(From Soviet-empire): Chronology of Cuban, Nicaraguan naval actions and other South American conflicts during Cold War

Discussions on other historical eras.
Posts: 564
Joined: 07 Mar 2013 01:32

(From Soviet-empire): Chronology of Cuban, Nicaraguan naval actions and other South American conflicts during Cold War

Post by lupodimare89 » 28 Jan 2023 22:04

This thread it’s a preserved version of latest updated page on the currently (hopefully not forever) closed forum “Soviet-empire”. Years ago I begun a process of reading, studying and researching entirely for hobby/amateur interest the history of naval warfare involving the Soviet Union. Years by years, my interests expanded to other conflicts (Russian and Spanish Civil Wars, Cold War conflicts etc.) often poorly described in mainstream media and sites. It doesn’t claim to be definitive or error-free, but I believe it’s valuable or interesting for people curious to see aspects of less known naval warfare (especially in English). This and my other works can be obviously used or re-posted for not-commercial purpose on other sites/forums, I've sadly seen how there is some commercial exploitation (publications of few books i am absolutely not involved at all!). Obviously these "authors" probably never checked the original sources or bothered to notice how each of these works it's not immutable and sometimes changes and corrections happens after years.

NOTE 1 : This work focus on the actions of the Cuban Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria) and naval units of the Border Guard (Tropas Guardafronteras).
While there are a number of pro-Cuban sources detailing incidents and attacks, sources are often contradictory over dates: this include also the sources of Miami-based groups.
Many unofficial or semi-official Cuban sources mix-up or switch months or even the exact year of some incidents!

DIFFERENCES with latest-updated thread on Soviet-empire:
The term "Cuban Navy" switched to "Cuban Revolutionary Navy" to differentiate to the pre-revolutionary naval forces.
1) Added incident of 20 March 1961 (still few details)
2) Added two episodes of defections on 29 July 1961 and 6 January 1962
3) Added episode of bomb onboard cargo "Las Villas" on October 1963
4) On the limpet-mines attack on 23 December 1963 added casualties and another Cuban m.t.b. damaged
5) Added incident on 29 December 1963 (very scarce details)
6) mentioned an incident (either 1964 and 1965) between Cuban submarine chasers
7) corrections on Sierra Aranzazu's attack on 13 September 1964: actually it was the Cuban government (not the American one) that paid compensation for the Miami-based militants killing of Spanish citizens.

DISCLAIMER: the Miami-based groups are often described by Cuban sources as “counter-revolutionaries” (early phase) or “pirates” (later phase) or terrorists (modern times). Description of their naval as “piracy” is technically incorrect (no aim to rob or seize boats for monetary purpose) and considering how such attacks primarily aimed against civilian targets, they can rather be fully defined as acts of terrorism. Interestingly, one of the most notorious groups (“Alpha-66”) currently designed also by western sources as a terrorist organization despite being backed by CIA at least until 1971.

SOURCES: Granma.cu, EcuRed, urrib2000.narod.ru , trabajadores.cu and acercandonoscultura.com.ar (details over Playa Giron). The Bay of Pigs of Howard Jones (American account).Al Combate article May 1961


4 March 1960
French merchant La Coubre (4308 GRT) exploded inside Havana’s harbor while unloading 76tons of ammunitions for the Cuban Army.
The explosion caused 101 killed (including 6 French sailors) and more than 200 wounded: the Cuban government suspected an act of sabotage by CIA, in connection with the former revolutionary commander William Alexander Morgan (originally American citizen) and who was later executed as consequence of this and other operations (he was a staunch anti-communist).
The worldwide-famous photo of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara was took during the funeral of victims: he was present during the blast and provided medical help to some wounded.

9 January 1961
The motor-schooner El Pensativo intercepted and sunk on sea by unidentified armed boat. 4 men died (apparently machine-gunned on sea). Modern Cuban sources reveals they were Cuban intelligence agents ready infiltrate the counter-revolutionaries in Miami. Likely, a CIA-controlled boat attacked El Pensativo.

19 January 1961
Cuban ground forces prevented an infiltration landing in the province of Pinar del Rio. No details about this action.

13 March 1961
First attack from a speedboat: a strafing attack close Santiago de Cuba damaged the Hermanos Dìaz oil refinery and killing one Cuban Revolutionary Navy sailor (apparently the first casualty of the Navy).

20 March 1961
A sabotage group of 8 men disembarked at Pinar del Rio, discovered and “destroyed”. It’s unclear if this attack is connected or related (maybe mistake in date) with the earlier January’s one.

15 April 1961
During one of the preliminary raids by the CIA-led B-26 bombers against different Cuban airports, the patrol boat GC-107 Habana opened defensive fire against the planes attacking Santiago de Cuba.
One gun malfunctioned but the crew claim to have hit one of the two bombers: however, both the planes attacking Santiago suffered some hits even if they landed back to base, and seems possible the patrol boat managed to damage a B-26 bomber (another plane shot down over Havana by anti-aircraft fire). Significantly, the CIA overestimated the effects of the raids, with multiple aircrafts left intact and operative playing a significant role to suppress the invasion.

