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Black Hawk Down

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Black Hawk Down

The Battle of Mogadishu (also referred to as the Battle of the Black Sea, and Black Hawk Down in popular culture) or for Somalis The Day of the Rangers (Somali: Maalintii Rangers) was a battle that was part of Operation Gothic Serpent and was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, by forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II against Somali militia fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, with support from armed civilian fighters. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the later Second Battle of Mogadishu. Task Force Ranger, which consisted of an assault force made up of US Army Delta Force, Ranger teams, an air element provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, four Navy SEAL operators from SEAL Team Six, and members of the Air Force Pararescue/Air Force Combat Controllers, executed an operation which involved traveling from their compound on the outskirts of the city to capture tier one personalities of the Habr Gidr clan, headed by Aidid. The assault force consisted of nineteen aircraft, twelve vehicles and 160 men. During the operation, two U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenades, and three others were damaged. Some of the soldiers were able to evacuate wounded back to the compound, but others were trapped at the crash sites and cut off. An urban battle ensued throughout the night. Early the next morning, a combined task force was sent to rescue the trapped soldiers. It contained soldiers from Pakistan, Malaysia, and the U.S. 10th Mountain Division. They assembled some 100 vehicles, including Pakistani tanks (M48s) and Malaysian Condor armored personnel carriers, and were supported by U.S. A/MH-6 Little Bird, and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. This task force reached the first crash site and led the trapped soldiers out. The second crash site was overrun and pilot Mike Durant, the lone surviving American from that site, was taken prisoner but later released.

Somali casualty figures are unknown, but American estimates are that between 1,000 and 1,500 Somali militiamen and civilians lost their lives in the battle, with injuries to another 3,000-4,000. However, the International Committee of the Red Cross estimated 200 Somali civilians killed and several hundred wounded in the fighting. The book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War estimates more than 700 Somali militiamen dead and more than 1,000 wounded, but the Somali National Alliance in a Frontline documentary on American television acknowledged only 133 killed in the whole battle.The Somali casualties were reported in The Washington Post as 312 killed and 814 wounded.Eighteen American soldiers died and 73 were wounded (another American soldier, Delta operator SFC Matt Rierson, was killed in a mortar attack two days later). Among UN forces, one Malaysian soldier died; seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded.
Black Hawk Down Super64 over Mogadishu coast.jpg
Mike Durant's helicopter Super Six-Four heading out over Mogadishu on 3 October 1993.

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