- Paperback: 64 pages
- Publisher: Osprey Publishing (10 Jan. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846033233
- ISBN-13: 978-1846033230
- Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.7 x 24.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 469,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Bay of Pigs: Cuba 1961 (Elite) Paperback – 10 Jan 2009
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"Quesada provides all of this information in an easy-to-read format. He includes several photographs from private collections that have never been seen by the public. Also, illustrator Stephen Walsh includes some excellent illustrations that show the uniforms, insignia, and weapons of the combatants and some battle scenes... This book gives an excellent overview of the men who tried and failed to overthrow Fidel Castro in 1961." -Jeff Grim, "Collected Miscellany - www.collectedmiscellany.com "(July 2009)
From the shadowy world of the CIA to the desperate actions of exiles seeking to return home, this dramatic story reveals how Cold War politics were played out on the battlefield. Using first-hand accounts and rare photographs this book tells the story of the disastrous, US backed attempt to overthrow Castro's communist regime.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Osprey is trying to come back to customer one could think and give captivating reading again, not just dry homework some author has been lumbered with.
Plates are good quality, sadly dry and static, nothing action packed.
Overpriced as all Osprey books.
Otherwise good buy!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author begins with a 4-page introduction that outlines Fidel Castro's revolution in 1957-59 that ultimately seized power in Cuba and the repression of his regime that sparked resistance. He then spends 10 pages discussing the American desire to oust Castro and the CIA's role in creating a clandestine Cuban military force to overthrow Castro. Separate sections briefly describe the training of Assault Brigade 2506, as well as the air and naval components. This CIA operation has long been known to the world but the author manages to cover this well-trodden ground in style. He also juxtaposes the tactical-level training of the brigade in Guatemala with the high-level discussions in Washington between the President, the Joint Chiefs and the CIA about how best to use this tool. Although the idea of landing the brigade in Cuba appeared problematic under the best of circumstances, there was considerable pressure to "do something" before Castro received MiG fighters and more advanced weaponry from the Soviet Union that would make it impossible to remove his regime without overt U.S. military intervention. It is interesting how often in history that the "do something now" approach has often led to serious mistakes, with Bay of Pigs being a real whopper.
Yet the author's main interest in telling the brigade's story and he proceeds to do that in nearly 30 pages. The tactical description of the battle around Red Beach and Blue Beach is very good, although there were several points where I had to wonder `why did they do that?' but without explanation from the author. One mistake that hurts this volume is that the section that describes the brigade's organization and equipment comes after the battle narrative, when it would have been more helpful to have that first. Thankfully, the author does not belabor the political issues that fall outside the scope of a volume that only seeks to describe a particular military unit - although he does make it clear that the brigade was doomed by President Kennedy's decision to withhold air support at a crucial moment.
I was rather disappointed by the 8 pages of color plates, which spend one page on the brigade's training attire in Guatemala, another on what the brigadistas looked like after the battle (incl. an elderly gent in 2006) and a page of insignias. Only one plate depicts Brigadista ground troops in action (plus a paratrooper on another page) and two pages depict Castro's troops (incl. a Red Cross official). Given that this is a volume dedicated to the brigade and its combat actions, the actual graphic content afforded to it is disappointingly small. The last-minute order of battle stuck at the end of the volume is disappointing, since it offers no data on unit strengths, composition or sub-unit commanders. The author does provide information on how many vehicles the brigade had, but since the battalions had different compositions and missions, it would have been useful to spell this out. In particular, more effort could have been spent detailing the tank platoon's capabilities (5 M41s) and the heavy weapons battalion (apparently armed with four deuces, but not spelled out). After the brigade's surrender, the author covers their incarceration and release rather quickly, but then devotes space to discussing how some former brigadistas participated in other CIA operations in Africa. It would have been more interesting if he discussed how many brigadistas were able to evade capture after the Bay of Pigs, which was part of their original mission profile. Judged as a narrative history, this is a good volume, but as a unit history, the Bay of Pigs falls somewhat short in describing this unit.
THE BAY OF PIGS follows the ill-fated efforts by the Eisenhowever Administration/CIA to recruit and train a 1,500-man unit to help overthrow Castro's regime. Supported by a rag-tag air force and 'navy,' the 1,500 members of Brigade 2506 landed on 15 April 1961. Despite the brave efforts of unit personnel, by 19 April Castro's forces had defeated the invasion. In large part, the failure was due to changes in the landing site, cancellation of air strikes and lack of U.S. air cover and support. Author de Quesada, a nephew of a 2506 vet, does a good job of summarizing the initial planning, recruitment and training along with the actual invasion and its aftermath, which saw a fair number of Brigade members executed by Castro.
Interwoven throughout the book are b&w and color photographs, maps and artwork depicting equipment, uniforms, flags and battle scenes.
In short, if you are looking for a fairly brief but comprehensive and well-illustrated summary of the Bays of Pigs operation, de Quesada's book should fill the bill. Recommended.
The success or failure of the liberation of Cuba depended on a variety of factors. The Kennedy administration's lukewarm commitment to the success of the landings is well-known. Since 1945 the Democratic* presidents have been naïve and non-pragmatic in waging war. They want the results without the commitment and are fearful of their personal legacy. Once the invasion was underway President Kennedy wanted to pretend it would succeed on its own momentum. There is also the fact that significant logistical issues arose (as they do in any campaign) for which there was no back-up plan. Lastly, the communication breakdown (due to the loss of all radio equipment) between all of the Brigada forces caused a command/control catastrophe.
*lest you politicos think the reviewer is a Republican please be aware that my view of republican president is no better.