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Black Hawk Down (2001) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The sunglasses worn by SFC Hooten are Oakley Juliets. Throughout the film Oakley is one of the very few brand names mentioned (when Pilla is impersonating Captain Steele - "If Delta wants to wear Oakleys, that's their business...I don't wanna see them on again, hooah..?"). The company does have a Standard Issue range that is intended for military use and the brand itself is highly popular with servicemen. The appearance of Hoots sunglasses is chronologically incorrect though, the events depicted in the film took place in 1993 and Oakley did not start marketing the specific sunglasses he wears until 1999.
Just after the task force takes off from the airfield, they pass over a kid with a cell phone who call's the militia leader to warn him. The militia leader is told, "Ma-alint" which has come to mean "Rangers" in the language of modern Somalia. But that is really an abbreviation of "Ma-alinti Rangers" which is a National Holiday in Somalia celebrated on the anniversary of the battle, October 3rd. The phrase did not exist until the year after the battle.
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While flying into Mogadishu one soldier holds a paperback edition of John Grisham's novel "The Client". In October 1993, this book was only available in hardcover; the paperback was not published until March 1994.
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In several scenes, such as in the lunch line when Steele is getting onto Hoot about his weapon, it is possible to see the knobs on the carry handles, revealing them to be M4A1s. These were not developed until 1994.
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At the start of the film, most of the pilots were shown with SPH-4A/B flight helmets, but a few are wearing newer HGU-56/P helmets. The movie takes place in October 1993, but the Army did not begin fielding the HGU-56's until 1995.
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While Lieutenant John Beales is having an epileptic seizure, Days of the New's "Die Born" is being played by the soldiers in the background. This album was not released until 2001.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Numerous times in the film when any helicopter lands, we hear the familiar chirp-chirp-chirp sound. This is characteristic only of the famous Bell H-13G (the MASH chopper), and then only of the rubber drive belt disengaging from the rotor column.
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When PFC Blackburn and SSG Eversmann first meet, PFC Blackburn's subtitles incorrectly show him as saying, "Yes sir, you want me to shoot?" when he actually says, "Yes sarn't, you want me to shoot?" The distinction between the two is very important as in the United States Army, Sergeants are never referred to as "Sir". Only commissioned or warrant officers are referred to as "Sir". "Sarn't" is a common shortening of "sergeant".
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While running the "Mogadishu Mile" at the very end, there is a close-up shot where a Delta unit lifts his rifle, it recoils against his shoulder, and we hear several shots, but he doesn't pull the trigger - his finger lies flat against the trigger guard
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While evacuating prisoners, McKnight's mouth appears to be saying something completely different from what is heard.
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When Yurek runs to join Eversman at the first crash site, there are kicks of dust as bullets hit the ground as he runs for cover. The sound of bullets has been edited out however. Afterwards when Nelson runs the same route, there are no kicks of dust at all.
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When Mr. Atto leaves Mogadishu in the Land Rover convoy, the last Rover clearly squeals its tires on a dusty dirt road.
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At around 1h39m into the movie, as Yurek is running towards the Rangers, dust can be seen being kicked up by gunfire at and around his feet, but there is no sound of the shots.
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In the Spanish and German versions, when Garrison and McKnight talk about Spectre gunships, the word "gunship" is translated as "helicopter."
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Character error 

