Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Army loses T-55 MBT : Muhamalai

A T-55 Main Battle Tank (MBT) of the army was damaged beyond repair when it was hit by hostile fire near the LTTE forward defence line (FDL) today morning. The crew of four sustained injuries in the incident but were rescued by the army and are now being treated for their injuries.The LTTE is known to have deployed a considerable number of troops from its Victor anti armor brigade in fear of army's newly raised Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

The Sri Lankan army operates over 65 T-55 and T-55AM2 Main Battle tanks acquired largely from Czechoslovakia, along with other armored vehicles in their war against the LTTE.


  1. defencenet,
    what is the method/wepon ltte used to destroy the t-55?
    what is the risk involved in getting other tanks being attacked when they penitrate the FDL?
    what is the method army use to counter attack ?
    don't we have 100 new tanks brought from china in infantry brigade?

  2. DefenceNet how many tanks, MBRL, navy ships and planes we have about? im holding a presentation about sl army and ltte weapons.

  3. theraputta,
    "what is the method/wepon ltte used to destroy the t-55?"

    Possibly an RPG but not 100% confirmed yet.

    "DefenceNet how many tanks, MBRL, navy ships and planes we have about?"

    Tanks: Around 70 MBTS, around 250 IFVs. around 25 tank logistics vehicles (recovery + transport)

    Air Force: Around 150 aircraft including older models, gunships and transport helicopters.

    Navy: Around 60 FAC, 3+ 1(missile) OPV, Around 75 IPC

    These are only rough figures, may not be 100% correct we do not have exact figures right now. Sorry.

  4. The Mechanized Infantry Divisision and the armoured units are being used sparingly on a trial basis with a view towards honing tactics and techniques. These type of casulaties are expected. It is not a big deal as the LTTE makes it out to be.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. DefenceNet brother thanx very much! i have some other questions... where are the T-55 and multibarrel rocket launcher? can you tell the round figure of different aircrafts (attack crafts, helicopters ...)

  7. Defencenet, As long as we did not loose any men, that's great.

    I thought the role of the MBTs to provide fire support to our offensive formations from behind and not to lead the way and fall onto man made LTTE pits and anti - tank "monster" mines. Last year the same victor unit took few AFV, and APC and two MBT's using the same mix of anti-tank RPG-7's, mines and camouflaged LTTE tank pits. LTTE have been studying the MID and have trained units to counter our tanks and IFVs. Correct me if i'm wrong but the army seems to be making the same mistake over and over again. MI24s is a better choice for CS.

  8. Sldf,
    I fully agree with you about using MI-24s against these masala dosai's called victor?..Roger..alfred?? whatever.one rason they may not be used is jungle terrain and the fact that these LTTE units are dispersed and not concentrated.This job appears to be an infantry job alone..i cant understand why any tanks are used at all..

  9. Beyond repair in one shot? More likely to be law than rpg.

    2008 kill rate in nearing 3000. Time to revise the figures again.

  10. SriLankan,

    The area seems to be open terrain with very good visibility, typically good for tanks. I agree with you in that this war will be won or lost by the infantry. Tanks are secondary. This a learning experience to hone the SLA's battle skills before the big push later this year.

    Links to some old photos of Muhamali from Google Earth and posted by Cerno on Flickr.


  11. On a more positive note: DefenceLK has released photos of Lima Base 3

    Every time I get slightly worried, DefenceLK comes to the rescue.

    This is the army's biggest catch in a couple of months. LOL!

  12. Casc,
    Many thanks for your comment.I really dont know why the army is so intent on capturing EPass.We need to capure north of mannar and then finally squeese these fellows in EP from both sides till their bodies burst open because i suspect the die hards are in EPass..no need to take poonaryn..
    now if it is open land there may be many small obstacles that give these teams cover so it is an infantry and mortar job..i still cannot understand why tanks are involved

  13. casc,
    i forgot to add a MI-24 job to support the infantry all the way..

  14. There are factual issues with DN's news source. His source is obviously SLA's MI. Remember MI told Premadasa he was going to be safe the day before he was blown to pieces. So the moral of the story is SLA uses MI to cover its behind thats all, it has no relevance to the truth.

    Also the SLA DOES NOT have the intellectual and physical capacity to have 65 working MBTs.

