This week is the 60th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. The military venture in Cuba that was expertly-planned by the best strategists the United States had at the time. The astonishing blunders that came later were entirely Camelot’s. I know the real history well. The highly trained and motivated Cuban exiles were betrayed by Kennedy who was secretly negotiating with Khrushchev. Fidel also knew they were coming... How? Someone in Kennedy's inner circle.
The original landing site in Eastern Cuba was planned as such, for its remote location away from Cuban military installations, and for its proximity to over 20,000 hard-core anti-Fidel rebels already in the general area, willing and able to join the invasion force. Two weeks before the landing, Kennedy inexplicably changed the landing site to an area south of Havana (the epic center of Fidel's power)on the southern coast, known as the Bay of Pigs for its wild boar infested swamps. The bay had only one way in and out, with marshes on both sides of the one road, and close to not one, but three Cuban military installations.
After the Cubans landed, their air support was cut by 60% and the naval support turned around and headed to international waters by orders from DC. The Cuban air force, that was supposed to have been destroyed on the ground by the sorties flown from Nicaragua, took to the air and wreaked havoc on the landing forces. The six American flight instructors from the Alabama National Guard, were so incensed at the betrayal from Washington, that they all took to the sky and flew sorties in support of the exiles pinned down on the beaches. They were all shot down. A memorial to them and their Cuban pilots who also died, is located in Miami's Tamiami airport.
The Cuban exiles outnumbered 10 to 1, fought like lions, inflicting heavy loses on the Cuban military including their heavy Russian made tanks with only bazookas. They fought until out of ammo and too many gravely wounded men. And the rest is history written by Cuban and Soviet propaganda for the benefit of their American audience.
The 20,000 rebels in eastern Cuba, were hunted down mercilessly for years in what is called "The Battle for the Escambray Mountains," until not one wasn't dead or in a Cuban Gulag. I remember their motto: "No guns, No Ammo, No surrender."
I knew one such man. He calmly sat in a field smoking a cigar, bleeding from two bullet holes in him, holding his 1911 .45, waiting for the encircling Castro troops to finish him off. Like his many comrades, he wasn't surrendering. He lost consciousness from losing so much blood, and spent 28 years in a Cuban Hell of a prison. Tough as coffin nails, he never surrendered.