Saturday, May 19, 2007

Army makes small progress in Mannar offensive

The operation to free Madhu area from terrorists entered a new phase as the army breached the LTTE forward defence lines in few locations and advanced several kilometers into rebel territory. Army was able to gain approximately 7 square Kilometers of ground amidst heavy rebel resistance. Nearly 20 LTTE cadres have so far been killed and 6 army personnel have also perished in battle. Fighting still rages in northern FDLs.

The offensive has been ongoing for about a month now and four previous attempts by SLA to advance into LTTE territory were halted in fear of heavy casualties. Apparently the army is not looking at using brute force and outnumber the rebels as in previous operations. Instead, it is using small groups of heavily armed soldiers to soften up LTTE defences before the final push with armored divisions. These can be termed as 'hit and run' attacks where a small group of soldiers advance further from their FDL, attack a pre determined target and return back to their FDLs. These types of attacks were misinterpreted by pro LTTE media as 'repulsed offensives of SLA with high casualties".

However it is not false that the army encountered fierce rebel resistance in the offensive. The LTTE seems to have deployed their crack troops along Mannar FDLs. In contrast, SLA Special Forces are yet to enter the battlefield.


  1. It looks like this is quite a sucessful strategy of the army. They are using gurellia tactics against a gurellia force. Hence the LTTE which needs to prevent losing elephant pass is forced to bear the brunt of the tactic.

    Its continous new techniques like this which will help win the war.

  2. Yes this seems to be the best way to counter the terrorism. Its happy to hear that the regular forces are engaged in this sort of attackes not only the SF. Its an improving point to note in this conflict. You need to take the attack to the opposition this is common not only to cricket. This is what was missing prior to Elephantpass attack.

  3. The one good thing to come out of the ceasefire was to force the LTTE into more of a conventional stance. With clearly demarcated ceasefire control areas of the two parties, the LTTE was forced to use manpower in trenches and bunkers along a FDL; they simply don't have the manpower to do this. One of the greatest advantages the LTTE had was their guerrilla tactics and the fluidity of their engagements with the security forces. However this is a great opportunity for the SLDF because we know where they are concentrated and blast the hell of those areas.
    I think the special forces not being involved at the moment is good thing. Using special forces to break FDLs is suicidal the best way to use them i think is to use small groups of heavily armed light infantry to launch probing attacks to make sure that when mechanised push comes later on their won't a concentration of enemy units to push off the offensive like in Muhamalai. Special forces have to used behind their lines to distrupt communications and supply lines to induce a state panic within their ranks. Remember a significant proportion of their fighting units defending their FDLs are likely to be conscripted civilian units anything the special forces can do to their infrastructure is a bonus when it comes to fighting their regulars

  4. This might work I suppose, over time, but the textbooks suggest its unlikely. A quick calculation suggests that at this rate, it will take 178 years to completely control LTTE areas. But the govt only has 18 months or so max. They'll need much more low-level air support at least, which they don't seem to have. But I'm presuming there's a much smarter plan behind this - at present this is just a useful way to tie down LTTE elite troops.

  5. This is a good improvement in the way we handle limited resources. It is true that LTTE has no enough manpower to control such a long FDL. Also we should remember that we don't have enough manpower to hold the ground of a very large area. Therefore, we should concentrate more and more on breaking LTTE's ability to fight and will to fight. Meanwhile, our political leadership should remove the LTTE's reasons to fight in their best capacity. I am confident that we are capable of doing the first two things right with enough resources and morale boosts given to our forces. We also have to be patient about the pace too. However, I am not sure if our political leadership (not pointing to one party) as a whole is capable of removing the LTTE's reasons to fight.

  6. The most important thing is not sacrificing too many lives of out solders. That is the point that new tactics like this work. They will also come up with something. So what ever the next move by us must not go to the enemies. So what I feel is these methods must be secret. What we need is the end result. For that the most important thing is patient.

  7. From the Nation:

    "Military insiders claim that the army has set up the 571, 572 and 573 Brigades in strategic positions, between Mannar and Vavuniya.
    Soldiers drawn from several regiments from the newly set up 57 Division, headed by Brigadier Sumith Manawadu, are involved in the operation. The 1st and 2nd Regiments of the Special Forces, under the new command of Colonel Nirmal Dharmaratne, together with infantry from 8th Battalion Gajaba Regiment, 4th Battalion Sinha Regiment, 9th Battalion Vijayaba Infantry Regiment and 21st Sri Lanka National Guard are participating in this operation.

