Hodgepodge

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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