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Nicaraguan Naval Battles

Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 10 Jun 2018, 17:55
Nicaragua was the second Central-American nation to become a communist nation after the Sandinista insurrection gained power, ending the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza (later killed in exile).
Since the victory in 1979, Nicaragua gained a locally strategically role in the Cold War because the United States feared the small nation could be used by Cuba and Soviet Union as a “bridgehead” to support other communist guerrilla groups in central America. CIA, to topple the revolutionary government actively founded a number of anti-communist insurgent groups: these actions politically backlashed due constant political infighting and military ineptitude on the battlefields. “Contras” guerrilla groups infiltrated the northern and southern border of the country, faced a well-trained former guerrilla-army now military supported by Cuba and Soviet Union.
Murdering of civilians by “Contras” gained a bad international reputation, adding to the black operations by CIA to found the groups, including drug-traffic and weapons deliveries to Iran (a sworn enemy to the United States, the operation revealed in the “Iran-Contras affair”). While the Sandinista government managed to fend-off the Contras, the downfall of Soviet Union was a terrible political blow and eventually the communist experiment ended with contested political elections, amid suspects of direct intimidations from Contras to resume the conflict.

The Nicaraguan Navy was the smaller and most weak branch of military. While some Eastern Block minor vessels imported, there are only little information about possible clashes with boats or ferries used by “Contras”.
In essence, the naval conflict saw limited importance: a number of losses suffered, especially for the mining of Nicaraguan Harbors by CIA, however such action caused more an international uproar than tactical successes.

On unclear date, Nicaraguan patrol boat GC-301 “Tayacàn” claim to have shot down one Honduras A-37 plane. No actual loss suffered.

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 Nicaraguan patrol boats that suffered four sailors wounded in action.

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.

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 Panama 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.

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, and indeed was an act of undeclared war:
25 February 1984: two Nicaraguan fishing boats sunk in El Buff
1 March 1984: the Dutch dredger “Geopotes-IV “damaged in Corinto
7 March 1984: Panamanian cargo “Los Caribes” damaged (cargo: medicines, food and industrial supplies).
20 March 1984: Soviet tanker “Lugansk” damaged in Puerto Sandino (cargo: 13.000 tons of fuel).
27 March 1984: one Nicaraguan shrimp boat destroyed in Corinto.
27 March 1984: one Liberian ship damaged in Corinto (cargo: molasses).
29 March 1984: one Nicaraguan fishing boat destroyed in Corinto.
30 March 1984: one Nicaraguan shrimp boat destroyed in Corinto.
30 March 1984: one Japanese ship damaged in Corinto (cargo: bicycles, auto spare parts, construction material and cotton).
2 May 1984: Nicaraguan fishing trawler “Pedro Araus” damaged.

Overall, 2 Nicaraguan civilian sailors died and 15 other sailors were wounded (including 4 Soviets from the tanker).
Possessing no minesweepers, mines swept using long fishing nets between two ships.
Overall 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.

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.

18 April 1985
Three Honduran airplanes attacked two Nicaraguan patrol boats, sinking GC-231 with casualties.
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