When a Ranger throws out a frag grenade, Sgt. Eversman warns his men by yelling "Grenade!" Proper designation would be to yell "Frag out!" as yelling "Grenade!" warns the men of an incoming grenade, not an outgoing one.
When Grimes is inputting Blackburn's information into the computer, he asks for his service number. The Army stopped using service numbers in 1969. Grimes should have asked for his social security number or, more commonly, just his social.
Before the mission starts, such as when he is making impressions of Captain Steele, Pilla is referred to as "Specialist" (E-4) and wears the corresponding rank. However, during the mission when he is manning the turret in a Humvee, Pilla is referred to several times as "Sergeant" (E-5).
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When the soldier has a seizure while watching TV, the soldiers around him hold him down and someone yells out to put something in his mouth. Both of these actions are wrong. You neither hold down or put anything in the mouth of someone having a seizure. The soldiers should know this as they all go through basic first aid in training.
When Eversmann's team proceeds to the first crash site, the supervisor reports: "Hostiles advancing parallel west your position." This would be misleading as the enemy is actually east of the team, according to the direction of the shadows as well as the fact that the scene takes place in the afternoon, well after 03:45 PM. It is questionable if the mission supervisor would use this kind of orientation, instead of rather saying something like "enemies at 9 o' clock".
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When Wolcott and Durant are talking about the word "limo," Durant says it's not in the dictionary, but it is in the Official Scrabble Dictionary.
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Continuity 

In one shot, a Black Hawk helicopter is flying over the ocean; soldiers can been in its cabin with their legs hanging out over the sides. In the next the shot(s), the same helicopter cabin is empty.
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The position of Durant's Black Hawk in the satellite images after it crashes. This is presumably because one is the real satellite image. (Several were used in making the movie.)
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When Chalk 4 are pinned down by a .50 caliber machine gun, a Little Bird is waiting above. In the shot from the top, it is a Bell Huey, then when it fires at the gunner it is a Little Bird again.
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In the satellite image, the helicopter hovering over the city is a Bell UH-1 "Huey" but in the regular aerial shots, it is a UH-60 Black Hawk.
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When Nelson tries to tell Twombly that the convoy is leaving, Twombly can be seen reloading or clearing his weapon, pulling the top of the receiver open. A moment later, when he asks, "What?" his weapon is loaded and he's firing. However, after Nelson says,"Doesn't matter," Twombly is yet again seen stopping to reload or clear his weapon, in a duplicate shot.
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The rifle disappears and reappears in Mike Durant's lap between cuts.
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As Mike Durant's chopper is crashing, the gunners disappear and reappear between shots.
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After Sgt. Busch crawls out of the first Black Hawk wreck, the goggles on his helmet disappear and reappear several times.
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When Hoot takes over the 0.50 caliber machine gun, his gloves disappear and reappear between cuts.
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When Blackburn is lying on the stretcher they put his legs straight. Next time we see his legs, up close they are clearly bent.
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The appearance of Hoot's rifle changes throughout the movie, often between shots (this is especially noticeable when he is firing out of the window of the Humvee).
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When Sgt. Struecker enters the lead Humvee in the three-vehicle column to return to base, he closes the door which is missing the glass in the window. In the next shot where Struecker is driving the Humvee, the glass has re-appeared.
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Cliff Wolcott's helmet model changes right after his helo is hit by an RPG. He wouldn't have switched helmets during a flight.
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The black that is on Grimes' face changes from fully black to half of his face black when he's giving coffee to Sanderson.
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when CPT Steele calls out SFC Hooten to point out the safety of his weapon, it is obvious that when Hooten turns around, the right side of his rifle is facing outward but when Steele's finger is pointing at the safety lever, the left side of the rifle is facing outward
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After Pvt Blackburn falls out of the Black Hawk, SPC Grimes and Waddel are talking about why he is not firing yet. You see Sgt Eversmann and Schmid attending to Blackburn while Eversmann waves for Gallentine (the one with the radio phone) and he approaches and is kneeling by Blackburn in the background. In the next shot Gallentine again runs to and kneels by Blackburn.
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When the first Black Hawk is shot down, after it hits the ground you see its trim stabilizer at the rear without a pattern. The next time you see it (when the aircraft turns on its side) it has patterns on it.
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On their way to the first crash site, Eversmann's team members sneak around a house corner. A Somali opens fire with a heavy machine gun and a RPG is being shot, both hitting the house corner hard and debris is flying around. After a Little Bird has taken out the Somali, the team advances. In the following shots, the house corner shows no traces of the impacts.
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When the sharpshooter takes out the Land Rover carrying Atto, the vehicle changes from a Defender model to a Discovery in the close ups and distance shots.
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When Yurek gets separated from chalk 4 and runs into a school for cover a father and a son are seen firing into the door he just went through, which Yurek subsequently locks, then he walks across the room to the opposite side, opens the door and slips, the same son and father are there and the son unintentionally shoots the father. However the father and son would have had to go all the way around the building in the time Yurek crosses the room to be there.
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After Blackburn falls, Eversmann ropes out of the helicopter. When he begins down the rope, another Ranger grabs the rope to descend after him. However, the long shot of the rope in the scene after Eversmann reaches the ground indicates no one was following him.
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The mini-guns and rocket launchers mounted on Little Bird disappear and reappear between shots (being replaced by flat benches) after it breaks formation when it is sent to Walcot's crash site.
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The position of Grimes and Blackburn at the shooting range.
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When Sgt. Sanderson was lying prone and ordering one of his Delta soldiers to draw fire from some Somalis on a vehicle, he was waving his left arm. But when the camera switches to behind him, he is waving his right arm.
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When Thomas is returning to base in the Humvee after Pilla has been shot, his helmet appears to read "WILLIAMS." However, as soon as he exits the Humvee, his helmet correctly reads "THOMAS."
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Crew or equipment visible 