    So couple of things, so much for secrecy about the new SF head, and guess they are deployed there.

  8. and this...

    "There was heavy fighting this week and military sources estimate that a couple of hundred Tigers were killed, while admitting that 30 soldiers and four officers, including a Special Forces Captain (Nirusha) died, while more than one-and-a-half-dozen wounded soldiers were airlifted to Anuradhapura and Colombo hospitals. However, military analysts say that the number could be higher on the army side."

    Seems there is much going on that neither side is talking about!

  9. There is a trend for both sides to say 10X of the other died while X amount of their own have been killed to soften the losses.

    In the SLA side I think it makes no difference as teritory must be gained. They kept dening losses in muhumalai till the LTTE managed to produce 74 bodies. I feel this is unfair to the soldiers, family and people.

    If they fear a detoriation in morale, I can accept that to a certain extent. However if the commanders deny it due to not look bad infront of the political leadership or the people, then I feel its bad.

    From the silence to the media, I guess major offensives are going to start.

  10. Do we use Air Force to destroy LTTE big guns, specially the movable ones? Why do we jump to the north without finishing the Thoppigala operation? Any thoughts anybody?

  11. Sam ,

    Thoppigala opration is still going on . As I heard LTTE is cornered to 80 Square KM area in Thoppigala .

    I think SLA has opened multiple fronts . In my openion that is good since with the limited man power LTTE has it is very difficult them to distribute their forces in multiple fronts .

    Actually what I heard was SLA is ding hit and run attacks in multiple fronts to soften LTTE defences before starting final assault .

  12. A lot of people seem to think it would be that easy for the LTTE to revert to being a guarilla organization like the one they used to be, in the event they lose K'chchi. It is not that easy and would force on the outfit a retreat of a form that could easily disintegrate its entire command structure, which is vital for its survival. Power has already corrupted most of these illliterate goons who have learnt to live in luxury at the cost of others' lives. The fat cats would not survive a jungle existance with the rank and file facing the very determined Sri Lankan forces of today. Let's hope they'd make that mistake soon.

  13. For the benefit of those who may wonder why there is such a heated battle in Mannar, when the logical expectation would more likely be towards the Northern theatre; Mannar is the only life line left to the top tigers to escape to India, as they too now see the writing on the wall. So the massive deployment of resources to keep the route open, to run and hide when the assault on Killinochchi happens.
    As usual, the rank and file are being treated as cannon-fodder by the high ranking tigers. Winning and securing Mannar is also important for the government, even though it is obvious that running to Tamilnadu would hardly save the wanted criminals among the LTTE from being apprehended. They'd still stand a chance in judicial process in India, versus if apprehended in Sri Lanka.

    To a drowning man, even a straw seems like a life line.

  14. Guys

    U know the latest news.. LTTE has nominated pimpi Ranil wikramasinghe to replace Anton Balas position. Now he is trying to stop the military aids from China.

  15. Guys

    I heard top brass LTTE thug was killed during the weekend. does anyone knows any news ???
    Is it a LRRP attacked.

  16. hasalaka,

    Below is from Daily Mirror.

    "Following a confrontation between government troops and the LTTE in Vavuniya on Saturday ‘Lieutenant Colonel’ Appan, also known as Kuyilan, and 7 others were killed, LTTE sources said while claiming that a large number of government troops also perished in the attack.

    Meanwhile in what was believed to have been an accidental explosion in Killinochchi also on Saturday, a ‘Lieutenant Colonel’ and an unconfirmed number of rebel officials were either killed or injured, LTTE sources said."

    The first looks like a direct casualty and the second sounds like a LRRP job.

    No matter what, my heart and thoughts are with the great SL soldiers. May every strength and force be with them!

  17. ""in what was believed to have been an accidental explosion in Killinochchi""

    We all know who caused the accident. It's called a Deep Penetration Attack :p

  18. LTTE be careful !!! . lots of accidents is going to happen :):)

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  21. Hey sam

    Yes I saw that article on daily mirror. Just wondering anyone knows more than that. Machnag I always respect our brave solders. we are doing ranaviru kids sponsor program here.

  22. LRRP attack in Kilinochchi...???? my god! Kilinochchi is like heavily infested with tigers, ya? I mean, it's considered to be their "Heart Land", right guys?
    These LRRP guys are just unbelievable... Looks like our guys have got a "price" kill this time. Correct me if I'm wrong guys, but a "Lt. Col." in LTTE ranks is considered to be a very high ranking tiger, right? It is also believed that the LTTE has only a limited no. of "Lt. Col"s in their ranks!
    Thanks a lot for explaining the motive behind the heavy "Mannar" battle... I was seriously wondering why we were concentrating a lot on this new front lately...

