten minutes when the bandits were routed; fleeing to the underbrush.

     It is not thought that Ferrera was leading this group as had been reported, but one of Sandino's Lieutenants who was on a foraging expedition, The patrol captured a large supply of food stuffs all of which had been collected within the last few days according to the natives of that vicinity.


Marines:  None.

Bandits:  Five killed.

Guardia:  None. Number of wounded unknown.

Captured: Three rifles.
          Two shotguns.
          52 rounds of Remmington ammunition.

     January 9th.

     At EL CHIPOTE the air patrol noted great activity near the crest of the mountain. The planes were fired on by large guns of unknown type and a machine gun mounted on a tripod, also a small amount of rifle fire. The planes did not return this fire.

     January 10th.

     Our air forces kept a continual reconnaissance over the route of Captain Peard's column. At 1245 the air patrol sighted a group of bandits, horses, and mules under some trees between LAS CRUCES and BUENA VISTA, about one mile ahead of the marching column. This group was in an excellent position to do considerable damage to the column. Bombs were dropped and the position was strafed with machine guns. The air patrol reported ten known dead in this action. They estimated that fifteen men and five mules were killed.

      At about 1400 Captain Peard's column was about a half mile east of LAS CRUCES and proceeding in good order. About 1500 yards ahead of the column an ambuscade was discovered. Men wearing straw hats, and some horses were seen in the brush by the air force. This point was attacked vigorously with bombs and machine guns, by the air patrol. Fire was also brought to bear on the position by the column with stroke mortars and machine guns.


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The bandits were soon dispersed by this combined attack of the air and ground units. The ground forces captured one bandit horse and re-captured two of the mules lost by Richal's column during their fight at SAPOTILLAL RIDGE. Four dead bandits were found and fresh blood was seen on the ground which indicated other wounded bandits or animals.

     At 1445 the air patrol sighted a group of bandits thought to be the same as dispersed at 1400. Bombs were dropped on them and they were strafed with machine gun fire. No known damage was done.

     January 11th.

     The planes while reconnoitering the vicinity of PLAN GRANDE observed at the fence a group of men running for cover in the underbrush. Bombs were dropped and a direct hit was made on the place where the bandits disappeared into the brush. Results unknown.

     January 12th.

     In reconnoitering the new outpost of SANDINO'S between SAN ALBINO and SAN GERONIMO, the planes observed a series of trenches fox hole type, so constructed as to cover the road from SAN ALBINO to CHIPOTE. The place showed evidence of being occupied by a large force of men. Nearly fifty horses were seen grazing in the immediate vicinity. As the planes came in sight a few men were seen disappearing into the heavy timber in a nearby ravine. The planes opened fire on them. The trenches, buildings, horses and woods were strafed with machine guns and bombed. Due to the heavily wooded terrain it was impossible to observe what effect the attack had on the outpost.

     January 14th.

     An all Guardia patrol commanded by Lieutenant McDonald cleared SAN ALBINO at 2300, January 13th, and proceeded down the river bed and cross country to the SAN GERONIMO mountain range. At 1000, on the 14th, the patrol came in contact with a bandit outpost; the attack was a complete surprise to the bandits, who were quickly routed. One of Sandino's Jefes, named Mendez, was killed; on his body important papers of recent date from CHIPOTE were found. Two others, who were wounded escaped. The patrol captured: one rifle, one revolver, 13 rounds of rifle ammunition, six rounds of pistol ammunition, one mule and one saddle.

      On January 14th, Observation Squadron seven - M sent a contact patrol of four planes against EL CHIPOTE, Sandino's mountain stronghold. At 1200, upon arrival two planes attacked the northern end of the mountain and the other two attacked the southern point. The attack lasted for thirty-two minutes. Heavy machine gun and rifle fire was encountered during the whole attack. When Major Rowell made the first dive two rockets of some description were fired at the plane.

     One bomb was dropped which made a direct hit on one of the houses. Upon the bursting of the bomb about fifty men ran from a house nearby. Immediately another bomb was dropped making a direct hit in the middle of the group. Fifty pound bombs were dropped in the vicinity of the warehouse with telling effect. About twelve phosphorous bombs were dropped on the warehouse


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but due to the speed of the planes and the terrain, satisfactory results could not be obtained. The majority of these bombs rolled down in a deep ravine. It is believed a number of men were in hiding there and results may have been more than observed.

     After dropping two bombs and firing about 200 rounds of fixed gun ammunition Major Howell was forced to proceed to OCOTAL due to motor trouble.

     A total of four Fifty pound bombs and eighteen seventeen pound bombs and about 2800 rounds of machine gun ammunition were expanded. The planes were hit six times.

     Approximately forty-five dead were seen in and around the shacks on the hill.

Source:  US National Archives, RG127/209/2 and RG127/43A/3.
Many thanks to Lebanon Valley College student researcher Katrina Wells for transcribing this document.