When Eversmann and his men are running back to the their base, he dodges some gun fire and squats behind an old car for cover. As he does so, his "mark" is visible on the road at the spot where he stops running and dodges behind the car.
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Dolly tracks are visible in opening shot.
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A white-shirted cameraman is visible, crouching over a camera in the back of a Humvee when it stops to let the old man past.
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When the city forces take over the second black hawk helicopter, a shot from the point of view of the wounded soldier reveals a camera and crane on the right-hand side of the screen.
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During the Mogadishu Mile, Rangers and Delta are being left behind by the UN. In the high shot where the vehicles go downhill then the soldiers appear, there are two crewmembers wearing blue shirts on the roof of the top right building.
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When Garrison says," Good luck boys, and be careful. No one gets left behind," briefly in the hangar you see two white shirted crew members and the camera.
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After Super6-1 goes down and an RPG is shot at the crew chief defending the position, the wire that the RPG is attached to is visible after passing through.
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After shooting the technical with his grenade launcher, Grimes dives into a little hole in the ground when Sanderson warns him of an incoming RPG. As he dives, you can see a camera crew visible on the left side of the screen.
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At the crash site there is a low shot of Eversmann moving to the helicopter, in a aerial shot after you can see the crew filming that shot.
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Errors in geography 

In the first few scenes of the movie, Muslims are shown praying towards the east, proved by the sunrise they are facing. But the holy city of Mecca would be to the north, northwest of Somalia, not to the east as it is from in North America.
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When the boy runs to drop the telephone down to the militia leader, a bay can be seen in the background. The coast off Mogadishu is straight and there are no bays. Secondly, a cliff to the left is visible, as well as in the scenes with the helicopters flying towards the city; there are no seaside-cliffs near Mogadishu. This is a view of the filming location in Morocco.
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When the soldiers are waiting for the mission to get underway they are discussing the details while shooting baskets, in the background there is a group of farm houses set in a green field.
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When Nelson, Twombly and Yurek are running down the street towards Eversmann's position, there are cars and buses driving past in the background in the high shot.
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In at least one scene depicting the US Base, and shows a C-130 Hercules transport in the background, you can see the country symbol on it (round and red) that shows it to be a Moroccan Air Force Hercules, which is where the movie was filmed.
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The briefing map supposed to show Mogadishu at 33:38 consists of the same map copied three times and pasted together. It also appears to have much more green areas than can be seen on a Google Earth satellite view of Mogadishu.
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Factual errors 