17 – 20 April 1961
Battle of Playa Girón
The Cuban Revolutionary Navy did not played a role during the failed CIA-led attempted invasion of Cuba.
The invasion force (Brigade 2506) ferried by five former cargo ships that has been converted as troop and supply transports: Atlantico, Caribe, Houston, Riò Escondido and Lake Charles.
Additionally there were also two American-crewed landing ship LCI class, Blagar and Barbara J. The US Navy provided distant escort from aircraft carrier USS Essex and a group of destroyers.
During the early stage of the landing, the Cuban small patrol launch SV-3 suffered multiple hits and grounded: the four crewmembers disembarked from the wrecked boat, joined with the three crewmembers of the yacht Bravo, and retreated firing with a machinegun (claim they died is a mistaken one from CIA assumption).
Cuban sources point the small craft received incoming fire also from the LCI ships Blagar.
During the first landing, the invasion force also lost two LCVP crafts (one sunk, one grounded) because of coral reef. The Cuban Air Force begun inflicting an heavy price to the invasion force: a Sea Fury (pilot Enrique Carreras) and a T-33 fighter (serial n°711, pilot Alberto Fernández) damaged Houston(1793 GRT) with bombs and rockets (6 KIA and other 7 drowned while swimming to the shore). The ship beached and was lost, with most of the medical supplies of the invading force. Barbara J. recovered some survivors from Houston but when the ship distanced, the panicked men on the wreck opened fire on their comrades aboard the LCI. Another LCVP lost after strafing damage: Cuban sources misclassified it as an “LCT” as victim of a T-33 fighter (pilot: Alvaro Prendes, also flying serial n°711 at that moment), the plane piloted by an experienced aviator suffered some damage that was repaired by mechanics in less than an hour.
A couple of CIA B-26 bombers targeted and sunk the Cuban submarine chaser El Baire on Isle of Pines (2 KIA, 11 WIA), patrol boat GC-104 Oriente provided help to the crew.
A Sea Fury fighter (pilot Enrique Carreras, his second anti-ship victory) achieved a second successful strike on the Rio Escondido (1328 GRT) with a single rocket hit: the ship was carrying ammunition and aviation fuel, in addition to acting as a radio station, and sunk with a massive explosion (but without casualties). Survivors of the Rio Escondido onboard LCI Blagar briefly mutinied against the CIA members when they were ordered to land.
NOTE: Rio Escondido was ex- British LCT-4026 ; Barbara J was former USS LCI 884 (officially scrapped), while Blagar could have been possibly one of three different former USS ships (all officially scrapped actually passed to CIA).
Some sources claim that a Sea Fury fighter (Nicaraguan pilot: Carlos Ulloa KIA) was hit by naval defensive-fire of LCI Blagar, while few sources contest it crashed while chasing a C-46 plane, but seems incorrect. Cuban sources agree with the ship’s claim.
However it is confirmed that a Cuban B-26 (serial n°923, pilot: Luis Silva Tablada and other 3 KIA) took damage from anti-aircraft fire coming from the LCI Blagar and exploded as consequence when attempted to launch the rockets igniting the leaking fuel tanks. During the same raid, the sister-ship LCI Barbara J. suffered damage by from Sea Fury fighter (one again piloted by Enrique Carreras). Cuban sources misidentify the target as the Blagar and CIA sources describe the Barbara J. taking other additional damages inflicted also by the very same shot-down B-26 (pilot: Luis Silva Tablada, by strafing) and from a T-33 (indirect damage by nearby rocket explosions).
Toward the end of the first day of Invasion, the Cuban Air Force won air-superiority and definitely crippled the enemy naval ability to resupply their invading force: both Atlantico and Caribe attempted to sail away from the battle, US Navy intercepted the Atlantico and forced the ship to sail back to continue the invasion plan, but Caribe successfully fled.
On the second day of battle (18 April) only Blagar and Barbara J continued resupply missions but their action was clearly not enough and the ground battle evolved quickly to the inevitable conclusion. On the third day of battle (19 April) Blagar and Barbara J operated only by night to avoid air attacks, a small craft manned by militia attempted to approach the wreck of Houston: they received incoming from the wreck and the shore, four died and two captured (executed immediately by own admission by the enemy). CIA sources believe the craft was the very same SV-3 but according Cubans this was a fishing boat, while the original crewmembers of SV-3 re-captured their wrecked craft on the shore capturing some enemies. By 20 April, the battle was over with the crushing defeat of the invading force and the victory for the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces.
During the mop-up operations that continued on 21 and 22 April, patrol boats GC-104 Oriente and GC-106 Las Villas involved in the capturing a group of scattered crewmembers of the Houston, including her captain, while they were trying to escape on a fishing boat.
Interestingly, Fidel Castro was personally engaged in combat on a T-34 tank and fired a shot against the wreck of Houston because some armed men were still present on it. He subsequently moved to take command on a SU-100 with greater fire range to strike the wreck. This is the only confirmed instance of a communist country's leader directly engaged in a warfare related to naval fighting (anti-ship shelling from ground), preceded only from the direct involvement of the Red Army commander Lev Trockij during the Russian Civil War in Volga River operations.

7 May 1961
The Cuban Revolutionary Navy auxiliary boat R-43 (former Vosper-type motor torpedo boat) went missing in action north of Mariel. All 17 crewmember lost (including commander Andrés González Lines).
It is suspected an armed attack; however there is no clear claim by the different groups. A Cuban investigation even raised a possibility of a submarine attack by a US Navy unit: the day before, the patrol boat SV-15 claimed to have observed a submarine). The claim is interesting from a military point of view, because if it will be ever confirmed could be one of the few post-WW2 successful actions by submarine. However so far the most likely reason of the loss (without a claim by Miami-based group) could be some kind of incident.

29 July 1961
The first of two significant episodes of defections: Cuban auxiliary patrol boat SV-8 sailed to Key West and all the three crewmembers granted political asylum. The boat was returned to Cuba on 15 August, sailed by a team of three people arrived from Havana.

30 April 1962
Cuban merchant Bahia de Nepe attacked and sunk by Guatemalan Air Force. The Guatemalan regime claimed the ship was carrying a shipload of weapons for the guerrilla. Currently there are no information from Cuba, concerning a denial or a confirmation of the Guatemalan’s version of events.

6 January 1962
The second of the two significant episodes of defections: onboard Cuban patrol boat GC-106 “Las Villas”, the captain and two crewmembers trapped 14 loyal crewmembers in a cabin before sailing the ship to Key West requesting political asylum. The boat returned to Cuba in the same month.

13 February 1962
First reported attack on Cuban fishing boats by speedboats: Sigma-1 and Sigma-4 attacked but no casualties.

12 May 1962
The MRR (Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria) speedboat Susan Ann (armed with 2 – 12.7mm) directly engaged in combat and damaged the Cuban auxiliary patrol boat SV-28 (3 KIA, 5 WIA). Cuban sailors had little chance to fire back at enemy due speed of the enemy attack (most crew wounded in the first stage and later worked to suppress a fire onboard). “Susan Ann” retreated without taking the chance to finish the damaged vessel. It was a rare enemy surface engagement committed directly against a properly rated boat of the Cuban Revolutionary Navy.

24 June 1962
American soldiers from the US Guantanamo base opened ground fire against a Cuban fishing boat, killing one sailor.

10 September 1962
A “Comandos-L” speedboat strafed the grounded Cuban ship San Pasqual (used as a molasses storage) and the British merchant Newlane (7012 GRT) that was loading a cargo of sugar in Caibairen harbor. Both vessels received only machineguns hits.

5 October 1962
An infiltration attempt prevented, close Baracoa. No details about this action.

8 October 1962
Attempted attack at Isabela de Sagua by 20 men landed from boats. Unclear details.

13 October 1962
The Cuban auxiliary patrol boat (former pleasure boat with armed men) Cima-8 attacked and sunk into Cardenas Bay by speedboat armed with 22mm. 2 sailors swam away from the sinking point, while other 2 members of the Militia were captured (and released 30 days later).
There are conflicting reports, because according an alternate account (by Miami counter-revolutionaries), they boarded the vessel after their own boat was mortally hit and sunk, sailing back away with the seized boat. However, this account mistakenly give the date as “August 1962” and seems less accurate.
Cuban sources describe the boat just as a pleasure craft, but appears reasonable that (due the high-conflict situation) the Militia carried onboard weapons.

13 - 21 February 1963
Cuban fishing boats Sigma-2 and Sigma-15 attacked by speedboats. Both fishing boats seized, crew not kidnapped (two sailors wounded). Unidentified Cuban Revolutionary Navy patrol boat re-seized the boats Sigma-2 and Sigma-15 when used by their captors to ferry a load of weapons on Cuba on 21 February. 2 killed and 8 prisoners. Details are uncertain: these are effectively the first naval successes of the Cuban Revolutionary Navy.
Most likely, motor torpedo boats of project123K or project183 involved (Cuba received batches of both classes in 1962).

19 March 1963
“Alpha-66” and “Second Front” made a coordinated attack with two speedboats (armed with 20mm and machineguns, 12-15 crewmembers) attacking the Soviet merchant Lvov in Isabela de Sagua harbor. Soviet merchant suffered minor damages and guards on the ship wounded two terrorists. Other 6 Soviets wounded in a nearby camp on shore after the enemy strafed it.

27 March 1963
“Comandos-L” speedboat Phoenix (20mm and machineguns) attacked Soviet merchant Baku (cargo: 10.000tons of sugar), inflicting minor damage with an explosive charge attacked on the hull.
Many sources claim the ship sunk, but damage was small. Soviet Union demanded compensation from the United States.

1 May 1963
American destroyer USS Harold J.Ellison deliberately rammed Cuban schooner Joven Amelia (cargo of food) close Guantanamo base.

