The invasion on Playa Girón like the Cubans call it, happend on
April 17 1961 and was the prelude to the Cuban Missile Crisis eight months later.
A group of 1500 Cuban exiles, backed by Cuban Americans and trained by the CIA embarked at Playa Giron, also named Bahia de Cochinos.
The intention was to establish a provisional anti Castro government that would urge a US intervention. The planning for the Bay of Pigs invasion was already started under
the Eisenhouwer administration and inherited by president John F.Kennedy.
A few miles out of the Cuban coast a group of US warships, among them the aircraft carrier USS Essex and US marines waited for an intervention.
A squadron of B-26 bombers piloted by Cuban exiles and mercenairies disguised as Cuban Army aircrafts launched an attack to destroy the Cuban airforce.
Cuba lost five planes, but the remaining planes would play a decisive role in the Cuban contra attack.
When Fidel Castro at Playa Giron with twenty tanks and 20,000 soldiers behind him, he commanded the his small airforce to sink the US invasion fleet.
The "Houston" was heavy damaged by rockets, the Rio Escondido sunk. Abandoned on the beach, the invasion brigade was defeated and captured after three days of combats.
Later the survivors of the invasion brigade about 1200 prisoners were exchanged for 53 million dollar worth of medicines, food and equipment.
The failed invasion made Fidel Castro even more popular in Cuba, but Castro was now wary of another US intervention and established closer relations with the Soviet Union, that later led to the
Cuban Missile Crisis.
Bay of Pigs Museum at Playa Girón Cuba
The museum shows an overview of the failed US invasion in Cuba and is annually visted by more than 60,000 visitors.