When the muezzin (who recites Azan (Muslim call for prayer)) calls for the morning prayer on the minaret, we can see that the sun had already risen. Which means the time for morning prayer is already over. The muezzin should have recited the call for prayer at least an hour earlier (which is done all over in the Muslim countries).
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The relief forces (10th Mountain, Pakistanis, etc) were actually informed of the raid and had scrambled the minute both crashes were announced. The reason for their long delay was because of the roadblocks and ambushes the Somalis had set up, which forced them to go all the way around the entire city.
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The call to prayer in the beginning was called after the sun had risen. In Islam, there are no calls to prayer after sunrise until after noon.
Durant uses an MP5A5 when defending his helicopter. Pilots really used MP5K's, which are significantly smaller.
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When the soldiers are firing the mini guns from the helicopters, the shells are falling out too slowly. A raining stream would fall out, not a small line of shells.
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Michael Durant is shown to be in the left hand seat of the helicopter. However, according to Durant, during the actual battle he was flying from the right hand seat.
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Todd Blackburn is incorrectly depicted by both the film and the book as being the newest member of B Company 3/75 Ranger at the age of 18 just prior to the 'Black Hawk Down' incident. However, both the film and book are factually incorrect, with the book stating he had not yet even attended Ranger School. PFC Blackburn was actually one of the more senior Rangers in his company, being three weeks shy of his 20th birthday at the time of the raid (squarely at the average age of the other men in B Company). Due to the Traumatic Brain Injury he sustained in the fall, he has no recollection of events, or what may have caused his fall; while the pilot dodging an RPG as suggested by the film (but not the book) is a possibility, it is unsubstantiated and no other Ranger had difficulty while rappelling. Sgt. Eversmann was unaware Blackburn had fallen until he had completed his fast rope descent.
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During second chopper fall, the helicopter and its main rotor are spinning in same direction.
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(at around 1h 55 mins) When the rescue squad is trying to get access to the wrecked helicopter, the grinder is throwing out sparks. The helicopter cabin is made from aluminium and/or fibre composite, neither of which will do so while ground.
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Due to the design of most Russian RPG's, like the kind used in this movie, the exhaust from the rocket being fired is funneled through the tube on the launcher to the back of the launcher, and expelled from the back end, an effect commonly referred to as backblast. During some scenes where RPG's are being fired, they are shown to be pointing at the ground. This would have the backblast reflect of the ground, and severely injure the launcher operator, and surrounding personnel.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

As with any "based on a true story" movie, especially one involving complex military operations, there are many ways in which the plot of the movie differs from the actual events. The exigencies of dramatic storytelling also require that certain practices and procedures are not accurately portrayed. Though, technically, these might be thought of as goofs, it's a movie, not a documentary.
The uniforms worn are 3-color desert combat uniforms (DCU) with 6-color "chocolate chip" desert Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) helmet covers. This is correct. The new DCUs adopted in 1992 (after Desert Storm) had entered the supply chain by 1993 and had begun to be issued before the Somalia incident. Elite formations like the Rangers and Special Forces are usually the first to receive new equipment, and were so equipped in Mogadishu in October 1993. The reason they still wore the older camouflaged helmet covers was due to the fact that the covers had not been issued yet. It is has been historically quite common for US helmet covers and other camouflage accessories to lag behind in the distribution of new patterned uniforms.
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Cartridges and empty casings seen throughout the movie are not blanks. Cartridges and casings that are seen in some scenes are, in fact, "dummy" rounds. Dummy cartridges are generally "live" rounds with the gunpowder grains removed and a non-working primer installed. Blank rounds are characterized by the crimping of the casing where the projectile normally is and are painted on the end to distinguish them from live and dummy rounds. Blank rounds will "pop" when fired like actual live rounds unlike dummy rounds which don't have any powder at all.
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Revealing mistakes 

