Most Famous Military Manhunts Of All Time

There have been many military manhunts in history, most directed at one leader or man who has caused destruction, chaos and devastation to people around the world. Here are some of the most well-known.

Ernest ‘Che’ Guevara – the Argentinian is one of the most widely-known symbols of communism. He was an enemy of America and attempted to create war against them in Latin America. The US military worked with Bolivian troops to hunt him down and finally killed him in 1967.

Francisco Pancho Villa – while World War One was still raging in Europe, US General John Pershing was determined to capture Villa. Villa had killed almost 20 Americans in a raid at Columbus, New Mexico. The US military followed his trail for 300 miles over a year in 1916-17. Villa’s gang was broken up but Pershing never caught Villa.

Geronimo – in the late 1800s Geronimo was the most feared Native American chiefs and had been forced to live on an Arizona reservation. However, he escaped many times causing havoc to nearby farms and towns. The US Army deployed 5000 troops to find him over three months but never did. Geronimo finally surrendered himself since he wanted to see his family again.

Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto – genius behind the Pearl Harbour attack on America during World War Two, Yamamoto was high up on the US military’s most wanted list. In 1943 they discovered that Yamamoto would be inspecting Japanese troops in the Solomon Islands, he would fly there on a route that would take him within reach of US Army Air Force P-38 Fighters based in Guadalcanal. Roosevelt sanctioned the operation and 18 US aircraft departed on the mission. They shot down his aircraft and his body was later recovered by the Japanese.

Manuel Antonio Noriega – from Panama, General Noriega was the focus of a manhunt. The dictator was forced to go on the run and he was finally found when he went to the Vatican Embassy in Panama for safe haven. However, the Pope said that the Vatican couldn’t grant him asylum. He finally surrendered in January of 1970.

Mohamed Farrah Aideed – war lord in control of Somalia in the early 1990s, Aideed was the focus for a US military mission to find him and take him out. But after several attempts and too many casualties on both sides a UN resolution and ceasefire decision left Aideed in power.

Osama Bin Laden – one of the most recent manhunts of the current era was that of Bin Laden. He had eluded the US military since September 11, 2001. They tracked him across Afghanistan and there was a failed attempt in the Tora Bora Mountains to capture him, but he was finally tracked to a compound in Pakistan where he was killed by US Navy SEALs, the Business Insider reports.

Saddam Hussein – another of the most recent manhunts, after being de-throned in 2003 by American and Allied troops Saddam went into hiding and wasn’t seen and couldn’t be found for months. He was finally located in a hole in the ground near Tikrit along with three quarters of a million dollars, a gun and chocolate.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE