Playa Girón

The Cuban Exiles' Invasion at the Bay of Pigs 1961

Santiago Rivas

Date Published :
February 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Latin America@War
Illustration :
c 100-150 color and b/w photos, profiles, maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911096023
Pages : 88
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock. Available in 6-8 weeks
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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.

About The Author

Santiago Rivas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1977 and graduated in journalism. Since 1997 he has worked in aviation and defence journalism, travelling all across Latin America to research for articles and books. In 2007 he published his first book, about the Malvinas/Falklands War for a Brazilian publisher and since then, another eighteen titles have published in Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom, with others still to be released. He has also published articles in more than fifty magazines in twenty countries and currently works for more than twenty of them. He has three children and lives in Buenos Aires, travelling extensively within Latin America to fulfil his research work.


“Rivas thoroughly mines his sources – including participants' memoirs – for fascinating nuggets… Helion's handy history superbly summarizes the ignominious effort. Make it your introduction to this Cold War debacle. Robustly recommended!”

- Cybermodeler

“If you would like to know more about this historic event of the Cold War, then this is an excellent choice. Interesting for the historian and the modeller and in a good value book as well.”

- Military Model Scene

“The young author has interviewed surviving members of the exiles that participated at Bay of Pigs while also attempting to find photographic images – something very, very hard to do. He has thus assembled a creditable text with numerous photos, maps, and color profiles to recreate what it must have been like to storm those beaches over five decades ago… Historians and modelers alike will certainly enjoy this volume.”

- Air Classics

“Another great book in this series which presents the military historian with something that breaks the usual mould.”

- Military Modelling

“The author has done some extensive research, which includes not only poring over government documents but also interviewing some of the remaining participants of the operation. These personal anecdotes and historical documents are further enhanced by the multitude of photographs included in the book, many of which have not been seen before… This is a great continuation of the Latin America @ War series, and I look forward to seeing what the next subjects in this arena will be.”

- Internet Modeler

"… this is excellent stuff."

- The Aviation Historian

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