*ACIG Home*ACIG Journal*ACIG Books*ACIG Forum *


ACIG Special Reports
ACIG Database
ACIG Books, Articles & Media
Central and Latin America Database
Europe & Cold War Database
Former USSR-Russia Database
Western & Northern Africa Database
Central, Eastern, & Southern Africa Database
Middle East Database
Arabian Peninsula & Persian Gulf Database
Indian-Subcontinent Database
Indochina Database
Korean War Database
Far-East Database
LCIG & NCIG Section

Central, Eastern, & Southern Africa Database

Somalia, 1980-1996
By Court Chick & Albert Grandolini, with Tom Cooper & Sander Peeters
Sep 2, 2003, 10:53

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

After a terrible defeat during the Ogaden War, in 1977-1978, tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia remained high and there was a number of border incidents. Namely, the surviving WSLF-fighters subsequently reverted to guerrilla tactics, mainly operating out of border areas in Somalia. In fact, by May 1980 they again established control over a significant part of Ogaden. During that summer the fighters of Ethiopian Air Force (EtAF) flew a number of strikes against targets inside Somalia, and one of them was even shot down, killing the pilot.

In a new offensive of the Ethiopian Army, undertaken in early 1981, the Somali insurgency in Ogaden was completely destroyed. Nevertheless, new border clashes were reported in August 1982, in the fall of 1985 (on 25 October a Somalia Air Corps (SAC) MiG-21MF was scrambled from Hargheisa for unknown reasons), and in February 1987.

In order to calm down the situation, the Ethiopian Government opened negotiations with Somalia in May, August, and September of 1986, which allowed the Ethiopians to conduct war in Eritrea. In February, 1987, during ongoing negotiations, it is believed that Somalian rebels staged an attack on Ethiopian territory in order to disturb the talks. The Ethiopians launched a surprise offensive, losing 400 men and 11 tanks captured in exchange. Negotiations continued though, and finally led to peace, in 1988.

"226" (c/n 8708) was one of six MiG-21MFs found by UN-troops at Mogadishu AB, in 1992. Somali MiG-21MFs were from early production batches, built at Znamya Truda Works, and painted in a lighter version of the pattern standardized for this version in the early 1970s. It certainly saw combat service during the Ogaden War, and subsequent civil war in Somalia, during the 1980s.

Reorganization of SAC

In the early 1980s the SAC – then under command of Lt.Gen. Muhamed Nur Dhubbi - was significantly reorganized as the government was attempting to diversify its sources of equipment. The USA were not ready to supply new arms despite the fact that Siad Barre had switched his alliance from the Soviet Bloc to the West. Only China and Italy did offer some military aid. Via a Pakistani connection, Beijing delivered some 40 Shenyang F-6Cs to the SAC. Through the mid-1980s Italy followed with some three Douglas C-47s, two Alenia G.222s, six SIAI-Marchetti SF.260Ms and six SF.260Ws, three Piaggio P.166s, and few Agusta-Bell AB.212 helicopters. Libya then added three Antonov An-26 transports and several Mil Mi-8 helicopters.

Perhaps most important for survival of the Somali Aeronautical Corps as a fighting force was acquisition of a number of Hawker Hunters. Usual reports state that only five Hunter F.Mk.76s, a single Hunter FR.Mk.75A, and two T.Mk.77 trainers were donated to Somalia by Abu Dhabi. However, the SAC almost certainly acquired additional examples, most likely from Kuwait or Jordan. Initially, the Hunters in Somalia suffered from poor serviceability: spares were very scarce and there were only very few pilots qualified to fly them. In fact, when in September 1983 the SAC staged a fly-past for Baree in Mogadishu, even Zimbabwean pilots had to be recruited in order to put only four Hunters in the air.

The battered Somalian Army was also reinforced, receiving some 100 M-47 Patton tanks and 300 Fiat 6613 as well as 6616 armoured cars, and an unknown number of M-113 APCs. Other equipment – including few additional Centurion tanks - was subsequently obtained from a number of different Arab countries.

This SAC MiG-17 - serialled CC-136 - of the "Dayuuradaha Xoogga Dalka Somaliyeed" was one of the last nine MiG-17s operational in Somalia by 1989. The aircraft had a badly worn-out camouflage pattern of Sand and Olive Green, and spotted a very faded "Flying Cheetah" insignia on the nose. It was found - together with a single MiG-15UTI and an An-26 transport - at the Kismay AB, in northern Somalia, in 1992. (All artworks by Tom Cooper)


The Ogaden War left Somali dictator extremely unpopular in his own country. Barre was, however, clever in how to use the rivalry of many local clans to his own advantage. Eventually, in northern Somalia the Somali National Movement (SNM) developed into the main oppositional group, supported by the majority of local clans. Barre’s security services were attempting to brutally suppress the SNM on several occasions, but the opposition managed to reform each time and eventually launched an insurgency.

The SAC was immediately involved in flying combat operations against insurgents, using last operational MiGs. In order to make also as many Hunters operational as possible a group of British technicians was hired and spare parts bought to maintain them. Already in 1986, the SAC formed a new unit equipped with Hunters, flown by a group of former Rhodesian, British and Australian mercenary pilots, so that the aircraft were available after only few days of work on them.

However, the initial Somali operations against the SNM were slow: some sporadic air strikes were flown by SAC aircraft, but in general the insurgency spread as the rebels obtained additional weapons. On 13 January 1988, for example, they are known to have shot down one of ex-Libyan Mil Mi-8 Hips over northern Somalia. The difficult situation in which the SAC found itself was also illustrated by the defection of a pilot with his MiG-17 to Djibouti, on 11 July 1988

In July 1989 Barre’s ‘Red Berets’ killed 450 Muslims in Mogadishu, who were there to demonstrate against the arrest of their leaders. Subsequently, the SAC conducted a series of raids against the SNM-controlled cities, villages, and countryside, with chemical weapons imported from Libya allegedly being used. Operations by the Army and SAC left approximately 60,000 deaths and 850,000 fleeing from the north. These actions not only polarized the country, but left Somalia with few international friends.

The SNM was meanwhile increasingly successful in fighting the Somali Army: the rebel claim for capture of Hargheisa AB, in early 1988, was premature, but it illustrated how powerful this organization meanwhile became. Certainly, by mid-1989 the SNM felt strong enough to commence a large offensive in the north of Somalia. This was launched in December 1989 and resulted in the capture of 95% of the region two months later. During this time the insurgents were well-equipped, downing two F-6s in December 1989 and an An-26 transport in January, 1990, leaving only one operational aircraft of this type to the SAC, as the third example was meanwhile not airworthy any more, after being cannibalized for spares and left to rot on Mogadishu Airport.

Weakened by the SNM-uprising and additional revolts elsewhere in the country, through early 1990 the Somali regime prepared one final counteroffensive in the north, attempting to stall the rebel advance. For this purpose the locally based 26th Infantry Division was reinforced by three additional brigades as well as some T-54 and Centurion tanks, while the SAC was mobilized to give maximum air support possible and many of its MiG-17s and F-6s deployed to Hargheisa AB. Only some six MiG-21s and two Hunters were left in southern Somalia.

The offensive was launched on 26 March 1990, and initially the 26th Division succeeded in retaking the towns of Loyada and Zeila, which were in rebel hands since May 1989. Nevertheless, this success was short-lived at best: most of the government forces were defeated in a series of battles and either left scattered in remote encircled outposts, or besieged in the cities of Berbera and Hargheisa. The SAC and some civilian companies immediately launched an air bridge to the later city, but by the time the SNM rebels were already equipped with few SA-7 MANPADS: after a Somali Airlines Fokker F.27 was shot down – killing at least 30 – the SAC remained the sole force capable of flying into the city. Deploying their G.222s and Piaggio P.166s, sometimes escorted by fighter-bombers, the Somalis continued the air bridge, and even continued operating MiG-17s and F-6s from Hargheisa AB. In 3 June 1990 the operation was reinforced by the first deployment of An-26 transports. When the plane attempted to land in Hargheisa, however, the airfield was subjected to artillery fire: after making several turns over the city the aircraft was hit by ground fire and the hydraulic system damaged. The pilot, Col. Mohamed Sheikh Ibrahim, then decided that he has had enough and defected straight to Djibouti. Apparently, this senior SAC-offier had nurtured and partially planned this defection before, for he brough with him three other transport pilots; only the flight mechanic, Maj. Moussa Hersi Warsame, refused to seek political asylum in Djibouti, and applied to return to Somalia.

