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 Ba¤os
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 [Map of
Cuba was here] the main landing teams [Link to Map to be
added when when they arrived. At time permits] 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. (See
figure 1). 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