  15. DN

    Do you know how many battle tanks we have lost so far in total in whole war?

  16. SriLankan,

    Agree with you on EP. I think the current activity on the Jaffna front is a secondary effort and is part of the psycological game (part of the 5 front effort to keep the LTTE manpower tied down). Looks like the army's timetable in Mannar was thrown off balance by the weather gods. The rains have created havoc with soldiers getting Chickenguniya and viral fever. I copied this picture from google earth. The area around the Giant Tank looks like one giant swamp. Once the weather is favorable, the army will slowly but surely go up the NW coast.

    Giant Tank and surrounding area

  17. "There are factual issues with DN's news source. His source is obviously SLA's MI. Remember MI told Premadasa he was going to be safe the day before he was blown to pieces. So the moral of the story is SLA uses MI to cover its behind thats all, it has no relevance to the truth."

    One simple question comes to the mind. If this is so unreliable and unstable new source, why do you keep visiting it regardless of our repeated requests to keep away from it?

    "Also the SLA DOES NOT have the intellectual and physical capacity to have 65 working MBTs."

    Okay SLA only has 2 MBTs. 1 out of the two was destroyed today.

  18. //If this is so unreliable and unstable new source, why do you keep visiting it regardless of our repeated requests to keep away from it?//

    Becuz they couldn't kill you.

  19. casc & srilankan,

    i disagree that this war will be won or lost on infantry. the shit pig VP has already decalred that the war will be "won" on explosives. i belive the bugger. MBTs are essential at the front (may not be at the very front of the front). they are like self-propelling howitzers! moving by themselves.

    during a battle mortars and arti. are used heavily by both paties. it is not MAINLY a close quarter combat. MBTs are the only way firepower can be provided to the advancing troops.

    using Mi-24s is a good idea.

    but the number of tigers in the anti-tank unit are scattered across a large area.

    mechanised infantry units must track them and kill them, in theory.

    but in practice the mechanised infantry vehicles themselves can be blow up by RPGs!!!!

    the "iron fist" protection system as discussed in DW is fantastic. but i doubt we can buy them or israel would sell them.

    we should discuss various options here to practically overcome the menace of RPGs.

    can we use flamethrowers? and burn the whole tiger FDL in muhamalai and a little bit southward?

  20. Something just occurred to me and I would like to share with you folks.

    The two body guards of the army commander is clearly recognisable. Have a look at all footage with Gen. Sarath Fonseka and you will be able to recognise the two commandos. Imagine what could happen if LTTE gets to one of these by threatening one of their family members? All VIP body guards must wear a balaclava or something to hide their identity.

  21. Panhinda said...;

    For regular Army they have some discipline they can not hide their faces ..have to be in Uniforms and Uniforms have to be very neat .... But in srilanka they can be behave like bulls because the President is a Bull naaa

  22. @ Moshe Dyan
    Here is a show case for a hi-tech solution."Trophy" is a Isreali technology.



    TROPHY is currently ready for integration with heavy, medium and light platforms against all types of HEAT threats including all known types of Anti Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), Anti Tank Rockets (ATR). TROPHY will defeat ATRs and RPGs launched at very close range from the vehicle. Live tests have already been conducted to ensure that TROPHY's countermeasure will be able to defeat Kinetic Energy (KE) threats in the near future.

  23. Does anyone think that we should upgrade our main battle tanks? However if they are going to be used as they are using tanks they may be white elephants.

  24. DefenceNet

    Mate, are you sure you didn’t jump the gun here and swallow the hook line and sinker put out by the LTTE TamilNut?

    Nowhere in any reliable news sites do I find any mention of a SLA MBT being destroyed!

    The only somewhat reliable news site that I came across did say that LTTE claimed so, but then it also said the following:

    [Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, however, denied the latest claims by the rebels and said that 'the military have never used battle tanks in these areas'. We have not lost any battle tanks in the north today and there is no truth in what the LTTE is saying. We use only infantrymen in these areas to fight the Tigers,' Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said by phone.
    Nanayakkara also said there were no 'extra-ordinary military activities in the Muhamalai areas other than the routine sporadic clashes'.]

