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    FK and BSO merge

    Some time ago the CM team was approached by the BSO community. Due to low numbers in their own community and after some consideration, they have offered to join our ranks. After multiple discussions, the CM team decided to accept their offer. This will mean that BSO will dissolve most of their assets into our community. However, for the transitional period, they will remain as a group of players known as BSO and will be allowed to run their events within our community.
    NEW SERVER
    In the upcoming weeks, the BSO admins will set up their server box for our use.
    What the new box will provide for FK:
    1 server will be used to host a 24/7 persistent mission (Exile/Antistasi/I&A/etc.) 1 server will be used to host missions; with either the default FK modpack for overflow missions, training, or non-FK mod packs (Unsung/OPTRE/IFA/etc.) for special missions organized by the members of the communities. Other purposes can include things like a Minecraft or Space Engineers server. All servers on this box will operate under the FK's name and ruleset. Further information on what is gonna be running on the servers, how to request specific mods for the servers, booking procedures, and other information will be announced in a separate post.
    The server box is going to be supported by one of the BSO admins, Shadowfox, and he is willing to provide it for us free of charge.
    NEW MEMBERS
    The BSO members have requested that we don’t give them any preferential treatment, because they don't want to upset current members of FK by getting ranks or tags on day one. They will work through our current rank and tag system like everyone else. The only people that might be "fast-tracked" are the BSO admins for the sake of organization and a smooth transition from BSO to FK.
     
    The CM team would like to ask all current FK members to treat BSO members with respect, as you would for any new community member. The BSO guys have a very similar mindset to us; they have already played with us and enjoyed our missions. We expect fruitful cooperation between our communities and a successful merger.
     
    - Fuck Knows CM Team.

    Military History - Mogadishu & "The Day of the Rangers", 3-4th October, 1993

    BACKGROUND
    Somalia during 1993 was a nation in turmoil. The official government had toppled and the country had been carved up between various warlords and their private militias. The most prominent of these Warlords was Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Previously a general in Somalia's now defunct military, Aidid founded the Somali National Alliance, which started the Civil War when they drove out the countries President.
    Aidid's militia cemented an iron grip around the nation's capital of Mogadishu, locking off the countries main Airport and Port in the process. Aidid relied on fear and starvation to keep his populace in line, seizing food relief packages while a widespread famine ravaged the country. During the period of 1991 and 1992, it is estimated that 300,000 people died due to the lack of food. A crisis was declared in the United Nations.
    UN Peacekeepers were deployed to oversee food distribution within Somalia, but their low numbers were quickly found to be inadequate. in August of 1992, President George H. W. Bush launched Operation 'Provide Relief' and 10 C-130 transport aircraft and 400 personnel were deployed to Mombasa in neighbouring Kenya to aid the relief effort. Within 6 months, 48,000 tons of food had medical supplies had been airlifted into Somalia.
    While a noble effort, it proved to be too little. With over 500,000 Somalis now dead and 1.5 million having become displaced, investigations were called for. The UN commanders on the ground simply did not have the manpower to protect all the Aid Distribution Sites, with large amounts of relief supplies being seized by various warlords. President Bush, in conjunction with UN Resolution 794, launched Operation 'Restore Hope' in December 1992.

    American troops patrol through Mogadishu
    Restore Hope placed all UN Peacekeepers in Somalia under the command of the United States, and allowed the US to deploy combat troops to secure and liberate areas of Mogadishu in an attempt to lessen the vice-like grip of Aidid's milita, and to allow more UN Peacekeepers to be deployed.
    The USMC conducted amphibious landing operations within Mogadishu, with the aims of securing the port, airport and a Forwrad Operating Base within the city itself. Undertaking this task were elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and the 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Within two weeks, the Task Group had achieved its objectives, with over a 3rd of the city having been secured. Further groups from the 9th Marines and 7th Marines expanded out of the city, opening routes to Baidoa, Balidogle and Kismayo. They were joined by the US 10th Mountain Division at this time.
    With American troops patrolling the streets of Mogadishu, Aidid began his propaganda campaign, inciting the populace to believe that the Americans were here to conquer their city, and to colonise all of Somalia. This wasn't as absurd as it sounds, as only 60 years before the Italians had done the same thing, Western Colonisation was still within living memory of many of Somalia's elders. The US Marines patrolling Mogadishu soon found the populace resentful of their presence.

    A US Marine watches a checkpoint from the top of his vehicle 
    On 3rd March, 1993, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali recommended that the UN shift direction in Somalia. Now, they were to work with the warlords to create a new Somali Government and to work towards democratically electing a new president. Many of the warlords agreed. Mohamed Farah Aidid, did not. He instead began broadcast propaganda on Radio Mogadishu, telling the populace that the other warlords had abandoned Somalia to the West. Orders were cut by the UN Commanders to shut the radio down, to prevent Aidid from inciting unrest.
    Aidid learned of the plan, and gave his own orders to attack a Pakistani Peacekeeper task force. The result was 24 dead and 57 wounded Pakistani troops, 1 wounded Italian soldier and 3 wounded American soldiers. The UN Security Council passed resolution 837, calling for the arrest of Aidid and his lieutenants.
    On the 12th of July 1993, a US operation was undertaken to assault a safe house which was believed to house Aidid. During the 17 minute operation, Cobra helicopters fired 16 TOW missiles and thousands of 20mm cannon rounds into the compound in the heart of the city. The International Red Cross set the death count at 54 people. Aidid was not present. The populace of Mogadishu were enraged, and 4 journalists who arrived to cover the incident were killed by mobs in the street. Some historians believe that this event gave some "truth" to Aidid's claims of Western Imperialism in Somalia.
    It was clear to the UN and US commanders that the current strategy wasn't working. Following a bombing of a US military vehicle, President Bill Clinton announced the deployment of a Special Task Force to Somalia, with the aim of finding and arresting Aidid.
    Task Force Ranger was deployed to Somalia on the 22nd of August, 1993.
    TASK FORCE RANGER

    Members of 1st SFOD-D and 160th SOAR in front of one of the 160th Black Hawks. I could not find names for the men shown.
    As previously stated, Task Force Ranger was deployed to Mogadishu with the task of locating and arresting Aidid and his key lieutenants in an effort to disband his militia, the Habir Gidr. The TF Ranger deployed with over 400 personnel, primarily consisting of Rangers and Delta Force operators. It's important to note however, that the 10th Mountain were still deployed to Mogadishu in a peace keeping role - the 10th were present in the Battle of Mogadishu, despite what a certain popular film likes to portray. TF Ranger was billeted at Mogadishu Airport and began conducting information gathering operations and raids on Aidid's forces. The Task Force was comprised of the following units :
    B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment - commanded by Captain Michael D. Steele C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1 SFOD-D) - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Gary L Harrell 16 Helicopters and personnel from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR), including Black Hawks (Call Signs Super) and Little Birds (Call Signs Star) An undisclosed number of Navy SEALs from Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) An undisclosed number of Air Force Pararescuemen and Combat Controllers from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron. Side note : If you've not heard about the Air Force Pararescue Jumpers before, read about them. They're nuts.
    The Task Force was organised under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and commanded by Major General William F. Garrison. The carrier USS Abraham Lincoln & Carrier Air Wing 11 were operating within the region and had orders to deliver support to TF Ranger as a priority.
    TF spent several months locating and grabbing key members of Aidid's Militia in an effort to de-stabilise it and also to locate Aidid himself. Most notably, TF Ranger managed to secure Aidid's chief financier, Osman Ali Atto. It was around this time that JSOC received reports from Somali informants that a meeting was to be undertaken soon within the city which would have many of Aidid's top lieutenants present. Somali informants began keeping watch for the targets to arrive in the city, and Task Force Ranger built up a standard plan to secure them.
    It's important to note that the plan TF Ranger drew up was standard - they had already completed a few raids following the same procedures with minimal losses. However, all of these previous raids had a hard target in mind, the target building was already known to the soldiers. The raid being planned for was full of unknowns : The target building was unknown, the number of targets themselves was unknown, and since the target building had not been identified there was no concrete extraction route. There was a further complication; recently Somali morale had received a boost after a Black Hawk of the 10th Mountain was shot down by an RPG near the New Port, killing 3. It was a massive psychological boost to the Militia, who for the first time saw that these machines were able to be killed.
    ORDER OF BATTLE
    The ORBAT differs slightly from TF Ranger, as there were other UN forces who played varying roles in the engagement. I'm going to list them all here so when I refer back to them later it's not as confusing.
    Task Force Ranger : 
    C Sqdn, 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force) B Coy, 3rd Bn, 75th Ranger Rgt 1st Bn, 106th SOAR Combat Controllers & USAF Pararescue, 24th Special Tactics Sqdrn Navy SEALs, DEVGRU Task Force 10th Mountain Division : 
    1st Bn, 22nd Infantry Rgt 2nd Bn, 14th Infantry Rgt 3rd Platoon, C Company, 1st Bn, 8th Infantry Rgt 15th Bn, Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army 19th Lancers, Pakistan Army 10th Bn, Baloch Regiment, Pakistan Army 977th Military Police Company Other UN Peacekeepers : 
    19th Bn, Royal Malay Regiment, Malaysian Army 11th Regiment, Grup Gerak Khas (GGK), 21st Special Service Group, Malaysian Army 7th Bn, Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army USC/SNA/Aidid's Militia
    There are no hard numbers on the amount of Somali Militia involved in the Battle of Mogadishu. This is due to the fact that many of the combatants the US and UN troops fought cannot even be considered members of the Militia. Once the battle spiralled out of control, many residents of Mogadishu simply grabbed guns and joined the fighting for a few hours before going home, for reasons ranging from Anti-Imperialism to fear of reprisals from Adid's militia to a simple desire to join the fray. In all, most estimations range wildly from 2000 to 4000 militia and volunteer fighters having been active during the operation.