Somalia ordered a total of six Alenia G.222 transports, of which only two were delivered - the remaining four being held back in Italy for lack of funds. Eventually the wreckage of only one example - AM-94 (MM60214, c/n4039) - was found at Mogadishu IAP, in derelict condition when UN troops arrived, in 1992. The fate of the second example - AM-96 (MM6216) remains unknown. The use of Italian "matricula militare" (military number) as serials on SAC aircraft subsequently caused not a small affair in Italy. Note the "Flying Cheetah" insiginia, similar to that worn on some MiG-15UTIs, MiG-17Fs and An-25s of SAC as well: exact background of this symbol remains unknown.

New Enemies

Despite the loss of the northern part of the country (which subsequently declared itself independent from Somalia under the name “Somaliland”: this nation was so far officially recognized only by Italy), Barre was not to restrain from increased use of military and police, in turn causing ever more other political groups to form own armed militias based on different local tribes and clans. The United Somalian Congress (USC) emerged in the north and the Somalia Patriotic Movement (SPM) in the south of the country, developing into two major groups that eventually united in 1990. Each of these groups was based on the local clan, and interested in little more but ascertaining own survival, but all were soon excellently armed with light infantry weapons. The USC became active in the north of what was left of Somalia, and the and stretching to the limits the meagre assets of the SAC and the Army.

Eventualy, Barre’s brutal rule caused an outbreak of armed rebellion in the southern part of Somalia as well. In the last moment the dictator promised democratic elections, simultaneously ordering the Army to start a counteroffensive and suppress the rebels. However, he was meanwhile being abandoned by most of his followers, and even Italy decided to stop any further support of his regime, recalling its military advisory mission on 12 July 1990.

The air bridge to Hargheisa was still sporadically flown, but the SAC continued suffering losses: on 21 October 1990 a transport aircraft was shot down near Belet Wein, killing 16 passengers and crew. On 27 October 1990 the troops besieged at Berbera attempted a break-out with support of a SAC fighter-detachment there – but failed. The fall of Berbera sent shock-waves through the SAC, when a number of officers realized that the times of Barre’s regime were over: on 7 November 1990 a SAC pilot defected with his SF.260 trainer to el-Bur, where at the time the USC had its headquarters. Less than a month later, on 2 December 1990, the SNM launched an offensive against the city. Vicious battle raged through the town resulting in its fall, on 30 January 1991. In the meantime, in early December 1990 the SNM forces also launched an offensive against Hargheisa: after knocking out two tanks they succeeded to reach the main runway of the local airfield, practically putting it out of action and subsequently capturing a number of SAC fighters in intact condition.

The remaining Somali Aeronautical Corps assets were subsequently regrouped at Mogadishu, Baidoha and Bali Dogle, then they were urgently needed: on 2 December 1990 the USC forces launched an offensive against the capital, defended by the 77th Infantry Division, under direct command by the son of Siad Barre. When the insurgents advanced into the city he ordered a counterattack by BM-21 MRLs, causing horrendous losses within the civilian population. Nevertheless, after three days of chaotic fighting Mogadishu fell on 28 December. In the final days of his rule Barre was entrenched with his presidential guard and a battalion of armour – equipped with M-47s and M-113s – in the “Villa Somalia”, the presidential compound in Hulanle, near the Mogadishu International Airport (IAP), which was heavily fortified and included many bunkers built by the Chinese. At the airport there were two business-jets (probably Dassault Falcon 10s), given to Barre to Libya and waiting for him: on 30 December – when “Villa Somalia” came attack by some 7.500 rebels - Barre fled from Somalia, ending his 22-years long dictatorship that ruined a potentially prosperous country.

During these and the few following battles, in early January 1991, the SAC Hunters were to see their last opportunity to become involved in air combat. Still flown by a number of foreign mercenary pilots few of them were flyable enough to be used in a number of strike sorties. When on 15 January 1991 the SPM-forces captured the Baidoha AB, they found some 16 Hunters, of which only five were in flying condition. The SPM-rebels also took Bali Dogle, where the last few SAC fighters were found, including five F-6Cs.

SAC Hunter F.Mk.76 "CC-703" (ex-WV389) was one from a batch of at least five planes of this version acquired from Abu Dhabi in 1982. In addition the Somalis have got also a single Hunter FR.Mk.75A and two T.Mk.77 two-seaters, one of which was serialled CC-711 in Somali service, while the other was used as source of spares. Although simple to maintain the SAC Hunters were very soon in poor condition, and the Somalis had also hardly any pilots qualified on them. When the SAC staged a fly-past for the Somali Dictator, in September 1983, even Zimbabwean pilots had to be recruited in order to put four of these aircraft into the air. As in a mirracle, although they have got only enough maintenance to be declared "flyable", none crashed! Nevertheless, at least two Somali Hunters were reported as operational and taking part in the civil war as late as 1988!

Operation “Eastern Exit”

On 1 January 1991, while the fighting between the rebels and the remnants of the Somali military was still raging on the streets of the Somali capital, the US Ambassador to Somalia requested military assistance to evacuate the Embassy in Mogadishu because of a deteriorating security situation. As the reign of Somali dictator Siad Barre disintegrated, American and other foreign nationals had sought refuge in the US Embassy compound.

Operation “Eastern Exit” was initiated on 2 January 1991 and lasted until the 11th of that month, as additional Western countries decided to evacuate their citizens as well. Participating US units included: USS Guam (LPH 9), USS Trenton (LPD 14), 4th Marine Expeditionary Bde, Air Force AC-130s, and a 9-man SEAL team.

The initial plan was for an evacuation from Mogadishu’s international airport with USAF aircraft staged in Kenya. The situation in Mogadishu, however, rapidly deteriorated. USAF aircraft could not safely land at the airport and those sheltered at the Embassy could not travel through the dangerous streets of the city to the airport. At this point the only hope lay with the two ships, 466 miles from Mogadishu, steaming south at flank speed.

At 02:47hrs on 5 January, USS Guam launched two CH-53Es with a 60-man security force including the 9 man SEAL team. The flight required two air-to-air refuellings en route from KC-130 aircraft.

At 07:10 the two CH-53Es landed inside the Embassy compound. Shortly after, a special operations AC-130 gunship arrived overhead to provide fire support. The Marine security detail unloaded and secured the compound while the SEAL team concentrated on protecting the Ambassador at the chancery building. After an hour the CH-53’s lifted off with 61 evacuees onboard for the return flight to the USS Guam, now 350-380 miles away. On the ground, the Marines maintained the perimeter throughout the day. A few stray rounds impacted within the compound but the Marines did not return fire. At one point, a detachment from the security force and embassy staff formed a convoy of hardened commercial vehicles to escort four American officials and several foreign nationals from the Office of Military Cooperation, which were several blocks away.

By 0043hrs on 6 January, the two ships had neared the coast and were able to launch four waves of CH-46s each for the final evacuation. The first three waves were to evacuate the civilians and the final for the security detachment. The entire mission was conducted using night vision goggles with the Embassy compound darkened. As the last wave of CH-46’s lifted off with the security force, armed looters could be seen scaling the walls of the Embassy compound.