    I tried calling Colombo and tapping into my own “sources,” but could not get through (I was told they were busy inspecting the latest fleet of “white vans!” LMSSAO!!!)

    Anyway, I know LTTE has destroyed a couple of MBTs in the past (with anti-tank mines as well as multiple RPG hits), but are we sure this is not a LTTE canard – a desperate propaganda boob-lift ploy for the LTTE?


    OaO Asithri

  25. Here’s an example of the crafty propaganda of the LTTE…

    Once a SLA “authoritative source” told me that during a previous offensive when a MBT tank caught fire due to taking a direct hit from an incendiary shell (which could have been controlled if the crew had followed instructions, but unfortunately, it had gotten out of hand), the crew abandoned it as it started to burn and was immobilized and rendered useless. However, when the LTTE advanced into the area, they had planted a sizable amount of HE charges around the tank and blown it up to the point where the tank tracks etc just came apart and then they had taken pics of it for distribution to their www sites for the diaspora’s benefit, to show the awesome firepower the LTTE had aimed at the MBT!(to show good use of diaspora money!)

    The salient point here was that to target that much of HE to disintegrate a MBT in action, for even a fraction of the MBTs the SLA possesses, is not practically possible for the LTTE to sustain in an anti-tank war, but once a tank become immobilized due to other reasons and SLA does not extricate it in good time, the LTTE will surround and destroy it and then take pics for propaganda purposes (as the LTTE does not have equipment to either tow it or disassemble it while still hostile conditions).

    This is not a SLA story per se (although SLA figured the deception when it had seen the pics), but k-faction ex-LTTErs had confirmed it.

    So, the moral of the story is – we need to be careful before we gobble up TamilNut type vile propaganda.

    OaO Asithri

  26. Now for a more lighter topic…like castration of a LTTE moronic, ill-bred mf (that makes a perfect ending to a hectic day! LMSSAO!!!)


    [But in srilanka they can be behave like bulls because the President is a Bull naaa]

    naaa…naaa…naaa that is not true!

    The Bull was the SLN SEAL dude who really fathered you – while your mom’s husband was away in a “sea guppy” boat, getting blasted by an awesome Dvora!

    naaa…naaa…naaa (I guess even OaO Asithri can emulate a Jaffna goat well?)


    OaO Asithri

  27. Moshe Dyan,

    I saw several videos on Youtube that show the Pakistani Army in action in the Swat Valley. The Pakistanis seem to be using a locally made steel cage to protect their APCs (the Pakistanis produce a copy of the US M113A APC). The cage looks kind of crude but I assume it does the job against RPGs. I read that the tracks are the most vulnerable part. Also noticed that the Pakistanis seem to be using a lot of heavy cliber machine guns(probably .50 caliber). Their army has lot of experience in armoured warfare and armour in infantry support having fought many large scale wars with India. Also, they have numerous Chinese made T-55s in their inventory. This would make them ideally suited to advise SL in ths matter.

  28. "Mate, are you sure you didn’t jump the gun here and swallow the hook line and sinker put out by the LTTE TamilNut?"

    Nope asithir confirmed from our sources. One damaged beyond repair. No lives lost.

  29. I confirm the DNET figure for the operational Tanks with SLA with a small degree of plus or minus. SLA has the capability to operate these tanks in all fronts and that is for sure. We have veterans in these units.

    However tanks are prone to RPG and LAW if get hit in the right spot. If the crew survived, I suppose this hit is not at the turret and the weapon is not Thermobaric. Probably at the engine compartment at the rear where armour is thin.

    Loosing tanks or any other equipment is inevitable specially tanks. But if effectively used with the combination of ground troops, Arty and possibly assistance from Mi 24s, tanks will be a great asset. Usually, SLA use tanks as a mobile gun which is used to bust bunkers and fortifications. As we have limited number of tanks in a given front, no large tank formations reap in to the enemy teretory.

  30. TANK incident is confirmed by the RAW operated defencewire.

  31. Defecenet:

    [One damaged beyond repair]

    I hope your sources are solid.

    As well, I hope it was not abandoned for the LTTE bastards to capitalize on false/vile propaganda front (like what I described earlier).

    OaO Asithri

  32. CASC, we have steel cages for the turrets. In addition some upgrades are underway if not finished to upgrade with reactive armour.