  23. Damn wish i could read the whole daily mirror article about the LRRP attack.
    I think calling a senior tiger cadre a 'Lt. Col.' is a bit of an insult to a professional, highly dedicated army like ours.
    I think they should be just called senior military/intellligence commander in the media just like the US when they release their target list in afganistan/iraq.

  24. Kanishka, You are correct Lt Col is a distinguished and well respected position of any army in the world and an individual has to undertake a lot of hardships and learning to obtain such a rank. Thus we often hear our media addressing these blood thirsty terrorist ranks with these high prolific rank names. Their qualification of obtaining these so called ranks is nothing other than brutality and its high time that ppl shud understand the gravity of these positions and stop addressing these bandits by these high prolific names. THIS JOKE HAPPENED SO FREQENTLY IN THE SO CALLED PEACE TIME HONEYMOON between 2002-2004.

  25. Correct me if I am wrong. I suspect that both the Army and LTTE have a certain amount of respect for each other particularly their commanders. Hence probabily why the LTTE is identified by rank.

    The surrending German Senior Commander told his American compatriot this "Now that the war is over what will we do"

  26. Guys
    I think part of this is true.
    Does anyone know why they not talk to each other ???

    is this true about prasanna silva ?? I know sarath fonseka is a hard case and he want to get the job done.
    I recon he should listen to fellow officers

  27. Dirty politics again by a worthless nut jumping from party to party. Guys just think... If sarath Fonseka is such a person how could he lead the massive counter battels with the LTTE who were trying to recapture JAFFNA in 2000 and 2006.If he is willing to sacrifice the lives of solders for his personal gains, why shud the army change their tactics of deploying hit and run tactics without capturing large scale of land.HOw our forces were victorious in wakarei and sampur inflicting heavy damages to the LTTE and receiving very little punch. With out any arguments, Sarath Fonseka and Janaka Perera were the best fearless commanders in the SL army and it seems that both have been victims of bad political games. Janaka Perera was thrown away because they thought that he is a UNP guy and now they think Sarath FOnseka is a SLFP guy. Shame on all politicians this iis ridiculous and what LTTE is dreaming of. Sarath Fonseka was one of the commanders who spoke and acted so determinely to PROTECT the High Security Zones of Jaffna in the So called PEace process Honeymoon bearing the much noted critics and pressor from the UNF govt in 2002 - 2004.
    THilak Karunarathna can change sides and jump here and there when he wants but as people lived and suffered in this conflicts, we have good memories.
    Hasalaka, As far as LankaeNews is concerned , pls look at this.
    Navindran, Can u compare German Army and LTTE? OK U shud respect ur enemy at any occassion thats true. Wut am saying is that Even germans, they are alegal unit who have gone tru the normal mmilitery routines.IS this applicable for LTTE as well?

  28. MBRL

    I know lankaenews is run by UNP supporters. Im not trying to underestimate sarath fonseka.. he is a good commander. But there is a problem with him and the navy commander.. I got this info from very close friend of mine.. My question is why cant we get janka perea and all the other respected commanders together and fight against these LTTE thugs. I firmly believe we can nuke the LTTE in 3 year plan.

  29. Tamilshelva double cab blown up by DPU team(s)

    7 dead

    4 dead includes top rankers

  30. Jack, Pl don't copy and paste any miltory details with names. We are proud of our leaders and better not to expose any names of them. It will be a big help for the enemy who always be on alert to threaten our leadership.

  31. MBRL, it doesn't matter if he's called a Lt Col or Little Bo Peep -- a dead Tiger is what he is. We should stop having silly arguments on what to call 'em and figure out how to kill the 'em.

    On the other hand, having a rank system for the LTTE helps keep track of how far up the ladder the Tiger is. How d'you differentiate between one "high-ranking Tiger" and another "high-ranking Tiger"? Rank of course.

  32. MBRL, I agree with David. Secondly I was not comparing the LTTE with the German army.

    What I was trying to state that even when they were bitter enemies most of the generals had mutual respect for each other. Often surrendering officers were allowed to keep their pistols or swords as a mark of mutal respect.

  33. I do not know if the report are true on geneal forsenka but a hard headed attidute is often required for a good commander. They often act on impulse and want their way. It could be also why COL Prasana left as I earlier postulaised.

