Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Cuba in World War II
On April 2, 1940, some forty thousand Confederate Marines, under the command of Brigadier General Holland Smith (an ironic name for a Confederate), serged across the Florida Strait. Landing at and around Havana was largely unopposed, save by a few irregular militia. The city fell without a fight, and a supply line was established between Havana and Confederate ports along the Gulf Coast. The lone U.S. Naval squadron in the city found itself victim of the Confederate Air Force. In one of the few clear-cut Confederate victories of the short war, the American squadron was sent to the bottom, with most of its crew.
The victory was short-lived, as Smith failed to carry up his attack and completely subjugate the entire island. Opposing him was but a small U.S. Marine garrison of ten thousand under the overall command of Colonel Marion “Duke” Morrison. Instead of fighting them straight on, and since a USMC unit has never surrendered, Morrison gave the order to break up his unit and take to the hills. The guerilla war lasted until badly needed reinforcements could come in from the north. In response to these attacks, the Confederates enacted harsh reprisals against the civilian populations under their control, including taking of hostages for each attack.
After a month of fighting, and slowly being bled, Smith ceased patrols in the countryside under platoon strength, and fortified his own positions within the cities. As the war entered its second month, the United States Navy began to take control of the waters around Cuba, severing supplies with the mainland. With the landing of the U.S. Army, under the command of Eisenhower, Smith soon found himself outnumbered and now the hunted. He fought a delaying action as Eisenhower slugged his way north and west from Guantanamo (which the Confederates failed to take).
Trapped in Havana and under siege, it was Smith who was forced to surrender along with his surviving Marines, thus ending the existence of the C.S.M.C. in October of 1940. His defeat paved the way for Operation Overlord, and the end days of the Confederate States themselves. For his own actions on the island, Morrison found himself promoted to Brigadier General, and put in command of a Marine Division in the Pacific.