The .50 caliber machine guns on some of the Humvees are dummy guns whose barrels flop about as the vehicles drive over rough terrain, such as when Blackburn goes to the shooting range to meet Eversmann.
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When Blackburn gives his Military I.D (which consists of only numbers) to Grimes, you can clearly see that when he types it into the database he uses the letter keys all over the keypad, and not the top line of number keys only.
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When Gordon is defending the second crash site he switches from his sound-suppressed M4 sniper rifle to his Colt M1911A1 pistol. The first time he uses his 1911 pistol, he fires 7 shots rapidly to kill charging Somalians. The first shot locks the slide back but the next six are clearly added in because the shells don't fly out and the gun still fires despite the slide being locked back. The next six muzzle flashes must have been added in post-production.
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During the entire movie, when the soldier's are talking on the AN/PRC-119A radios they are able to talk and receive transmissions. However the radio is on "Stand By" and there is no RF cable attached to the antenna connector. So even if the radio was on they would not be able to talk on those radios.
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When the two Delta snipers are approaching the second downed Black Hawk, a Somalian man in a white shirt is shown from behind. Clearly visible is a pack on his back. A few seconds later he is shot by one of the snipers in that exact spot. It's a blood pack.
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After the first Black Hawk has crashed, a lone soldier guarding the wreckage comes under fire by Somalis with RPGs. In a side-shot of one of the missiles flying past, you can see a wire in the air along its trajectory.
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The large sacks of grain being delivered to the aid station at the beginning of the movie should weigh at least 50 pounds each. However, after the bags fall out of the truck, one of the men trying to get at the food picks a bag up with one hand easily.
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While driving the 4 door Mercedes through the streets it is seen from the front with a large Mercedes star in the center of the grille. No Mercedes W115 bodied-car foreign or domestic had any such emblem in the grille. The sole star easily seen on the front of the car was on the hood.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

Before Sfc. Randy Shughart gives CWO Mike Durant his fallen comrade, MSgt. Gary Gordon's rifle, CWO Michael Durant is already seen with the rifle in his lap for one small scene (the last scene of him before Sfc. Randy Shughart gives him the rifle).
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When Shughart and Gordon are defending Mike Durant's helicopter, at one point, Gordon shoots a Somali in a yellow shirt. After he is killed, Shughart shoots the same Somali a few seconds later.
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Just after Gordon is killed. Durant can be seen shooting Somalians with the MP5, with Gordan's M733 Carbine on his lap, which Shughart hasn't given him yet. This then disappears as the rifle is given to him and doesn't return to his lap until he runs out of ammunition.
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After Gordon is killed in the 2nd crash, Shughart takes over. We see a shot of a Somali shooting Shughart. In the next shot Shughart is dead. After that we see him dropping the g3sas the second time and he is still sitting up.
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Factual errors 

When Jamie Smith is hit, the bullet apparently severs hit femoral artery, as Eversmann and the medic later attempt to clamp it. However, the medic says to Eversmann when Smith is first hit, that "If he [Smith] doesn't get to a hospital in a half-hour, he's in trouble." With arterial bleeding, the victim is usually dead within 5-6 minutes after suffering the injury.
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When Durant's crash site is overrun, Randy Shugart is shot 11 times with a Tokarev pistol which only holds eight rounds.
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The Somali militia leader Yousuf Dahir Mo'alim, whose men shot down Super Six One and who captured Mike Durant, was not killed later in the battle after his Technical was hit. He was actually seriously wounded in his stomach after being hit by a mini-gun during one of the nighttime strafing runs by the 'Little Bird' helicopters.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Pilla gets shot, the first KIA, he lands on Thomas on his right shoulder and soaks his uniform in blood. In one scene when Streuker's column is ready to depart the base, it appears that Thomas's left arm (not his right) is covered in blood. However, this is due to the fact that the audience is looking through Sgt Streuker's point of view, who is watching Thomas through the mirror of his Humvee.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Eversmann goes to see Jamie Smith's body at the end of the movie, he says to Smith that he will go and talk to his "mom and pop" when he gets home. He then pats Smith's chest and Smith's eyes twitch showing that he isn't really dead.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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