The evacuation was declared complete at 0343hrs on 6 January when the last CH-46 landed on the USS Guam. In all 281 people were evacuated, including eight ambassadors, 61 Americans, and 39 Soviets. The entire expedition lasted less than 10 days with the actual evacuation involving CH-53s and CH-46s lasting less than 24 hours. The USS Guam and Trenton offloaded the evacuees in Muscat, Oman on 11 January, bringing Operation Eastern Exit to a successful conclusion.

On 5 January 1991, the same day that the Americans have sent their helicopters to the US embassy compound, the Italian Air Force sent two Lockheed C-130H Hercules’ to Mogadishu IAP to deploy 40 paratroopers of the 9th “Colonel Moschin” Airborne Battalion: the troops secured a small perimeter and helped pick up 205 foreigners. These two C-130s made several additional trips to Somalia: two days later they evacuated another 105 refugees.

On 5 January also the last remaining SAC An-26 was flown out by a defecting crew to Nairobi, in Kenya, brining 30 refugees aboard. Three days later the French launched Operation “Berenice”: the French Navy Aérospatiale AS.321 Super Frelon helicopters – operating from the frigate LaMotte Picquet and the logistic support ship Jules Verne – evacuated another 45 foreigners, mainly Italians. Finally, on 13 January 1991 an Egyptian Air Force C-130 landed at Mogadishu to pick up some 77 Egyptians, 19 Iraqis, and six Somalis.

Meanwhile, back in Somalia the fighting died away by 3 February 1991, when a new government was established under USC’s leader Ali Mahdi of the Abgal sub-clan. Political bickering for advantageous positions in “new” Somalia began almost immediately. In June 1991 Gen. Mohammed Farah Aideed of the Habr Gidr sub-clan was selected as chairman of the Somali National Alliance (SNA): Mahdi rejected this decision and demanded Aideed’s withdrawal – but nothing happened. Aideed has considerably military experience and a well-armed militia on his side, while Mahdi controlled only an ad-hoc organized militia, consisting of only a few officers and soldiers of the former Somali Army. Nevertheless, Mahdi was a capable politician: by October of the same year he arranged a new government which was to be supported by strong financial aid from Italy. However, by the time Aideed and his SNA-fraction of USC claimed to be the legitimate ruler. Mahdi’s response was a declaration of a war.

Under Aideed’s leadership the SNA had only minor problems in defeating the sad remnants of the Somali Army and force them to withdraw towards the south. Instead of taking power in Mogadishu, however, the General then turned his advance towards south as well. Reason for this decision was the increasing famine: there were plentiful depots in southern Somalia, still under control of the official military. Aideed’s conquest of the south was completed successfully but the famine then spread to the whole country and – soon enough – Aideed found himself blamed for the situation by Western politicians, even if becoming increasingly popular in his own country. By the end of March 1991 Aideed succeeded in placing a number of opposing clans under his command, thus calming down the civil war.

Problems for Aideed then came from a completely unexpected side: only few months after Aideed delivered a defeat on Mahdi, in autumn 1991 the UN opened an office in Mogadishu. The local official UN representative came too late to prevent a civil war, and therefore his duty became the organization of relief supplies for the population. He was situated in the Somali capital which was still under control of Mahdi, but had to distribute the international aid over a large country, most of which was under control of different warlords. Understandably, in a report to the headquarters in New York the representative declared the situation in Somalia for “anarchy”, Aideed for “bandit”, and the numerous hand-held weapons carried by all Somalis for “the biggest problem”. In his eyes only an intervention by the Western powers could improve the situation.

The problem was, however, that meanwhile Aideed was recognized by almost all the Somali clans and political parties as a new President of Somalia, and that under his rule the situation was – slowly, but nevertheless – improving. Aideed was only not interested in attempting to capture Mogadishu in order to save his militia from heavy losses: this means not that he was especially “human”, but that he worked in his own and interests considered “their” by most of the Somalis at the time. The fact was also that for the Somalis have an association with hand-held firearms which is as strong as that in Afghanistan and the United States: a request to rake these away could only result in a dreadful fight.

UN Intervention: Operation “Provide Relief” (UNOSOM I)

Eventually, the UN brought a decision to launch a large-scale aid operation in Somalia. Operation Provide Relief began in August 1992, when the White House announced that US military transports would support the United Nations relief effort. Four C-141C Starlifters of the 437th and 438th Airlift Wing, as well as eight C-130E Hercules of the 314th AW were stationed at Mombassa. One week later they started their first flights to Somalia. The first flights were uneventful except for one C-130 of the 314th AW that was hit by a bullet while unloading supplies at Belet Uen.

No matter how well the Operation “Provide Relief” progressed, a problem developed between the UN and a number of Somali fractions, whose partisans attacked relief convoys time and again. In a number of areas the aid workers had to pay “protection fees” to local warlords to ensure safe passage. On top of this, Ali Mahdi – who still had command in Mogadishu – was doing his best to make Aideed look as bad as possible in the eyes of the World media. The UN therefore had to act. On 14 September 500 Pakistani troops from 7 Frontier Force Regiment arrived in Mogadishu, tasked with securing the airport and port areas, escorting food convoys and ensuring smooth distribution of relief supplies. 750 soldiers from the Canadian Airborne Regiment participated in peacekeeping operations in the northern Somali port of Bossasso under Operation Cordon.

On 6 December the 314th AW was replaced by 722nd AS/463rd AW which was equipped with newer C-130Hs. Besides the US, the British contributed C-130s, and the German Luftwaffe supplied C.160Ds from LTG.63. Southern Air Transport, a civilian organization, flew 5 C-130s.

Special Operations Forces also became involved in Provide Relief, with soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) deployed to provide security for the relief flights en route from Kenya to Somalia. This airborne reaction force, which included two desert mobility vehicles, loaded up in a C-130 and circled over Somalia airfields during delivery of relief supplies. In addition, SOF medics and ground observers accompanied many relief flights into the airstrips throughout southern Somalia to conduct general area assessments.

The Air Force C-130s delivered 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies in six months to international humanitarian organizations. Nevertheless, in the end this proved inadequate, and the death toll reached 500,000 with 1.5 million refugees or displaced. Consequently, in December 1992 the USA launched a major coalition effort to assist and protect the distribution of humanitarian aid.

(Map of Somalia by Tom Cooper, based on Encarta 2003)

Operation “Restore Hope”

On 3 December 1992, UN Security Resolution 794 authorized the US led intervention “to use all necessary means to establish a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia as soon as possible.” A joint and multinational operation designated Restore Hope – UNITAF (Unified Task Force).

The US-led coalition had a mandate to protect humanitarian operations including the authority to military force, as clan violence began to interfere with international famine relief efforts.

To support the UN relief effort, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, directed CENTCOM to secure transportation facilities in Mogadishu. An amphibious squadron, consisting of USS Tripoli (LPH-10), Juneau (LPD-10), and Rushmore (LSD-47), with a Marine Expeditionary Unit (I Marine Expeditionary Force – Camp Pendleton, California), a SEAL platoon, and a Special Boat Unit (SBU) detachment, arrived off the coast of Somalia shortly thereafter.

On the night of 6 December, 12 SEALs from SEAL Team One conducted a hydrographic reconnaissance, taking depth soundings with weighted lines. Another 5 SEALs swam ashore and reconnoitred the beach, as the Marines needed up-to-date charts for the beaches which did not exist. The SEALs returned to the Juneau where they compiled charts, briefed the Marines, and prepared for the next night’s mission.

The second mission, on 7 December, involved the SEALs swimming in Mogadishu harbour, where they found suitable landing site, assessed the area for threats, and made sure that the port could support maritime pre-positioned ships offloads.

Marines of the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, 7th Platoon, and Navy SEALs moved into Somalia in the early morning hours of 9 December, with 1,300 Marines coming in by helicopter directly to Mogadishu airport. The Marines and SEALs assigned to the beach were met by a media circus with crowds of cameramen using bright lights to get footage of their arrival. Soon regular Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived and focus shifted to them, allowing the Recon Marines and SEALs to finish their mission: ensuring two anti-aircraft guns spotted on satellite were inoperable.