    A Somali technical. Several were present during the battle.
    THE PLAN
    I have said before that the TF Ranger plan was fairly standard, so it stands to reason I should explain it in further detail.
    The plan for the raids was three-fold. First, Delta Force operators, being transported on Little Bird helicopters, would be landed on the streets next to the target building and begin breaching it with breaching charges and concussion grenades.
    Secondly, the Rangers would be flown in via Black Hawk helicopters and fast rope onto the 4 corners of the target building, blocking roads and securing a perimeter. This wold stop any of the targets from being able to flee the building, or any reinforcements from approaching. The Black Hawks would then go into an orbit of the target area, and if needed could provide air support.
    Thirdly, the reminder of the Rangers would be waiting a few minutes away in an armed convoy of transport vehicles and Humvees. When the perimeter had been secured, they would approach the target building and load all captives, Rangers and Deltas before extracting the city back to Task Force Ranger's HQ in the Airport. The entire operational plan was rated to take no longer than 1 hour.

    Super 65 during an Operation. In this particular photo it is carrying a Chalk of Rangers. I do not know if this photo was taken during the Battle of Mogadishu.
    THE RAID, 3rd OCTOBER

    The Map of the Battle, showing all key areas.
    On Sunday 3rd of October, 1993, JSOC was informed that the meeting was to take place that day. Two key targets were identified : Omar Salad Elmi, Aidid's foreign minister and Mohamed Hassan Awale, his top political adviser. At 13:50, Task Force Ranger is 'stood to' on high alert. After confirmation of the target building is established, the code word "Irene" was given at 15:32, marking the beginning of the operation. At 15:42, MH-6 Little Birds landed on the streets outside the target building, depositing the first Delta assault team. The level of dust kicked up by the landing was so unexpected, and so bad, that one of the Little Birds nearly landed on top of another, and was forced to wave off and repeat it's approach. With the 1st Delta Team on the ground and assaulting the target, the Ranger "Chalks" - a military term to denote a group of soldiers who deploy from a single aircraft, for example a Black Hawk's 'Chalk' comprises of the 10-11 soldiers on board - and the second Delta Assault Team, led by Captain Austin "Scott" Miller, were brought in and roped into position.

    Two Little Birds of the 160th SOAR leaving Mogadishu Airport. Supposedly, this photograph was taken on October 3rd.
    This was when things had started deviating from the plan. Somali's loyal to Aidid had pre-warned his militia about the upcoming raid, it's a lot harder to keep a raid like this a secret than you think. First, there's the increased amount of activity at the Airport. Second, the sheer amount of noise a flight of helicopters takes. Third, the Extraction Convoy had to drive to their hold point. In an effort to confuse and warn, Somali's had started burning piles of tyres. This created a pall of thick black choking smoke, easily visible for miles. This led to the first mistake being made. Super 67, piloted by CW3 Jeff Niklaus, got lost on the infil due to the smoke plumes. 67 dropped Chalk 4 a block north of their intended location. Niklaus offered to pick the Rangers up again, but the IC of the group declined, instead opting to attempt to re-group on foot. After 67 left the area, this group got pinned down by intense small arms fire - they were unable to link up to friendlies. Chalk 4 also received the first casualty. During the infiltration, one of the Rangers; PFC Todd Blackburn; fell while fast-roping, suffering injuries to his head and the back of his neck. The exact reason to Blackburn's fall is unknown, however it should be noted that this was his first combat deployment. Medics attending to Blackburn decided he needed to be evacuated, and Chalk 4 suppressed incoming fire long enough for 2 stretcher bearers and a medic to carry Blackburn to the target building, where the ground convoy had arrived and was awaiting the completion of the Target Building Raid. A Medevac was immediately requested, but the amount of hostile elements and limited landing zones meant that airlifting Blackburn was not a option. Instead, 3 Humvees were detached from the main force and ordered to get Blackburn back to the base as soon as possible.
    The mini-convoy was commanded by Sergeant Jeff Strucker. They raced through the city on the most direct route possible, taking back alleys and side streets. It was in one of these streets, that Sgt Dominick Pilla was struck in the head by a shot from a militaman. Pilla was killed instantly, he was the first American fatality of Task Force Ranger. Eventually, Strucker's convoy reached the base. All members of the group reported some degree of wounding, and all 3 Humvees were "riddled with bullet holes and smoking" [Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, pg 34].
    Back at the Target Building, the prisoners began being loaded onto M939 5-ton trucks. Crowds of Somalis are beginning to converge on the Target Building, some firing while many are unarmed civilians, making the job of the Rangers guarding the area extremely difficult. At 16:02, Delta Team 1 declares that the raid is complete, and all prisoners are loaded. The convoy however, remains stationary at 16:15, due to confusion over who was supposed to signal who. The Delta teams were waiting for the convoy to signal to mount up; while the convoy was waiting for the Delta Teams to mount up themselves. with the confusion finally worked out, the signal is given to the Rangers to begin collapsing the perimeter.

    The only confirmed photograph taking during the Battle.
    At around 16:20, while the Rangers were heading to the convoy, Super 61, piloted by CW3 Cliff "Elvis" Wolcott and CW3 Donovan Briley were conducting low passes on the nearby areas, watching the movement of the militia and civilians. At this time, not many of the Somalis fired on the helicopters, knowing that they would simply shoot back. 61 was also transporting two Delta Force snipers, Staff Sergeant Daniel Busch and Sergeant Jim Smith. While conducting their low orbits, an RPG fired from the ground hit the tail boom of Super 61. The Black Hawk lost power, and Wolcott declared that they were about to crash. Super 61 crash-landed approximately 5 blocks northeast of the target building. Both Wolcott and Donovan were killed in the crash, with both Crew Chiefs being severely wounded. Busch and Smith survived, and despite their wounds began preparing to defend the downed helicopter from approaching Somali Militia. It was at this point that the famous quote was spread across the control net. "We got a Black Hawk Down, we got a Black Hawk Down. Wolcott's bird is down hard in the city." It's not immediately apparent who first said this, as it was repeated by most of the pilots on the command net. 
    With 3 Humvees already missing from the convoy, there was a shortage of transportation for the Deltas and Rangers at the Target Building. The decision was made for some to make their way to 61's crash site on foot, which would be quicker than the Convoy which would have to navigate it's way there via the city streets. At 16:26, both groups depart from the Target Building under heavy contact. The infantry unit fights running skirmishes on its way to the crashed Black Hawk.
    Following the crash of Super 61, Super 68 - the Combat Search and Rescue bird - immediately started requesting permission to insert the CSAR team in to assist the downed crew, at this time it was not known how many survivors of the crash there were. Due to the fact that there were already Somali's approaching 61, the request was denied. Instead, Star 41, a Little Bird piloted by CW3 Karl Maier and CW5 Keith Jones were ordered to investigate the crash. Normally, this means 'fly overhead and look', however Star 41 instead landed alongside 61, with Jones disembarking the helicopter. Maier provided covering fire from the cockpit while Jones aided the two downed Delta snipers, Busch had been shot 4 times while defending the crash site. Jones was ordered repeatedly to take off and leave Maier behind, orders he denied while Maier was carrying the Deltas back to 41 one at a time. His cover fire was so 'intense', he nearly hit Lieutenant DiTomasso of Chalk One as they and Delta operators approached the crash site. With both snipers aboard, and Maier back in the co-pilot's seat, Star 41 took off and returned to base. Unfortunately, Staff Sergeant Busch later died of his injuries.

