Battle of Mogadishu

From Academic Kids

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Mike Durant's helicopter -Super 64- heading out over Mogadishu on October 3, 1993.
Operation Gothic Serpent: ‘Irene’



October 3–4, 1993 (15 hours duration)




Capture of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's lieutenants


Aidid's Foreign Minister Omar Salad
Aidid's Top Political Advisor Mohammed Hassan Awale
Located in Mogadishu's Bakkara Market


Capture of Habr Gidr clan leaders.
Downing of two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

[1] ( (PDF document)
18 American combat deaths.
79 wounded American soldiers.
1 Malaysian combat death.
7 Malaysian wounded.
2 Pakistani wounded.
Estimated over 500 Somali dead and wounded.

Opposing parties
Assaulters Defendants
U.S. Special Operations Forces Mogadishu local militia and citizens
Gen. William Garrison
Joint Task Force Command Center
Unknown, local militia
160 more than 2,000 (city)
19 dead
73 wounded
350-700 (estimated)
American units involved in the battle
U.S. 10th Mountain Division

Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Air Force Air Commandos providing CSAR
Delta Force
Navy SEALs
Night Stalkers

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Map of key site in Mogadishu during the Battle.
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Rangers under fire in a Somali street near Irene's target building on October 3, 1993.
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Chalk Four Ranger returns to base after a mission in Somalia, 1993.
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Bravo Company, 3rd Batallion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Somalia, 1993.

The Battle of Mogadishu (also known as the Battle of the Black Sea) was fought between forces of the United States against Somalian guerilla fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid on October 3, 1993 in the Black Sea district of Mogadishu, Somalia.

A team of US Army Special Forces were executing an operation that involved travelling from their compound on the outskirts of the city to capture leaders of Aidid's militia. The assault force was composed of nineteen aircraft, twelve vehicles and 160 men. During the operation, two U.S. MH-60 helicopters were shot down by rocket propelled grenades (RPG) and three others were damaged. Some of the soldiers were able to evacuate wounded back to the compound, but others were trapped at the crash sites and cut off. An urban battle ensued throughout the night. Early the next morning, a joint task force was sent to rescue the trapped troops. It contained soldiers from Pakistan, Malaysia, and U.S. soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division. They assembled some 60 vehicles, including Pakistani tanks, Malaysian Condor armored personnel carriers, and were supported by US A/MH-6 Little Bird and MH-60 helicopters. This task force reached the first crash site and led the trapped soldiers out. The second crash site was overrun; the lone surviving American was taken hostage.

The battle resulted in the death of 19 American soldiers and another 73 wounded. One Malaysian soldier died and seven were wounded; two Pakistanis were also wounded. Somali deaths were not well recorded, but estimates put the number at 500-1000 Somali militia and civilians killed and 3000-4000 injured.


Operation Gothic Serpent

See Timeline of the Battle of Mogadishu for a detailed synopsis.

On October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger, a U.S. Special Operations Forces composed mainly of Rangers, Delta Force (1st SFOD-D) operators, and aviation support from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Night Stalkers), attempted to capture Aidid's foreign minister Omar Salad and top political advisor Mohamed Hassan Awale. The plan was to fast rope down from hovering MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, capture the targets, and load them onto a ground convoy for transport back to the U.S. compound. Four Ranger chalks, also inserted by helicopter, were to provide a secure square perimeter on the four corners of the operation's target building.

The ground extraction convoy was supposed to reach the captive targets a few minutes after the beginning of the operation. However, it ran into delays. Somali citizens and local militia formed barricades along the streets of Mogadishu with rocks and burning tires, blocking the convoy from reaching the Rangers and the captive targets. A five-ton truck, part of the convoy, was struck by a rocket propelled grenade.

Other complications arose. A U.S. Army Ranger, Private Todd Blackburn, was seriously injured during the insertion. Pvt. Blackburn fell while fast roping from a helicopter hovering 70 feet above the streets. Minutes later, a MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade.

There was confusion between the ground convoy and the assault team. The assault team and the ground convoy waited for twenty minutes just out of sight of each other, ready to move, but each under the impression that they were to be first contacted by the other. During the wait, a second Black Hawk was also downed.

Most of the assault team went to the first crash site for a rescue operation. Upon reaching the site, about 90 Rangers found themselves under siege from heavy militia fire. Despite limited air support, the Rangers were effectively trapped for the night.