One week later, on 17 December, SEALs surveyed the port of Kismayu from the French Frigate Dupleix. Somali snipers opened up on the SEALs during the operation, but none of the operators was hit. Three days later, nevertheless, the US and Belgian troops chased off the local militia from this airfield, allowing another base to be established there.

On 28 December 1992, the Special Forces assets in Kenya moved to Somalia and joined Operation Restore Hope, with a Special Forces headquarters unit – FOB 52(-) – deploying to Mogadishu on 12 January 1993 as the Joint Special Operations Forces-Somalia (JSOFOR). The US Army component of UNITAF was Task Force Mountain, built around the 2d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.

Coalition forces including large components from France, Italy, Belgium, Morocco, Australia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Canada soon joined US Forces during the course of Restore Hope, some 38,000 soldiers and representatives from 49 different humanitarian relief operations.

The diplomatic groundwork had been laid for US troops to arrive with no Somalian resistance. Thereafter, Somali warlords quickly agreed to cooperate with each other and work with the US troops to establish a relatively benign and secure environment. The main challenge to the smooth flow of relief supplies remained the rivalry between feuding warlords, meanwhile organized in two polarized groups, one under Gen. Aideed and the other under Ali Mahdi. The US Ambassador Oakley, backed by overwhelming US and Allied power, effectively established a cease-fire between the two forces as a precondition to establishing a military and relief presence in the interior of the country. However, it was not in the UN charter, nor in the US mission guidance, to disarm or attack either faction, only to ensure that relief supplies flowed. With the port and airport at Mogadishu reopened, relief supplies began moving quickly ashore with over 40,000 tons of grain being off-loaded by the end of December along with 6,668 vehicles and 96 helicopters for the military forces.

Due to the large number of forces arriving in Somalia, aircraft that were initially used to provide relief aid instead started to fly in supplies for these forces. The Mogadishu airport could only handle two C-5 Galaxies, or one C-5 and two C-141s at a time and eleven flights daily, which caused an enormous supply problem for UNOSOM. Mombassa airport supported aircraft from the US, Britain, Germany, and Canada.

Meanwhile, UNITAF forces began to move into the countryside. To aid in coordination, the southern part of Somalia, the area most marked by drought and famine, was divided into nine humanitarian relief sectors (HRS). US Marine forces in Baardeheere (Bardera) and parts of Mogadishu and US Army forces providing security, often in conjunction with allied forces, in four sectors: HRS Baidoa, HRS Balli Doogle (Baledogle), HRS Merca (Marka), and HRS Kismaayo. The movement of US and allied forces to their assigned sectors occurred in a variety of ways. TF 2-87, a US Army infantry battalion task force, conducted a combined air assault with the 1st Canadian Airborne Battle Group from Mogadishu to the town of Beledweyne (Belet Uen), while other units like TF 3-14, another infantry battalion task force, flew directly from the US to their sector at Kismaayo supplemented by Belgian paratroopers. Because the 10th Mountain Division did not bring any of its helicopters, 15 UH-60s were shipped from Wiesbaden while another 15 from the 7th and 9th Battalions of the 227th Aviation Regiment were brought in from Ramstein AFB along with 16 CH-47Ds of the 502nd Aviation Regiment. By early January 1993 most of UNITAF was in place and conducting security operations throughout the nine relief sectors.

The Canadian contingent arrived in late December and on 1 January the entire Canadian Airborne Battle Group – 2 Commando - (CARBG) was at Belet Huen, along with a mortar platoon from the 1st Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment, a squadron from 2 Canadian Engineer Regiment, and an armoured squadron from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, supported by HMCS Preserver.

On 19 January the Commanding Officer of 1 Royal Australian Regiment took command of HRS Baidos from 3/9 Battalion USMC commencing Operation Solace. The Australian commitment included A Company, 1st Battalion RAR with support from HMAS Jervis Bay and HMAS Tobruk

The Italians supplied 3,500 troops under Operation Ibis and were stationed at Gialalassi and were supported by three Agusta A.129 Mangusta gunships, six AB.205As, and four CH-47Cs. On 9 December, French Foreign Legion soldiers began arriving under Operation Oryx, setting up their base at Oddur. The Legionnaires were supported by ten Puma and twelve SA.342M Gazelle helicopters.

Italian Army Aviation Agusta A.129 Mangusta attack-helicopter seen in Somalia, in 1993. (via Court Chick)

Five Operational Detachment A (ODA) teams from the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) set themselves up in Beledweyne (Canadian sector), Baardeheere (USMC), Kismaayo (US Army), and Baidoa (Australian-US Army). The main objective of SOF were to make contact with indigenous factions and leaders, provide information to UNITAF on potentially hostile forces, and provide area assessments to assist with planning for future relief and security operations.

On the whole, the relief mission proceeded well, with few incidents of violence from February to May 1993. Markets reopened, and travel became more common. The Operation Restore Hope brought in troops from numerous different countries, including 28.000 US troops, 3.000 French (in the frame of Operation “Oryx”), 2.300 Italian (in the frame of Operation “Ibis”), 1.500 German, 1.250 Moroccan, 1.000 Zimbabwean, 900 Australian, 750 Canadian, 780 Belgian, 750 Egyptian, and 650 Pakistani troops. Operation Restore Hope succeeded in its goal of bringing an end to mass starvation.

However, clan rivalry and US reluctance to engage in long-term ‘nation building’ operations soon doomed the effort. Soon after the US turned over the mission completely to the UN in May, the situation began to unravel.

SAC otained at least three Piaggio P.166DL-3 light transports out of four purchased by Somalia in 1991. These are known to have initially worn civilian markings, specifically 60-SBI, 60-SBJ and 60-SBL. The three which then definitelly entered service with the SAC then received Italian-style serials MM60210, MM60211, and MM60213. Only one of them, the MM60210, was found in any kind of "intact" condition (in so far that the derelict fuselage still had wings and engine nacelles attached) at Mogadischu, in 1992.

Operation “Continue Hope” (UNOSOM II)

On the 26th of March 1993, the United Nations passed resolution 814 which broadened its mandate to intervene in another country’s affairs. The UN was now intervening militarily in a peacemaking role under Chapter VII of its charter. This resolution was adopted at the urging of US leaders, who wished for a new mission in Somalia to take over the majority of the responsibilities of running the relief effort so the US could reduce the size of its committed forces and handle only limited security and logistical operations. Simultaneously, the UN troops would implement the other part of the operation: the disarmament of the Somali militias.

Lt. Gen. Cevik Bir of Turkey was appointed commander of UNOSOM II with US Army Maj. Gen. Thomas M. Montgomery as his deputy. General Montgomery also retained his position as commander of US Forces in Somalia (USFORSOM). The US was able to retain their own national chain of command while inserting themselves into the UN structure.

While the handover of the mission was poorly done, with only 30 percent of the UN staff in place on the date of the transfer, General Bir assumed command of forces in Somalia on 4 May 1993. The US provided a strong logistics structure, a small special operations element, and a 1,100 man quick reaction force (QRF) consisting of a brigade-level headquarters from the 10th Mountain Division. Jonathan Howe, a retired US Admiral, was appointed UN envoy to Somalia with wide-ranging powers.

Around this time a platoon from SEAL Team 2, from the USS Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), replaced the departing SEALs from SEAL Team 1. These SEALs conducted reconnaissance on the Jubba River to gather intelligence on gun smuggling, along with missions in the Three Rivers region south of Kismayu and at Koyaama Island.

So far the presence of foreign troops hardly even attracted the attention of Somalis: they were busy with their own occupations. Throughout 1992 and 1993 Aideed was receiving increasing support from additional clans and tribes: by April 1993 he could actually count on support from the entire country – except from the “Republic of Somaliland”, in the north. When the UN requested his militias to disarm and withdraw from Mogadishu and its surroundings, Aideed refused: on 5 June 1993, when Pakistani UN-peacekeepers attempted to close down the radio station of the Aideed’s militia, they were ambushed. In a firefights on the streets of Mogadishu 24 Pakistanis were killed and another 44 were wounded. This Aideed’s success was to cause an expensive and bloody, five-months long hunt for him and his aides by the UN troops – which was to leave dozens of US and UN soldiers, as well as hundreds of Somalis dead.

