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 well.
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 down
as the other supply ships were kept at bay by Casto\'s