We reveal exclusive US Army radio transmissions of the climatic battle of Oct 3rd 1993. Speaking to both Americans and Somalis involved, we unravel the hour-by-hour drama. US helicopters lowered troops armed to the teeth into the heart of nighttime Mogadishu as Somali gunmen advanced by the hundreds. Within minutes the hapless Americans came under fierce fire. Many fighting for the first time, the young marines found themselves in a nightmare they were not prepared for. Both helicopters were shot down. 19 Americans died. The radio tapes sound like Apocalypse Now. 'We got a black hawk crashed in the city. Going in hard! We're taking a lot of RPG fire.' At the height of the battle US forces experienced the nastiest piece of action seen since the Vietnam War, details of which makes this narrative full of tension. 'I've got urgent casualties at the crash site, people still alive in the wreckage… We're running out of medical supplies and ammo.' A US soldier involved in the bid to capture warlord Aideed candidly describes 'turning the handle' of a meat grinder of death. In one day the Americans estimate they killed more than a 1000 Somalis. We speak to the US envoy, Admiral Howe, who saw months of hard work destroyed as the UN and US collided with Aideed and his men, the same men who speak today of their lack of remorse for dragging the bodies of US marines through the streets of Mogadishu. On July 12th, nearly 80 Somali elders were killed by US gunships in Mogadishu. In revenge, 4 international journalists were hacked to death as they worked. How did America go from guardian angel to imperialistic devil? Did the US leadership bargain for the unique Somali environment? Black Hawk Down takes the viewer behind the headlines to reconstruct this perverse battle. With thousands of civilian lives lost and millions in international peace keeping reserves spent, the Somalia story is an important backdrop to the question of foreign military intervention.
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