ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Long Ago and Far Away: Bay of Pigs - The CIA Sponsered Invasion of Cuba, April 1961

Updated on April 20, 2009

Operation Puma

Regardless of what you think about this whole affair, it remains quite remarkable that President Kennedy was unaware (and for some time) what the CIA was doing. And what the CIA was doing was assembling a military force, shipping, and aircraft, all from obsolete equipment in various states of disrepair. The whole affair began after the 1960 Presidential election between Nixon and Kennedy. After Kennedy had won, the CIA began to assemble the plans and recruiting efforts. This was not known to him.

By March, recruiting efforts has gathered 1151 men, all ex-cubans, who fled from Cuba when Castro came to power a few years earlier and turned a democracy into a Soviet communist-like government. The 1151 men were formed into the 2506 Assault Brigade and in every way ended up as a viable military unit armed with WW2 and later weapons. About 200 of them were trained as parachutists and would drop to block key roads ahead of the beachheads.

The site chosen was of course the Bay of Pigs (Baja de Cochinas) which was about as remote as one could get. It was on the other end of the island from Havanna. The region had no viable military force nearby but for some national guard units in training. The Zapata Swamp, which was vast, acted as a barrier to any Cuban counterattacks and the few roads meant any attacks would have to follow along them.

Cuba barely had a military. Most of its untis were poorly armed and trained, many were still in training. Its air force had 14 aircraft! They had a few training jets and Migs. The Bay of Pigs was totally undefended. Castro had little idea of the planned invasion, although, rumors were running wild, so knew something was coming.

The 2506 Brigade had five battalions: 2nd, 5th, 4th, 6th, 3rd, 12 trucks, 5 M41 tanks. Its Heavy gun battalion contained 4.2mm mortars, 75mm RCL, 50mm HMG. The battalions were actually company in size, around 200 men. Air support was originally 22 B-26 bombers, however, Kennedy (once he knew about it) made sure there was no hint of a US sponsored attack, reduced it to five. This is really quite naive of the US administration to think the Cubans would not think it was the US attacking. After all, all the equipment was American.

A US naval task force was nearby comprised of the US carrier Essex with the latest modern jets, it was protected by 5-7 destroyers. Cuba had no real navy, by the way! However, because Kennedy wanted no US involvement, none of the jets flew until late Tuesday until Castro had effectively crushed the invasion by the 1151 Cuban-Americans. By this time, they were fighting for their lives and pursued by over 10 Cuban military and para-military battalions. This US air support by 12 A-4D jets was against all standing orders, they flew over the battle area for one hour keeping Castro's men at bay. The Task Force commander told the President, " Goddammit, Mr. President, we ARE involved!". On the following day, US destroyers closed in on the Bay of Pigs, not far from shore, to provide cover to the decimated 2506 Brigade, so greatly outnumbered. The Cubans took a few shots at the destroyers only to silenced by naval gunfire. Aircraft dropped a few Napalm bombs on large concentrations of Cuban troops, decimating them or causing them to flee.

At one point, the 1200 US Marines on the USS Essex were being considered to land on shore to save the retreating patriots, but this action was not taken.

The 2506 Brigade fought well. Despite their short training time, their morale made up for what they lacked. The general local uprising which was a major part of the plan's success and hoped for, never happened. Since it was hoped that population there would rally to the invaders call and fight against Castro, everything fell apart when this did not occur. The brigade's size was simply too small to do the job. Since the US was only willing to act covertly because of world image issues, it was doomed from the start unless a population uprising occurred. 


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)