25 June 1963
Unidentified Cuban Revolutionary Navy patrol boat briefly engaged with an enemy speedboat, suffering 1 WIA.
The actual battle lasted for 2 hours, with unknown effect on the speedboat. The following day, other Cuban Revolutionary Navy vessels dispatched to hunt the enemy (one carrying onboard 65 armed police officers) but found no target.

8 - 14 August 1963
Action off Cayo Anguila
Unidentified units of the Cuban Revolutionary Navy intercepted and seized back the two fishing boat off Cayo Anguila on 14 August. Four members of Miami-based group captured, while 15 sailors liberated.
There is some confusion with Cuban sources: but apparently, these fishing boats (a third one escaped) originally seized on 8 August. Differently from the similar action in February, the enemy apparently had no time to press in service the two boats as done for Sigma-2 and Sigma-15. Most likely, motor torpedo boats of project123K or project183 involved (Cuba received batches of both classes in 1962).

October 1963
Cuban security officers disarmed a bomb onboard the steamer Las Villas. Merchant departed with a cargo of goods from Italy and the bomb was likely planted by agents in Genoa harbor, but the fuse mechanism didn’t work and was discovered.

21 October 1963
Action off Cape San Antonio (or “Cabo Corriente” Ambush)
A significant battle occurred when the CIA mothership Rex (a former submarine chaser) attempted to land a team of 12 selected raiders (“Commandos Mambises”) on Cuban coast near cape San Antonio (Pinar de Rìo Province). Cuban intelligence knew about the raid in advance due infiltration.
The Cuban armed forces ambushed the team with a coordinated attack.
Raiders attempted landing with two 6-meters fiberglass motorboats (both armed with machine-gun): each of them landed an inflated raft, but Cuban troops on shore initiated the fight shredding one raft (killing the raiders on it) and capturing the other men disembarked on shore.
Cuban Revolutionary Navy group (Commander Rolando Días Astaraín) rushed to attack the enemy with four submarine chasers (project122bis) and three motor torpedo boats (project 183).
One speedboat suffered damage on rudder, slowed down and captured by a Cuban motor torpedo boat.
Occupants of the second speedboat blocked on sea the Liberian-flagged merchant G.Louis (32500 tons), sailing from Jamaica to Texas with a cargo of bauxite and embarked on it, abandoning their speedboat on sea (later seized by Cuban vessels). Cuban Air Force believed the merchant to be a mother-ship and MiG-15bis fighters (with backing of Il-4R armed with 250kg bombs and 2 Mi-4 helicopters) damaged the enemy-controlled ship. Soviet advisor involved in air operation’s direction from ground.
US Navy F-4 Phantos-II flew to help the merchant but did not directly engaged the Cuban fighters. After realizing the mistake, Cuban fighters properly identified motership Rex and chased her away from Cuban waters.
The mother-ship was a 110ft class sub. chaser. Apart “Rex” a sister-ship was operative too named “Leda”. Both officially owned by a CIA-led dummy company. Weapons included 2 40mm guns, a recoilless rifle, 2 20mm guns and machine guns. One captured speedboat was preserved in a Cuban museum.

23 December 1963
Cuban motor-torpedo boat LT-85 (project183) sunk in Siguanea harbor by limpet-mine, while the nearby LT-94 suffered damages (4 KIA, 17 WIA).
Among the killed there was commander of LT-94, the torpedo boat however was repaired (while the first ship was a total loss).
Attack claimed by “Comandos Mambises” as revenge for the Action off Cape San Antonio
The boat was indeed the only modern proper modern military warship fully confirmed as lost due enemy action, after submarine chaser El Baire sunk in 1961. Some Cuban sources wrongly say the attack occurred 27 December also wrongly identify the ship as “LT-385”. Also there is great confusion about her class: many source say project123K, but she was actually project183.

29 December 1963
The Cuban fleet, in coordination with the ground forces, ambushed and captured a group of infiltrators in Río Mosquito near Mariel. No details of number, composition, fate of the crafts involved.

On unclear date (either in 1965 or 1966)
Cuban submarine chasers CS-301 accidentally collided with sister-ship CS-304 (captain: Medez Frega), while chasing an intruding infiltration craft.
The ship was stuck in the radio room and the radio operator went missing at sea.

28 March 1964
The Cuban Revolutionary Navy was instrumental for the capture of the counter-revolutionary leader Emilio Carretero, of the “Escambray guerrilla” operating into Cuba.
An unidentified Cuban vessel (in cooperation with the Intelligence) organized a trap, posing as US vessel on the purposed mission to bring him away from Cuba to safety in Miami.
To deceive the enemy, a couple of English-speaking men spoke in English “offering whiskey” and showing-off stereotypical American behavior but the trick almost discovered when a sailor accidentally fell overboard and spoke Spanish, in the end the leader and his escort party was successfully captured.
Emilio Carretero subsequently executed.

8 June 1964
Cuban fishing boat (still unidentified) attacked by speedboats. Three crewmembers wounded.

10 June 1964
A ground patrol of Cuban Revolutionary Navy members attacked on shore (1 KIA, 2 POW) by disembarked men from a speedboat. The terrorists departed and seized on sea the fishing boat Elvira.

13 June 1964
Cuban fishing boat Armando-II sunk by speedboat. Two crewmembers wounded.

1 August 1964
A sabotage on Cuban merchant ship Manuel Ascunce Domenech killed 1 sailor.
Unclear details.

9 August 1964
An explosion by bomb placed on the hull of the Cuba merchant María Teresa (1000tons) in Montreal (Canada).
The ship was carrying a cargo of food for children, the attack (claimed by the “Movimiento Nacionalista Cubano“) caused no real damage to the vessel. Terrorists asserted they “stole documents” from the ship, but no actual boarding.

31 August 1964
An observation point of the Cuban Navy strafed by speedboat. No casualties.

13 September 1964
Spanish merchant Sierra Aranzazu (2984 tons) (cargo of food and toys for kids) shelled by two armed boats Monty and Gitana (Swift class, both directly supplied by CIA, 40mm and 20mm weapons) of the MRR (Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria) directed by the command-ship “Santa María”. 3 Spanish sailors killed and 17 wounded.
Survived crewmembers saved by Dutch merchant P.G. Thulin, the following day Cuban motor torpedo boats detected the burning ship and on 15 September, the tugs Ten de Octubre and Macabì extinguished the fire and towed her, under cover by MiG-17 fighters. The US Coast Guard ship USCGC Reliance observed the operations without providing help and actually hampering the rescue operation until a pair of MiG-17 fighters approached.
Interestingly, at the time Spain was under the American-backed fascist rule of Dictator Francisco Franco. The Cuban government paid direct compensation for the families of the three fatalities and took all financial and transportation duty for the damaged ship towing her to Spain. The behavior of the Cuban government made a good press impression, while the MRR’s credibility was damaged.
As direct consequence, the American administration suspended and eventually stopped support to the MRR (Interestingly, the patrol boats were airlifted to Congo in a failed attempt to kill or capture Che Guevara in Lake Tanganyika).

8 October 1964
Cuban fishing boat Carlos Reitor attacked by speedboat. 1 sailor wounded.

9 October 1964
Cuban fishing boat Hecta-I sunk by speedboat. Crew abandoned on sea.

?? January 1965
MRR patrol boats Monty and Gitana engaged two Cuban vessels at La Coloma. They attempted to communicate with a group of infiltrators previously landed to recover them, but the message was clearly a set-up trap. A reconnaissance Cuban plane followed the boats and attempted attacking but patrol boats successfully escaped to Nicaragua. Apparently it was the last significant naval action in Cuban waters committed by MRR.

