The Battle of Mogadishu

The Battle of Mogadishu on October 3, 1993, involved the United States Special Forces, and all people within the occupying area, and created a situation of terror and ultimately ending in regret for the United States, the United Nations and Somalia. The United States entered Somalia after a request from the United Nations in 1993. They then proceeded to give out food to
Black Hawk Helicopter
Black Hawk Helicopter
the many victims of clan abuse. When the food started to disappear into the hands of clan leaders, traded away for weapons, the United States took actions against them, in particular, the Habr Gidr Clan led by the Warlord Mohammad Farrah Aidid. The U.S. did this through missions into Mogadishu to collect clan leaders and followers of Aidid, and Aidid himself, if the opportunity arose. However, the operations continually encountered trouble and failed to ever accomplish their job. In the face of these failures, the United States left Somalia to right itself in the aftermath of the US Special Forces.

Somali Clan
Somali Clan

Fighting escalated between clans throughout the 90s as warlords rose in power, especially after opposing clans overthrew Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991; he had ruled for twenty years as the dictator of Somali. During the fighting, the world attempted to feed the starving citizens of Somali, the United Nations requested help from the United States for food, however this food was immediately taken by clans and traded away in other countries for weapons, leaving people to starve and looking for help. The United Nations attempted to take control of the situation, but instead enraged clan leaders, this lead to an ambush of UN soldiers by the Habr Gidr Clan that killed 24 Pakistani UN soldiers. These deaths called for, by the UN, the destruction of the Habr Gidr Clan. This was when the United States arrived in Somali with more then food, but military forces.

Entrance of the United States

Somali Militia
Somali Militia
The armed entrance of the United States into Somali was the beginning of Operation Restore Hope. At first the people of Somali rejoiced over US presence, however this quickly turned to hate, due to constant US attacks and destruction of homes and towns, flattening them to the ground. Some believed, help for Somali was needed, such as a new, stronger government, but to kill Aidid would only put another clan in power. As the United States failed to improve the situation, belief in their ability to help quickly faded and Somali militia began to grow stronger in order to put a stop to constant US induced fear. This tension only grew when US Intelligence failed to correctly inform US Special Forces about Habr Gidr meetings. Mistakes like this one were common during the US occupation and despite this instability in information, when the opportunity to capture top clan leaders and, possibly Aidid, arose the US jumped on it. This decision led the US into the Battle of Mogadishu unprepared for the unexpected and, in the end, unhelpful.

The Attack

October 3, 1993, US Special Forces, entered Mogadishu for their last mission in Somalia. Task Forces Ranger, Major General William F. Garrison estimated the mission to last a total of thirty minutes, regardless, it lasted through the following day, a total of 17 hours. Special Forces used nineteen aircrafts, twelve vehicles and approximately 160 men to attack, what is known as the Olympic Hotel, the meeting place of the Habr Gidr. Special Forces went in during the market day, increasing the number of civilian and militia casualties. Delta Forces entered the building, bound and secured most attending clan members, Aidid was not among the men captured, and Intelligence was misinformed again. Rangers secured the outside of the building; they faced thousands of Somalis, civilians and militia together. This led to five-hundred Somali deaths, mostly civilians, and a thousand wounded, because of US gun-fire. More problems arose when a militia member used a RPG, rocketed-propelled grenade, on a low flying Black Hawk, Super Six One, which brought down the helicopter, the main means of transportation for Special Forces. After the helicopter went down Somalis attempted to take the supplies on board and created barricades, trenches and traps for US vehicles meant to help the downed bird. The confusion led to the pull out of many vehicles holding clan members and a make-shift hospital outside the city. Vehicles would drive between the downed bird and the hospital bringing the dead and wounded out of the city. Those that could ran out of Mogadishu; this run is commonly known as the “Mogadishu Mile.” October 4, 1993, the battle left 18 US soldiers dead and 73 wounded.