The next day the UN Security Council approved Resolution 837, adopting a more aggressive military stance against Aideed. Also that day, General Hoar asked the Joint Staff to send four Air Force AC-130 gunships to carry out air strikes against the positions of Aideed’s militia: the Somali general was to be overpowered and outgunned by sheer US firepower. Meanwhile, Pakistani and Italian troops conducted heavy armoured patrols in Mogadishu, concentrating on the area near the ambush site.

The USAF AC-130s arrived on the 7th of June and remained until 14 July. In the night from 11 to 12 June three gunships (‘Reach 67, 68, and 69’) flew over Mogadishu, using their 105mm and 40mm guns to destroy two weapon storage sites and cripple Radio Mogadishu – Aideed’s propaganda station. On the 13, 14, and 17 June several more AC-130 missions were flown, destroying weapons storage areas and vehicle compounds belonging to Aideed and his key supporters. The AC-130s conducted a total of thirty-two interdiction, reconnaissance, and PSYOP missions in support of UNOSOM II. They encountered sporadic anti-aircraft fire, and even several (malfunctioning) SA-7s.

USAF AC-130 Gunships were used extensively during the UN-intervention in Somalia, mainly for supporting US special troops in their raids against different Somali militia - and especially by night. They proved their effectiveness beyond any doubt. (US DoD, via Court Chick)

After short negotiations with Aideed, on 16 June, additional Gunship-sorties were flown. In the following night “Reach 67” attacked several militia-bases before returning to base due to technical difficulties. On 17 June Admiral Howe issued an arrest warrant for Aideed and authorized a $25,000 reward. Skirmishing between UN and US forces and Aideed’s Habr Gidr subclan continued. On 2 July attack helicopters and the ground QRF were called in to support Italian troops caught in an ambush. On 12 July the American QRF attacked a major Aideed compound with helicopter gunships. After the raid, a hostile crowd near the compound attacked and killed four western journalists covering the action. US Task Force 3-25 Aviation established three teams to conduct operations to capture Aideed: Team Attack, Team Snatch, and Team Secure composed of attack, scout, and cargo helicopters with snipers and a scout platoon. Despite several alerts, Aideed began lowering his profile and was seldom seen moving around the city.: even if sometimes hiding only few hundred meters from US or UN bases, he escaped most of the hunt organized through the following summer and attacks by his militia did not only continue, but were even increased.

On 21 July the Tunisians were involved in a two-hour fire fight with Somalians at the Mogadishu University. On 8 August his forces detonated a mine under a passing US Military police vehicle on Jialle-Siaad Street in Mogadishu killing four US MPs. On 22 August 1993, Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, directed the deployment of Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) to Somalia in response to a request by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to President Clinton in assistance in capturing Aideed. Named Task Force Ranger, it had the mission of capturing Aideed and his key lieutenants and turning them over to UNOSOM II forces, a task made difficult due to the fact that Aideed had gone underground after the AC-130 air raids and ground assaults on his strongholds in June and July.

By 28 August all the major elements of TF Ranger, under Operation Gothic Serpent, were in Somalia. These included special operations ground forces, special operations helicopters, USAF special tactics personnel, and US Navy SEALs. During August and September, TF Ranger conducted six missions into Mogadishu, all of which were tactical successes. On 21 September a raid was launched near Digfer Hospital and Osman Atto, one of Aideed’s closest advisers and his chief financial aid, was captured. During this operation however, US Rangers received massed rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire from a nearby Somali village.

A flight of MH-6 Little Bird helicopters with Delta Force-operators. (US DoD via Court Chick)

Despite the raids by TF Ranger, attacks continued against UN and US forces. On 8 September US and Pakistani soldiers were clearing roadblocks near a site known as the Cigarette Factory and were attacked by Somali militia using 106mm recoilless rifles, RPGs, and small arms. The same clearing team was attacked later the same day, near an abandoned allied checkpoint, by militiamen joined this time by approximately 1,000 Somali civilians. Six UNOSOM II soldiers were injured. On 16 and 21 September two roadblock clearing teams were attacked on 21 October Road. The attack on the 21st was a Pakistani element, which lost an APC and suffered nine casualties, including two killed. On 25 September a US Army Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by RPGs and three soldiers killed, one from the 25th Aviation Regiment and two from the 101st Airborne.

MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as used by US Army Rangers during different operations in Somalia.

On 3 October TF Ranger launched its seventh mission into the so-called Black Sea slum district, Aideed’s stronghold, near the Bakara Market, to capture two of Aideeds key lieutenants: Omar Salad and Mohammed Hassan Awale. At approximately 15:30hrs, helicopters from the 160th SOAR carrying the assault (1st SFOD-D) and blocking force (US Army Rangers) launched from their compound at the western edge of Mogadishu airport with the ground convoy leaving three minutes later. By 15:42hrs the ground force arrived at its target location near the Olympic Hotel. The blocking force quickly established a perimeter on all four corners around the building, while the assault force searched the compound for Aideed supporters. Under ever increasing fire the assault force captured 24 Somalis and began moving them to the waiting convoy. At this time a circling MH-60 Black Hawk (‘Super 61’) was hit by an RPG and crashed about three blocks from the target location, killing both pilots. A fifteen-man combat search and rescue (CSAR) team - along with two Delta Force snipers in a modified MH-60 (‘Super 62’) - and a MH-6 ‘Little Bird’ assault helicopter (‘Star 41’) with one six-man element from the blocking force rushed to the scene. The MH-6 arrived first and landed in a narrow alley and evacuated two wounded soldiers to a military field hospital. The six-man Ranger element and the CSAR helicopter arrived shortly after. While the last two members of the search and rescue team were sliding down the fast ropes, their helicopter was hit by an RPG. The pilot managed to keep the helicopter steady until the last two soldiers reached the ground and then nursed the helicopter back to the airport.

MH-60 "Super 64" seen over Mogadishu during one of similar raids: there are only a very few authentic photographs taken during the operations against Gen. Aideed. (US DoD via Court Chick)

Ground fire struck two more MH-60s, with one, (‘Super 64’) going down less than a mile south of the first destroyed helicopter while the other was able to limp back to the airport. Before rescue forces could arrive, a Somali mob overran the crash site, killing everyone except one of the pilots – CW3 Mike Durant - who was taken prisoner.

After loading the 24 detainees on the ground convoy trucks, the remaining assault and blocking force moved on foot to the first crash site and occupied buildings south and southwest of the downed Black Hawk, with two soldiers being wounded along the way. Defensive positions were established and suppressive fire laid down to hold the Somalis at bay while they treated their wounded and worked to free the pilots’ body from the wreckage. The ground convoy forces with the detainees attempted to reach the crash site from the North, but were unable to find it among the narrow, winding alleys. After coming under heavy small arms and RPG fire, and suffering numerous casualties and losing two 5-ton trucks, the convoy commander decided to return to the airport. On the way back, the convoy encountered a pick-up force of Rangers and special forces support personnel of the task forces internal QRF trying to reach the second crash site. This element loaded some of the casualties of the first convoy and they both returned to base.

