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Mexican Expedition - Use of 'Dum-Dum' Bullets by US Troops?


Moonraker

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I have come across this in a couple of modern accounts of the fight at Carrizal where this accusation is made,. An example reads
'And, with respect to those shots, the Mexican surgeon who treated the 29 wounded Mexican soldiers noted that the majority of the injuries were caused by expanding bullets: prohibited by international treaty for military use by any civilized nation at that time.'

 

Has any one seen or even heard of the surgeon's report referred to?
I have not found any mention in any primary sources and so It seems unlikely to me, and smacks of a myth in the making. Might it even be the a case of the formidable wounds inflicted by the .45 cal automatic pistols being unfamiliar to the doctors?
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As you haven't gotten a response, I'll give it a stab. To me, the term "dum dum" bullets make be think of bullets that tumble inflicting a bigger would as they travel through flesh as they spin end over end. As far as expanding bullets are concerned, this is usually affected by use of a hollow point in the bullet head. Of course, the common bullet material in the 19th century was lead. Lead expands significantly when it impacts a hard surface. This would have been what a doctor should have expected at the time- an expanded size bullet in the wound.

 

The US soldiers on the Mexican border would have used copper jacketed bullets in the 1903 Springfield. Pistols could have either been the .45 auto caliber M1911 or the .38 caliber revolver. All would have been standard calibers of ammunition and should not have needed to have been secured from sources outside of the US supply system. I would tend to chalk these accounts up to propaganda speech from the day rather than pure fact. Of course, this is all my opinion and shouldn't be given any more weight than that.

 

Allan

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Allan

 

Many thanks for your response and apologies for the tardy response - had forgotten to click 'Follow'!

 

Your opinion chimes with mine. But I have learnt never to say never because as soon as I do along comes proof that whatever I said never happened - did. I don't know why they need to make this little 'extra' up anyway - seems to me they had done well enough without gilding the lily.

 

Capt Gonzales and Gen Rivas, who were there and wrote accounts, do not mention this, and I feel sure they would if it were true.

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I don't have it any more, but I once owned a .30-40 Krag round that had an X filed in the bullet nose. It came with a Moro Rebellion (Philippines) vet's medals. Technically, such bullets were banned by the early Geneva Convention, but only when used against European troops. Obviously, neither the Moros nor the Mexicans would have been classified as either European or as soldiers per se.

 

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  • 1 month later...
DesertRatTom

...another $0.02 here. Gil's relating of the 30-40 round with an 'X' carved into it shows up in writings every so often, Did US troops use such things? I suspect the answer is YES. This would apply to pistol rounds more than rifle though. Lessons learned from the Brits and most recently in the Philippines to get any edge would have been passed on and used by a soldier determined to get home alive.

 

The question becomes How or if the command monitored returned issued ammo for possible enhancements? The only way to answer that is to find company records of Court Martialed individual and the charges. Its kind of like the current Black Jack Pershing disposition of insurgents and swine carcasses, entrails, &c. all being interred together. Like most soldier talk, scuttlebutt & urban legend, there is some truth embedded, you just have to sift through it all to figure out where it is.

 

Tom

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  • 4 weeks later...

Unbelievably I still didn't click on the Follow tab! So again belated thanks for the two responses.

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suwanneetrader

Years ago 60's - 70's alot of gun shows and flea mkts you could find guys with large containers of misc loose cartridges, both military and civilian back stamps. Some would have a "X" cut into the nose of the lead bullet. I was told many times that hunters and soldiers did it so the bullet would expand some. Richard

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