    The former Israeli premier and general Rabin was a good example.

  34. Guys, we all know the capabilities of Lt.Gen. Sarath Fonseka. He is one of the main obstacles the LTTE is facing right now in achieving their “Tamil Kolam”. There is no point having foot soldiers in numbers and all the weapons if you don’t have the correct military leadership. Operation “Jayasikuru” is one good example of this. We had all the soldiers and weapons, but we failed miserably because we lacked correct military leadership.
    Generals should be considered as Gods as the decisions they make could mean life or death to a soldier and above all, change the future path of a whole country.
    Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera and Col. Prasanna Silva are 2 such gentlemen and I’m deeply hurt and puzzled as to why their services are not obtained currently. Surely, we will only stand to gain an upper hand and not loose anything by their services.
    There will be many individuals and organizations, which are on the LTTE’s payroll that will try to destroy the image of the current military leadership. We just have to use our brains and decide what to believe.

  35. Guys

    The LTTE's command structure is no better than that of any goon club.It is very much in the class of Idi Amin's apparatus, where his four year old son became a 'Field Marshal'.
    A thug given a label is nothing other than a labelled thug.

  36. Defencenet:
    Rumor has it that a new faction is emerging within the LTTE, and that led to the claymore attack targetting Tamilchella's motorcade.
    Looks like intel is working overtime these days...

  37. Tropicalstorm,
    We too got that info but its still unconfirmed. It was SP Thamil Selvams double cab that was the target. Selvam was not in the cab and is unharmed. However 4 high profile LTTE leaders ( 2 major, 1 captain and 1 lt colonel, two out of these four female) were killed in the attack.

  38. "Jack, Pl don't copy and paste any miltory details with names. We are proud of our leaders and better not to expose any names of them. It will be a big help for the enemy who always be on alert to threaten our leadership. "

    Dickwijaya, that was my point, this is published in The Nation newspaper, no disrepect to Defencenet, but I think they have a far wider readership than this blog, so it wouldn't matter whether I pasted it here or not, right?

  39. "The LTTE's command structure is no better than that of any goon club.It is very much in the class of Idi Amin's apparatus, where his four year old son became a 'Field Marshal'.
    A thug given a label is nothing other than a labelled thug. "

    I think one would be wise not to underestimate the enemy, these are not Idi Amins 4 year old son you are fighting, but hardend comabt veterans, whatever you make of their rank.

    At least I believe the SLDF does not make the mistake of underestimating them.

  40. Yes we should NEVER underestimate the enemy at any cost.Even though we we hate the LTTE terror movement , the fact is that they are a battle hardened lot. But the emaerging conflicts inside the LTTE hierarchy is a clear sign of the frustration that the fighting core has over the leadership.
    We should never under estimate the Enemy. THe government underestimated the LTTE air capability. But now they are Over estimating thier air capability. According to Ibal Atahs's situation report the purchase of Mig 29s plus the sophisticated wepon systems that require for that to shoot down few Zlin aircrafts is a clear overestimation. Am I correct?

  41. defencenet,

    can we have any updated information on this new split from within the LTTE?

  42. I doubt there will be any more new factions emerging. The moment someone leaves an organisation (may it be anything) the leaders especially someone like prabha will ensure that there are no more splits.

    I believe the strike must be by the LRRP and as David once mentioned, they could be somebody from the LTTE who was recently turned over by Military Inteligence.

  43. Guys, some news paper articles say that "Karuna" faction was responsible for this attack in Kili. and some other articles say that it was a job by another break away faction...
    If I'm not mistaken guys, I can very clearly remember that during past LRRP attacks (before the millennium city raid), our guys flatly denied any involvement and made up the story that it could be the job by a group within the LTTE who is acting against the LTTE leadership. The story was so cleverly made up by our Intel. that even the LTTE leadership believed it and started suspecting their own men...
    I'm not challenging the fact that there is another break away faction within the LTTE as I have no means of getting more inside info. on this matter... But with what I know about past LRRP activities, I prefer to remain open on this new "split" within the LTTE.
    However, my only wish and hope is that it's true...
    One more thing, I wont be surprised if our MI guys are working hard to create another split within the LTTE ranks. May be this Kili. attack is being used as one factor in that operation...

  44. On the issue of Iqbal Athas and CBK security being removed or reduced, is it paving way for Karuna to take care of them and blamming the LTTE.

    I think security is important for a person like Iqbal Athas as he us often very neutral in his commentary. He has mellowed his reporting is recent times due to this development.


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