17 May 1965
A speedboat (model V-2) seized during a failed infiltration attempt at Santa Cruz del Norte.
Unclear number of prisoners, scarce details about possible participation of naval forces.

13 November 1965
Cuban ground troops opened fire from the shore (near Havana) on speedboat during infiltration or strafing attack.

12 March 1966
Cuban fishing boats Lambda-2 and Lambda-17 attacked and sunk by speedboats (one named Santa Marina). Fate of sailors left undescribed by sources (either kidnapped or left the boats).

16 April 1966
Mutiny onboard Cuban missile-boat LC-274 (project183R) to attempt defection. Another mutineer onboard sister-ship LC-271 damaged the radar to prevent help to LC-271.
The mutineers murdered the commander, but the second-in-command (died of wounds after the incident) took a M-52 rifle and wrestled control of the ship.
One of the mutineer jumped in water and went missing (died on sea).
In the end, the defection plot failed and three mutineers executed.

29 May 1966
Action of Monte Barreto
“Comandos-L” infiltrated two assassins to attempt murdering leader Fidel Castro but they were discovered close Havana and killed (interestingly, the CIA-linked assassin Hermino Diaz Garcia, currently suspected of involvement with the killing of American president J.F. Kennedy).
Cuban motor torpedo LT-128 and LT-141 (both project 123K) intercepted the speedboat (identified as a “Type V-20”, 23-feet long): a violent gunfire battle begun.
Flotilla commander Lt. José Téllez-Girón led the operation onboard LT-141.
LT-128 and LT-141 suffered minor damages due enemy fire (each of them had 1 WIA), and crew opened fire with light weapons at close range, until LT-128 scored mortal hits and sunk the speedboat.
“Comandos-L” commander Tony Cuesta lost his hand and his sight when attempting to launch a hand-grenade (he claimed it was during an attempt to scuttle the vessel, but this is likely wrong).
He was captured (eventually released, likely with a secret deal) alongside a second man, while two others died in the battle.
Two Cuban submarine chasers (project201M) and other motor torpedo boats on sea did not joined the battle in time. An Il-14 plane provided support and cover to LT-128 and LT-141 during the battle.
The action was the only Cuban naval success with direct sinking (rather than seizure) of the enemy target during a proper naval fight.

27 June 1966
Cuban fishing boat Alberto boarded by speedboat and one sailor killed.

21 April 1968
Cuban fishing boats Lambda-72 and Lambda-100 attacked and sunk by speedboats. Unclear if sailors kidnapped or allowed to return to coast, no casualties reported.

Unclear day (first week) January 1970
“Alpha-66” attempted to land men using two boats but hit by tropical storm and one boat capsized (other boat was rescued by Americans from Guantanamo bay).
One man died: “Alpha-66” was unaware about his identity (he was an agent of the Cuban intelligence).

10 May 1970
Cuban fishing boats Plataforma-1 and Plataforma-4 sunk (each 37tons of size) by “Alpha-66”.
11 sailors brought to a small island of Bahamas and later recovered after a week.
Some months later, Plataforma-1 and Plataforma-4 lifted, repaired and returned to service.

10 October 1970
Cuban fishing boats Aguja and Plataforma-4 attacked by speedboats and sunk.
11 sailors abandoned on sea (one survived despite being stabbed at throat) and rescued by Cuban helicopters three days later.

12 October 1971
Attack in Boca de Samá
Speedboats used to strafe and attack coastal military and civilian targets on Cuba, but the raid against Boca de Samá village (close Banes) reached a peak of brutality with heavy consequences.
Two “Alpha-66” speedboats strafed the village, killing two men (a member of State Department and a guard, both disarmed) and wounding 4 civilians (including 2 children). The attack provoked a strong political and social response and the Cuba Revolutionary Navy initiated an operation to hunt the “Alpha-66” mother ships.

5 December 1971
The Cuban Navy achieved one of two subsequent significant coups to defeat the seaborne capabilities of “Alpha-66”.
Four Cuban submarine chasers (project201M) intercepted the mother ship Layla Express (690tons) close Bahamas water (100 miles from Cuba): CS-309 boarded and seized the ship. 14 crewmembers captured. The ship privately owned and carried a Panama’s flag.

15 December 1971
A second important success against “Alpha-66” small naval fleet.
Once again, project201M submarine chasers in action: CS-307 strafed, rammed and finally boarded the mother ship Johnny Express (689tons). (11 crewmembers captured; three of them wounded including the captain). Onboard Johnny Express Cuban sailors also discovered a speedboat.
The double seizures in December 1971 was a serious blow to the naval capabilities of “Alpha-66”.
Obviously, many sources of the time denied the connection of ships with the terrorist organization. Later revelations however give fully confirmation, suggesting also the ships were manned by CIA (this explains the quick release of all the crewmembers). Interestingly the secret deal for the release mediated by Manuel Noriega (the Panamanian CIA asset, essential for the South American drug-traffics of the American intelligence office, later placed as ruthless dictator of the small nation and eventually toppled by the same Americans when his usefulness come to an end).
Both “Layla Express” and “Johnny Express” ultimately released and went to Panama. Their fate is unknown, but Cuban Navy intentionally made no maintenance or repairs and both vessels were prone to sinking (likely sold for scrapping). Anyhow, neither of them returned to her terrorist “career”.

8 October 1972
A speedboat (model FV-28) with two men attempting to infiltrate into the Oriente Province captured. It is unclear if action involved Cuban naval forces or only ground patrols.

28 January 1973
Cuban fishing boat Plataforma-1 attacked on sea by armed speedboat. Some damages inflicted, one sailor wounded.

11 September 1973
During the CIA-backed coup in Chile, against the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende, the Chilean destroyer Blanco Encalada opened fire against the Cuban fishing ship Playa Larga chasing it away from Chilean waters.

4 October 1973
Two armed boats of the FLNC (“Frente de Liberación Nacional Cubano”) sunk the fishing boats Cayo Largo-17 and Cayo Largo-34.
One man killed (member of the national militia) and the others abandoned on sea without water or food, but successfully recovered by Cuban helicopters.

1 August 1974
Unidentified units of the Cuban Navy intercepted and seized the speedboat “Malù” (Thunderboat design) close Boca Ciega, capturing three members of the FNCA (“Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana”), with weapons and explosives onboard. It is unclear the identity of the Cuban boats involved: possibly motor torpedo boats of project183, due their high speed

2 November 1975
Soviet cruise-ship S.S. Maksim Gorkiy while at anchor in Puerto Rico with cruise passengers onboard suffered two explosions on the hull, with light damages. No group officially claimed the attack.

28 December 1975
Another attack in Puerto Rico, on the Soviet cruise-ship S.S. Maksim Gorkiy while at anchor in San Juan. A hand grenade launched on the ship, wounding a sailor and causing little damage. This time the attack openly claimed by Miami-based terrorists.

12 February 1976
Soviet tanker Dhzordano Bruno (31294 GRT) attacked by speedboat while anchored in Bahamas.
No casualties and no damage.

6 April 1976
Cuban fishing boats Ferro-119 and Ferro-123 sunk by FLNC speedboat: one sailor killed and three wounded (one later died of wounds).
Survivors on rafts saved by a Norwegian merchant (brought to Miami and then returned to Cuba) and by fishing boat Ferro-23. This was the last naval attack by Miami-based terrorists against Cuban fishing boats.

