Emiliano Zapata was not really interested in keeping Mexico City and even his fight against the Carrancistas was not enthusiastic. His idea of revolution was more regional than national. Villa decided to shorten his lines of supply and abandoned the capital and it was recaptured by the Carrancista army in January 1915, although Zapata’s forces recaptured it once again in March 1915.

The scenario was now set for the two engagements of April 1915 at Celaya. Francisco Villa’s army, replenished and 25,000 strong approached the capital once again from the South. On 6-7 and 13-15 April, 1915, two of the most important battles of the Revolution were fought. Álvaro Obregón defeat Francisco Villa in the first and second battles of Celaya. Using techniques that he gleaned from newspaper reports on what was ocurring in the battlefields of Europe, and arms supplied by the U.S., Obregón devastated Villa's forces, killing 5,000 and wounding 6,000 more, while losing only a few hundred men. The battle marked the beginning of the end for Villa and the emergence of Carranza as the ultimate victor in the war.

Advancing across the open fields outside of town with the morning sun in their eyes, the Villistas ran into a hail of machine gun and rifle fire from Obregón’s men who were safely entrenched. Again and again Villa’s army and his vaunted cavalry were mowed down by Obregón’s army in their trenches, protected by barbed wire.
Late in the afternoon of 15 April 1915, with a sizable portion of his army hanging dead on the wire, Villa finally ordered a retreat.

Over the next few days, Obregon began mopping up the battlefield and planning his next move. Despite Carranza's demands for immediate pursuit, he let Villa slowly withdraw to the north. With nearly nine thousand casualties and another five thousand in captivity, Villa was incapable of doing anything else. Thanks to the condition of his army during the final Constitutionalist attack, he also lost twenty-eight of the thirty-four field guns he’d started with. Whatever he might be able to do about replacing over thirteen thousand men, he would never be able to replace the artillery. The Division was now hopelessly outgunned.

Celaya was the largest land battle fought in North America since the American Civil War. It was also the bloodiest campaign of the Mexican Revolution. Just as it had in Europe, the integration of modern firepower with static defences had proven the failure of traditional frontal assaults and mass attacks. Never again would two huge armies come together in Mexico as they did in April, 1915.

Claiming less than two hundred casualties, Obregon had emerged as the undoubted victor. It was his job to carry the war onto Villa's home ground. On 3 and 4-5 June, 1915, Obregón defeat Francisco Villa at Silao and at León. These engagements continued to demonstrate the Centaur of the North's appalling ignorance of defensive warfare. Villa new only how to mass attack. He had no knowledge of defense. By the end of 1915 the vaunted Division was a shadow of its former glory.