The only known photograph taken on the ground during the Battle of Mogadishu, on 3 October 1993. US Rangers and Special Forces operators can be seen deployed along the houses on both sides of this alley. (US DoD via Court Chick)

Satellite picture of Mogadishu at the time of the raid from 3 November 1993: large columns of smoke can be seen hanging over several places in north-western part of the city. The US bases were positioned around the international airfield, which is bellow the left lower corner of this photograph (outside the frame).(US DoD via Court Chick)

Meanwhile, the UN QRF, which consisted of a company of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, also tried to reach the second crash site but became pinned down by Somali fire. After a dismounted fire fight near the K-4 traffic circle, the QRF commander was compelled to move his small and outgunned force back to the airport and regroup. A relief force, made up of Pakistani and Malaysian forces, was being formed but it took some time to assemble the tanks and armoured vehicles and integrate them with 2-14th infantry elements. Several hours later, the sixty-plus vehicle convoy of the 10th Mountain Division and attached elements moved out of the New Port area of the city north to National Street, with the Pakistani tanks in the lead. AH-1 Cobra gunships, command and control UH-60s, and reconnaissance OH-58A Kiowa helicopters circled overhead while the convoy moved along National Street towards the crash sites. Along the way, Malaysian APCs with soldiers of 2nd Platoon, Company A, 2-14th Infantry turned south of National and were ambushed. It would be four hours before they were rescued.

The rest of the convoy continued on National Street and then turned north on Shalalwi Street past the Olympic Hotel towards the first crash site, arriving at 01:55hrs on 4 October. The combined Ranger-Special Forces-mountain infantry force worked until dawn to free the pilots body. Close air support was provided by MH-6 and AH-1 attack helicopters, keeping the enemy at bay, firing off an estimated 70-80,000 rounds of minigun ammo and 90-100 aerial rockets. Company A, 2-14th Infantry, less its second platoon, reached the second crash site but no trace could be found of the lost soldiers and aviators.

As dawn broke, all the casualties were loaded onto the APCs while the remainder of the force moved rapidly on foot south along Shalalwi Street to National Street towards the so-called Pakistani Stadium, arriving at around 06:30hrs. Casualties on both sides were heavy. TF Ranger lost 16 soldiers and had another 57 wounded. 2-14th Infantry suffered two killed and 22 wounded. The Malaysian force had two killed and seven wounded and the Pakistanis suffered two wounded. Somali casualties are placed at between 500 and 1,500.

An AH-6 Little Bird attack helicopter, seen armed with 2.75in rockets and 7.62mm mini-guns. (US DoD via Court Chick)

After the 3-4 October battle, US military presence in Somalia increased. Two AC-130s deployed to Kenya and flew reconnaissance missions over Mogadishu. More Special Forces units deployed as did a platoon from SEAL Team 2 and one from SEAL Team 8 providing VIP protection, occupying sniper positions and guarding allied encampments. On 8 October US Central Command issued orders for the deployment of a heavy task force consisting of an armour battalion HQ, additional armour, and self propelled artillery, UH-60, AH-1F, and OH-58A helicopters. Two days later the first elements of 2-22 Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division arrived.

Soon however, countries began pulling their forces from Somalia. On 12 December French forces departed, then the Belgians on the 30th, handing over their area in Kismaayo to the Indians. The new year saw the Turkish forces leave on 22 February 1994, followed by the Germans on 19 March and the Italians on the 23rd of March. The last US ground forces departed Mogadishu two days later, supported by USS Peleliu and four escorts.

The Indian 66 (Independent) Infantry Brigade, which arrived in Somalia in September 1993, departed on 23 December 1994 onboard the frigates INS Ganga and Godavari, and the logistics ship INS Shakti.

Operation “United Shield”

On 10 January 1995 the Pentagon announced that 2,600 US Marines would deploy to Somalia for Operation United Shield to assist the final withdrawal of UN peacekeepers. The UN Security Council established 31 March as the deadline for the departure of all its forces participating in operations in Somalia.

On 1 March 1995 1,800 US Marines and 350 Italian Marines landed to safeguard the withdrawal of Pakistani and Bangladeshi peacekeepers, 2,500 in total, which was carried out on the 3rd of March.

In June 1995 the Somali National Congress was summoned together and Aideed was replaced as chairman by Ali Atto. Aideed however, refused to recognize this decision and in September 1995 took control of the southern city of Baidoa.

During the three year effort of UNOSOM I and II, 157 peacekeepers had died. But the UN had brought relief to millions facing starvation, helped to stop the large-scale killings, assisted in the return of refugees, and provided massive humanitarian aid.

Order of Battle

UNOSOM I & II (UN Operations in Somalia, 1992 – 1995)


United States Air Force

4th Air Force
* 349th Air Mobility Wing (AMW)
- 70th Air Refuelling Squadron (KC-10)
- 79th ARS (KC-10)
- 301st Airlift Squadron (C-5)
- 312th AS (C-5)
- 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (C-141)

* 433rd Airlift Wing (AW)
- 68th AS (C-5)

* 927th Air Refuelling Wing (ARW)
- 64th ARS (KC-135)

18th Air Force
* 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force
- 19th Air Refuelling Group (ARG)
- 99th ARS (KC-135)

* 436th AW
- 3rd AS (C-5)
- 9th AS (C-5)

* 914th AW
- 328th AS (C-130H)
- 914th AES

15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force
* 22nd ARW
- 344th ARS
- 349th ARS
- 350th ARS
- 384th ARS

* 60th AMW
- 6th ARS (KC-10)
- 9th ARS (KC-10)
- 22nd AS (C-5)

* 62nd AW
- 4th AS (C-141B)
- 7th AS (C-17A)
- 8th AS (C-141B)

22nd Air Force
* 314th AW
- ? AS (C-130E)
- ? AS (C-130E)

* 315th AW
- 300th AS
- 317th AS
- 701st AS
- 315th AES

* 437th AW
- ? AS (C-141B)
- ? AS (C-141B)

* 438th AW
- ? AS (C-141B)
- ? AS (C-141B)

* 302nd AW
- 731st AS (C-130)

* 463rd AW
- 772nd AS (C-130H)

* Alaska ANG
- 2nd AS (C-130H)

* Kentucky ANG
- 165th AS (C-130H)

* Ohio ANG
- 144th AS (C-130H)

* 16th Special Operations Wing
- 16th Special Operations Squadron (AC-130H)

* 720th Special Tactics Group (STG)
- 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (STS)
- 24th STS

United States Navy

Operation ‘Eastern Exit’, 1992
* USS Guam LPH-9
- HMM-? (AH-1W, CH-46E, CH-53E)
- HMLA-? (AH-1W, UH-1N)
* USS Trenton LPD-14

Subsequent Operations (1993- 1994)
* Wasp Amphibious Ready Group
- USS Wasp LHD-1
- USS Barnstable County LST-1197
- USS El Paso LKA-117
- USS Nashville LPD-13

* Tarawa ARG
* USS Tarawa LHA-1, with HMLA-367 embarked (in the area from 09/92 until 12/92), including:
- VMA-211 (AV-8B)
- HMLA-367 (AH-1W, UH-1N)
- HMH-466 (CH-53E)
- HMM-161 (CH-46E)

* Ranger Carrier Battle Group
* USS Ranger CV-61, with CVW-2 (NE) embarked (in the area from 08/92 until 12/92), including:
- VF-1 (F-14A)
- VF-2 (F-14A TARPS)
- VA-145 (A-6E)
- VA-155 (A-6E, KA-6D)
- VAW-116 (E-2C)
- VAQ-131 (EA-6B)
- VS-38 (S-3B)
- HS-14 (SH-3H)
Escort ships unknown.