    Somali children play on the wreckage of a downed helicopter.
    With Chalk One securing buildings nearby to crashed Super 61; Super 68's CSAR team were given permission to rope down and secure the crashed bird itself. Super 68, piloted by CW3 Dan Jallota, hovered above the crash site as the CSAR team, headed by Delta Captain Bill J Coultrup and USAF Pararescueman Master Sergeant Scott C Fales, roped down. During the infiltration, 68 suffered an RPG hit to it's tail rotor, crippling the helicopter. Despite severe damage, Jallota managed to get 68 back to base. Upon entering the wreck of 61, the CSAR team determined that both pilots were dead. Under increasingly intense fire, the two wounded crew chiefs were extracted from the wreckage and moved to a nearby collection point, while Kevlar armour plates were removed from 61 and used to 'bulletproof' the collection area. During this time, the Humvee convoy, now lost in the city thanks to numerous road blocks and smoke plumes, suffer numerous casualties from snipers and general small arms fire. The convoy is ordered to turn around - no easy feat when the streets were barely wide enough for a single Humvee.
    At 16:40, Super 64 has taken Super 61's place in the flight, and is flying low orbits above the city. During a sweep, 64, piloted by Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, is hit in the tail by another RPG. With his bird losing power, Durant radios that 64 is also going to crash. He attempts to leave the city, but never makes it. Super 64 crashes approximately a mile southwest of the target building. 
    Task Force Ranger had not prepared for this. As standard procedure, they flew with a CSAR team in the event of a helicopter going down, but had never expected to lose 2 in a single operation. With the CSAR bird already on the ground, and no more airbourne insertion teams; there is no sizeable force to secure Durant's crash. Instead, at 16:42, two Delta Force snipers - Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sergeant Gary Gordon request to be dropped at downed 64 to provide support. These two men know that they will be on their own and they can already see the crowds of Somalis approaching Durant's crash site. Still, they request permission to be inserted. Permission is given.
    On a personal note, I can't stress enough the immense bravery these two men must have had. They could see a crowd numbering in the hundreds approaching Durant's helicopter, and they knew that they would be on their own for an undefined amount of time. Yet the decided to go in anyway.
    The two snipers were inserted by Super 62, flown by CW3 Mike Goffena. Goffena kept his helicopter orbiting 64's crash site, using their miniguns as support for Shughart and Gordon. The two snipers found Mike Durant alive, and removed him from the cockpit of the helicopter. The two snipers and the Black Hawk kept the crowd at bay, until an RPG damaged 62 forcing it to withdraw. Goffena made an emergency landing in the New Port area, but all the crew walked away safely.
    12 minutes later, at 16:54, the Humvee column finds itself back at the Target building it had left nearly 20 minutes ago. The force has over half it's number sporting wounds of one variety or another, with many dead. The decision is made - the convoy was to return to base. Chalk One, the CSAR teams, Super 61, Super 64 and Shughart and Gordon, were on their own.
    At 17:03, a Quick Reaction Force was dispatched from the Ranger HQ. Comprising of Strucker's convoy and a few more vehicles and any rangers left on base - including some cooks, clerks and one Ranger with a broken arm - the convoy's sole aim was to reach Durant's bird and extract everyone there. As soon as it approaches the city, they encounter roadblocks and obstacles. The convoy would continue to attempt a breakthrough for another half an hour, until it too suffered heavy casualties. The QRF was ordered to return to base. Frustrated, Strucker complies.
    By around 17:40, Shughart and Gordon were running out of ammunition. Relying on spare weaponry within Super 64 and their personal sidearms, they continue to fight the Somali crowd. When Gordon was eventually shot and killed, Shughart gave the CAR-15 he was using to Durant. Returning to 64s nose, Shughart held off the crowd for another 10 minutes before he too, was killed. Whipped into a frenzy, the Somali crowd found Durant and nearly beat him to death. Any crew of 64 still alive were killed at this time, except Durant, who was claimed as a prisoner for Aidid. Both Gordon and Schughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honour, highest American award. These were the first awards to be given since Vietnam.
    A member of the 10th Mountain watches the road ahead.
    At Crash Site 1 (Super 61), Chalk One, Delta operators and CSAR are kept in an ongoing firefight with Somali milita. It's around this time that reports of the ineffectiveness of the 5.56mm ammunition they were using appear. In a brief explanation; the ammunition that the Rangers were using was designed to be used against the USSR if the Cold War ever 'went Hot'. It was designed to penetrate body armour. The Somali milita had no body armour, and many were high on a stimulant known as 'Khet'. When these armour-pericing bullets hit a Somali high on Khet, they would pass straight through them. The Somali would be knocked down, but since their bodies were numbed by the drug, would often get back up again and keep fighting. Meanwhile, the equipment the Rangers were wearing meant that they were getting killed and wounded at an alarming rate : the Ranger Body Armour (RBA) they were issued had no back plate and offered no protection to rear shots. As a result of this, many more of the Rangers were getting wounded as the battle dragged on. During one of the many firefights, Corporal Jamie Smith is shot and critically wounded. Repeated requests for a Medevac are denied, since there have now been 6 damaged helicopters, 2 of which have been shot down. At 17:45, both convoys have returned to the Ranger HQ. There are 99 men still trapped in the city around the First Crash.

    A Ranger Humvee on convoy duty. The soldiers are identifiable as Rangers due to the Ranger Body Armour they wear. Note that it is a Woodland pattern, and that it has no rear plate.
    With night fast approaching, the trapped members of Task Force Ranger, headed by Chalk One, begin to run low on supplies. As dusk falls, at 19:08, Super 66 makes a daring re-supply run. It hovers over the crash site, drops water, ammunition and medical supplies to the troops below. It takes numerous shots from militia which severely damage it, and it is forced to break position and RTB. Throughout the night, Somali militia attempt to overrun the trapped Americans. Only their strong defensive positions and the 160th SOAR Little Birds, armed with Rocket Pods and Miniguns are able to hold them back. The 160th SOAR were the only direct support helicopter company equipped for night fighting at this time. At 20:27, Corporal Jamie Smith succumbs to his wounds.
    It became increasingly clear to the commanders of Task Force Ranger that their lightly armed mobile group could not rescue the men trapped in Mogadishu. At 21:00, formal requests for assistance are sent to the other UN forces in Mogadishu. The Rescue Convoy begins organising itself in the New Port area, comprising of the members of TF Ranger not in the city, 2 companies of the 10th Mountain, Pakistani tanks and Malaysian armoured vehicles General Garrison was determined that this convoy would move in force. When it was fully assembled, it consisted of 4 Pakistani M48 Patton tanks and over 90 Malaysian Condor APCs. The entire convoy would stretch to be 2 miles long. Due to a multitude of problems including differing tactics, signals and language barriers, the convoy does not leave New Port until 23:23.
    At first, the Rescue Convoy meets no real resistance. As it approaches the First Crash site however, explosions damage several vehicles and it is delayed. An ensuing battle damages several electrical substations; plunging parts of Mogadishu into a blackout.
    D+1, OCTOBER 4th

    A UN Convoy
    The gunfire continued unabated throughout the night and into the morning of the 4th. Trapped members of TF Ranger were constantly given new updates as to when the convoy would reach them, each time later than previously promised. Finally, at 01:55 - 3 & half hours after leaving - the leading elements of the Rescue Convoy reach 61s crash site. Forming a defensive perimeter, the men of the 10th Mountain give aid to the Rangers and assist the wounded in being mounted into the Condor APCs. A second convoy is split from the first and sent to Durant's crash site. They find it largely deserted, with no signs of any American bodies. Super 64 is destroyed.
    With the arrival of the Rescue Convoy, the militia's eagerness to fight is somewhat blunted, but this does not mean that the battle is over. Firefights continue to rage, with Somalis attacking the armoured convoy as it sat stationary around Super 61. The Convoy is kept waiting as the body of Cliff Wolcott is trapped in the wreckage. It takes a full 2 hours to retrieve him. 
    In the confusion and ensuing gunfire, many more men are wounded. Eventually, at 03:00, the convoy is ready to depart. However, a small group of Rangers and Delta Operators, led by Staff Sergeant John R. Dycus discover there is no room left inside the APCs for them. Unwilling to sit on top, the men instead elect to leave the crash site on foot. A rendezvous point on National Street is decided upon, and the group begin their exfiltration. At 05:30, the convoy leaves, with the men on foot having to run to keep up. The route they take is known as the Mogadishu Mile. Eventually, the convoy and ground troops arrive at the Pakistani base at Mogadishu Stadium at 06:30. The Battle of Mogadishu, or "Day of the Rangers", is over.
    AFTERMATH
    The battle was an unmitigated disaster for Task Force Ranger, showing that lightning raids can easily be subverted by simple tactics from an untrained enemy. It lead to a severe question of policy in the American government. General Garrison took responsibility for the battle's outcome in a Letter to President Clinton, he did state in this letter however, that the Task Force achieved it's objectives that day. On the 6th of October, President Clinton ordered that no military action would be undertaken against Aidid, with the exception of self-defence. Robert B Oakley was appointed as US ambassador to Somalia in an attempt to broker a peace agreement. He then announced all US troops would be withdrawn from Somalia by 31st March, 1994. Task Force Ranger was disbanded and returned to their parent units in the United States. On February 4th, 1994, the UN Security Council passes Resolution 897. This withdrew all UN troops from Somalia by March 6th, 1995.

