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October 3 1993 Battle of Mogadishu

On October 3rd, 1993, elements of the US Army Rangers and other special forces attempted to capture two of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's (a local Somali warlord)top officials in an operation which turned into a large firefight which resulted in the deaths of 18 American soldiers as well as more than 500 local Somalis (milita and civilians).

The firefight lasted almost 14 hours when an operation to capture militia leaders was thrown off course by the shooting down of one of the supporting Black Hawk helicopters, during a long delay after the operation was effectively completed; while both transport and the units to be evacuated waited for twenty additional minutes just out of sight of the other, ready to move, but each under the impression that they were to be first contacted by the other. A second Black Hawk was also downed another 20 minutes later and 2 special forces troops landed to protect the wounded pilot from the approaching mob, but were killed.

For reasons that are unclear, American forces strongly believed that RPGs could not be used against their helicopters.

Eventually reaching the first crash sites around 90 rangers found themselves under siege from heavy militia fire and despite limited air support were effectively trapped until re-enforcements aided by Malaysian and Pakistani UN arrived in the early morning. No contingency planning or coordination with other U.N. forces had been done in anticipation of any operational difficulties.

The battle was one of the most intense urban battles faced by the US forces during the Somalian UN mission and is often cited as the reason America withdrew from UN Peace Keeping duties.

Additional Notes

A film by Ridley Scott, based on the book by Mark Bowden[?] Black Hawk Down, describes the events surrounding the mission and some of the acts of bravery seen on that day.

There have been allegations that Usama bin Laden's al-Queda movement was involved in training Aidid's men and possibly supplying large numbers of RPG's to his fighters.

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