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PC28.03.16   arthur

INVENTORY OF PC-DOCS, JANUARY—JUNE 1928

28.01.04 BROWN
28.01.04 BROWN
28.01.04 HUNT
28.01.05 KILCOURSE
28.01.08 SATTERFIELD
28.01.08 WADBROOK
28.01.21 SHAW
28.01.22 PEARD
28.01.31 KENYON
28.02.03 PEARD
28.02.04 MCDONALD
28.02.06 YOUNG
28.02.12 WATERMAN
28.02.18 GEYER
28.02.19 CLARK
28.02.19 GRAY
28.02.21 ORR
28.02.22 SHIEBLER
28.02.23 WELLS
28.02.24 SHIEBLER
28.02.24 ROCKEY
28.02.25 BROWN
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28.02.26 HOLMES
28.02.26 RIDDERHOF
28.02.27 GEYER
28.02.28 HUNTER
28.02.29 CLAUDE
28.02.29 CRONMILLER
28.03.01 O'DAY
28.03.05 MCNULTY
28.03.05 ROCKEY
28.03.11 AIKEN
28.03.15 CHAPPELL
28.03.16 ARTHUR
28.03.18 RIDDERHOF
28.03.22 ROCKEY
28.03.28 HUNTER
28.03.28 GEYER
28.04.05 ATKINSON
28.04.05 HART
28.04.05 ROBERTS
28.04.05 ROCKEY
28.04.08 HOLMES
28.04.09 PUTNAM
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28.04.15 HATFIELD
28.04.16 STOCKS
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28.04.23 GALT
28.04.23 WILLIS
28.04.23 MCQUEEN
28.04.26 PEFLEY
28.04.28 MCQUEEN
28.04.30 ARNETT
28.05.06 HART
28.05.07 MERRITT
28.05.08 AIKEN
28.05.08 CLARK
28.05.09 KILCOURSE
28.05.11 AIKEN
28.05.11 ESAU
28.05.12 KILCOURSE
28.05.12 PEFLEY
28.05.14 HOLMES
28.05.16 CLAUDE
28.05.16 CRAMER
28.05.17 RIDDERHOF
28.05.17 ADAMS
28.05.18 SCHIEBLER
28.05.20 O'DAY
28.05.21 JENKINS
28.05.21 KENYON
28.05.22 CRAMER
28.05.24 CLAUDE
28.05.24 CRAMER
28.05.25 PIPER
28.05.25 PIPER
28.05.25 UNKNOWN
28.05.30 HATFIELD
28.06.01 SCOTT
28.06.04 HOLMES
28.06.04 O'NEIL
28.06.04 SNEDEKER
28.06.06 YOUNG
28.06.15 BROWN
28.06.16 ANDERSON
28.06.19 BERRY
28.06.20 HUMPHREY
28.06.20 ROCKEY
28.06.24 CRAMER

28.03.16.   Arthur, Patrol Report, Ocotal

P C - D O C S :      P A T R O L   &   C O M B A T    R E P O R T S
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

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HEADQUARTERS
NORTHERN AREA, WESTERN NICARAGUA, U. S. MARINES,
OCOTAL, NICARAGUA.
16 March, 1928.

From: Captain John M. Arthur, Marine Corps.
To: Commander, Northern Area.
Subject: Patrol Report.
Reference: (a) Field Order No.3, Northern Area, of 2 March, 1928.
Enclosures: 1

     1.   Pursuant to reference (a), copy attached hereto, the undersigned organized a mounted detachment consisting of one officer and twenty-seven enlisted, Marine Corps, and one officer (Cadet Dowdy, Guardia Nacional) and six enlisted, Guardia Nacional, for the purpose of participating in the operation ordered therein. Accompanied by Colonel Robert H. Dunlap, Marine Corps, Commanding Northern Area, Western Nicaragua, my detachment cleared OCOTAL at 9:50 a.m., on 4 March, for SAN FERNANDO, arriving at the latter place at 3:30 p.m., same date, where we camped for the night.

     2.   At 8:30 a.m., on 5 March, the detachment cleared SAN FERNANDO for TELPANECA, marching via CIUDAD ANTIGUA. TELPANECA was reached at 3:30 p.m., where we remained for the night. The immediate vicinity of the trail was investigated, but there were no signs of bandit activity in this area.

