People's Revolutionary Army (Grenada)

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The People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) was the military of Grenada between 1979 and 1983.

History[edit]

The army was originally founded in the late 1970s as the National Liberation Army (NLA) by 12 members of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) who were known as “The 12 Apostles” including Hudson Austin and 11 others who had gone for secret military training in Guyana in preparation for the overthrow of the government of Eric Gairy.

After the New Jewel Movement seized power, the army expanded at a rapid pace. By 1983 Grenada’s People’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (PRAF) outnumbered their Eastern Caribbean neighbors combined.[1] The Soviet Union and Cuba supplied most of the weapons, and selected soldiers and officers were trained in those countries. By 1983 the Movement was split over the communist connection with one faction being led by Maurice Bishop who wanted closer ties with the west, and Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, who wanted to speed up the conversion to a communist state with the backing of General Hudson Austin.

On 13 October, Coard had Bishop placed under house arrest after he failed to step down. Over the next few days, pro-Bishop demonstrations occurred throughout the island and a general strike was called in St. George's. On 18 October, demonstrators surged through the city chanting pro-Bishop and anti-Coard slogans while police and PRA soldiers watched. The protests reached a climax on 19 October, when foreign Minister Unison Whiteman returned from New York where he was scheduled to address the United Nations, began to negotiate for Bishop's release. Whiteman addressed a growing crowd in the streets of St. George's. The crowds went to Mount Royal to free Bishop themselves. At first, Bishop's guards held their ground and even fired warning shots, but eventually were outnumbered and the demonstrators freed Bishop. Bishop, Whiteman and the demonstrators then went to Fort Rupport to free several of his ministers. Fort Rupport was being used as a base for the People's Revolutionary Army.

The PRA called in reinforcements, including 3 BTR-60s and additional troops. The PRA opened fire on the crowd. Over 100 Grenadians were killed, including the column commander, Officer Cadet Conrad Meyers, and two other soldiers. The PRA quickly rearrested Bishop, Whiteman, the other Ministers, and three supporters. The Education Minster Jaqueline Creft was beaten to death. The others were shot to death.

After Bishop's death, Hudson Austin established the Military Revolutionary Council and imposed a 24 hour immediate curfew. Violators were to be shot on sight. The curfew lasted four days and many prominent citizens were arrested. This included former Bishop officials, PRA officers and NJM members thought to be disloyal.[2]

On 25 October 1983, 7,600 troops, mostly from the United States along with some from the Caribbean Peace Force invaded Grenada encountering resistance from 1,200 to 1,500 troops of the People's Revolutionary Army. Many of the Grenadian troops surrendered, but some put up stiff resistance against the U.S.-led invasion force.

By 27 October 1983, most of the Grenadian soldiers had either fled into the jungles or shed their military uniforms in an attempt to blend with the civilian population. Some of these soldiers were pointed out by their opponents to U.S. troops and arrested, while many others returned to Cuba with the help of their supporters.

Equipment[edit]

Weapons[edit]

Crew served weapons[edit]

Armored vehicles[edit]

Anti aircraft guns and artillery[edit]

  • Flag of the Soviet Union.svg 12 ZU-23-2[17]
  • Flag of the Soviet Union.svg 4 Ex-Cuban ZiS-3 76.2mm Field guns (not used during the invasion)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Russell, Lee; Mendez, Albert (1985). Grenada 1983. 12-14 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LP: Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 3. 
  2. ^ Russell, Lee; Mendez, Albert (1985). Grenada 1983. 12-14 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LP: Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. pp. 24–28. 
  4. ^ a b c Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 40. 
  5. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 23. 
  6. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 22. 
  7. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. pp. 28–29. 
  8. ^ Russell, Lee; Mendez, Albert (1985). Grenada 1983. 12-14 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LP: Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 44. 
  9. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 34. 
  10. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 33. 
  11. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 32. 
  12. ^ a b Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 15. 
  13. ^ a b Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 30. 
  14. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 16. 
  15. ^ a b Russell, Lee; Mendez, Albert (1985). Grenada 1983. 12-14 Long Acre, London WC2E 9LP: Osprey Publishing Ltd. p. 21. 
  16. ^ a b Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 18. 
  17. ^ Sylvia, Stephen; O'Donnell, Michael (1984). Guns of Grenada. Orange, VA, 22960: Moss Publications. p. 11. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Grenada 1983 by Lee E. Russell and M. Albert Mendez, 1985 Osprey Publishing Ltd., ISBN 0-85045-583-9
  • Guns of Grenada by Stephen W. Sylvia and Michael J. O'Donnell, 1984 Moss Publications, ISBN 0-943522-08-X

External links[edit]