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"The real strikes against the Cuban bases took place at
dawn on April 15, 1961. The eight B-26's to be used were
loaded with two 500 pound demolition bombs, ten 200 pound
fragmentation bombs, and eight rockets. They also carried
eight machine guns in the nose with 2800 rounds of
ammunition. These B-26's were the A-26 Invader derivative
of the World War II Martin Marauder, but they differed from
those flown by Castro forces; the exile aircraft had an all
metal nose versus the plexiglass nose of the Cuban model.
There were Brigade missions flown
that day, but many were flown by American CIA pilots. The
Brigade pilots had made the early launch, which had been
aborted, and many were too exhausted to fly the six hour
round trip again.
The American advisors filled in for them. They were
authorized to do so by CIA officials without the knowledge
of President Kennedy. Kennedy was not to find out for two
years that four American pilots had been shot down and
killed in the Bay of Pigs operation.
The Bay of Pigs
One B-26 was shot down over land in the area of Central
The A-4 was an attack aircraft, not a fighter. I'd think the Navy would have used their Crusaders or Phantoms for the job.
Top Gun fans will recognize this as an A-4 Skyhawk. It was designed in the early 50’s to be a cheap, small bomber and ground-support aircraft for the US Navy. It turned out extremely agile and with lots of room for expansion, so it has through the last decades been fitted with all kinds of equipment and weapons, and was flown by many countries with different roles (recon, damage assessment, bomber, trainer, aggressor, ground support, aerobatic demonstrations, and fighter). It was used by the Blue Angels until they got F/A-18s. Along with planes like the C-130, the A-4 is one of those remarkably timeless designs whose simplicity and robustness and versatility allowed it a service life of over 50 years (and counting). I’m a big fan of this little guy. This particular one, a two-seater (unlike most Skyhawks), looks like it WAS flown as an aggressor (simulating an "enemy aircraft" in war games, like in Top Gun) by the looks of its Sukhoi-like blue cammo and red star on the tail.
BASIC INFORMATION :
Designation: F-4 Phantom II
Type: Multi-Role Fighter
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
Country: United States
Service Date: 1962
The bit about the A-4's being used as air cover makes me leery of this story.
WAR SINCE 1945 SEMINAR
The Bay of Pigs:
A Struggle for Freedom
Major Joe R. English
2 April 1984
Marine Corps Command and Staff College
Marine Corps Development and Education Command
Quantico, Virginia 22134