     3.   The detachment remained at TELPANECA during the daylight hours of 6 March, and the men and animals were given an opportunity to rest after the arduous trip over difficult mountain trails on the day previous. Every effort was made to conceal the proposed night movement from natives living in TELPANECA and vicinity, and it is believed, with success. At 9:15 p.m., the detachment was joined by a detachment from TELPANECA, under Lieutenant Walraven, consisting of approximately thirty enlisted Marines and Guardia, all mounted. The combined detachments cleared Telpaneca at 9:20 p.m., same night, and marched on SAN JUAN DE TELPANECA, via PERICON. At 1:30 a.m., 7 March, PERICON was reached and Lieutenant Walraven with the TELPANECA detachment, was detached from the column and ordered to proceed to QUIBUTO for the purpose of reconnoitering that town at daylight, with orders to rejoin my detachment at PORTAL about 9:30 a.m. My detachment continued on to PORTAL arriving there at 4:30 a.m., where it found Captain Blake's column from CONDEGA camping for the night. Airplane reports dropped on the afternoon before stated that Captain Blake's column was camping for the night at a point about five miles southwest of SAN JUAN DE TELPANECA, but it was not believed that he would be on the road used by us. However, the men were informed of this fact, and thanks to the excellent march discipline of the detachment a serious accident was avoided, as the point of my column had [ p. 2 ] worked its way into the very edge of Captain Blake's camp and had sentries covered with automatic weapons before it was discovered that they were Marines. In connection with this night movement, I might say that the march discipline of the men of my column was excellent - not a word nor a sound was uttered by any of them, as they marched mile after mile over the precipitous and treacherous mountain trails to be found in that vicinity, and everything went according to plan. Movements of this kind can be made easily during moonlight nights, and should be resorted to at every opportunity, as, due to the nature of the country, it is the only method by which movements can be made without the enemy's knowledge. However, in view of the narrow and precipitous trails to be found in this region, might movements on dark nights are extremely hazardous, and should not be attempted except in cases of extreme emergency.

     4.   The detachment joined Captain Blake's column at PORTAL for the remainder of the night. At 8:00 a.m., Captain Blake sent one section of his column to cover one of the roads leading out from QUIBUTO, and cleared PORTAL with the remainder of his force for SAN JUAN DE TELPANECA. Lieutenant Walraven's column arrived at PORTAL at 9:30 a.m., having found QUIBUTO deserted. However, one old rifle was found in one of the houses there and confiscated. At 10:20 a.m., my detachment, together with Lieutenant Walraven's detachment, cleared PORTAL for SAN JUAN DE TELPANECA, arriving at the latter place at 2:30 p.m. The town was found deserted, and there was no evidence of its having been occupied by bandit forces for some days previous to our arrival. There are some twenty or twenty-five buildings in the town, most of which were occupied by our troops. At 5:45 p.m, the same date, Lieutenant Clark, with Lieutenant McDonald, Guardia Nacional, and a detachment of approximately fifty-five enlisted, Marines and Guardia, arrived from QUILALI, having marched via SANTA RITA and CERRA BLANCA [Cerro Blanco] without incident.
 
5. All columns remained at SAN JUAN DE TELPANECA on 8 March, and an investigation of that vicinity failed to disclose any evidence of bandit activities. According to natives, no bandits had been seen in that region for at least two weeks prior to our arrival. While in SAN JUAN the troops practically lived on native food stuffs. Beef, beans, corn, oranges and bananas are to be procured with little difficulty.

     6.   On 9 March, there being no evidence of bandit operations in that region, the several columns cleared SAN JUAN DE TELPANECA, under orders to investigate the areas en route to stations as follows: My detachment (with Colonel Dunlap) and Lieutenant McDonald, Guardia, with twenty-five enlisted, Marines and Guardia, to QUILALI via BUENA VISTA and LAS CRUCES; Lieutenant Walraven to TELPANECA via EL BALSAMO and SANTO DOMINGO; Lieutenant Clark via EL BALSAMO to SUSUCAYAN, thence detachments to APALI, JICARO, and SAN ALBINO; Captain Blake [ p. 3 ] to CONDEGA via PERICON, thence to operate in area: SAN ANDRES-DARAILI-PALACAGUINA-CONDEGA, to limit of rations. My detachment cleared at 8:00 a.m., and after investigating the region en route, arrived at QUILALI at 1:40 p.m, where it remained for the night.

