REVIEW ë Black Hawk Down A Story of Modern War


Black Hawk Down A Story of Modern WarHe action was supposed to take an hour Instead they spent a long and terrible night fighting thousands of armed Somalis By morning eighteen Americans were dead and than seventy bad. If 'Black Hawk Down' was a war novel it would definitely have a place among the very best of that genre Written with such intensity this military history volume by journalist Mark Bowden brilliantly captures every minute moments from one of the longest modern day infantry engagements When American soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the Bakara market right in the heart of Mogadishu Somalia on October 3 1993 for a supposedly easy in and out abduction mission they had no idea that they were going to be part of one of the most terrible long and sustained close combat firefights since Vietnam war The mission was straightforward; abduct two top brass lieutenants of the self proclaimed president to be Mohamed Farrah Aidid from a building in Bakara Market After careful planning and recon the mission was given to a joint group of soldiers consisting of the US Army Rangers from Bravo Company 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta and Air Force men and helicopters from 1st Battalion 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment But the dynamics of engagement changed right from the start of the mission as the fluidity and unpredictability of battlefield took over and blew away best laid operational plans; resulting in a mission which was thought of as a cake walk turn horribly wrong with two UH 60 Black Hawk helicopters shot down and the troops pinned down with heavy armed resistance from Somali militiamen loyal to Aidid A mission that was believed to be over in a couple hours turned into a long and bloody night battle right in the middle of an urban market teeming with thousands of armed Somalis and civilians The trapped raiding party finally had to be rescued by a relief convoy made up of elements from Task Force 2–14 Infantry and 10th Mountain Division accompanied by Malaysian and Pakistani UN forces When the battle was over the causalities among the Somalis where over 2000 with a lot of civilians among them and of the initial raiding force 18 American soldiers were dead with than 70 badly injured and one of the Black Hawk pilots captured by Aidid’s men Of the rescue forces one Pakistani soldier and one Malaysian soldier got killed in the action The fallout from this engagement was far reaching as this ' incident' forced the Clinton administration to totally withdraw American troops from Somalia The book by Bowden is a result of inspecting and studying mountains of official reports investigation snapshots and even transcripts of communications between combat troops and conducting hundreds of exhaustive interviews with the participants from both side; this adds to the level of detailing that is placed into the narrative and it's authenticity Black Hawk Down tells the realistic tale of this modern day infantry combat with such vigor and brutally shocking honesty It also will give the reader insights into the local international politics surrounding the events which led to the engagement at Bakara Market and how a supposed peacekeeping mission by UN in Somalia escalated into an armed conflict If you have already seen the 'Black Hawk Down' movie even then give this book a try and you will be amazed with the power of written words; as Bowden captures each and every moment of the engagement happening in both air and ground with such vividness For me the book made a lot powerful impact than the movie

Mark Bowden Ñ 1 REVIEW

On October 3 1993 about a hundred US soldiers were dropped by helicopter into a teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu Somalia to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord T. The book describes from the ground up a US attack on the part of Mogadishu controlled by Somali military commander Mohamed Aidid after Aidid had attacked a UN peacekeeping force They had intended to grab some of his lieutenants it is unclear to me if they intended to grab Aidid himself an attempt to de fang a local warlord who had been a thorn in the side re the attempt to establish a government in Somalia Image from BBCThere was a lack of appreciation for the theater conditions and many men were injured or killed The descriptions match in print what the film Private Ryan showed on screen re the bloodiness and horror of actual combat Scattered throughout the book are tidbits that add up to form a vivid image Bowden describes not only the perspective of the American combatants but of some of the Somali participants as well He informs us that the Italians were providing information to the locals re the American movements He also lets us know something of the complexity of the problem in Somalia not a simple situation in which a freedom loving people is being subjugated by an evil warlord but one in which there are many warring factions each as nasty as the others Most people do not want the kind of peace America envisaged This has obvious lessons for the Balkans where ethnic hatred has been a participation sport for centuriesand many other areas in which ancient tensions bubble beneath the surface The book details how the Americans were unprepared for some of the enemy tactics like using Rocket propelled grenades RPG's to attack helicopters a trick the Afghanistan fighters taught them The battle descriptions show how the locals try to take advantage of American sensibilities by hiding behind women and children hoping the Yanks would not shoot them And it also shows how some devout Moslems were offended by the barbarism of their countrymenIt would have helped to have a map of Somalia of Mogadishu particularly a street map to provide some bearings Versions later than the one I read have maps so that is not a live concern It would also have helped to have section headings to help one keep track of the various groups Bowden follows as his descriptions darted from group to group There are lessons here re the politics of small engagements that seem to speak volumes to contemporary warfare and to the physical tactics as well Things are not so simpleThis book made the Times top ten listThe Ridley Scott directed film that was made of this book is magnificentPublished February 10 1999Review posted April 7 2017

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REVIEW ë Black Hawk Down A Story of Modern War Ü On October 3 1993 about a hundred US soldiers were dropped by helicopter into a teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu Somalia to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord The action was supposed to take an hour Instead they spent a long and terrible night fighting thousands of aLy injured Mark Bowden's gripping narrative is one of the most exciting accounts of modern war ever written a riveting story that captures the heroism courage and brutality of batt. First an apology I've accidentally reviewed this book with two stars two years ago Not sure why I got confused Anyway I've done unjustice to a really excellent work of history and military biography and now it is time to correct thisSo please disregard any comments and thoughts on my behalf before Oct 2 2017Now the actual reviewA fantastic bookSpectacular narrative lots of personal touches and we learn about the soldiers who fought their fears and frustrations their ideas and ideology their creed their friends how they felt through the battle Situations go from ridiculous jacking escapades including parachute harnesses and walking the dawg to introspective how Delta Force soldiers felt about the situation and how Howe hated everything from Capt Steer to his armor piercing ammunition to the casual attitude of the Rangers toward the general situations to dreadful the deaths of Smith and Pella and Joyce The combat feels dirty and exhausting as it should be The situation is hectic and chaotic The officers are obstinate and confused The soldiers are happy mad or frightenedIt is also a thousand times better than the movie After all the movie is a Hollywood production so it must cater to the masses Drama but not too much drama as to deject and depress the audience The cinematic spin actually takes away from some of the heroism and deep personal dilemmas that the Rangers and Delta Force operatives fighting in Mogadishu faced that dayThe book also shows us the other side of this coin not just the raw battle The Somali perspective the thoughts and the anguish of the families and the widows back in the US the political fiasco behind the involvement Mike Durrant's ordeal in captivity It's not just gung ho shooting and blasting heavy gunsAll in all this is one of the pleasing combat narratives I've read It's sad poignant impressive silly and most importantly extremely well written You enjoy the story and you care for the protagonists politics and all that nonsense notwithstanding A soldiers' taleHighly recommendedIgor