* Tripoli ARG
* USS Tripoli LPH-10, with HMLA-369 embarked (in the area from 12/92 until ?/93), including:
- HMM-164 (AH-1W, CH-46E, CH-53E)
- HMLA-369 (AH-1W, UH-1N, MH-53E – partially deployed in Mogadishu)

* Kitty Hawk Carrier Battle Group
* USS Kitty Hawk CV-63, with CVW-14 (NK) embarked (in the area from 12/92 until 01/93), including:
- VF-51 (F-14A)
- VF-111 (F-14A TARPS)
- VFA-27 (F/A-18C)
- VFA-97 (F/A-18C)
- VA-52 (A-6D, KA-6D)
- VAW-114 (E-2C)
- VAQ-134 (EA-6B)
- VS-37 (S-3B)
- HS-4 (SH-60F)

Peleliu ARG
* USS Peleliu LHA-5, with HMM-? embarked (in the area from 02/94 until 05/94), including:
- HMM-? (AH-1W, CH-46E, CH-53E)
- HMLA-? (AH-1W, UH-1N)

* Abraham Lincoln Carrier Battle Group
* USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72, with CVW-11 (NH) embarked, including:
- VF-114 (F-14A)
- VF-213 (F-14A TARPS)
- VFA-22 (F/A-18C)
- VFA-94 (F/A-18C)
- VA-95 (A-6E, KA-6D)
- VAW-117 (E-2C)
- VAQ-135 (EA-6B)
- HS-6 (SH-60F, HH-60H)
- VS-29 (S-3A)

* USS Essex LHD-1, with HMM-? embarked (in the area from 11/94 until 02/95), including:
- VMA-? (AV-8B)
- HMM-? (AH-1W, CH-46E, CH-53E)
- HMLA-? (AH-1W, UH-1N)

* New Orleans ARG
- USS New Orleans LPH-11
- USS Denver LPD-9
- USS Comstock LSD-45
- USS Cayuga LST-1186

* Guadalcanal ARG
- USS Guadalcanal LPH-7
- USS Shreveport LPD-12
- USS Ashland LSD-48
- USS Savannah AOR-4
- USS Butte AE-27

* America Carrier Battle Group
* USS America CV-66, with CVW-1 (AB) embarked, including:
- VF-102 Diamondbacks (F-14A TARPS)
- VF-33 Starfighters (F-14A)
- VFA-82 (F/A-18C)
- VFA-86 (F/A-18C)
- VA-85 (A-6E)
- VAW-123 (E-2C)
- VAQ-137 (EA-6B)
- HS-11 (SH-3H)
- VS-32 (S-3B)

* Destroyer Squadron 14
- USS Normandy CG-60
- USS Monterey CG-61
- USS Scott DDG-995
- USS Thorn DD-988
- USS Simpson FFG-56
- USS Boone FFG-28
- USS Alexandria SSN-757
- USS Groton SSN-694
- USS Osprey (MHC-51)

Operations in 1995
* Belleau Wood ARG
* USS Belleau Wood LHA-3, with HMM-? embarked, including:
- HMM-? (AH-1W, CH-46E, CH-53E)
- HMLA-? (AH-1W, UH-1N)
* USS Essex LHD-2
* USS Fort Fisher LSD-40
* USS Ogden LPD-5
* USS Lake Erie (CG-70)

Naval Construction Force
* 1st Naval Construction Division
- 30th Naval Construction Regiment (Pacific), Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FORTY
- 22nd Naval Construction Regiment (Atlantic), Naval Mobile Construction Battalion ONE

United States Marine Corps

I/III Marine Expeditionary Force
- 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
- 13th MEU (SOC)
- 15th MEU

* 1st Marine Division
- 1st Marine Regiment, including 1st Battalion (1/4) and 3rd Battalion (3/1)
- 7th Marine Regiment, including 1st Battalion (1/7), 3rd Battalion (3/7), and 3rd Battalion (3/11)

* 3rd Marine Division
- 9th Marine Regiment, including 1st Battalion (1/9), 2nd Battalion (2/9), and 3rd Battalion (3/9)

1st Marine Air Wing
* Marine Aircraft Group 36 [MAG-36], including VMGR-152 (KC-130R)

3rd Marine Air Wing
* Marine Aircraft Group 39 [MAG-39], including:
- HMLA-169 (UH-1N, AH-1W)
- HMLA-369 (UH-1N, AH-1W)
- HMM-164 (CH-46E)
- HMM-268 (CH-46E)
- MALS-39

4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
- 22nd MEU
- 24th MEU (SOC)
- 26th MEU
- 22nd MSSG
- 24th MSSG

2nd Marine Division
- 2nd Marine Regiment, including 1st Battalion (1/2), and 3rd Battalion (3/2)

* 2nd Marine Air Wing
- Marine Aircraft Group 26 [MAG-26], including MHL/A-167 (UH-1N, AH-1T, AH-1W)
- Marine Aircraft Group 29 [MAG-29], including HMM-263 (CH-46E)

United States Army

Forces Command
- 93rd Signal Brigade, with 63rd Signal Battalion
- 11th Signal Brigade, with 593rd Signal Battalion

XVIII Airborne Corps
10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
* HHC, 1st Brigade, including 2nd Battalion – 22nd Infantry Regiment

* 2nd Brigade, including:
- 2nd Battalion – 14th Infantry Regiment
- 3rd Battalion – 14th Infantry Regiment
- 2nd Battalion – 87th Infantry Regiment
- Company E (TOW)

* HHC, Aviation Brigade, including:
- 3rd Battalion – 25th Aviation
- 3rd Squadron – 17th Cavalry

* HHB, Division Artillery, including:
- 1st Battalion – 7th Field Artillery
- 2nd Battalion – 7th Field Artillery

* HHC, Division Support Command, including:
- 46th Support Battalion
- 210th Support Battalion (Forward)
- 710th Support Battalion (Main)

* Air Defense Artillery
- Battery A, 3rd Battalion – 62nd ADA
- Battery B, 3rd Battalion – 62nd ADA

* 10th Signal Battalion

* 41st Engineer Battalion

- 710th Main Support Battalion
- 110th Military Intelligence Battalion
- Long Range Surveillance Detachment
- 10th Military Police Battalion, including 511th MP Company

3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized)
* 2nd Brigade
- 1st Battalion – 64th Armor Regiment (M1)

* Engineer Brigade
- 36th Engineer Group, including 608th Ordinance Company

101st Airborne Division
- 101st Combat Support Group, including 561st Combat Support Battalion

* 16th Military Police Brigade (Abn), including:
- 503rd Military Police Battalion, including 21st Military Police Company

* 1st Corps Support Command
* 507th Corps Support Group, with 7th Transportation Battalion

I Corps
* 62nd Medical Group, including:
- 86th Evacuation Hospital
- 32nd Medical Logistics Battalion
- 159th Medical Company (Air Ambulance, UH-60A)
- 514th Medical Company (Ambulance)
- 423rd Medical Company (Clearing)
- 61st Medical Detachment (Sanitation)
- 224th Medical Detachment (Sanitation)
- 227th Medical Detachment (Epidemiology)
- 485th Medical Detachment (Entomology)
- 555th Medical Detachment (Forward Surgery)
- 73rd Veterinary Detachment
- 248th Veterinary Detachment
- 257th Dental Detachment
- 528th Combat Stress Control Detachment

* 42nd Medical Task Force
- 42nd Field Hospital
- 147th Medical Logistics Battalion
- 61st Area Support Medical Battalion
- 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance)
- 105th Medical Detachment (Sanitation)
- 248th Veterinary Detachment
- 528th Combat Stress Control Detachment
- 46th Medical Task Force
- 46th Combat Support Hospital
- 32nd Medical Logistics Battalion
- 61st Area Support Medical Battalion
- 82nd Medical Company (Air Ambulance)
- 926th Preventive Medicine Detachment
- 248th Veterinary Detachment
- 47th Forward Support Medical Company
- 528th Combat Stress Control Detachment

- 502nd Aviation Regiment (CH-47D)
- 7th/9th Bn., 227th AR (UH-60A)

III Corps
1st Cavalry Division
* 4th Aviation Brigade, including 4-227 AVN

* 312th Military Intelligence Battalion

* 89th Military Police Brigade, including 759th Military Police Battalion with 984th Military Police Company
- 300th Military Police Company
- 977th Military Police Company

* 937th Engineer Group, with 924th Military Police Battalion

* 64th Combat Support Group, including 180th Transportation Battalion with 418th Transportation Company
- 553rd Transportation Battalion
- 602nd Maintenance Company

- 377th Theater Support Command, including 43rd Area Support Group with 68th Corps Support Battalion

US Army National Guard

* 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) – Pre-National Guard
- 15th Regiment, including 3rd Battalion

US Army Reserve

5th Army – Awaiting information

US Special Forces

US Army Special Operations Command
- 75th Ranger Regiment, including 3rd Battalion with B Company
- 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
- 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (Airborne) Delta
- 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) with
AH/MH-6 Little Bird
MH-60 Pave Hawk
MH-47E Chinook

- 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne)
- 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne)

* Southern Air Transport
- Lockheed Hercules L-100-30 transports wearing the UN-logo “WFP” were noticed in Somalia several times in 1992 and 1993; supposedly, they were chartered for support of the World Food Program.

