dimanche 17 avril 2011

17 avril 1961, débarquement de la baie des Cochons à Cuba

La brigade 2506 sur les barges à la baie des Cochons - Le Houston touché par des roquettes.
Brigade 2506 était le nom d'un groupe d'exilés cubains, entretenu par la CIA, réunis en 1960 pour une intervention militaire contre le Cuba de Fidel Castro. Ce sont eux qui tentèrent le débarquement de la baie des Cochons du 17 avril 1961, avorté à cause du trop mou soutien américain.
Brigade 2506 (Brigada Asalto 2506) was the name given to a CIA-sponsored group of Cuban exiles formed in 1960 to attempt the military overthrow of the Cuban government headed by Fidel Castro. It carried out the abortive Bay of Pigs Invasion landings in Cuba on 17 April 1961.


La flotte de débarquement, étiquetée Force expéditionnaire cubaine, comprenait cinq cargos de 2400t, loué par la CIA à la Garcia Line (compagnie notoirement anti-castriste) et suréquipé en canons anti-aériens. Ils étaient passés par la Nouvelle-Orléans pour récupérer armes et munitions et Puerto Cabezas au Nicaragua (où ils s'entraînaient) pour charger les contrerévolutionnaires et leur équipement. Quatre d'entre eux, Houston (nom de code Aguja, coulé par l'aviation cubaine), Río Escondido (Ballena, coulé par l'aviation cubaine), Caribe (Sardina), et Atlántico (Tiburón), devaient amenés 1400 hommes sur les plages du débarquement. Le cinquième transportaient du matériel et les spécialistes de l'infiltration de l'Opération 40 (groupe subversif créé par la CIA et sous la responsabilité du vice-président Nixon). Les cargos voguaient sous pavillon libérien. Ils étaient accompagnés de deux barges de débarquement (datant de la guerre) achetés à la Zapata Corporation de Georges Bush père. Les LCI étaient Blagar (nom de code Marsopa) et Barbara J (Barracuda), sous pavillon nicaraguayen, avaient été lourdement armés en Floride.

USS Beale, underway at sea, circa the 1960s. Official U.S. Navy Photograph. Ce destroyer, comme  Conway, Bache, Cony, Eaton, Murray et Waller appartenaient à la classe Fletcher, construite au début des années 1940.
CLASS - FLETCHER As Built.
Displacement 2924 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 376' 5"(oa) x 39' 7" x 13' 9" (Max)
Armament 5 x 5"/38AA, 4 x 1.1" AA, 4 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 38 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 15 Knots, Crew 273.
Tout cette flotte a été escortée par des destroyers de l'US Navy jusqu'au point Zoulou, hors de vue des côtes cubaines. Il s'agissait des USS Bache, USS Beale, USS Conway, USS Cony, USS Eaton, USS Murray et USS Waller. Parallèlement, une force d'intervention était rassemblée aux Iles Caymans. Elle comprenait le porte-avions USS Essex commandé par l'amiral John A. Clark, le porte-hélicopters USS Boxer, les destroyers USS Hank, USS John W. Weeks, USS Purdy, USS Wren, et les sous-marins USS Cobbler et USS Threadfin. Au même moment, le navire de commandement USS Northampton et le transport USS Shangri-La ne se trouvaient pas loin. USS San Marcos transportaient trois LCU (Landing Craft Utility) et quatre LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicles, Personnel). Il venait des îles Vieques. C'est le seul navire américain qui accompagna jusqu'à cinq kilomètres de la plage les sept bateaux des conspirateurs.


Late on April 16, 1961, the CIA/Brigade 2506 invasion fleet converged on 'Rendezvous Point Zulu', about 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of Cuba, having sailed from Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua where they had been loaded with troops and other materiel, after loading arms and supplies at New Orleans. The US Navy operation was code-named Bumpy Road, having been changed from Crosspatch on 1 April 1961. The fleet, labelled the 'Cuban Expeditionary Force' (CEF), included five 2,400-ton (empty weight) freighter ships chartered by the CIA from the Garcia Line, and subsequently outfitted with anti-aircraft guns. Four of the freighters, Houston (code name Aguja), Río Escondido (code name Ballena), Caribe (code name Sardina), and Atlántico (code-name Tiburón), were planned to transport about 1,400 troops in seven battalions of troops and armaments near to the invasion beaches. The fifth freighter, Lake Charles, was loaded with follow-up supplies and some Operation 40 infiltration personnel. The freighters sailed under Liberian ensigns. Accompanying them were two LCIs (Landing Craft Infantry) 'purchased' from Zapata Corporation then outfitted with heavy armament at Key West, then exercises and training at Vieques Island. The LCIs were Blagar (code-name Marsopa) and Barbara J (code-name Barracuda), sailing under Nicaraguan ensigns.
USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) Steams in formation with other units of Task Force ALFA, during anti-submarine exercises in the Atlantic, 1959. The other ships present are (from left): USS Murray (DDE-576), USS Beale (DDE-471), USS Bache (DDE-470), USS Eaton (DDE-510), USS Conway (DDE-507), USS Cony (DDE-508) and USS Waller (DDE-466). Photograph was released for publication on 3 August 1959. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Task Group ALFA, formation portrait of the anti-submarine group's ships and aircraft, taken during 1959 exercises in the Atlantic. Ships include the group flagship, USS Valley Forge (CVS-45) in center, two submarines, and seven destroyers. Identifiable among the latter are USS Eaton (DDE-510) at left front, USS Beale (DDE-471) following Eaton, USS Waller (DDE-466) in the center foreground, and USS Conway (DDE-507) at right front. The reamianing two are the USS Bache (DD-470) and USS Cony (DD-508) of DesRon 28. Aircraft overhead include two formations of S2F "Trackers" from the Valley Forge air group, plus one shore-based P2V "Neptune" from Norfolk Naval Air Station, Virginia. Two HSS-1 helicopters are flying low, directly over the submarines. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

The CEF ships were individually escorted (outside visual range) to Point Zulu by US Navy destroyers USS Bache, USS Beale, USS Conway, USS Cony, USS Eaton, USS Murray, USS Waller. A task force had already assembled off the Cayman Islands, including aircraft carrier USS Essex with task force commander John A. Clark (Admiral) onboard, helicopter assault carrier USS Boxer, destroyers USS Hank, USS John W. Weeks, USS Purdy, USS Wren, and submarines USS Cobbler and USS Threadfin. Command and control ship USS Northampton and carrier USS Shangri-La were also reportedly active in the Caribbean at the time. USS San Marcos was a Landing Ship Dock that carried three LCUs (Landing Craft Utility) and four LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicles, Personnel). San Marcos had sailed from Vieques Island. At Point Zulu, the seven CEF ships sailed north without the USN escorts, except for San Marcos that continued until the seven landing craft were unloaded when just outside the 5 kilometres (3 mi) Cuban territorial limit.