The Day of the Rangers – a bloody Battle of Mogadishu

On October 3, 1993, Battle of Mogadishu attracted media attention worldwide and remained on the headlines for days. A bloody incident in Somalia which overturned into a bloody battle between US Special Operations Forces and Somali militia. Somalia,  one of the poorest countries in the world, whose only asset is geostrategic control of oil times in the Horn of Africa was ruled by the notorious warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

Operation Gothic Serpent had only one mission objective, to capture notorious warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and his associates. The mission involved U.S. Special Operations Forces including helicopter units and Army Rangers – a total of 160 soldiers backed up by UNOSOM II.

Units involved in Battle of Mogadishu

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The initial Joint Special Operations Command force, Task Force Ranger, was a collaboration of various elite special forces units from the United States Army Special Operations Command, the Air Force Special Operations Command, and the United States Naval Special Warfare Command. It consisted mostly of members from the 75th Ranger Regiment and Delta Force.

Mission

The operation was supposed to be a one-hour mission, but it turned into a nightmare that lasted for 18 hours in the downtown of Mogadishu. Task Force Ranger was dispatched to seize two of Aidid’s high-echelon lieutenants during a meeting in the city.

The first phase of the mission went brilliantly, 22 close associates of Aidid were arrested. But the real battle was just starting when US forces faced with the unexpected resistance of local militiamen armed with AK-47 and RPGs. The initial operation of 3 October 1993, became an overnight standoff and rescue operation extending into the daylight hours of 4 October.

Aftermath

In total, two UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopters were lost, and during a rescue operation and withdrawal from the two crash sites, 18 soldiers were killed, while 73 soldiers were wounded. The exact number of Somali casualties is unknown, but estimates range from several hundred to a thousand militiamen and others killed, with injuries to another 3,000–4,000.

Mogadishu, Somalia – 1993 (Photo: Pinterest)

At least one Pakistani soldier and one Malaysian soldier were killed as part of the rescue forces on day two of the battle.

Shortly after the Battle of Mogadishu, General William Garrison, who led operation retired, and the Americans have withdrawn from the fiercest military conflict since the Vietnam War in the next few months. In a national security policy review session held in the White House on 6 October 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton directed the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral David E. Jeremiah, to stop all actions by U.S. forces against Aidid except those required in self-defense.

So far, many stories have been told and movies were filmed, but only a few pictures and videos have found its way to the public. Here is a video released by Pentagon which shows JOC footage filmed on that October 3, 1993.