Naval Special Warfare Command
- Naval Special Warfare Group ONE, with SEAL Team ONE
- Naval Special Warfare Group TWO, with SEAL Team TWO and SEAL Team EIGHT


Royal Australian Army
Royal Australian Air Force
- 36 Squadron (C-130H)

- HMAS Tobruk L50
- HMAS Jervis Bay GT203

1st Royal Australian Regiment
* 1st Battalion, including:
- Battalion HQ (-)
- A Company
- B Company
- C Company
- D Company
- Support Company

* 4th Cavalry Regiment (-), including 3rd Battalion with B Squadron

* 103 Signals Squadron (-)

* Battalion HQ (+), with 107 Field Battery (81mm mortars)

* 3 Combat Engineer Regiment, with 17 Field Troop

* 1st Field Regiment

* Battalion Support Group

* Special Air Service Regiment, 3 Squadron with J Troop


- Military Observers (UNOSOM I)

* 21 HQ Staff
- 1906 Infantry/Artillery/Signals
- 40 Military Police


Air Force
* 15 Wing
- 20 escadrille (Tactical Flight) (C-130E)

* Composante Terre
- De paracommando-eenheden, 2eme Battalion Commando


- ? Battalion


Canadian Air Force
* 8 Wing
- 429 Squadron (CC-130)
- 436 Squadron (CC-130)

* 12 Wing
- 423 Squadron (CH-124) – HELAIRDET TO Preserver

* 17 Wing
- 435 Squadron (CC-130)

Land Forces Central Area
- Canadian Airborne Regiment
- 1 Commando
- 2 Commando
- 3 Commando

* 1 Royal Canadian Regiment, including 1st Battalion with Mortar Platoon

* 2nd Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, including Royal Canadian Dragoons with A Squadron (Bison)

* 2nd Canadian Engineer Regiment

* 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signals Regiment, A Troop

Royal Canadian Navy
* Maritime Forces Atlantic
- HMCS Preserver 510


- ? Brigade


Armée de l’Air (Air Force)
* Commandement de la Force Aérienne de Projection (CFAP)
- Escadron de Transport d’Outre Mer (ETOM) 88 (C.160F)
- Escadron de Transport (ET) 2/61 (C-130H)
- Escadron de Transport (ET) 1/64, 2/64 (C.160NG)

Force d’Action Navale (Navy)
- Frégate Dupleix D641

Armée de Terre (Army)
* 11ieme Brigade aéroportée (11th Airborne Brigade), including:
- Légion étrangère De Français, 2eme Régiment étranger des parachutistes (2 REP) from 13e Demi-Brigade de Légion étrangère
- 3rd Company CAE (Recon and Support)

ALAT (Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre)
- 4e Division Aéromobile (Force d’Action Rapide), with 2 RHCs (one with SA.330B Puma and other with SA.342M Gazelle helicopters)


Luftwaffe (Air Force)
- LTG.61 (C.160D)
- LTG.62 (C.160D)
- LTG.63 (C.160D)


- INS Deepak A50
- INS Kuthar P46
- INS Cheetah L18
- INS Ganga F22
- INS Godavari F20
- INS Shakti A57

* 66 (Independent) Brigade Group
- 1st Battalion Bihar Regiment
- 5th Battalion Mahar Regiment
- 3rd Battalion Jammu Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment
- 3rd Battalion Mechanized Infantry
- 7 Cavalry
- 8722 Light Battery
- 6 Reconnaissance and Observation Flight
- Helicopter Unit 111


- 1 Transport Company
- 2 Transport Company
- Army Ranger Wing (Elements)


Air Force (AMI)
* 46 Brigata Aerea
- 98 Gr/TM (G.222)

* 15 Stormo
- 83 Centro (HH-3F)

* 1st Defense Force Command (Vittorio Veneto)
- ‘Folgore’ parachutist brigade
- ‘Legnano’ mechanized brigade

- 49 Gruppo (A.129)
- 1 Regimento (CH-47C, AB.205)


* Penugasan PBB
- MALBAT I/19 Royal Malay Regiment (Mech) (Condor APC)
- MALBAT II/7 Royal Rangers Regiment (Mech) (Condor APC)
- MALBAT III/7 Royal Malay Regiment (Mech) (Condor APC)


- Security Unit


Royal New Zealand Air Force
- 42 Squadron (Andover C Mk1)


- Battalion Operations/Staff Officer
- ? Battalion


* 7 Frontier Force Regiment
- Battalion (UNOSOM I)

* HQ 4 (1) Infantry Brigade
- 19 Lancers Regiment
- 4 Punjab Regiment
- 5 Frontier Force Regiment
- 8 Frontier Force Regiment
- 15 Frontier Force Regiment
- 4 Sind Regiment

* HQ 6 Brigade
- 6 Punjab Regiment
- 7 Frontier Force Regiment
- 10 Baluch Regiment
- 1 Sind Regiment


- Military Police Company


Royal Air Force (RAF)
- No.24 Sqn (Hercules C.1P)
- No.30 Sqn (Hercules C.1P)
- No.47 Sqn (Hercules C.1P)
- No.70 Sqn (Hercules C.1P)


Zimbabwean Defence Force/Ground Forces (Army)
- ? Battalion
- ? Signal Company


Following persons have helped us prepare this article:

- special thanks to Mr. Nick Dowling for supplying the OrBat of Australian units participating in UNOSOM I & II

- thanks to kind help from members of Pakdef forum

- "Mumuchi" for OrBat of participating Malaysian units

Except for own research, the following sources were used for preparing this article:

- "CONTINENT ABLAZE; The Insurgency Wars in Africa, 1960 to the Present" by John W. Turner, Arms and Armour 1998 (ISBN: 1-85409-128-X)

- "THE WORLD IN CONFLICT; Contemporary Warfare Described and Analysed, War Annual 7", by John Laffin, Brassey's 1996 (ISBN: 1-85753-196-5)

- "AFRICAN MiGs; MiGs and Sukhois in Service in Sub Saharan Africa" by Tom Cooper, SHI Publications 2004 (ISBN: 3-200-00088-0)

- "HAWKER HUNTER" by Barry Jones, Crowood Aviation Series 1995 (ISBN: 1-86126-083-0)

- "HAWKER HUNTER in Action, Aircraft Number 121" by Glenn Ashley, Squadron/Signal Publications 1992 (ISBN: 0-89747-273-X)

- "HAWKER HUNTER, Warpaint Series No.8" by Alan W. Hall, Hall Park Books Ltd. (ISSN: 1363-0369)





© Copyright 2002-3 by ACIG.org

Top of Page

Latest Central, Eastern, & Southern Africa Database
Busy CF-5s in Botswana
Post Scriptum: Ethiopia - Eritrea
African Mirages
African MiGs - Part 4
African MiGs - Part 3
African MiGs - Part 2
African MiGs - Part 1
South African Air-to-Air Victories
Zaire/DR Congo since 1980
Somalia, 1980-1996
Uganda and Tansania, 1972 - 1979
Comoro Islands, since 1975
Mozambique, 1962-1992
Angola: SAAF Bushwacks Six Helicopters
Angola: Claims & Reality about SAAF Losses
Angola since 1961
Congo, Part 1; 1960-1963