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  • Sarissa
    Sarissa

    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.

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    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.

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    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

    26_1.jpg.ce45d4d7b9a5d00798d477ece04b8aa3.jpg
    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.

    Mogadishu_technical.jpg.85a7b8d79b9ee0684d41664c60aed7f2.jpg
    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.

    black.jpg.7b72ce19f3c081ec541dd7abba9f68c2.jpg
    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

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    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.

    Oct_3_TF_Ranger_launch.jpg.f0a2f0592519049a92d28ca81b3e1693.jpg
    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.

    229068882_Black_Hawk_Down_Rangers_under_fire_October_3_1993.jpg.c544f449a7c91e7d858d74c07901341c.jpg
    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.

    mogadishu-59f3155403f4020010316a8c.jpg.7bce22607513ccc8acc755eac6765075.jpg
    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.G7R6QRP74JEENNVA5ZOI7BYXAI.thumb.jpg.d0a7be52f9c42d5084ab81920db84080.jpg
    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.

    download-34-840x420.png.7ac1ac8136bcd52b60ecb3a6aa9dcfc0.png
    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

    800px-UNOSOM_Somalia_tanks.jpg.e92c5f318dc7192bae1688fc4a870e60.jpg
    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.

    u.s.-evacuation-mogadishu.jpg.3bdac4d62254b591fc9ef877634ec277.jpg
    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.

    20181008163152_1.thumb.jpg.c9f458ae14bd481d701fb36d4a121fcf.jpg

    20181008163204_1.thumb.jpg.e3f1cb9e123d72db56790d3b2e3b56e9.jpg
    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.

    20181008163409_1.thumb.jpg.bf0264e288200f8f346180ec5ccd25d1.jpg

    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! 

    20181008164529_1.thumb.jpg.dbc8d9024af61369c56660f10d0e1c46.jpg
    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.

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    Kerry

    Posted (edited)

    Is it just me or doesn't this sound like Blackhawk down?

     

     

     

    /s

     

    Also for "Putting it into practise" maybe enable the ACE Hearing Stuff and restrict earplugs

    Edited by Kerry

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