    US Marines leaving Somalia
    In terms of casualties, the list is numerous. It is unknown how many Somalis were wounded or killed in the fighting, but estimations put the numbers around the 800 killed and 1000 wounded mark. Aidid claimed that 315 were killed and 812 wounded. These numbers are considered spurious at best.
    Pakistan lost 1 soldier, with another 2 wounded. Malaysia lost 1 soldier, Lance Corporal Mat Aznan Awang.
    The United states lost 19 men, with another 73 injured. For respect, I list the dead here.
    Master Sergeant Gary Ivan Gordon, 1st SFOD-D, Awarded Medal of Honour Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart, 1st SFOD-D, Medal of Honour Staff Sergeant Daniel D Busch, 1st SFOD-D, Silver Star Sergeant First Class Earl Robert Fillmore Jr, 1st SFOD-D, Silver Star Master Sergeant Timothy "Griz" Lynn Martin, 1st SFOD-D, Silver Star Sergeant First Class Matthew Loren Rierson, 1st SFOD-D, Silver Star, Bronze Star (Killed on October 6th by stray mortar shell, but officially listed as KIA during the Battle of Mogadishu) Corporal James "Jamie" E Smith, 75th Rangers, Bronze Star with Valour and Oak Leaf Cluster Specialist James M Cavaco, 75th Rangers, Bronze Star with Valour Sergeant James Casey Joyce, 75th Rangers, Bronze Star with Valour Corporal Richard "Alphabet" W Kowalewski Jr, 75th Rangers, Bronze Star with Valour Sergeant Dominick M Pilla, 75th Rangers, Bronze Star with Valour Sergeant Lorenzo M Ruiz, 75th Rangers, Bronze Star with Valour Staff Sergeant William "Wild Bill" David Cleveland Jr, 160th SOAR (Super 64), Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valour Staff Sergeant Thomas "Tommie" J Field, 160th SOAR (Super 64), Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valour Chief Warrant Officer Raymond "Ironman" Alex Frank, 160th SOAR (Super 64), Silver Star, Air Medal with Valour Chief Warrant Officer Clifton "Elvis" P Wolcott, 160th SOAR (Super 61), Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valour Chief Warrant Officer Donovan "Bull" Lee Briley, 160th SOAR (Super 61), Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valour Sergeant Cornell Lemont Houston Sr, 10th Mountain, Bronze Star with Valour, de Fleury Medal Private First Class James Henry Martin Jr, 10th Mountain The bodies of Super 64s Crew and Gordon and Schughart were recovered after the battle. They had been treated horrifically poorly, with one of the bodies having been decapitated. 11 days after the events, Micheal Durant was returned to the American forces, alive.
    And what happened to Somalia after the UN? Between 1993 and 1995, some Somali ports were re-opened, with an official government being recognised, headed by Ali Mahdi Muhammad. Aidid declared himself president, and was largely ignored. I don't have enough scope in this article to adequately explain Somalia post 1995, but suffice it to say that Aidid's milita, and countless others continued fighting. Adid himself was wounded in a battle against Ali Mahdi Muhammad's forces and those of his previous ally Osman Ali Atto. Aidid died on the 2nd August, 1996. Somalia remains in a state of civil war to this day.
    PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
    Playing a scenario inspired by the 3rd-4th October 1993 offers some fantastic ArmA experiences. Luckily in our modpack, we have just the tools to give a good account. Map wise, use G.O.S. Al Rayak, and the Western City of Al Tabqah. This is a moderately sized city with many close roads and buildings which could be chosen for the Target Building. To the West is a nicely placed Airbase, perfect as a start point for the players.


    I reccomend keeping assets light, too many helicopters means that it's constant gunfire pretty much, and the miniguns do have a tendancy to drop frames if used too much. I'd have the players be US troops with 2 Blackhawks (each with 1 Crew Chief) and an Unarmed Little Bird, which the pilot can swap into an Armed one if you want them to. 
    In terms of enemies, the OPFOR African Militia are purpose built for this sort of scenario.

    If you really want to give the players a good experience (and I would) restrict their gear. Make 1 squad SFOD-D with a uniform of Combat Uniform DCU, vests of MBAV Black, Pro-Tec SF helmets and limit them to Colt Carbines and 1 M14 with a scope, no MGs! For the Rangers, Combat Uniform DCU, PBB M-98 Woodland Vests and Combat Helmet DBDU look pretty good. Limit them to M16A4s and M249s/M60s with no optics! It should give a nice gritty feel if you can keep your balance and pacing right. Give half the platoon some Humvees to extract the whole force, and don't forget to barricade the roads up to make a real maze! 

    If you really want to make things difficult, turn on CSAR and add either add a CSAR bird or have doctors on the ground. Good luck!
     
    FURTHER READING
    If you want to research more into the Battle of Mogadishu, there's plenty out there. Firstly, I can't recommend Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down enough, it is simply phenomenal. Wikipedia has a timeline of the Battle, which is a little lacking in detail but helps get a good feel of what happened when. There's even some footage from the C2 Control Black Hawk that was above the city on the first day. To be honest, there's too much to list. There are so many studies and other things written about Mogadishu that I can't list them all. But one I can recommend is The Battle of Mogadishu by Sgt. Matt Eversmann. It's a collection of accounts from some of the guys on the ground that day, including Eversmann - the leader of Chalk 4.
    Featured

    Gamescom Giveaway Winners

    The winners of the FK GC giveaway have been picked! Congratulations to
    DLC Bundle 2: @BenFromTTG First Place Maps: @ThePointForward Second Place Maps: @Zeusz77 The winners will be contacted by me within 24 hours. The recipients of the lanyards will be contacted later this week once I have figured out the final details for shipping.
    Want to watch the winners get picked? Check back the VOD: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/317139998?t=14m44s
    Don't know what we were giving away? Read the original post: 

    ESM FK Team

    The final Team has been selected, these are the members who shall be representing our community in the upcoming ESM tournament. 
    Thank you for everyone who applied, and we wish the best of luck to our competitors! 
    FK TEAM ROSTER
    Team Manager : @Sarissa
    Team Captain : @Trinoc
    @NeilZar
    @Vericht
    @Netheral
    @Alex
    @andyt90
    @Chefla (Reserve)
    @ThePointForward (Reserve)
    @Tomo(Reserve)
     

    ESM Arma 3 Tournament

    Electronic Sports Masters is an organisation that plans and creates Tournaments for Arma 3 and other games in the Bohemia library. In October, they are hosting an Open Tournament for 8 Teams. We've been invited to take part in this Open Tournament. This was organised between myself and @Trinoc, so you can really thank him for this opportunity! The four matches are taking place on the 13th and 14th of October and we need your help to finish our team. Each team consists of 6 players, and we want 3 reserve players.
    So far, the team consists of :
    Sarissa (Team Manager - Not Playing) Trinoc (Team Leader) Neilzar Vericht OPEN OPEN OPEN RESERVES : 
    OPEN OPEN OPEN If you want to take part, we need to know by the end of this week. The first match takes place at 19:30 CET. 
    Other teams in the Tournament are : 
    Spartan 1-1 Laughable Antagonists United Nations Army Tactical Training Team Bohemia DEV Squad 88th Co. "Walking Death" Team Brrrrt This is how the match-ups look :

    And yes, this does mean our first match will be against the Bohemia Dev Squad!
    I'd like to close this by reminding everyone that this is a friendly Tournament, and our goal here is to introduce ourselves and basically have a good time. So, if you want to take part then please, comment here! We'll look through all the applicants and announce the team on Sunday.

    Gamescom Giveaway

    It has been a few weeks since Gamescom, but we have finally managed to work out the details for the Giveaway of all the extra merch we got. This year we only managed to get stuff from the Bohemia booth, but next year we will try to get more stuff from all booths. Enough about that, what will we actually be giving away?
    THE GIVEAWAY
    There a few different categories you can sign up for in this giveaway, one of which is not really a giveaway. More details about that later but here are the categories:
    DLC Bundle 2
    First off we got a code for DLC Bundle 2, a reward for getting first place in on of the Arma 3 challenges. The Bundle includes the Jets, Laws of War, Tac-Ops Mission Pack and Tanks DLC. The bundle costs 22,99eu on steam, while the individual DLCs cost a total of 34,96eu on steam. This is a great chance to get these DLC and enjoy all the new tanks and Jets you couldn't use in our missions before.
    Arma 3 Maps
    The next category is Arma 3 Maps. It is not in-game maps; it is the actual real-life foldable versions of Tanoa, Malden and Altis. There are two prices in this category:
    First place: 1x Atlis, 1x Tanoa, 1x Malden, 1x Arma 3 Lanyard, 1x Vigor Sticker, 1x FK Patch
    Second place: 1x Tanoa, 1x Malden, 1x Arma 3 Lanyard, 1x Vigor Sticker
    Shipping for this category will be paid for by us. All you'll have to do when you win is provide us with the shipping information.
    Arma 3 Lanyards
    This category is a bit different, as we have a total of 48 Lanyards! Since the shipping for this would be insanely high if it were paid for by us (more than a month worth of donations), we have decided that shipping would be paid for by the recipient. This is a unique opportunity though, as these lanyards are not available online and can only be obtained at events.