22 July 1977
The large Cuban fishing-vessel Rio Jobabo (2579 GRT) sunk in the Peruvian harbor of El Callao.
The ship sunk likely by explosive device planted into the ship or limpet mine. From 1968 to 1977 a socialist-oriented military junta governed Perù (a peculiarity in the South American Cold War scenario) remarked by a bloodless initial coup and subsequent social reform and opposition to the brutal US-backed Chilean dictatorship.

10 October 1977
The large Cuban fishing-vessel Rio Damuji (2579 GRT) damaged in the Peruvian harbor of El Callao. Damage done by explosive device into the ship or limpet mine. Interestingly, the ship is currently (2018) in service as converted patrol vessel in the Cuban Revolutionary Navy.
The real attackers of Rio Jobabo and Rio Damuji are unknown: with the weakening of Miami-based groups and the dwindling interest of CIA for such actions, the Chilean regime of general Pinochet is a likely culprit.

14 February 1978
A terrorist attached to the Cuban ship Mar Verde with a bomb reportedly caused her sinking in Spanish harbor. There are scarce details over this loss, possibly the ship was recovered (no such vessel exists in known database of sunk vessels).

12 July 1979
Close Western Sahara, the Cuban tankers Morobobo and Gilberto Pico strafed by two Moroccan aircrafts, killing the captains of both vessels and wounding two other sailors of Gilberto Pico. At the time, Morocco engaged into a bloody war against the Polisario front, the Socialist-aligned resistance movement fighting for against the western-backed occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco.

10 May 1980
Sinking of the Flamingo
The patrol ship HMBS Flamingo of the Royal Bahamas Defense Forces seized the two Cuban fishing boats Ferro-54 and Ferro-165 for supposedly fishing on their national waters.
A couple of MiG-21 strafed the HMBS Flamingo sinking her (4 KIA, 3 WIA). The survivors, alongside the 8 Cuban fishermen reached the coast with the fishing boats: the next day MiG-21 made further distracting fly-by over the Bahamans Ragged Island’s only settlement (Duncan Town) while helicopters Mi-8 landed troops to recover the fishermen.
From a military point of view, the attack was a success but the Cuban Government admitted mistake and paid a compensation for political reasons claiming to have mistakenly identified the ship as “hijackers” (referring to the seizures of the past years).

23 October 1983
Grenada Invasion
During the American aggression against the socialist government in Grenada there was a single but interesting episode of naval warfare. The very small revolutionary forces of the Island possessed only five small patrol boats but they proved valuable when spotting a group of American SEAL Special Forces. At least one PBL-type speedboat suffered engine damage during the patrol boat maneuver forcing the group to abandon the recce mission. Shortly before this meeting, 4 SEAL special forces declared MIA reportedly after drowning because of excessive equipment, they were lost alongside their own PBL-type speedboat.
Interestingly, despite declaring the casualties as missing, one veteran recalling hearing gunshots and having found no trace of them, no US analysts checked the hypothesis that the lost group possibly engaged and suffered an attack from the patrolling Grenadian boats!
The small Coast Guard had no other contacts with the invaders and remained in harbor.
Post-Invasion Grenadian sources have made no attempt (likely for no political interest) to further explore the incident.

17 September 1991
Two terrorists from a minor Miami-based group captured alongside their speedboat. It is unclear if ground troops or naval boats seized the boat.
They revealed how drug-traffickers owned and operated the mother ship hired for supporting their own landing attempt.

4 July 1992
An armed boat tried to strafe location nearby Havana but chased away by Cuban patrol boats nearby Varadero until rescued by the US Coast Guard (after suffering technical problems).
FBI released the men despite weapons and sensible material onboard.

2 April 1993
The Maltese flagged tanker Mykonos (mixed Cypriot and Cuban crew) (cargo of oil) machine-gunned by armed boat of by the “EAS” group, north of Matanzas. No casualties.

11 November 1993
Three members of the “PUND” (Partido Unido Nacional Democratico) captured close Varadero. Cuban sources claim they intentionally surrendered, defecting from the group.
Weapons, ammunition and the boat used for the landing captured. It is unclear if ground troops or naval boats seized the boat.
Some pro-Cuban sources incorrectly describe the incident as happened in 1994.

8 August 1994
A Navy lieutenant assassinated while attempting to prevent the hijacking of the small auxiliary boat La Habana (he was unarmed). The murderer fled to Florida where he received no punishment for the crime.

15 October 1994
Seven members of the “PUND” captured at Cayo Santa Maria. After it disembarked, the group assassinated a civilian to attempt stealing his car.
It is unclear if Cuban boats seized the boat that carried the terrorists, or it was action by ground troops. Cayo Santa Maria is a small island connected with a road to the mainland: it is likely Cuban vessels attacked the terrorists from sea and disembarked troops. Possible Cuban boats involved are project1400E patrol boats or smaller crafts.

11 February 1996
An armed boat of the “PUND” opened fire from sea against a Hotel, but blocked and seized by the Cuban Border Guard naval units (3 captured).
Terrorists threw off board their weapons (two assault rifles and a gun) before the capture. Possible Cuban boats involved are project1400E patrol boats or smaller crafts.

16 May 1996
Two men captured (one part of the “MRR”, the other part of the “Third Front”) close Santa Lucia.
Cuban ground or naval forces seized their boat (Boston type), alongside a rubber boat and a number of weapons (two assault rifles, 4 rifles, 2 guns, 1 crossbow), communication devices, ammunition and supplies.

16 September 1996
A single man landed from a boat at Punta Alegre, carrying weapons, ammunition and other military equipment. He was captured (unclear if by ground or naval action), alongside the boat (Boston Whealer type) he used. It seems he planned to hide the weapons for future operations on the island.
Some Cuban sources mistakenly say the incident happened in February.

26 April 2001
The last (so far) action against Cuba: three men from “Alpha-66” and the “Commandos F-4” group tried to land in Villa Clara Province, but coast guard troops on ground opened fire on their boat and took them prisoners. Seized four AKM rifles, one M-3 rifle with silencer, 3 handguns, other material including night visors.
Cuban sources describe a firefight with the boat and a “naval unit” of the Border Guard (“Tropas Guardafronteras”) forcing the enemy to attempt hiding into a small bay leading to the eventual destruction of the terrorist boat. It is likely the Border Guard vessel was a project1400E small patrol boat or a smaller Cuban-made fast boat.

6 February 2003
A group of four civilian defectors stole a small speedboat of the Guardafronteras and fled to the United States. Differently from the incident occurred in 1994, no casualties.

2 April 2003
A group of 11 armed terrorists (including 3 women) seized the small Cuban ferry Baraguá and attempted to reach the United States, keeping 29 civilians including children and French tourists as hostages. Once the ferry finished the fuel, the armed men threatened the life of the hostages if they would not receive enough fuel for their escape or a replacement boat. At the same time, the American Coast Guard dispatched two cutters alongside an FBI helicopter to rescue the terrorists, but despite this imminent threat the Cuban Border Guard patrol boat GC-040 (ex-pleasure boat), backed by a speedboat, intercepted the Baraguá and forced it back to Havana harbor. Once inside the harbor, a number of hostages managed to swim away from the ferry, while a negotiation resulted in the surrender of the terrorists. Navy’s divers on the scene rescued and helped the civilians swimming in water. Interestingly, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro personally took part at the negotiation. 3 of the terrorists were punished with death sentence (the last executed in Cuba, to date).

