Small Wars Journal

The Battle of Mogadishu 25 Years Later: How the Fateful Fight Changed Combat Operations

The Battle of Mogadishu 25 Years Later: How the Fateful Fight Changed Combat Operations by Todd South – Army Times

Twenty-five years ago, news flashed across television screens that U.S. troops had engaged in some of the most intense urban combat since Vietnam and suffered more dead and wounded in a matter of hours than recent years of operations combined.

The Battle of Mogadishu on Oct. 3-4, 1993, in Somalia would later be viewed as a tactical success in which, despite daunting odds and unforeseen mishaps, a force of about 100 Americans held off more than 1,000 enemy who poured streams of small arms and rocket attacks in an intense, coordinated ambush.

U.S. forces had arrived in the war-torn country in 1992 on a humanitarian mission to get food to starving people in a city where resources were controlled by various warlords. One of those warlords, Gen. Muhammed Farah Aideed, had directed forces that conducted attacks on U.N. allies, killing dozens, and also a bombing in August 1993 that killed four U.S. military police officers.

Those attacks changed the mission for Task Force Ranger to begin focusing on raids to capture Aideed and his top commanders. Those raids, initially the kind soldiers train for routinely, erupted into a crisis when militiamen downed two Black Hawk helicopters using rocket propelled grenades. The 15-hour battle that ensued left 18 Americans dead and 73 injured. And shocking images of American soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu were seared into the memories of many Americans at home…

Read on.