The 1977-78 Ethio-Somali War, best known as the Ogaden war, saw a strange coalition of 40,000~ Soviet-Chinese-Romanian armed and equipped Somalian Army troops led by Gen. Muhammad Ali Samatar and assisted by another 15,000 irregulars of the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) invade Ethiopian territory which at the time was kinda sorta supported by the U.S..

However, in one of the odder moments of the Cold War games, the Soviets and U.S. switched the teams in the beginning of the 1st quarter of this match and soon the Somalis were backed by Uncle Sam while Moscow moved to back Ethiopia with the help of direct Warsaw Pact intervention including highly trained 20,000 troops and experts from Cuba, East Germany and the USSR.

As the U.S. didn’t come close to offering the same level of in-game support (it was the Carter years), the Somalis got spanked in a big way.

And this picture points to why:

One of the more famous photos of the Ogaden war, this picture shows a female WSLF fighter with a WWII StG-44 assault rifle

One of the more famous photos of the Ogaden war, this picture shows a female WSLF fighter with a WWII StG-44 assault rifle. Behind her is a bizarre assortment of twentieth century military firearms: an Italian Beretta M1938A submachine gun, an Egyptian Hakim rifle, an Italian Modello 1891 cavalry carbine, a Spanish Coruna 98/43 rifle, an American M14 assault rifle, two Czechoslovakian vz.52 rifles, and a French MAS-49/56 rifle. The Italian weapons probably dated to Italy’s control of Somalia in WWII. How the others ended up with the WSLF in the 1970s is anybody’s guess. The Hakim and the 98/43 were not common export rifles and the M14 was still in active US Army use when this photo was taken. Logistics for the WSLF must have been a nightmare as none of these weapons shared ammunition and some of the ammunition types, like the StG-44’s Kurz round, were obsolete.
(Source for quote above WWII after WWII)

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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