In the following 2010s, the Cuban Navy and the Guardafronteras focused entirely in operations to interdict human or drug’s smugglers heading for the American coasts (the Guardafronteras stationed off Maisì, employing the patrol boat GC-521 (project1400E) were particularly active in 2020 against marijuana smugglers). However, no other violent or anti-terrorist incident occurred since 2003. Interestingly the Cuban seamen begun attaching “victory-badges” to the hulls of the boats, in a personal new own naval tradition (visually different to western or Soviet-style victory marks).
Last edited by lupodimare89 on 28 Jan 2023 22:11, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 564
Joined: 07 Mar 2013 01:32

Re: (From Soviet-empire): Chronology of Cuban, Nicaraguan naval actions and other south american conflicts during Cold W

Post by lupodimare89 » 28 Jan 2023 22:05

DIFFERENCES with Soviet-empire last updated thread.
1) added 10 July 1983 incident

On unclear date, Nicaraguan patrol boat GC-301 “Tayacàn” claim to have shot down one Honduras A-37 plane (or a SM-B2 on different claim). No actual loss suffered.

7 June 1982
American frigate USS Trippe sailed close to Nicaraguan waters off Gulf of Fonseca. An American helicopter from the ship approached a Nicaraguan patrol boat that responded by opening fire. The helicopter flew away without reaction.

8 November 1982
Two patrol boats from Honduras and one from El Salvador briefly engaged with Nicaraguan patrol boats in the Gulf of Fonseca.

19 April 1983
Two Honduran patrol boats engaged two patrol boats of the Nicaraguan Sandinista naval forces that suffered four sailors wounded in action. Another Nicaraguan source mention the clash as occurred on 20 April: between two Nicaraguan patrol boats and one Honduran ship.

10 July 1983
Four speedboats manned by Contras attacked and seized the Nicaraguan fishing boat Langostera-160 and brought her to Costa Rica.

20 July 1983
Two Honduran patrol boats engaged one Nicaraguan patrol boat. Honduran sources define only one patrol boat and imply two Nicaraguan planes engaged.
One Honduran sailor wounded in action, when a patrol boat suffered hit from Nicaraguan fire.

23 July 1983
Two Nicaraguan fishing vessels attacked by two Salvadoran patrol boats in the Gulf of Fonseca.

1 September 1983
First naval landing, south of Bluefields, accomplished by Nicaraguan Navy, using one soviet-made Project 1400 Griff-type patrol boat (“Zhuk” class) and fishing boats.

9 September 1983
Honduran patrol boats engaged two Nicaraguan patrol boats but retreated after a skirmish.

10 October 1983
Raid in Corinto
From a CIA “mother-ship” departed Contras commandos on speedboats shelling with rockets 5 oil storage tanks in the port terminal with damages. Fuel ignited caused widespread damages to local civilian area, while losses were avoided due evacuation (3.000 persons evacuated), with only three wounded.

21 October 1983
CIA Speedboats opened fire against the fuel depots at Port Cabeza, without reported damage, and gunned the Panamanian ship “Anita” which was in port, killing 1 and wounding other 11 (including 3 children).

6 November 1983
Honduran navy shelled and sunk a Nicaraguan fishing vessel, capturing the ship’s crew.

6 January 1984
CIA speedboats launched rockets at Potasi port, no damage reported.

25 January 1984
Two CIA speedboats escorted by an unmarked aircraft fired upon the Nicaraguan fishing boat “Carlos Fonseca” off Puerto Sandino.

24 February 1984
One CIA/Contra “Piranha” speedboat shelled fuel depots at El Bluff on Atlantic Coast but without success: she left four mines before departing. The speedboat also shelled the fishing boats Aldo Chavarrìa and Pescasa-15, inflicting minor damages. A Nicaraguan patrol boat briefly exchanged fire with her but no damage reported on both sides. Nicaraguan sources states that the mine responsible for losses at 25 February (including the same Pescasa-15) were from this specific small field.

January – March 1984
Mining of Nicaraguan Harbors
CIA, under direct President Reagan order, begun a mining operation of Nicaraguan ports. The whole action saw no action of the Contras:
25 February 1984: Nicaraguan fishing boat Pescasa-23 (7 wounded, 2 missing) and Pescasa-15 (2 wounded) sunk at El Buff. Some sources incorrectly indicate the loss of patrol boat CG-301 “Tayacàn” by mine on this day.
1 March 1984: the Dutch dredger Geopontes-IV (2 Nicaraguans wounded) damaged in Corinto
7 March 1984: Panamanian-flagged English cargo North Caribes (4000 GRT) damaged (cargo: medicines, food and industrial supplies, 26 tons lost). 6 WIA.
20 March 1984: Soviet tanker Lugansk damaged in Puerto Sandino (cargo: 13.000 tons of fuel). 5 wounded.
27 March 1984: Liberian-flagged Norwegian merchant Iver Chasar damaged in Corinto (cargo: molasses).
29 March 1984: Nicaraguan fishing boats San Albino and Arcely Pérez sunk at Corinto (no casualties).
30 March 1984: Nicaraguan fishing boat Alma Sultana damaged in Corinto. (4 wounded)
30 March 1984: Japanese merchant Terushio Maru damaged in Corinto (cargo: bicycles, auto spare parts, construction material and cotton).
2 May 1984: Nicaraguan fishing boat Pedro Araus Palacios damaged in Corinto.

Overall, 2 Nicaraguan civilian sailors died and 15 other sailors were wounded (including 4 Soviets from the tanker).
The campaign failed to inflict serious losses to the military capabilities of the Nicaraguan Army against the Contras and caused political and inner repercussion to the CIA and the Reagan administration.

While it is true that at first the Nicaraguan Navy operated only fishing boats as minesweepers (as widespread claimed by western sources), the Soviets quickly provided four Polish-built 361T project minesweepers: n°500, n°502, n°504 and n°506, reinforced by other ships provided by the Cuban Navy: n°501, n°508, n°510 of project1258E. All these ships heavily engaged successfully in minesweeping (likely with support from Soviet and Cuban advisors).

6 March 1984
For the first time, two Contra “Piranha” speedboats shelled Nicaraguan ground forces in Montélimar.

7 March 1984
Contra “Piranha” speedboats, supported by one unmarked (likely CIA) helicopter, fired at least five rockets at fuel storage facilities in the port of San Juan del Sur.

27 March 1984
Two Contra “Piranha” speedboats attacked the Nicaraguan patrol boat GC-300 (French-built) off Corinto, causing two wounded sailors.

28 March 1984
One Contra “Piranha” speedboat attacked the Panamanian merchant “Homin-7” with machine-guns while she was in Puerto Sandino harbor (cargo of 9700 tons of sugar)

29 March 1984
Two Contra “Piranha” speedboats believed to attempt landing mines off the Pacific coast, attacked by Nicaraguan patrol boats.
Nicaraguan sources claim one speedboat set-afire and destroyed, additionally they believed the boats operated from a larger CIA mothership off coast.
Local Nicaraguan commander at Corinto was Mario Aleman.

March 1984
Nicaraguan Navy made a successful landing and troop-ferrying using a Israeli-made Dabur-class patrol boat (sold to Nicaragua before the Revolution), fishing boats and LVTP-type landing crafts near San Juan de Nicaragua: a southern town temporarily seized by Contras.

16 May 1984
Action off Lausika
A group of “piranha” speedboats manned by ARDE Contra group detected and destroyed: two speedboats sunk and two speedboats captured, while other two survived units fled. There are scarce details of the operation: but it appears it was a combined-coordinated ambush or intercept due intelligence leakage on enemy side.

