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Thread: The Bay Of Pigs Invasion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    The Bay Of Pigs Invasion

    The Bay of Pigs Invasion
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    The Bay of Pigs Invasion (also known in Cuba as La Playa Girón after a beach in the Bay of Pigs where the landing took place) was a United States planned and funded landing by armed Cuban exiles on southern Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban socialist government of Fidel Castro in 1961. Castro's government had previously deposed the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Year's Day, 1959. The resulting fiasco of the invasion attempt has been studied as an ideal case of 'groupthink' and poor decision making.

    The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began recruiting and training Cuban exiles during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, months before diplomatic relations were severed with Cuba in January 1961. In the 1950s the United States had had great success with covert operations, such as the plan that toppled the left-leaning government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954.

    Eisenhower's successor, John F. Kennedy, approved the actual invasion and modified the plan. The invasion plan passed onto the Kennedy White House by the outgoing Eisenhower administration called for landing the exile brigade (Brigade 2506) in the vicinity of the old colonial city of Trinidad, in the central province of Sancti Spiritus approximately 400 km southeast of Havana at the foothills of the Escambray mountains . The Trinidad site provided a number of options that the exile brigade could exploit to their advantage during the invasion. The population of Trinidad was generally opposed to Castro and the rugged mountains outside the city provided an area of operations where the invasion force could retreat to and establish a guerilla campaign were the landing to falter. Throughout 1960, the growing ranks of Brigade 2506 trained at locations throughout south Florida and Guatemala for an operation involving a beach landing with the possibilty of a mountain campaign. However, under Kennedy's orders, the mission was revised so as to land Brigade 2506 at two points in Matanzas province, 202 km southeast of Havana on the eastern edge of the Zapata peninsula - Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). The landings would take place on Girón and Larga beaches. The US government knew a high casualty rate was possible.

    On the morning of April 15, 1961 three flights of Douglas B-26B Invader light bomber aircraft displaying Cuban Fuerza Aerea Revolucionaria (FAR) markings and using the radio call-signs "Puma", "Linda", and "Gorilla", bombed and strafed the Cuban airfields of San Antonio de Los Baños, Antonio Maceo International Airport, and the airfield at Ciudad Libertad. Operation Puma, the code name given the offensive counter air attacks against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba called for 48 hours of air strikes across the island to effectively eliminate the Cuban air force and ensure Brigade 2506 complete air superiority over the island prior to the actual landing at the Bay of Pigs.

    Of the Brigade 2506 aircraft sortied on the morning of April the 15th, one aircraft in particular was tasked with establishing the CIA cover story for the invasion. The slightly modified two-seat B-26B used for this mission was piloted by Captain Mario Zuniga. Prior to departure, the engine cowling from one of the aircraft's two engines was removed by maintenance personnel, fired upon, then re-installed to give the appearance that the aircraft had taken ground fire at some point during its flight. Captain Zuniga departed from the exile base in Nicaragua on a solo, low-level mission that would take him over the western-most province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba then northeast toward Key West, Florida. Once across the island, Captain Zuniga climbed steeply away from the waves of the Florida Straits to an altitude where he would be detected by U.S. radar installations to the north of Cuba. At altitude and a safe distance north of the island, Captain Zuniga feathered the engine with the pre-installed bullet holes in the engine cowling then radioed a mayday call and requested immediate permission to land at Boca Chica Naval Air Station a few km northeast of Key West, Florida. Once on the ground, Captain Zuniga declared before base personnel and the press that he was a Cuban Air Force officer requesting asylum and reported that an uprising had begun in Cuba and that defecting pilots were bombing Cuban military installations.

    By the time of Captain Zuniga's announcement to the world, mid-morning on the 15th, all but one of the Brigade's Douglas bombers were back over the Caribbean on the three and a half hour return leg to their base in Nicaragua to re-arm and refuel. Upon landing, however, the flight crews were met with a cable from Washington ordering the indefinite stand-down of all further combat operations over Cuba.

    On April 17, about 1,500 exiles armed with US weapons landed on the southern coast of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. They hoped to find support from the local population, intending to cross the island to Havana, but it quickly became evident in the first hours of fighting that the exiles were not going to receive such support and were likely to lose. Kennedy decided against giving the faltering invasion U.S. air support (though four U.S. pilots were allegedly killed or captured in Cuba during the invasion) as it was obvious that nothing short of U.S. ground troops would save the operation; he had also wanted the operation to succeed without overt U.S. support. By the time fighting ended on April 19, ninety exiles were dead and the rest were captured.

    The 1,189 captured exiles were tried and sentenced to 30 years in prison for treason. After 20 months of negotiation with the United States, Cuba released the exiles in exchange for $53 million in food and medicine.

    The failed Bay of Pigs invasion severely embarrassed the Kennedy administration, and made Castro wary of future US incursions into Cuba. The fiasco led to the firing, a few months later, of Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Allen Dulles, Deputy Director of Operations Richard Bissell and Air Force General Charles Cabell. All three were responsible for the planning of the operation at the CIA. Nevertheless a CIA operation The Cuban Project was soon initiated to "help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime" by October 1962. The failed invasion thus led to the Cuban Missile Crisis a year and a half later.

    The CIA wrote a detailed internal report which lays blame for the failure squarely on internal incompetence. A number of grave errors by the CIA and other American analysts contributed to the debacle:

    The administration believed that the troops could retreat to the mountains to lead a guerrilla war if they lost in open battle. The mountains were on the other side of the island, and the troops were deployed in swamp land, where they were easily surrounded.

    They believed that the American involvement in the incident could be denied.

    They believed that Cubans would be grateful to be liberated from Castro and would quickly join the battle, however Cubans greatly supported Castro and the Revolution. The CIA's near certainty that the Cuban people would rise up and join them was almost certainly based on the agency's extremely weak presence on the ground in Cuba. Because of this, almost all their information came from exiles and defectors, who turned out to be unreliable sources of information.

    They believed that the spirits of the invasion army were high, so invasion had to take place quickly. In fact, the Cuban refugee army was not very motivated.

    Many military leaders almost certainly expected the invasion to fail but thought that this failure would force Kennedy to send in marines to save the CIA-trained exiles. Kennedy, however, did not want a full scale war and abandoned the exiles.

    A Washington Post article, "Soviets Knew Date of Cuba Attack" (April 29, 2000), indicated that the CIA knew that the Soviet Union knew the invasion would take place before it happened and did not inform Kennedy. Radio Moscow actually broadcast an English-language newscast April 13, 1961 predicting the invasion "in a plot hatched by the CIA" using paid "criminals" within a week. The invasion took place four days later.

    Critics of U.S. policy at the time allege that Castro was able to capitalize on the blunder and further consolidate his power with popular sympathy from the Cuban people. As the years went on, Cuba effectively became a Soviet satellite state in the Caribbean.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    princesskittypoo Guest
    my dad once told me a story about how troops were waiting to see if they were going to be called in to handle the situation. he said they were scared out of their wits but were ready to fight anyway.

    i guess i should actually read the article before commenting huh?

  3. #3
    beltman713 Guest
    Sounds a little like Iraq.

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