    (Ginger not included)
    The first 48 people to register for the Lanyard will receive one, and on top of that, the first ten will also receive a Vigor sticker with it. Shipping for the package will cost 2.80 for international shipping and 1.66 for Dutch national shipping (subject to change). It will be shipped via regular post, and thus will be deposited in your letterbox.
    HOW TO ENTER
    Giveaway closed!
    TERMS AND CONDITIONS
    The person entering the giveaway or signing up for a Lanyard will be referred to in these terms and conditions as "you". The organiser and the rest of the CM and Admin team will be referred to as "we" or "us".
    You were born before 01/10/2002 and have been a member of the community since before August first (01/08/2018). You accept that we publicly announce your name when you win either the Arma 3 Maps or the DLC Bundle 2. If you win the DLC Bundle 2 prize, you are not entered in the Arma 3 Maps giveaway. When signing up for the Lanyard, you accept to pay for shipping the items. Prices for shipping are subject to change dependent on the weight of the package. You accept to share your personal details with us when winning one of the two giveaways or signing up for a Lanyard. Signing up multiple times or entering false information will disqualify you from the giveaway. We are not allowed to enter into the giveaway. Entries will close on Sunday, September 30th at 23:59 UK Local Time (30/09/2018 22:59 UTC). Winners will be announced before Sunday, October 7th at 23:59 UK Local Time (07/10/2018 22:59 UTC).

    Military History - Battle of 73 Easting, Gulf War, 26-27th Feburary, 1991

    BACKGROUND

    In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein - the President of Iraq - launched an operation against the small neighbouring nation of Kuwait. Hussein's Iraqi Republican Guard overran the Kuwaiti positions within 2 days. Some of the Kuwait Armed Forces found sanctuary in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. International response was against Iraq, with condemnations being raised and economic sanctions were raised against the nation. The United States, with the backing of the United Nations Security Council, sent US Forces to Saudi Arabia to protect the country from any Iraqi provocation. A coalition of nations was soon formed, featuring forces from several countries. The nations organised their forces into 4 Command Centres.
    Army Central Command - Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States Marine Central Command - United States Joint Forces Command East - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Poland, Czechoslovakia Joint Forces Command North - United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, Australia, Japan, Turkey As coalition forces arrived, they began Operation Desert Shield. This operation would continue for nearly 7 months while Iraq occupied Kuwait.

    On the 17th Janurary, 1991, the coalition launched Operation Desert Storm - a prolonged aerial and naval bombardment of Iraqi held Kuwait and southern Iraqi territories, followed by a ground assault. The bombardment lasted for 5 weeks, with over 100,000 sorties dropping 88,500 tons of munitions on military targets.
    Iraq's response was to launch SCUD missiles at Coalition forces, and also at Israel.
    Coalition forces responded on the 15th February by crossing the Saudi Arabian border with Task Force 1-41 Infantry, a US Heavy Battalion from the 2nd Armoured Division (Forward) - the spearhead of VII Corps.
    To mark the progress of the Coalition advance, several Phase Lines were drawn along north-south UTM lines. 73 Easting was one of these Phase Lines. It was a large, featureless desert.
    ORDER OF BATTLE
    The main US unit leading the battle of 73 Easting was the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment (2ACR).
    2ACR was comprised as follows

    1st, 2nd and 3rd Squadrons consisted of 3 Cavalry Troops, a Tank Company, an Artillery Battery and a Headquarters Troop.
    Each Troop consisted of 120 soldiers, 12 M3 Bradley IFVs (13 in the HQ Troop) and 9 M1A1 Abrams.
    This means that each Squadron consisted of 360 soldiers, 36 M3 Bradleys and 27 M1 Abrams.
    4th Squadron was an attack helicopter squadron. 
    In total, the 2ACR deployed to Desert Storm with 1080 Soldiers, 108 Bradleys and 81 Abrams in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Squadrons alone.
    Troops were organised in Alphabetical call-signs along the entire Regiment.
    Due to the nature of post Hussein rule in Iraq, a lot of military documents went missing or were doctored. As such, there is no clear indication of how many Iraqi troops were present during the battle, but elements of the following units were confirmed to be involved in the primary battle.
    18th Mechanised Brigade (c. 2500-3000 troops) 37th Armoured Brigade, Tawakalna Division (c. 2500-3000 troops) THE PLAN

    2ACRs plan was to cross the Saudi Arabian border as VII Corps leading unit. They were to cut off the Iraqi route of retreat and to locate and destroy 5 Republican Guard divisions which were a threat to the Arab/USMC units assaulting from the South.
    FIRST CONTACT

    On the morning of the 26th, 2ACRs forward scouts located the Tawakalna Division, lined North to South facing the ACRs route of advance. All Iraqi units were observed to have well constructed defensive positions, complete with alternative positions already dug. The 2ACR called in aerial and artillery bombardments on the Iraqi positions, but despite extensive shelling, the Iraqi defences remained effective. After this bombardment, 2ACR pushed forward and engaged the Iraqi units. by 9AM, all 3 Squadrons were in contact. Their air cover was forced to retire however, due to a violent sandstorm. The ground fighting continued, and despite poor visibility the 2ACR continued their advance. After 3 hours of fighting, 2ACR reported the destruction of 12 T-55 tanks, 25 APCs, 6 Artillery pieces and an unknown number of trucks. The Iraqi troops withdrew to the East.
    73 EASTING

    73 Easting generally refers to an armoured combat action while 2ACR was covering the North of VII Corps area of operations. The 2ACR was faced by the Tawakalna Division's 18th and 9th Brigades, who had squared up against Troops E (Eagle), G (Ghost) and I (Iron); with troop K (Killer) support I.
    As the 2ACR continued their screening advance North as they encountered fresh Iraqi positions along the IPSA Pipeline Road - the Iraqi MSR. The Troops skirmished with Iraqi units until 3:45 pm, when E Troop (callsign EAGLE) manouvered around the 70th Easting. Iraqi Tanks opened fire on E Troop who returned fire at range. Long range engagements continued on in this fashion. I Troop raced in from the South to reinforce E troop, while G Troop attempted a flanking manoeuvre on the Iraqi defences. They got caught in another defensive position to the East at 4:45, and were stuck in an ongoing engagement with Iraqi troop for the rest of the day.
    At 4:10pm, Eagle Troop was engaged by Iraqi infantry who were holding a cluster of buildings. The Iraqi troops were acting as a delaying force so another armoured unit could engage E Troop. Within 23 minutes, E Troop's 9 M1A1s destroyed 28 Iraqi Tanks and 16 APCs with no losses on the American side. Following this, E Troop crested a hill and emerged in the middle of an Iraqi Tank Company that was setting up defensive positions on the reverse side of the hill. The sudden appearance of the American vehicles surprised the Iraqi tank crews, and swift action destroyed several vehicles and forced the remainder to flee.

    3km to the East, 2ACR spotted T-72s in prepared defensive positions. They continued their advance onto these T-72s. They manoeuvred up onto high ground to engage the tanks - 18 T-72s were destroyed. 
    With visibility diminishing, and still no contact with G Troop, 2 Bradleys were sent out as a scouting force to locate the missing friendlies.
    The scouts encountered another force of 13 T-72s, and despite being without armoured support, the engaged the Tanks. Despite 1 misfire and reloading the launchers under fire, the 2 Bradleys killed 5 tanks before help arrived in the form of I Troop ("Iron"), K Troop ("Killer") and G Troop ("Ghost").
    The assault continued, with I troop taking the lead. Leading with their Abrams, 16 enemy tanks were destroyed. Occupying the now abandoned Iraqi defensive positions, I troop spotted another formation of enemy tanks moving towards them. The Bradleys were brought forward and engaged the hostile tanks with TOW missiles.
    During the firefight, a misfire from K Troop made a TOW missile hit one of I Troop's Bradleys. The 3 Crewmen within were wounded - fortunately the infantry had already dismounted.
    THE DEADLOCK
    By 4:40, 2ACR was setting itself up in fresh defensive positions along ridgelines watching from the North to the South. G Troop was positioned as the Northernmost Unit, they kept eyes on a wadi - a broken water feature with bulrushes and other line of sight breaking terrain. A few Iraqi tanks engaged G Troop from defensive positions but where swiftly dealt with. Suddenly, additional Iraqi tanks from the Tawakalna and 12th Divisions began pushing against G Troop's position in a concentrated counter-attack. Supporting fire was given by retreating Iraqi units who were using the wadi as a means of retreat.

    By 6:30, several waves of T-72s and T-55s were attacking the Troop, providing overwatching fire as infantry charged their positions. The situation forced 2ACR's commander to call in massed mortar, artillery and helicopter attacks to prevent G Troop from being overrun. The fighting was so intense that the Military Intelligence Platoon from the HQ Troop was forced to suspend their signal interception and man defensive positions.
    The engagement lasted for 6 hours, with G troop constantly firing it's own mortars and the Troop Support Team calling in 720 howitzer and MLRS rounds. By 9pm, G Troop was running short on ammunition - severe shortages of 25mm and 120mm ammo, and half of their TOW missiles having been expended. H Troop dispatched it's Abrams Tank Company to intervene. By this point G Troop had destroyed "at least two companies of Iraqi armour and hundreds of infantrymen".
    One of G Troop's M3 Bradleys was lost. The TOW launcher was inoperative, and the 25mm chaingun jammed as a BMP-1 - thought to be disabled - fired it's main gun directly into the Bradley's turret. Sergent Nels A. Moller, the gunner, was killed.
    Artillery fire was directed to the 78th Easting, planned to prevent Iraqi retreats and further forces from assaulting G Troop. An after action report from the Regimental Fire Support Officer reported that 1,382 rounds of 155mm howitzer ammunition and 147 MLRS rockets were fired at positions on the 78th Easting. Estimated kills were placed at 17 Tanks, 7 APCs, 6 Artillery pieces, 70 soft-skinned vehicles and an unknown number of infantry.