End of May 1984
One speedboat manned by Contras hit and sunk by Nicaraguan Air Force. With this, so far the Nicaraguan forces claimed a total of 7 enemy speedboats destroyed.

18 April 1985
Three Honduran airplanes attacked two Nicaraguan patrol boats, sinking GC-231 with casualties.
She was a Dabur-class patrol boat. Western sources often indicate the loss by ships.

28 September 1988
Up to six Honduran patrol boats clashed with a single Nicaraguan patrol boat that suffered 1 sailor killed. Unclear details as well identification of boats engaged.

October 1989
Nicaraguan minesweeper BM-503 and two Soviet export project 1400ME boats sank by weather.

On unclear day of 1990
One Nicaraguan patrol boat of Dabur class reportedly sunk by Honduras’ vessels.
There is extremely scarce data of this claim, and it remains unconfirmed.

Another unclear episode of 1990 is the loss of the Salvadoran patrol boat GC-5 for unclear causes.
It’s possible she sunk by bad weather rather than combat activity.

NOTE: Chile was affected by economic crisis with social unrest. The Navy's mutineers declared a political connection with the Chilean Communist Party but the revulutionary attempt (one of the first socialist-oriented in South America) quickly crushed by the government.

Between the night of 31 August and 1 September 1931
First mutiny of the battleship Almirante Latorre and other 14 units in the port of Coquimbo. Officers arrested and ships led by sailors: at first the sailors did not claimed a socialist-oriented political line but general demands to government.

3 September 1931
Mutiny in Talcahuano, with support of ground Navy personal, cadets and naval workers. Ships sails to Coquimbo bringing the number of the revolutionary fleet to 30 active vessels: it was a rare case on history when a fleet at war sailed without leading officers.
Mutineers declare a political nature of the insurrection, and the purpose to ignite a socialist revolution.
The Communist party could not be quickly mobilized and confrontation on ground were sporadic.

The transport ship Micalvi (850tons), sailed from Talcahuano to Lota, where she was supposed to take onboard a group of miners ready to join the sailors. She found a group of Carabineros waiting for her and forced to surrender.

5 September 1931
Chilean Army forced to surrender a garrison of soldiers who wanted to join the revolution into the Regimiento Mapio barracks at Valparaiso.
This was the only significant group of not-sailors military personal to attempt join the revolution.

Battle of Talcahuano
Chilean army attack the naval base of Talcahuano, conquering it the next day. The fighting was violent with many casualties on both sides (unclear the exact amount, no record survived). Not less than a thousand of revolutionaries captured. Until the very last moment of resistance, the sailors kept radio contact with the comrades at Coquimbo, but no help could be provided in time, such swift action from the Army was not expected.
The revolutionary destroyer Almirante Riveros (who did not sailed to Coquimbo because of troubles at machines) was hit by land artillery during the fighting, suffering heavy damages with dead and wounded (the exact number of human losses is unknown; they were disembarked on Quiriquina island).

6 September 1931
Bombing of Coquimbo
Chilean Air Force attack the revolutionary fleet.
The original task was to intercept the ships coming from Talcahuano; however, they missed the convoy and aimed to Coquimbo.
The composition of the attack force: 2 Junkers R-42 heavy bombers, 14 Curtiss Falcon and Vickers Vixen light bombers, two Vickers-Wibault Type 121 and two Ford 5-AT-C transports modified as light bombers.

Aircrafts planned to focus on the battleship Almirante Latorre, but they scored only one hit on the submarine Quidora (1 killed and 1 wounded).
Anti-aircraft fire, directed by the battleship Almirante Latorre, was effective: five aircrafts damaged but managed to fly back to the base, however one Curtiss Falcon shot down (pilots survived).
Even if the attack caused no major losses, the moral of the revolutionaries was affected: during the night, the destroyers Hyatt and Riquelme sailed to surrender to the government.

7 September 1931
The revolutionary minelayer Colo Colo reached Quiriquina Island, to support the local garrison of cadets. Once arrived she was approached by the submarine Rucumilla: the only submarine (and most significant vessel) in the hand of pro-government officers. The minelayer attempted to ram the submarine, and then chased the Rucumilla forcing her to retreat into the river Biobìo. Even if ended with no damage on both side, it was the most direct naval confrontation of the brief conflict.

Despite the successful defense at Coquimbo, the loss of one base, the firm action of the government and the lack of external help and support convinced the revolutionaries to lay down the arms. Sailors suffered court-martial and sentences to prison or execution (all executions later commuted).

A final violent aftermath occurred on 24 December, when a group of 30-armed members of the communist party attacked the Esmeralda Regiment barrack at Copiapò: during the fight, seven revolutionaries killed in addition to a soldier (a sergeant) and two civilians killed by crossfire. The following days, police raids arrested 17 communists and shot them.

Eventually the sailors who took part at the mutiny were all pardoned when a year later was established the short-lived Socialist Republic of Chile.
This brief left-wing government (established by a military-socialist coup, without the support of the communist party) lasted only from 4 June 1932 to 13 September 1932.

NOTE: I took interest of this conflict because the coalition attempting to overthrow dictator General Morínigo included the socialist-democratic Februarist Party and the Communist Party.

SOURCES: histarmar.com.ar; Tetãgua Sapukái: la insurrección obrera en la guerra civil paraguaya de
1947 by Castells, Carlos; cdsa.aacademica.org/000-019/477.pdf

7 March 1947
Beginning of the uprising of large part of the Liberal, Febrarista and Communist Party, forming a united front to topple the dictatorial regime of Morínigo. Part of the Armed forces joined the struggle against the unpopular dictator.

11 March 1947
The revolutionary coalition formed an alternative government at Concepción.

26 April 1947
Most of the Navy joined side with the Revolutionaries.

29 April 1947
Revolutionary sailors, with direct support of Communist militia of Sajonia, defended the city against the regime’s troops, but were outmatched. Ground artillery by governmental forces was a key factor of the enemy’s superiority.

30 April 1947
The riverine transport ship Teniente Pratt Gill (102tons) carrying survivors from Sajonia attacked by two aircrafts and forced to run aground at Río Pilcomayo.

5 May 1947
Regime forces dispatched the transport Mariscal Estigarribia (450tons) to Argentina, returning on 13 May with much-needed fuel. Argentinian support proved decisive to defeat the revolutionaries.

7 May 1947
The most powerful warships of the Navy, the riverine gunboats Paraguay and Humaitá, were in Argentinian harbor for repair when Revolutionary sailors took control of the ships. There were 4 wounded during the takeover of Paraguay, the two ships departed two days later to join the fight. The ships lacked ammunition, but sailors managed to acquire shells and light weapons in Uruguay.

11 June 1947
The revolutionary forces scored a victory during the ground battle of Tacuatí, but the success was not enough to win a military momentum and change the course of the conflict.

11 July 1947
A regime T-6 Texan aircraft spotted the revolutionary gunboats and hit Humaitá with a bomb, forcing her to run aground off Ituzaingó. Further airstrikes continued the following day.

15 July 1947
Further airstrike directed at the Revolutionary gunboats Paraguay and Humaitá

21 July 1947
Further airstrike directed at the Revolutionary gunboats Paraguay and Humaitá

Between 24 and 25 July 1947
Some of the sailors of the gunboats Paraguay and Humaitá, previously entrenched on the islands of Corateí and San Pablo suffered an attack from regime troops coming with the patrol boat Capitán Cabral and transport ship Tirador. Revolutionary sailors surrendered.

