A blog for the Devon Wargame's Group, which meets on the secound Saturday of each month at the Whipton Institute, 20 Village Road, Whipton, Exeter, EX4 8AW.
Bay of PigsBackgroundThe Bay of Pigs was an attempt by the Cuban anti-Castro exiles to overthrow Castro and the ruling revolutionary Government who had taken over Cuba two years before following a civil war.The Cuban Liberation Army (CLA) was secretly organised and funded by the CIA. The CLA had the tile of 2056 Brigade and trained in Honduras with USA advisors.The original plan was for the 2506 Brigade to invade Cuba, take over Trinidad thus acting as a catalyst for a spontaneous uprising. As it was assumed that the Cubans would welcome the CLA when they landed. As the CLA expected Cubans to flock the aid of the liberators the 2506 Brigade was structured was organised to absorb volunteers.The first change imposed by the Kennedy government was the landing area, this was changed to the now infamous Bay of Pigs.The Invasion PlanThe first phase of the attack was for the CLA air force to take out the CRA air force on the ground. They were painted in CRA (Cuban Revolutionary Army) colours and two plans were to land in Florida following the raid to say they were disaffected pilot who have rebelled against the raceme. In addition at this time, secret guerrilla cells would attack transport points and generally cause problems. This would reinforce the deception that there was a popular rebellion occurring, thus getting world opinion behind the CLA. The Brigade was to land at 3 beaches any CRA air force still able to fly were to be dealt with by US carrier born jet planes. After landing the Brigade was to push inland capture the airfield at Giron. This would enable the CLA air force to operate in close support. Then form a perimeter, while this was going on the US would force the UN to step in and call for a cease fire. Thus the CLA would be recognised as a legitimate belligerent and take part in peace talks.The Invasion ActualThe initial air attack went in on the 15th April 1961; needless to say did not manage to destroy the CRA air force only managing to destroy 27%. Some planes landed in Florida and Radio Swan broadcasted that there was a popular uprising. However world opinion was not convinced, because CRA B-26’s air planes had different noses, see Ospreys cover below. This caused the Kennedy Government to have second thoughts and they decided that the US carrier planes would not provide air cover for CLA invasion. The invasion fleet put to sea and was escorted to Cuba by the US fleet. On 17th April CLA started to land at two beaches Red Beach (Playa Largo) and Blue Beach (Giron), after defeating the local militia, made up of local charcoal workers the invader secured their beachheads. It was at this time as the ships were being unloaded that the CRA air force started to counter attack and targeted the ships.They sank one and made the other to beach itself. The effect of this was that one infantry brigade (5th Btn)became stuck in the swamp and all the other ships left the danger area with the equipment and ammunition that had not been unloaded.As this was going on Castro collects his forces and started a counter attack, the main drive was from Central Australia towards Red Beach.The CLA air forces continued to fly over the battle field but were soon exhausted as they had to make the round trip from Nicaragua each sortie, 3 hours each way.As the CLA had no dissent air cover being attacked and were running out of ammunition the perimeter got smaller until the inevitable happened and they dispersed/got away (picked up by Americans/surrendered.