    After 10pm, major engagements ceased. Co-ordinated artillery fire and the skilled training of G Troop ensured their survival.  Iraqi Units continued to sporadically engage G Troop positions until the arrival of the 1st Infantry Division to bolster 2ACR's position. With the arrival of 1ID, the 2ACR became a Corps Reserve. 1ID continued onwards and secured 73 Easting. The commendations for the victory over the Battle for 73 Easting was given almost entirely to 2ACR.
    AFTERMATH

    The 2nd and 3rd Squadrons of the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment had destroyed 2 brigades of the Iraqi Republican Guard. 2 Squadron alone confirmed 55 destroyed tanks, 45 AFVs and 865 prisoners; while the rest of the Regiment captured 2000 prisoners, destroyed 159 tanks and 260 other vehicles.
    The battle of 73 Easting opened the way for the remainder of VII Corps to advance to the Battle of Norfolk - a massed armoured engagement which marked the end of combat operations in the North of Kuwait. It was a vital engagement, and the only large engagement of the war in which American Troops found themselves outnumbered and outgunned.

    PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE : 
    When zeusing the battle of 73 Easting, there's a few tips I can give for playing the American side. Firstly, use Diyala as your map, with your players starting in the South-Eastern corner. The bridges, Airfield and towns between them make for good objectives with a mix of open country and closed areas for your infantry to fight in.

    Asset wise, really let your players go wild. 3 M1A1SA Abrams Tanks and put your squads in M2A3 Bradleys. With 3 members of the Squad serving as the crew, you still have enough space to transport the remaining infantry.

    When setting up the enemy, use Takistani Armed Forces. T-55s and T-72s are good to face the players with, following up with Mechanised Infantry in BMP-1s. I'd set some T-55s up in defensive positions near the bridges to give them a little longevity and added protection against the powerful Abrams guns.

    For further reading, The Strategy Bridge did a report on Eagle Troop's actions during the battle, it's worth a read. Hope you enjoyed this month's article!

    Military History - Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 25-29th October, 1983

    BACKGROUND
    In the early-mid 1980s the world was held in the vice-like grip of the Cold War. The two factions, NATO and WARPAC contested the border of split Germany. Communist uprisings and rebellions grew like wildfire in South-East Asia, while the CIA backed coups throughout Central and South America. The dual threats of conventional and nuclear war were never far away.
    The man in the White House at this time was President Ronald Reagan. A previous Hollywood Celebrity, Reagan has left mixed views about his presidency, though the Operation Urgent Fury remains one of the most controversial.
    The small Island nation of Grenada is located some 160 kilometres (99 miles) North West of Venezuela.

    Measuring approximately 348 km squared, it housed a population of around 91,000. Located in the Lesser Antilles; Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974 under the leadership of Sir Eric Gairy. Head of the Grenada United Labour Party, Gairy claimed victory in the general election of 1976 - a claim disputed by his political rivals - with ongoing civil strife turning to street violence in the wake of the election, the two main opposing forces were Gairy's personal army, the 'Mongoose Gang' and gangs organised by the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation, or New JEWEL Movement (NJM). The NJM were a Marxist-Leninist headed by Maurice Bishop. In the late 1970s, the NJM began to plan a coup aimed at overthrowing Gairy and the United Labor Party - some members of the NJM were trained by military forces overseas, allegedly in camps located in Cuba.
    On the 13th March 1979, Gairy was away from Grenada. Using his absence as an opportunity, the NJM launched an armed coup and seized control of Grenada. Under Maurice Bishop, the new People's Revolutionary Government was created.
    During the next few years, Bishop strengthened his ties with other Communistic states worldwide, most notably with the Cuban Government, though in 1982 he was photographed meeting with Unison Whiteman, the DDR's (Soviet East Germany) Foreign Minister.

    During this time, the People's Revolutionary Government began constructing a new airfield, supposedly with the aims of accommodating civilian airliners. The new airport, Point Salines International Airport, was constructed in the South of the country, as the Northern airstrip, Pearl's Airstrip, was located in such a way that expansion of it's runways were not possible.
    The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was convinced that this new runway was being built to support a Soviet-Cuban military buildup in the Caribbean. The new 9,000 foot runway was capable of accommodating the largest planes the Soviet Air Force had to offer - and the CIA's belief was that this airport would be used to transport arms and equipment from Cuba and beyond throughout Central America. This belief was echoed throughout the Pentagon, and inside the Oval Office.
    In 1983, Ron Dellums - a member of the US House of Representatives, travelled to Grenada on a fact finding mission. Upon his return he spoke of his findings on Grenada in front of Congress.
    President Reagan remained unswayed. In March of 1983, he issued warnings, stating that the Caribbean and the United States itself were being threatened by "Soviet-Cuban militarisation", directly referencing the new airport on Grenada. In his speeches, Reagan stated that the new runway was far longer than needed for commercial flights, and possessed numerals fuel storage tanks - more than would be expected in any civilian airport - his theory being that the airport was to be turned into a forward Air Base for the Soviet Air Force. 
    On 16th October, 1983, an internal faction of the People's Revolutionary Government, led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard seized power. Bishop was remanded and placed under house arrest. During mass demonstrations against Bishop's treatment, Bishop found himself with a chance to escape. He reasserted himself as the head of the Government, operating in secret. Bishop was, however, captured and along with his pregnant wife, executed. The Government killed several union leaders who were loyal to him as well.
    After Bishop's murder, Hudson Austin created a military council to rule the country. Austin ordered the capture and imprisonment of the Governor General Paul Scoon. Scoon was placed under house arrest in his Mansion in Saint George.
    Following these revelations, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Barbados and Jamaica appealed to the United States for assistance.
    The US responded, with Operation Urgent Fury on the 25th October, 1983; stating that it the intervention came at the request of the Prime Ministers of Barbados and Dominica. The United Nations General Assembly condemned the action as "a flagrant violation of international law".
    THE PLAN

    The D-Day plan for Operation Urgent Fury was 6 fold.
    The city of Salines was to be infiltrated by SEALs and a Combat Control Team SEALs, Delta Force and the 75th Rangers operate around St George & Fort Rupert Port Salines International Airport to be captured by 75th Rangers. They would then assault and secure True Blue and Clivigny - True Blue had a number of American Students trapped inside. US Marines would assault Pearls Airstrip and Greenville The 82nd Airborne occupy Pearls & Salines, allowing the Marines and Special Forces to conduct further operations Caribbean Peace Keeping forces arrive to occupy cities and towns throughout secured areas To complete the operation, the United States activated some 7,300 men. The Task Force was comprised of the following units :
    US Ground Forces :
    1st & 2nd Ranger Battalions, 75th Ranger Regiment 2nd Brigade (325th Regiment), 3rd Brigade (1/2 Bn, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment) & Supporting units of the 82nd Airborne Division  Company E (Scout), 60th Infantry Regiment 27th Engineer Battalion 548th Engineer Battalion 160th Aviation Battalion 18th Aviation Company, 269th Aviation Battalion 1st/2nd Company, 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion 1st Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry Airborne US Navy SEAL Teams 4 & 6 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit Numerous supporting units (65th/118th/503rd/411th MP Battalions, 35th/50th Signal Brigades, 319th/519th Military Intelligence Battalions, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 1st Corps Support Command [COSCOM], 44th Medical Brigade including 5th MASH, 82nd Finance Company, 507th Tactical Air Control Wing [TACPs], 21st Tactical Support Squadron [FACs] & 24th Special Tactics Squadron Det 1 MACOS Combat Controllers) US AIR FORCE

    Various Air National Guard Wings - flying A-7D Corsair II for CAS 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing - flying A-10 Warthogs 26th Air Defence Wing NORAD - flying F-15 Eagles 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing - flying F-15 Eagles 437th Military Airlift Wing - flying C-141 Starlifters 16th Special Operations Wing - flying AC-130H Spectre Gunships 552nd Air Control Wing - flying E-3 Sentry AWACS 62nd Security Police Group - providing security and prisoner detention 60th Security Police Squadron - providing security Numerous support flights (136th Tactical Airlift Wing - C130s, 437th Military Airlift Wing - C-141s, 317th Military Airlift Wing - C-130s, 63rd Military Airlift Wing - C-141s, 19th Air Refuelling Wing) US NAVY
    Two formations of US Warships were present for Urgent Fury. The USS Independence (CVA-62) Carrier Battle Group & the Marine Amphibious Readiness Group. Following is a list of naval forces deployed.

