The Cuban Exiles’ Invasion at the Bay of Pigs 1961 by Santiago Rivas

No.2 in the ‘Latin America @ War’ series this book looks at Playa Girón (Girón Beach) which is located on the east bank of the Bay of Pigs.

From the rear cover:-

‘In 1961 - two years after a revolution in Cuba overran the government of Fulgencio Batista - a group of Cuban exiles (backed by the CIA) landed on the beaches of the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro from the new government. After three days of intense fighting on the beaches and swamps around the area, the invaders were defeated by Castro's forces and most of them surrendered, while a few managed to escape to the ships. Failures in the plans developed by the CIA and the lack of decision by the Kennedy administration were decisive in a fiasco that became one of the most shameful defeats by a US-backed operation in the 20th century. Among the forces that defended the Cuban Revolution, the Revolutionary Air Force played a key role -despite their lack of operational planes and pilots - sinking the main transport ships of the expeditionary force and forcing the others to leave, while abandoning the invading force on the beaches until they ran out of ammunition. Also, they won the control of the air space over the area - denying their use to the A-26 Invaders of the exiles - and thus leaving the ground forces with no close air support. The exiles fought remarkably against a much more powerful enemy and even won the first round of combat, but the lack of support left them with no ammunition or food, while the enemy forces thrown against them grew more and more as the hours since the landing passed by. In the end, they ran out of ammunition and had to surrender. After more than 50 years, much was written about the invasion, but only ever showing one side of the coin - told by veterans or historians from the Castro side their part of the story (and being highly subjective in the process). This book attempts to show the full picture from an objective point of view - gathering information from some of the few veterans still alive and from information both previously published and never published before.’


Made up of eleven chapters including, From independence to revolution, From revolution to invasion, Brigade 2056, Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, First air strikes, Invasion, Air combat over Bay of Pigs, Defending Playa Girón, Defeat and Aftermath this book is crammed with information about this crucial incident back in 1961. The vast majority of the black and white and some colour photographs have never been seen before and full colour maps featuring the Bay of Pigs, Central America and Caribbean and Cuba help the reader to understand the lie of the land. There are a number of colour profiles including a B-26, A-4 (without markings), C-46, C-54, Cuban Air Force P-47, a Kingfisher, the Houston merchant ship, a M35 truck, a Sea Fury, T-33, M42 tank and Cuban T-34. Every one of them would make an unusual subject in miniature.     

Another great book in this series which presents the military historian with something that breaks the usual WW2 mould. Thanks to Tom Bonnington at Casemate for our review copy which is available from


ISBN: 978-1-911096-02-3

Price: £19.95

Pages: 72

Format: softback – 297mm x 210mm

Publisher: Helion and Company