     7.   At 8:15 a.m, 11 March, the detachment cleared QUILALI for SAN ALBINO, marching via LAS CRUCES. There was no evidence of the presence of bandits in this region, and at 3:15 p.m., the detachment arrived at SAN ALBINO, where it was billeted for the night.

     8.   At 1:15 p.m., 12 March, the detachment cleared SAN ALBINO for JICARO, taking the short trail, and arrived at the latter place at 2:45 p.m., remaining overnight.

     9.   At 7:45 a.m., 13 March, the detachment left JICARO, and arrived at APALI at 11:15 a.m. At 1:45 p.m., it cleared APALI for ORSI RANCH, arriving there at 3:15 p.m., and clearing at 3:40 p.m., for SAN FERNANDO. SAN FERNANDO was reached at 4:25 p.m., and the detachment remained there overnight.

     10.   At 5:30 a.m., 14 March, the detachment cleared SAN FERNANDO, arriving at OCOTAL at 9:40 a.m.

     11.   Judging by my personal reconnaissance, and reports from natives and other columns operating in the area in question, it is believed that the area to the North of the COCO RIVER, East of PUEBLO NUEVO and West of QUILALI, was free of bandits during the time that our columns were operating in accordance with reference (a).

/s/ J. M. ARTHUR

127/204/3

Summary & Notes:

   Remarkably detailed description of four separate Marine-Guardia patrols and their coordination in the zone from Ocotal and Telpaneca to El Jícaro and Quilalí over a 10-day period.  Field Order No. 3 has not been found, but was basically to find and eliminate bandit forces in a specific zone.  In this case the zone was huge.  Colonel Dunlap's accompanying this patrol makes the whole operation high-profile and a big deal.
   Report is impeccably composed and typed; all place names are by standardized spelling; and locations and times are exacting.  Captain J. M. Arthur was very literate and very serious about his reports.  Looks like he was instructed to be precise re times & places.  Counterinsurgency campaign is getting serious.
   First 3 speak to information flows and asymmetrical intelligence:  implicit here is that the EDSN "grapevine" was much more effective than the Marine-GN's intelligence apparatus; the effort here is to sneak past the EDSN intelligence net (under their radar screen).  Arthur thinks they succeeded.  This seems very unlikely.  It's hard to be sneaky with a column of 36 marching Marines and animals.
   3 - on night marches (moonlight vs. dark), extreme difficulties of marches ("arduous trip over difficult mountain trails . . . mile after mile over the precipitous and treacherous mountain trails").
   3 - close to a "friendly fire" incident.
   No evidence of EDSN, despite persistent searching — were they laying low? In the wake of El Bramadero? (only 3 weeks earlier).  Likely that EDSN bands learned that the Marines were coming and temporarily demobilized, avoiding combat with such big and well armed combat patrols out looking for a fight.
   4 big patrols:  Capt. Arthur (Ocotal, 36 Marines on foot), Lt. Walraven (Telpaneca, 31 mounted), Capt. Blake (Condega, around 40), Lt. McDonald (Quilalí, 56 men).  TOTAL:  160 or so men, and perhaps as many animals.
   All 4 columns converge on the deserted town of San Juan de Telpaneca (25 houses) from the afternoon & evening of March 7 to the morning of March 9.  How did they treat the empty houses they found?
   Marines apparently helped themselves to whatever foodstuffs they found, which were plentiful (no mention of buying anything, but food plentiful in a deserted town - San Juan de Telpaneca, March 7-9).  Local markets in foodstuffs in this area evidently thriving.
   Quibuto also deserted.  Why?  Probably fear of these patrols.

   Silences in the report:  Not a single Nicaraguan mentioned by name.  Nothing about cultivating alliances with local inhabitants.  This looks & feels very much like the heavy footprint of a purely military operation, largely detached from the social environment through which it moved.  Columns marched out for 10 days, made a lot of noise, saw a tiny fraction of the territory, caused a lot of trouble for locals, and returned to their barracks.

P C - D O C S :      P A T R O L   &   C O M B A T    R E P O R T S
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

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