    USS Independence
    Independence Carrier Group (CVA-62)
    USS Independence - Forrestal-class Supercarrier USS Coontz - Farragut-class Frigate USS Moosbrugger - Spruance-class Destroyer USS Caron - Spruance-class Destroyer USS Clifton Sprague - Oliver Hazard Perry-class Missile Frigate USS Suribachi - Suribachi-class Ammunition Ship Squadrons Aboard USS Independence : 
    - Fighter Squadron 14 - 13 F-14A Tomcat
    - Fighter Squadron 32 - 14 F-14As
    - Attack Squadron 176 - 16 A-6E Intruder
    - Attack Squadron 87 - 12 A-7Es
    - Attack Squadron 15 - 12 A-7Es
    - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 122 - 4 E-2C Hawkeye
    - Electronic Attack Squadron 131 - 4 EA-6B Prowler
    - Helicopter Anti Submarine Squadron - 6 SH-3H Sea King
    - Sea Control Squadron 28 - 1- S-3A Viking Amphibious Readiness Group
    USS Guam - Iwo Jima-class Assault Ship USS Barnstable Country - Newport-class Tank Landing Ship USS Manitowoc - Newport-class Tank Landing Ship USS Fort Snelling - Thomaston-class Dock Landing Ship USS Trenton - Austin-class Amphibious Transport Dock In all, the United States created a Task Force of overwhelming power. Official statements vary as to the amount of aircraft in operation during Urgent Fury, as many squadrons flew over the assigned combat area without taking part in strikes, yet they are recorded as having participated. Conservative estimates say that the US Ground Forces had at least 200 fixed-wing aircraft on call to assist them.
    Urgent Fury also saw the first deployment of UH-61 Black Hawk helicopters in a combat setting.
    All of this force was brought to bare against a hostile force woefully outnumbered against the US. Grenada fielded some 1,200 soldiers. They had a handful of BRDM-2s and BTR 60s, some ZU 23 anti-aircraft guns. There was no confirmed number of these weapons, or even of the number of infantry Grenada could muster - although some reports state Grenada had 8 BTRs and 2 BRDMs. There were however, confirmed numbers of advisers/volunteers from other nations.
    Grenada - c. 1200 soldiers Cuba - 780 Paramilitaries Soviet Union - 49 Military Advisers North Korea - 24 Personnel  East Germany - 16 Advisers Bulgaria - 14 Advisers Libya - 3 or 4 Advisers Intelligence had led the US forces to believe that Grenada could muster upwards of 2000 armed soldiers - believing that Cuba had sent hundreds of professional trained and dedicated men. This view was, however, blurred. Of the estimated 780 Cuban nationals on the island, 636 were formally listed as construction workers. This didn't mean they were not combatants however, as many Cuban 'workers' were in fact armed. Fidel Castro said of the Cubans that they were "workers and soldiers at the same time."
    Despite outnumbered and out gunned, and with no recorded Air Force, the Grenadians fought back during Urgent Fury.
     
    D-DAY 25TH OCTOBER

    Prior to combat operations commencing, SEAL Team 6 and attached Air Force Controllers were dropped at sea to conduct reconnaissance on Point Salines. However, when a storm blew in rapidly 4 of the SEALs drowned. Machinist Mate 1st Class Kennith J Butcher, Quartermaster 1st Class Kevin E Lundberg, Hull Technician 1st Class Stephen L Morris and Senior Chief Engineman Robert R Schamberger were never recovered. The mission was cancelled and the remaining members recovered. Another operations was attempted, but also cancelled due to harsh weather.
    Meanwhile, SEAL Team 4 landed at the beach near Pearl's Airport to conduct another reconnaissance. They found that the beach was undefended, but not suitable for a naval landing. The decision was made for the Marines to Air-Assault Pearl Airport.

    Point Salines International Airport, seen from the cockpit of a C-130
    At midnight on the 24th, A & B Companies, 1st Battalion of the 75th Rangers departed Hunter Army Airfield on C-130s. Thy were to conduct an early morning raid on Point Salines Airport. The plan was for the C-130s to land on the runway, with the Rangers disembarking and taking over the airport before the Grenada military could respond.
    Last minute recon flights revealed that ZU-23 AA guns were active at the Airport, forcing the Rangers to switch to a paradrop onto the runway instead. At 05:30 on the 25th, A & B Companies jumped onto the Airport, facing resistance from infantry, ZU-23s and several BTR-60s. The firefight continued unabated for 4 hours, with the Rangers calling in support from AC-130 gunships to suppress the areas around the Airport. During the fight, the Rangers commandeered construction vehicles to clear the runway and also used them as mobile cover.

    By 10:00 the air strip was clear and reinforcements were flown in. M151 Jeeps and the leading members of the Caribbean Peace Force disembarked. The Rangers began preparing the Jeeps for mobile operations while the CPF set up a perimeter guard around the Airport.
    Around 14:00, planes carrying the 82nd Airborne commenced landing at Point Salines. During the disembarkation, at 15:30, 3 BTRs of the Grenadian Army Motorized Company counter attacked the Airport. The attack was repulsed with fire from captured recoilless rifles and support from an AC-130 Gunship.
    After this assault, now re-equipped and re-organised with M151 Jeeps, the Rangers moved out of the Airport. Speeding throughout the countryside, they quickly secured lots of ground and successfully negotiated the surrender of over 100 Cubans who had garrisoned themselves inside a hangar.


    A Jeep mounted patrol was sent to find the True Blue Campus, it's goal to secure and safeguard the American Students there. The patrol got lost however, and ended up being ambushed. After a brief firefight, the patrol suffered 4 killed in action. Later that night, the Rangers made their way to True Blue Campus where they secured and safeguarded 140 Students, only to be told that there were more at another campus in Grande Anse.
    While the Rangers were landing at Point Salines, the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment landed South of the Airport with CH-64 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion Helicopters. The resistance they faced at Pearls Airport was light. Reported as being roughly 'platoon-sized', the local forces pinned lead Marine units down with the use of a DShK Heavy Machine Gun until it was destroyed by a Marine AH-1 Cobra. The remaining resistance diminished rapidly. 

    Multiple Raids on key locations were conducted throughout the day. Early in the morning of the 25th, the remaining members of SEAL Team 6 were inserted via UH-60 Blackhawk to capture Radio Free Grenada - the plan being to use it for PsyOps purposes. The station itself was captured unopposed, but later during the day a counter-attack by BRDMs forced the SEALs to withdraw into the jungle. They destroyed the transmitter as they left.
    Raids were also undertaken against Fort Rupert, the believed location of the Revolutionary Council, and Richmond Hill Prison, where political rivals were being held prisoner. Both raids had members of Delta Force and C Company, 75th Rangers, both using MH-60 Blackhawks and MH-6 Little Birds. The raid on Fort Rupert was a success, with multiple leaders of the People's Revolutionary Government being captured. The Raid on Richmond Hill Prison was not successful however, as the US lacked vital intelligence. 
    The prison itself was located on a steep hill, with no locations for the Blackhawks to land. There were also multiple ZU-23 AA Guns set up both around and on top of the prison. During the raid, AA fire wounded many passengers and crew members of the Task Force, and caused 1 Blackhawk to crash, trapping some Delta Force operators. Another Blackhawk was diverted to protect the crash site. One pilot died, and another force of Rangers had to be sent to the Prison to support the Delta Operators.
    The final major Raid on the 25th was an operation conducted to rescue Governor General Paul Scoon. Still within his mansion in Saint George, an unidentified SEAL Team was flown from Barbados to Grenada. However, the team left late - at 05:30, while major combat operations were already underway.
    The SEAL team made no hostile contact during their insertion and entry into Scoon's mansion. However, a large counterattack including BTR-60s trapped the SEALs for several hours. Grenadian forces laid siege to the mansion, forcing the SEALs to call in air support, in the form of AC-130 Gunships, A-7 Corsairs and AH-1 Cobras. The airstrikes prevented local forces from storming the mansion, but the SEALs would remain trapped until members of G Company, 22nd Marine Assault Unit relieved them 24 hours later.
    The Forts Frederick and Rupert were targeted by airstrikes by Navy A-7 Corsairs and Marine helicopters. The target for both was AA emplacements, preparation for assault from ground forces. One strike on Fort Frederick missed, instead hitting a mental hospital and killing 18 civilians. A further Raid on Fort Frederick resulted in the loss of 2 Marine AH-1T Cobras and a UH-60 Blackhawk, with 5 KIA.

