On October 3, 1993, as part of the United Nations intervention
action in Somalia
, a Delta Force commando
unit along with a force from the US Army Rangers
was ordered to capture two top commanders from the Habr Gidr
clan of Somalia
, who had openly defied America
's efforts to put an end to the civil war
. It was led by the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid
. The force comprised of 160 men, 19 aircraft
, and 12 vehicles
. It launched at 2:45pm that day.
The mission was jinxed from the beginning. As the first commandos dropped from the helicopter onto the house where the targets were holding a meeting, one Ranger, Private Todd Blackburn, misses the rope and falls 70 feet to the street below. Crowds of Somalis begin to converge on the scene. One truck was struck by a rocket propelled grenade and disabled, with several men injured. By 4pm, when the targets were under the custody of the American soldiers, large groups of Somalis armed with AK-47's have gathered from all over Mogadishu onto the site of the raid. 20 minutes later, the first helicopter was struck by a missile and crashes. The Somali guerillas converge on the site, killing the injured pilot and the copilot, but not before they gunned down several guerillas.
Lost and confused, the convoy holding the prisoners begins its journey back to the rallying point. The guerillas, severly outgunned by the Americans' M-249 and M-60 heavy machine guns, continued to attack the convoy. The Somalis sustained horrific casualties against the Americans, but they managed to slowly chip away at the convoy. In the process, the stunned Americans gunned down civilian and soldier alike.
At 4:40pm, the second helicopter was shot down. Two Americans were killed protecting the pilot from the hordes of Somalis, but again it cost the guerillas dearly. The only person still alive, the pilot Michael Durant, was captured.
By 7pm, the entire force was under siege by a numerically overwhelming force in the center of the city. A helicopter made a resupply drop, but badly damaged, it could not land to rescue the wounded. At 10pm, a massive rescue force begins to form at a UN base outside the city. An hour and half later, it moved out, slowly blazing away at the hostile crowds toward the trapped Rangers. Again, they killed everyone that moved.
At 5:30am the next morning, the combined rescue force and the original raiders finally recovered the dead bodies of the Americans killed defending the helicopter and their dead pilot. The captured pilot was nowehere to be found (the Somalis later showed him on TV and freed him as a gesture of goodwill). They began the "The Mogadishu Mile", a gauntlet of heavy gunfire out of the city. In the dim light of early morning, the Americans fired blindly, killing everyone that fired at them, stood in their path, or even moved. At 6:30am, the force finally reached Pakistani Stadium, where they were rescued. The final casualty count for the Americans: 18 dead, 73 injured. The Somalis had it much worse. Over a thousand killed, including many civilians, and countless injured.