David Knights' Weblog

December 10, 2019

Book review: The Bay of Pigs Cuba 1961 Osprey Elite #166

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 4:21 pm
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Book review: The Bay of Pigs Cuba 1961 Osprey Elite #166
By Alejandro de Quesada
Illustrated by Stephen Walsh
64 pgs
List Price $18.95

The Bay of Pigs operation is a fascinating piece of history, and one that doesn’t seem to make any sense to an individual today given a brief explanation of what occurred.  Telling someone today that in 1961 President Kennedy authorized the CIA to build a 2500 man army and land it on the shore of Cuba to overthrow the government of Cuba just sounds crazy.  It was crazy, but not as crazy as it sounds.

Castro’s revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Batista regime at the beginning of 1959.  However, Castro’s revolution wasn’t Castro’s alone.  The revolutionary forces which  overthrew Batista were an amalgamation of forces, only some of which were loyal to Castro and under his control.  However, once the Batista regime was gone. Castro immediately moved to consolidate power and that consolidation led Castor to turn on and purge many of his co-revolutionaries.  This resulted in an exodus from Cuba, not only of the Batista loyalists, but also many  middle class Cubans, some of whom who had been part of the original revolution.  Others took to the mountains and in 1959 and 1960, Castro’s government faced a revolutionary insurgency of its own.

A disproportionate number of those who left Cuba were officers in the military, particularly in the air force where huge numbers of pilots and skilled mechanics fled leaving the revolutionary air force (FAR) with few pilots and even fewer functioning aircraft.  A lack of spare parts for the mostly western sourced aircraft made the situation even worse.  Once Castro firmly declared himself a Marxist/Communist the United States, and the CIA in particular, became concerned with having a country that was quickly becoming allied with the Soviet Union so close to the United States. As a result the CIA hatched the Bay of Pigs plan. (Though the original plan didn’t actually call for a landing at the Bay of Pigs)  The many Cuban Exiles in Florida, many with military experience in either the Batista military or the 1959 revolution, provided a ready source of soldiers willing to go back to Cuba and overthrow Castro.  The insurgency inside Cuba along with the poor state of Cuba’s military, especially its air force led the CIA to conclude that a force, landed in Cuba could quickly be the spark for a second Cuban revolution.

The author does a good job of explaining this background and how it led Assault Brigade 2506 (which is what the exiles troops called themselves) to be landed at the Bay of Pigs on April 17th.  The author tells the story of the planning and training of the unit as well as the failed attempt to wipe out the remaining aircraft of the Cuban air force prior to the invasion.  The failure to successfully accomplish this is cited in many histories as the main reason the invasion failed.  However, given that by the time of the invasion many of the counter-revolutionary insurgences had been suppressed and that Castro had consolidated support among the peasant classes, there is doubt that even if the exiles had had compete air superiority, whether they would have been able to succeed.

The story is well and clearly told.  The description of the actual landings and parachute drops are vivid.  One does get the impression that the author has sympathy for the exiles and thus tends to highlight the heroics of the Assault Brigade members in their combats with the Cuban army, while simultaneously downplaying the effectiveness of Castro’s troops.  That said, this is still a clear and factual account of the Bay of Pigs operations and its aftermath.  I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.


September 16, 2019


Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 4:37 pm
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Looks like oil is getting scarce in Cuba.  I don’t think, despite what the government says, that this problems is temporary or will go away.  As PDVSA produces less and less oil, lless and less of it will make its way to Cuba.

May 13, 2019

Wouldn’t it be funny

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 1:57 pm
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Wouldn’t it be funny if the problems in Venezuela caused problems in Cuba while Cuba tried to prop up Venezuela?  Could be happening.  I will be keeping an eye on this.

January 12, 2019


Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 3:01 pm
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I have spent a fair amount of time lately on the crisis in Venezuela, but we should not forget the other socialist hellhole in the western hemisphere, Cuba.  Here is an article on how folks scrape by there.

March 28, 2018

2018 Modeling #23

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:52 pm
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Date: 3/23/2018

Time 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (1.0 hrs actual modeling time.)

2018 Total time: 26.63 hrs.

Managed to get a little time in at the bench.  March isn’t looking much better than February so far.  Worked on the Trumpeter T-34/85.  Work has slowed to a crawl as I am trying to improve the kit a little.

I have noticed that, in general, when I model solo, I can only get about an hour’s worth of work in before my eyes start to give into the strain and my back starts to hurt. Old age sucks.

March 17, 2018

2018 Modeling #21

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:08 pm
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Date: 3/15/2018

Time 9:00 p.m. to 10:20 p.m. (1.33 hrs.)

2018 Total time: 24.63 hrs.

Finally got back to the bench after 11 days away.  This is what happens to me every year.  As I get further into the year, my bench time gets less and less.  With recent life developments, I don’t see this year being any different.

I did get some building done.  Mainly added some of the grab handles on the T-34/85 and worked a bit on the MXY-7.  Primed the interior and then painted it with Alclad dull aluminum.  The grab handles on the T-34/85 have been very time consuming.  I think they will look much better than the plastic parts, but what a pain.

March 5, 2018

2018 Modeling #19

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 9:46 pm
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Date: 3/1/2018

Time 4:00 p.m. to 5:05 p.m. (1.08 hrs.)

2018 Total time: 22.3 hrs.

The first session of March.  I just wish it was more productive.  I spent all my time drilling holes in the T-34/85 chassis to mount scratchbuilt grab handles.  I then made the handles out of very thin wire. Spent an over an hour and didn’t finish.  This armor stuff has a lot of tedious parts to it.

February 26, 2018

2018 Modeling #16

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:02 am
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Date: 2/24/2018

Time 1:40 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. (.5 hrs.), 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 (.5 hrs), 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (1.0 hrs)

2018 Total time: 18.39 hrs.

Finally got back to the bench after 10 days away.  Sadly, my prediction that February would not be as modeling intensive as January is coming true.  Worked on both the T-33 and the T-34/85.  Both are progressing well.  I suspect that as I predicted, the T-33 will require about 40 hours total to finish.  The T-34/85 won’t take that long.  Pictures with the next update.

February 15, 2018

2018 Modeling #15

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 11:28 pm
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Date: 2/14/2018

Time 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. (.83 hrs.)

2018 Total time: 16.39 hrs.

Got some time in at the bench.  As I suspected, I haven’t been able to keep up the pace set in January.  I did manage to close up the Platz T-33 fuselage.  I also got some more work done on the T-34/85.  (In the photo below, the chassis is just sitting on the hull.) The tank is coming along nicely.  I don’t think it will take me 40 hours to finish the T-34/85, but I am pretty sure that it will take that many hours to finish the T-33, especially with the finish II’ve chosen.

Moving along

February 11, 2018

2018 Modeling #14

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 10:57 pm
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Date: 2/9/2018

Time 9:35 p.m. to 10:50 a.m. (1.4 hrs.)

2018 Total time: 15.56 hrs.

Watched the Olympic opening ceremonies and worked on the T-34/85.  Made some progress.  However, given the progress I’ve made in February I don’t have hope that I’ll match my January hours.

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