    A downed Marine Corps CH-46 on the beaches of Grenada
    D+1, 26th OCTOBER
    The US had 2 objectives during the 2nd day of Urgent Fury.
    Securing the area around Salines Airport Rescuing US students tapped at Grande Anse The Army units on the ground had suffered losses and damage to their transportation helicopters, and as such the US commander - General Trobaugh - was forced to delay the rescue operation until he had made contact with the Marines.
    The majority of Cuban Paramlilitaries were garissoned in a compound near the village of Calliste. They had sent out small patrols and deployed ambush teams throughout the area. Early on the morning of the 26th, a ptarol from the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry was ambushed by one of this patrols near Calliste. The ensuing firefight was deadly - the US suffered 6 wounded and 2 killed, Bravo Companies commander was one of them. The Cubans retreated back into the jungle.
    In response, the Battalion commander requested air support to strike the compand that the Cubans had secured. The US Navy sent Squadrons to target the compound as 105mm howitzers of the 82nd Airborne targeted the compound as well. At 08:30, the defenders of the compound surrendered to the members of the 325th. 
    US troops continued on into the town of Frequente. There, they discovered a large weapons cache, most of the boxes with import markings from Cuba. The Infantry commander reported that there were enough weapons to equip 6 battalions.
    One of the US patrols in the town was ambushed by Cubans. Mounted on gun-jeeps, the recon platoon used their mounted M60s to fend off the Cuban attack with no casualties. This ambush marked the end of concentrated Cuban resistance.

    Later that afternoon, an operation was mounted to rescue the students being held captive at Grande Anse. Members of the 2nd Battalion, Ranger Regiment mounted Marine Corps CH-46 helicopters.
    On approach, one CH-46 damaged its rotors on a palm tree and was forced to crash land.
    Touching down around the campus, the Rangers assaulted the area. Resistance was extremely light, with only a handful of paramlilitaries guarding the students. After a brief firefight, the defenders fled the area, resulting in only 1 Ranger being wounded.
    The operation secured the 233 students inside the campus - however, the Grande Anse students informed US troops there was in fact a third campus on the island with trapped US students. Due to the unexpectedly large number of students needing evacuation, and the loss of one CH-46; the US Marines dispatched CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters to pick up the stragglers. During the evacuation, an 11 man Ranger Team was left behind. The squad evacuated to the beach and paddled out to sea on an inflatable raft, presumably from the downed CH-46. They were found and retrieved by the USS Charon at 23:00.

    D+2, 27th OCTOBER
    By the 27th of October, unknown to US forces, organised resistance was diminishing. During the night, the Marine 22 MAU and 8th Regiment continued to advance, securing the coastline and capturing towns. Resistance was minimal, scattered gunfights breaking out, but with no concentrated defence. One patrol did encounter a lone BTR-60, but it was knocked out by an M72 LAW.

    The 325th Infantry Regiment advanced towards the town of Saint George, which had been unobserved since the rescue of students from Grande Anse on the first day. During their advance they encountered scattered resistance, lone gunmen or soldiers operating in small groups using guerrilla tactics. Upon reaching the Grande Anse campus, members of the 325th discovered a further 20 US students who had been missed on the first day. They were safely evacuated via helicopter.
    During the advance on Saint George, an Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Team mistakenly called for an A-7 Intruder to strike a position in front of the advancing friendly troops. By some unknown mistake, either in pilot error or munitions malfunction, the A-7 strafed the command post of the 2nd Brigade, 325th. 17 men were wounded, 1 of whom would later die.

    The US Army had intelligence reports stating that the bulk of the PRA force was amassing at Calivigny barracks, 5 kilometres from Point Salines Airfield. An Air Assault was organised, to be carried out by the 2nd Bn, 75th Rangers using the new UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters. 
    A preparatory bombardment was to clear the barracks defences. Howitzers, A-7 Corsairs, AC130s and the USS Charon all fired munitions into the barracks and surrounding area.
    During the assault, the pilots of the Blackhawks, who had not used them in combat, misjudged their approach and came in too fast.
    One Blackhawk crash-landed, causing the 2 Blackhawks behind to collide with it, killing 3 and wounding 4.
    The Rangers, after securing the wreckage and evacuating the wounded, pushed onto the barracks. They would find it deserted.

    AFTERMATH
    Over the following days, resistance ended entirely. Army and Marine forces spread across the island. They captured PRA officials, weapons caches and repatriating Cuban Nationals. On the 1st of November, 2 companies of the 22nd MAU landed on the island of Carriacou. 19 Grenadian defenders surrendered immediately. This marked the end of combat operations in Urgent Fury.
    Nearly 8000 US soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines took part in Urgent Fury. American forces suffered 19 KIA and 116 wounded. Cuba suffered 25 KIA, 59 WIA and 638 captured soldiers. Grenada suffered 45 KIA and 358 WIA, with no concrete number of POWs. At least 24 civilians died.
    The US also destroyed the majority of Grenadas military might - 6 APCs and 1 armoured car. A second was impounded and sent to Quantico.
    The US forces suffered the loss of 9 helicopters, 3 of which were the new Blackhawk.
    Worldwide, reactions to the invasion of Grenada were not as supportive as the US expected. The United Nations General Assembly stated 
    The Soviet Union claimed that Grenada had been threatened repeatedly by the United States and warned that other nations may find themselves at the mercy of US foreign policy.
    Following the end of Operation Urgent Fury, Paul Scoon was reaffirmed as governor. He led Grenada to public elections, held in December 1984. 
    US forces remained on the island in a peacekeeping capacity, as part of Operation Island Breeze. Eventually, all US forces would withdraw.

    PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
    Urgent Fury provides a host of different scenarios and strategies that Zeuses can play around with. Due to the limitations of our modpack there's some tinkering and substitutions that have to be made for missions to work. You could easily stage scenarios around the Saint George assault, the Governor's Mansion or the assaults on the Forts. But for a general mission plan, I'll focus on D-Day - the attack on Point Salines International Airport.
    For the map, you could use either Tanoa or Tembelan - it needs to be an airfield with a populated area nearby. The northern Airfield of Tembelan is one option, whereas Tanoa International is another. For this scenario I will provide images of Tanoa International.


    Having your players paradrop onto a hostile airfield is a challenge of itself, and should provide some interesting gameplay, however if you want to really shake things up; go for the Rangers original plan.
    Have C-130Js make an approach on the airfield and have them land, fully laden with players in the back. As the players disembark they should be in an instant firefight with infantry - I'd stay away from having ZUs or any vehicles. One or 2 DShKs on the perimeter could work, but you don't want immediate lines of sight to the planes.
    Once the players have captured the Airfield, you could give them objectives in the nearby settlements - simple secure objectives. Take inspiration from the 3 BTRs that attempted a counter-attack - throw in some infantry support and it should make for an interesting challenge.

    I'd use OPFOR African Militia as the Grenadian/Cuban forces. They are somewhat un-armoured, so restricting your players load-outs for balance would be advantageous. I recommend some lightweight armour, or for added challenge, use ALICE webbing which provides no armour rating at all. Restrict your players to M16s and M249s. Use M72 LAWs with perhaps 1 M3 MAAWS.

    FURTHER READING
    If you enjoyed this article and wish to explore Urgent Fury further, there's some official documents I recommend reading.
    Grenada Documents, Overview and Selection - DOD & State Department, 1984 Grenada, A Preliminary Report - DOD & State Department Joint Overview, Operation Urgent Fury - 1985
    Featured

    GuardianCon 2018 Marathon Charity Stream is Live!

    So for those of you who aren't aware, this year's GuardianCon Marathon Charity Stream has started.
    This marathon stream is yearly event that leads up to the GuardianCon event in Tampa Bay, Florida, where over 30 streamers come together and run a nonstop stream that lasts an entire week in an effort to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. St Jude's is an organisation that focuses on treating and research into cures for children's diseases, ranging from childhood cancer to other life-threatening diseases. St Jude's treats these children for no fee or bill whatsoever; they provide for the treatment, travel, housing and food for those they treat and they run entirely on donations, costing $2.4 million USD to run the entirety of St. Jude's for a single day. In 2016, the stream managed to raise $564,000. In 2017, they more than doubled it, raising $1.35 million USD. This year their aim is to raise $2.4 million USD, to run the entirety of St. Jude's for a single day.
    Despite its name of GuardianCon, this isn't restricted solely to the Destiny community. Although a large majority of the streamers are Destiny content creators, with names such as King Gothalion, Real Kraftyy, Teawrex and Professor Broman, it has expanded to include so much more, with the Borderlands community joining last year and with the Warframe and Fortnite community joining this year with Ninja closing out this year's marathon. On top of that, in the Convention itself at Tampa, there will be an official presence from multiple developers such as Bungie, Hi-Rez Studios and Phoenix Labs.
    This is an event I've personally been following since it started in 2016 (though it was only named GuardianCon in 2017), and I think it's something that is very much worth checking out and supporting if you can. You don't necessarily have to donate, especially if you are not financially able to. They appreciate each and every single dollar that gets donated but it's not a requirement. Support from the community, just having people hang out, and if possible, having people spread the word to others is greatly appreciated.

    This year's schedule of streamers.
    If you'd like to check it out, just to watch a stream, take a look at what communities can do, or if you'd like to donate to help contribute, you can click on the following to get to the official GuardianCon stream:
    or you can follow the following link to the official GuardianCon website: https://www.guardiancon.co/
     
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