The battle of Mogadishu was the United States last battle of the 90s in Somalia. After October 4, 1993 US Special Forces left Somalia to the clans and United Nations to rebuild. The US wanted nothing to do with Somalia after the bloody battle, causalities and bad publicity for Special Forces and Intelligence. Bad publicity like the shaming of US soldiers when Somalis took any US bodies found and dragged them through the streets in protest. These acts and those of theUS in Somali created bad relations between the two countries, such as, still to this day the US Embassy in Somali is closed.


The Battle of Mogadishu influenced military politics for years following. When theUnited States labeledSomalia a problem the United States attempted to fix the problem through intervention, however this failed to work, and that failure led to the conclusion that the United States should no longer intervene. This same problem, result and conclusion was shown in Vietnam, but the burning fire for the United States to fix all problems abroad was not put out, until Mogadishu. When America realized what occurred in Mogadishu, the US no longer wanted to continue to step into other country’s civil wars. This led to the nonexistent support and aid to Rwanda during the crisis between the two separate cultures, and the shrinking willingness to give aid to foreign countries, but also future preparation that helps protected US lives.

The Vietnam War was the longest war that the United States took place in and it was one of the bloodiest. The United States also lost this war, but it did not stop the United States from entering other countries trying in help. Like in Somalia,Vietnam was separated into two sides wanting two different things, fighting took place and America stepped in to help the side they believed was right. This war shadowed the same failure that the United States would face less than 20 years later inSomalia. The difference between the two is that after Vietnam, America wasn’t going to stop attempting to help other countries in need; after Somalia and the Battle of Mogadishu the United States was no longer going to put its military in countries that were fighting themselves, and the US wouldn’t do this for quite sometime. This new outlook on foreign policy left other countries in need with no outside help, including the country Rwanda.

The Rwanda Genocide took place in 1994, lasting 100 days, and in those one-hundred days approximately eight-hundred thousand people were killed. The genocide took place as the Hutus began killing the Tutsis and the any Hutus attempting to keep the peace, because the Hutus saw them as traitors. At first the United Nations attempted to create safe places for Tutsis to go for food, water, shelter and safety. However, the United Nations was not able to keep the Hutus away from the refugee camps while keeping there own soldiers safe, partial due to the order not to fire no matter the situation faced. Because of this, the United Nations pulled out of Rwanda, because it was too much of a threat to all United Nations soldiers, the fear of deaths like those in Somalia was apparent. The United States never entered Rwanda, and failed to see to helping those under attack inRwanda. The problem is Rwanda, but it intervene could mean failure once again, so nothing was done and Rwanda was ignored.

The United States did not enter Rwanda another suspected reason was due to the potential problems that the United States could face and not be prepared for. Because the Battle of Mogadishu was planned for during the day, such things like night vision goggles were left behind, which proved fatal to many later in the night. The worry of being unprepared slowed theUnited States down when entering other countries. The United States now before entering other countries is beyond prepared to prevent the same situation from occur. And not only are they prepared with equipment, but Intelligence is also more prepared then what it was in Mogadishu. The United States no longer enters without everything it needs, making it one of the deadlier armies in the world.
Overall the Battle of Mogadishu led to a new sense of caution showed towards any and all foreign affairs the United States becomes apart of. The Vietnam War can be seen as a foreshadow of what was to come, but it didn’t stop following battles and wars, but failure twice lead to caution. This caution led to nonexistent help for countries that also needed help, leaving many more dead. But caution brought more and better preparation to avoid at all cost American lives.

Works Cited

1993, June. "Operation Restore Hope, Battle of Mogadishu,1993." Nova Online Home Page. Web. 07 June 2011.

"Battlefield Somalia: The Battle of Mogadishu." Military Factory - Military Weapons: Cataloging Aircraft, Tanks, Vehicles, Artillery, Ships and Guns through History. Web. 07 June 2011.

Bowden, Mark. Black Hawk Down: a Story of Modern War. New York: Penguin, 2000. Print.

Herring, George C. America's Longest War: the United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. Print.

Military History Online. Web. 07 June 2011. <>.