Pvt. Marc Good a medic with the Third Ranger Battalion gets ready to exit his Black Hawk helicopter during a military strike in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993.
Pvt. Marc Good a medic with the Third Ranger Battalion gets ready to exit his Black Hawk helicopter during a military strike in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993.
“Only the dead  have seen the end of war.” ~Plato

 

The Battle of Mogadishu, more commonly referred to as Black Hawk Down or, locally, as the Day of the Rangers (SomaliMaalintii Rangers), was part of Operation Gothic Serpent and was fought on 3 and 4 October 1993, in MogadishuSomalia, between forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II, and Somali militiamen loyal to the self-proclaimed president-to-be Mohamed Farrah Aidid who had support from armed civilian fighters.

Be sure to watch never before seen military footage of the battle below.

A U.S. Army force in Mogadishu, consisting primarily of U.S. Army Rangers from Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion,75th Ranger Regiment; C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), better known as “Delta Force“; as well as Air Force Combat Controllers and Air Force Pararescuemen and helicopters from 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, attempted to seize two of Aidid’s high-echelon lieutenants during a meeting in the city. Shortly after the assault began, Somali militia and armed civilian fighters shot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The subsequent operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters drew the raid, intended to last no more than an hour, into an overnight standoff in the city. The battle resulted in 18 deaths, 80 wounded, and one helicopter pilot captured among the U.S. raid party and rescue forces. One Pakistani soldier and one Malaysian soldier were killed as part of the rescue forces. American sources estimate between 1,500 and 3,000 Somali casualties, including civilians; SNA forces claim only 315 killed, with 812 wounded. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the Second Battle of Mogadishu of 2006.

Task Force Ranger—which consisted of an assault force made up of U.S. Army Delta Force operators, Army RangersAir Force PararescuemenAir Force Combat Controllers, four Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and an air element provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment—under Major General William F. Garrison‘s command executed an operation that involved traveling from their compound on the city’s outskirts to the center with the aim of capturing the leaders of the Habr Gidr clan, led by Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The assault force consisted of nineteen aircraft, twelve vehicles (including nineHumvees), and 160 men.

U.S. Marine Corps helicopter surveying a residential area inMogadishu as part of Operation Restore Hope (1992).

During the operation, two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by RPGs and three others were damaged. Some of the wounded survivors were able to evacuate to the compound, but others remained near the crash sites and were isolated. An urban battle ensued throughout the night.

Early the next morning, a combined task force was sent to rescue the trapped soldiers. It contained soldiers from the Pakistan Army, the Malaysian Army and the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. They assembled some hundred vehicles, including Pakistani tanks (M48s) and Malaysian Condor armoured personnel carriers and were supported by U.S. MH-6 Little Bird and MH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. This task force reached the first crash site and rescued the survivors. The second crash site had been overrun by hostile Somalis during the night. Delta snipers Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart volunteered to hold them off until ground forces arrived. A Somali mob with thousands of combatants eventually overran the two men. That site’s lone surviving American, pilot Michael Durant, had been taken prisoner but was later released.

The exact number of Somali casualties is unknown, but estimates range from several hundred to over a thousand militiamen and others killed, with injuries to another 3,000–4,000. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated 200 Somali civilians killed and several hundred wounded in the fighting, with reports that some civilians attacked the Americans. The book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War estimates more than 700 Somali militiamen dead and more than 1,000 wounded, but the Somali National Alliance in a Frontline documentary on American television acknowledged only 133 killed in the whole battle. The Somali casualties were reported in The Washington Post as 312 killed and 814 wounded.The Pentagon initially reported five American soldiers were killed,  but the toll was actually 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. Two days later, a 19th soldier, Delta operator SFC Matt Rierson, was killed in a mortar attack. Among U.N. forces, one Malaysian and one Pakistani died; seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded. At the time, the battle was the bloodiest involving U.S. troops since the Vietnam War and remained so until the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004.

On 24 July 1996, Aidid was wounded during a firefight between his militia and forces loyal to former Aidid allies, Ali Mahdi Muhammad and Osman Ali Atto. He suffered a fatal heart attack on 1 August 1996, either during or after surgery to treat his wounds.  The following day, General Garrison retired.

Read more: wikipedia.com

Never-before-seen military footage of “Black Hawk Down”

2 thoughts on “Black Hawk Down: Battle of Mogadishu

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

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