The Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs Invasion.

The story of the failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs is one of
mismanagement, overconfidence, and lack of security. The blame for the
failure of the operation falls directly in the lap of the Central
Intelligence Agency and a young president and his advisors. The fall out
from the invasion caused a rise in tension between the two great
superpowers and ironically 34 years after the event, the person that the
invasion meant to topple, Fidel Castro, is still in power. To understand
the origins of the invasion and its ramifications for the future it is
first necessary to look at the invasion and its origins.

Part I: The Invasion and its Origins.

The Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961, started a few days before on
April 15th with the bombing of Cuba by what appeared to be defecting Cuban
air force pilots. At 6 a.m. in the morning of that Saturday, three Cuban
military bases were bombed by B-26 bombers. The airfields at Camp Libertad,
San Antonio de los Baos and Antonio Maceo airport at Santiago de Cuba were
fired upon. Seven people were killed at Libertad and forty-seven people
were killed at other sites on the island.
Two of the B-26s left Cuba and flew to Miami, apparently to defect to
the United States. The Cuban Revolutionary Council, the government in exile,
in New York City released a statement saying that the bombings in Cuba were
". . . carried out by \'Cubans inside Cuba\' who were \'in contact with\' the
top command of the Revolutionary Council . . . ." The New York Times
reporter covering the story alluded to something being wrong with the whole
situation when he wondered how the council knew the pilots were coming if
the pilots had only decided to leave Cuba on Thursday after " . . . a
suspected betrayal by a fellow pilot had precipitated a plot to strike . . .
." Whatever the case, the planes came down in Miami later that morning, one
landed at Key West Naval Air Station at 7:00 a.m. and the other at Miami
International Airport at 8:20 a.m. Both planes were badly damaged and their
tanks were nearly empty. On the front page of The New York Times the next
day, a picture of one of the B-26s was shown along with a picture of one of
the pilots cloaked in a baseball hat and hiding behind dark sunglasses, his
name was withheld. A sense of conspiracy was even at this early stage
beginning to envelope the events of that week.
In the early hours of April 17th the assault on the Bay of Pigs began.
In the true cloak and dagger spirit of a movie, the assault began at 2 a.m.
with a team of frogmen going ashore with orders to set up landing lights to
indicate to the main assault force the precise location of their objectives,
as well as to clear the area of anything that may impede the main landing
teams when they arrived. At 2:30 a.m. and at 3:00 a.m. two battalions came
ashore at Playa Gir›n and one battalion at Playa Larga beaches. The troops
at Playa Gir›n had orders to move west, northwest, up the coast and meet
with the troops at Playa Larga in the middle of the bay. A small group of
men were then to be sent north to the town of Jaguey Grande to secure it as
When looking at a modern map of Cuba it is obvious that the troops
would have problems in the area that was chosen for them to land at. The
area around the Bay of Pigs is a swampy marsh land area which would be hard
on the troops. The Cuban forces were quick to react and Castro ordered his
T-33 trainer jets, two Sea Furies, and two B-26s into the air to stop the
invading forces. Off the coast was the command and control ship and another
vessel carrying supplies for the invading forces. The Cuban air force made
quick work of the supply ships, sinking the command vessel the Marsopa and
the supply ship the Houston, blasting them to pieces with five-inch rockets.
In the end the 5th battalion was lost, which was on the Houston, as well as
the supplies for the landing teams and eight other smaller vessels. With
some of the invading forces\' ships destroyed, and no command and control
ship, the logistics of the operation soon broke