Huerta's Federal Army
Huerta's Federal Army, also known as the Federales in popular culture, was the force headed by Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta
José Victoriano Huerta Márquez was a Mexican military officer and president of Mexico. Huerta's supporters were known as Huertistas during the Mexican Revolution...

 during his 1913–1914 reign as president of Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...


Huerta took power after president Francisco Madero was assassinated, along with his vice-president. The identity of those responsible for the assassination was never established. Huerta inherited the weaknesses of both the Porfirista
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

 and Madero Federal armies.

In February 1912, the Federal army consisted of 32,594 regulars and 15,550 irregulars. This was far below the official number of 80,000 as stated by the army executive. By September of the same year the official strength of the army was 85,000 men. In addition there were 16,000 Rurales
Rurales was the name commonly used to designate the Mexican Guardia Rural : a force of mounted police or gendarmerie that existed between 1861 and 1914...

, 4,000 Urban Police and 16,200 Militia, rural guards and other pro-government men under arms. In April 1914 Huerta claimed his army had reached the size of 250,000 men, with 31 regiments of Rurales and 31,000 Militia. A more realistic assessment of his men by that July was 71,000, while U.S. observers said it was closer to 40,000.

Specific numbers aside, the rapid expansion of the army had led to a deterioration in the quality of the average recruit, or more accurately, conscript. Huerta made an attempt to increase the size of the army by ordering a mass levy, or forced conscription from the streets by his press-gangs, who would fall upon men as they left church or pull them from cinemas. Very few of the men under his command were volunteers and many deserted the army. Huerta tried improving morale by increasing pay in May 1913 by 50%. At the same time 382 military cadets were given commissions and attempts were made to increase the number in training.

Federal army generals were often corrupt and guilty of undermining morale with poor leadership. Some were so corrupt their dealings extended as far as selling ammunition, food and uniforms to the enemy. Also guilty of this corruption were Huerta's two sons, Victoriano Jr. and Jorge, both of whom had been placed in important positions overseeing the procurement of arms, supplies, uniforms and ammunition.

Despite these problems Huerta worked at creating an army capable of keeping him in power. He tried to expand the army by creating new units to distance them from the defeatism of the former Porfirista army. To bolster the resolve of the population he militarized society in the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n style, including military-style uniforms for all government employees and schoolboys and military drills on Sundays. Huerta and his general also sent 31 cadets to Europe to study military aviation in order to increase Mexico's air power.

Huerta's greatest success was attracting the support of many former rebels, such as Benjamin Argumedo, "Cheche" Campos and, most notably, Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco
Pascual Orozco Vazquez was a Mexican revolutionary leader who, after the triumph of the Mexican Revolution, rose up against Francisco I...

. Orozco offered Huerta the services of his 3,000–4,000 seasoned men, who proved essential in the fight against the Constitutionalist armies. When not helping the defence of Federal garrisons and towns, Orozco's men acted as very effective guerrillas.

The Federal Army was disbanded on August 13, 1914. At the time the full strength of the Federal army was 10 Generals of Division, 61 Generals of Brigade, 1,006 Jefes, 2,446 Officers, 24,800 other ranks and 7,058 horses. In addition there were 21 regiments of Rurales with 500 men in each, a total of 10,500 men.

The Federal army was replaced by the Constitutional Army
Constitutional Army
The Constitutional Army was the army that fought against Huerta's Federal Army, and later, against the Villistas and Zapatistas during the Mexican Revolution. It was formed in March 1913 by Venustiano Carranza, so-called "First-Chief" of the army, as a response to the murder of President Francisco I...

 of Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted...

, although they too were known as Federales
Federales is a short term for the Mexican Federal Police or any of its predecessors, including the Federal Investigations Agency or the Federal Preventive Police. The term gained widespread usage by English-speakers due to popularization in such films as The Wild Bunch, The Treasure of the Sierra...

after Huertas's defeat.
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