31 July 1947
The Revolutionaries had to abandon Concepción, but established an ad-hoc flotilla arming 3 riverine ships, 10 barges and 24 small boats. The flotilla intended to sail toward Puerto Ybapobó.

1 August 1947
The Revolutionary flotilla encountered and captured the regime-held patrol boat Coronel Martínez and the tugboat Ñeembucú after a hard fight. Interestingly, this proved to be a rare surface engagement of the conflict, and a Revolutionary victory! There is absolute scarce data and details of the fight. However when the ships reached Puerto Ybapobó, a regime aircraft hit a two-masted riverine ship that exploded with many casualties because of her cargo (explosive, ammunition, one aircraft and few trucks).

4 August 1947
The Revolutionary flotilla proved invaluable in ferrying 3000 troops at Arecutacuá, just 40km from Asunción, but during the last attempt to secure the capital the revolutionary troops had to pullback after running out supplies and ammunition.

13 August 1947
The Revolutionary gunboat Humaitá refloated and alongside Paraguay attempted to enter Paraguay River but received fire from enemy guns placed in Punta Jacquet Island. Both vessels suffered hits and forced to sail back to Argentinian Itá Ibaté two days later. Sailors further disabled the weaponry before abandoning the ship to internment.
The two river gunboats Humaitá and Paraguay, built in Italy in 1931 had an extremely long life in the Navy. Relatively large and powerful, played a key role in the Chaco War against Bolivia and took part both in 1947 Revolution and in the 1989 coup against the military regimes.

18 August 1947
With the failure of the offensive toward Asunción, the Revolutionaries on full-retreat abandoned their flotilla in Puerto Copacar.

20 August 1947
The Revolution officially defeated, paving the way to consolidate the one-party “Colorado” regime. The rule of General Morínigo followed in 1954 the rise to power of the brutal general Stroessner, with Nazi sympathies (sheltering many WW2) war criminals, and widely backed by the United States for his anti-communist repression.


ARGENTINA Insurgency
NOTE: I took no interest in researching or making a full chronology of the Falkland/Malvinas war. This is a brief account of Insurgent sabotage actions against the regime.

22 August 1974
Rio Santiago Raid
Frogmen of the guerrilla “Montoneros” group attacked in harbor the unfinished (but launched) destroyer ARA Santísima Trinidad. The ship received moderate damage due limpet mine, contributing one extra year of delay for the entry in service. The attack day chosen to commemorate a massacre occurred 3 years before when a number of guerrilla of the ERP executed into a base operated by Navy.

7 October 1974
Argentinian tanker Mykinai (2157 GRT) heavily damaged by explosive device planted on the hull.

1 November 1974
“Montoneros” successfully assassinated the chief of the Argentinian federal Police General Alberto Villar (and his wife), blowing up his yacht after attacking limpet mine. The team avoided to detonate the explosive (from distance) while the yacht was close to dock because of high presence of civilians, even if this meant to miss the opportunity to kill also a dozen of officials.

14 December 1975
“Montoneros” placed explosive on the yacht Itati, attempting to kill the commander of the Argentinian Navy, Admiral Emilio Massera. He survived uninjured while the vessel suffered heavy damages.


NOTE: This is a brief list of the most significant incidents occurred to the Venezuelan naval forces after the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution in XXI century.
DIFFERENCES with Soviet-empire last updated thread:
Added at the bottom of the page some new actions against drugs smugglers emplying semi-submersible crafts.

16 February 2011
French Navy captured the smuggling boat Titán (cargo: 3,6 tons of cocaine) heading to Honduras. The operation, in international waters, was coordinated with Venezuela, but it was the French Navy to achieve the seizure with the frigate Germinal. Venezuelan Coast Guard ship Guaicamacuto was involved in receiving the ship and the 6 smugglers (one Colombian and five from Honduras).
The boat later incorporated into the Venezuelan Navy as auxiliary patrol boat San Carlos.

3 October 2016
Once again a naval cooperation with the French Navy against the drug traffic.
The French frigate Germinal intercepted the smuggling boat Rio del Caribe: most of the cargo thrown off board. Also this time, Venezuelan Coast Guard ship Guaicamacuto took care of bringing the seized boat to Venezuela and the 8 arrested smugglers (all Venezuelan citizens).

30 August 2019
The Guyana-flagged tanker Wanderer (282 GRT) (cargo: 302tons of fuel) seized by Patrol boat PG-61 TN Fernando Gómez de Saa. Not returned and integrated with the new name “La Asunción” as an auxiliary supply ship. The seizure was the first full-confirmed victory for the Venezuelan Bolivarian naval forces.

31 October 2019
The Honduras tanker Mayan Princess (1934 GRT) (cargo: 280tons of fuel) seized by the Venezuelan Coast Guard ship Guaicamacuto while smuggling oil north of Isla de la Blanquilla. In 2020, she was undergoing the process of incorporation into the naval forces (similarly to “Wanderer”), but name and optical number still unknown.

30 March 2020
Venezuelan Coast Guard patrol ship Naiguatà intercepted the Portuguese-flagged cruise-ship RCGS Resolute (8445 GRT) believed to carry mercenaries to land on Venezuelan territory. After firing warning shots and attempting to drive the larger ship into Venezuelan harbor to seizure, the cruise-ship rammed and sunk the smaller patrol vessel. Photo evidence on the cruise-ship’s bow with minor damage indicate the point of collision. Subsequent video released by the Venezuelan Navy clearly show the cruise-ship kept sailing despite having the Naiguatà right on their bow with the imminent danger to sink or damage the much smaller ship. There were no casualties and the cruise-ship sailed away from Venezuelan waters.

3 – 4 May 2020
Macuto Bay Raid
The US Mercenary company “Silvercorp USA” attempted a seaborne landing to topple the Venezuelan government and to kill or capture the leadership.
Interestingly the whole operation turned a failure, largely to the ill-preparation of the mercenaries, their own divisions and an alert intelligence system of the Venezuelan forces and active participation of the navy. Patrol boat PG-61 TN Fernando Gómez de Saa (Daman design, built in Cuba) with two launches intercepted the speedboat La Gran Lismar on early hours of 3 May: she opened fire and chased the boat until capturing it with 4 men onboard. One men mercenary body was recovered from sea, and overall the enemy group suffered 6 killed, most apparently killed after landing on shore. The next day a second speedboat that had engine troubles was also captured with direct help of fishermen that alerted the authorities of the enemy location: other 8 mercenaries captured, including 2 American advisors.
Overall casualties after the immediate landing attempts include 6 killed (not 8 as reported at first) and 13 captured, but some other stragglers were captured between 5 and 6 May, raising the number of captured to 17.

9 May 2020
Venezuelan National Guard discovered and seized three speedboats of Colombian Army in Rio Orinoco, ARC-1160, ARC-1162, ARC-1823. The abandoned crafts had weapons and ammunition onboard; the Venezuelan government suspected a connection with the mercenary infiltration just occurred while Colombian government claimed they strayed by incident because “dragged by current”.

15 May 2020
Into Rio Orinoco River, Venezuelan Coast Guard riverine patrol boat PF-41 Guri seized the smuggler boat Miss Wendy, carrying a load of 1.2tons of fuel and arresting 7 smugglers. Riverine patrol boat, built in Venezuela.

NOTE: Numerous other operations against drugs-smugglers also happens. This involve capture of various smuggling boats, often manned by Colombians but also a semi-submersible craft on 3 October 2019 and even a more advanced small midget-submarine with relatively advanced features on 30 April 2022 (this craft was later placed as trophy-memorial into a Caracas' military base).

Return to “Other eras”