At the second crash site, two Delta Force snipers, Sgt. First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, were inserted by helicopter to protect the wounded pilot from the approaching mob. Both soldiers were later killed by the mob. The site was overrun by Somali militiamen. The pilot, Mike Durant, was seriously injured during the crash. He was taken hostage. Shughart and Gordon each received the Medal of Honor posthumously for their heroic action during the battle. They both repeatedly volunteered to be dropped on the ground, against the advice of their superiors who knew the magnitude of the mob and the risk of the insertion.

Repeated attempts by the Somalis to mass forces and overrun these American positions were neutralized by the soldiers at the first crash site, aided by rockets and Gatling guns fired from strafing U.S. aircraft. Attacks by Somali militiamen were fended off during the night until reinforcements from the U.S. 10th Mountain Division aided by Malaysian and Pakistani U.N. forces arrived in the early morning. No contingency planning or coordination with U.N. forces had been arranged prior to the operation. This lack of planning complicated the rapid recovery of the surrounded U.S. soldiers at the first crash site.

The battle was over by the next morning, October 4 at 6:30 AM. American forces were finally evacuated to the U.N. Pakistani base. In all, eighteen US soldiers died of wounds acquired during the battle and another 79 were injured. The Malaysian forces lost one soldier and had seven injured, while the Pakistanis suffered two injuries. Casualties on the Somali side were heavy with estimates on fatalities from 300 to over 1000 people. The Somali casualties were a mixture of militiamen and local civilians. Two days later, a mortar fell on the US compound. This killed a nineteenth US soldier and injured another twelve.

The battle was the most intense urban battle faced by the U.S. forces during the Somalian U.N. mission and is often cited as the reason behind America's withdrawal from U.N. peacekeeping duties.

According to the American soldiers, Aidid's forces used civilians pushed out in front of their fighters as a screen. However, these civilian screens reduced after the Americans soldiers showed repeatedly that they were willing to fire and kill the screening civilians in order to reach their opponents.

Consequences of the operation

The Battle of Mogadishu started the development of the United States Marine Corps Urban Warrior program.

Military procedure for the operation

  1. 160th SOAR will provide air support for the operation:
  2. Infiltration:
    • Task Force Ranger (TFR) will fast-rope rappel from Black Hawk helicopters, providing perimeter security on 4 corners of the main target building.
    • 1st SFOD-D will insert on main target building from Little Birds.
  3. Capture of live targets.
  4. Exfiltration:
    • TFR Humvee convoy will extract all personnel.
    • 160th SOAR will provide escort security from air.

The book and the movie

In 1999, writer Mark Bowden published the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War which chronicles the events that surrounded the battle.

The book was adapted into the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, directed by Ridley Scott. The film describes the events surrounding the operation and some of the acts of bravery seen on that day. There are obvious differences between the book and the movie, which left out central sections and themes of the book, such as the involvement of civilians in the battle, and de-emphasized the key decision to stay in the area after the initial operation was completed, among others.

Mike Durant told his own story in his 2003 book In the Company of Heroes.

Links with al-Qaida

There have been allegations that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida movement was involved in training and funding of Aidid's men. According to CNN, al-Qaida claimed to supply a large number of rocket propelled grenades to Aidid's fighters. Bin Laden himself denied accusations of giving military aid and training to Aidid's men but openly praised the attack and killing of the 18 American soldiers. Reportedly, al-Qaida operatives had instructed Somali militiamen on ways to modify rocket propelled grenades to make them more effective against Black Hawk helicopters, for instance, by adding curved guide tubes to aim rocket exhaust in a safe direction.

External links

  • Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War ( - Featuring the text of the original articles, photos, and interviews with former soldiers involved in the battle.
  • Task Force Ranger Memorial. ( - Memorial to the fallen US Army Personnel

Former combatants' websites


  1. Bowden, Mark (March 1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War ( Atlantic Monthly Press. Berkeley, California (USA).
  2. Day, Clifford (March 1997). Critical analysis on the defeat of Task Force Ranger ( (research paper). Air Command and Staff College Research Department. US Department of Defense. United States of America.
  3. Richard W. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia, 1992-1994. US Army Center for Military History. 2003 [2] ( von Mogadischu

es:Batalla de Mogadiscio ja:モガディシュの戦闘 pl:Operacja w Mogadiszu


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