    Even after these measures, tanks are prone for RPG, LAW attacks. These are facts in the battleground. The game is to play within the facts as face the reality when something happens.

    We have been using tanks effectively in Muhamalei area for the last many months. This time enemy succeeded in getting at us.

  33. andare,

    mate, how can you say DW is RAW operated?

  34. what are the chances of using fire?

    burning LTTE FDLs and beyond before advancing into their areas.

    this will take care of their small anti-tank teams. we are not talking of many hundreds of square kilometres. it is uninhabited, barren land of scrubs, etc. that can be easily set alight without collateral damage.

    we may need a lot of burning agents/ fuel.

  35. LTTE is using "KAKKUTU" method to attak our Tanks.

    If there a threat KAKKUTTA will will holed in to the earth and stay for hours, untill threat is gone.
    If LTTE is hiding there RPG people in well camoflage places along the possible tracks going to be used by SLDF tanks in any offensive, there is a grater possibility to get hit.
    They can staty in the holes until darkness comes and then come out slowley.

    Viatkong was using that tactic havily to counter US army.

  36. DN
    Any update on heavy fighting going on now in Muhamalai?

  37. Moshe,
    I was monitoring DW for long time.
    My 6th sense is saying that.

  38. Why we can’t enhance locally battle tank amour into reactive amour,
    Do we have the technology DefenceNet?

  39. Guys,

    The battle incident will not deter the army's drive beyond the second FDL; I am sure it is one-off; lives of soldiers are not lost.

    Don't forget the Anuradhapura attack; I know the cloud of gloom that cast a very dark shadow here.

    We moved past it and this set-back must be analyzed in the context of whole military strategy that now unfolds on the Northern Front.

  40. Moshe Dyan said...
    casc & srilankan,

    i disagree that this war will be won or lost on infantry.

    Hello Moshe Dyan,

    I respectfully disagree with you on this bro. From a historical perspective, I believe that this war has continued as long as it has because SLA could not dominate an area once it had been captured. This was mainly due to the lack of personnel. Not only must the LTTE be defeated, they must not be allowed to come back to the same area at a later time.

    To defeat the LTTE we need to use technological an material superiority but to dominate an area we need lots of men.

    As you know, some areas have changed hands numerous times during the course of the various eelm wars. The Jaffna area has open and flat terrain that is suitable for tanks and armoured vehicles but most of the Wanni is basically dense jungle that is unsuitable for any kind of vehicles.

    I remember listening to a story narrated by Gen. Algama. During the IPKF days, he indicatd that when some of the Indian convoys came under mine attack they simply rolled on without stopping.

    The IPKF was able to completely dominate the area under their control because of their sheer numerical superiority with 150,000 soldiers. One to one, the IPKF was no better than the LTTE or SLA but they could take big losses and function without any disruption.

    I believe that when the big push comes, the SLA will probably take some big casulties. Nevertheles, given the size of the SLA today it will not be disruptive or hinder their operations.

  41. Thanks for the information Abhaya

  42. I may offend some of you by making this suggestion. Since I am not from your country I do not have a sense of what you view as fair in war. If I am out of line just say so.

    Perhaps your army should equip a few tanks with flame throwers. They were used by both sides in WWII. A line of advancing tanks burning away undergrowth and bunkers would likely have quite an impact on any defenders. It would reveal traps and possibly trigger explosives prematurely.

    I am not certain if Sri Lanka is a signatory to any treaty that would limit your army's use of such weapons.

  43. OK casc, i'm convinced.

    its kind of sad that casualties are inevitable and have to be "absorbed" by the "large army".

    how about using fire in the open terrain?

    US did this in Viet. to deter/kill terrorists hiding in foxholes.

    what made you ask that? although it is logical to assume so.

  44. hi outsider,

    no treaty stops using FTs.

    i agree that some sort of "fire-play" can save a lot of trouble.

  45. Cost of Men and material will be very high, if we are not going to use lots of cedeptive techinics in the battle field.

    You know in very old days, Burglers used a Black color pot attached to a stick to first incert to the house, before jump in. That way they were able to protect their Heads, from unexpected attacks.
    Using Sniper and dummy tanks build by old catapillars with explosives trapped in can be used to fucked to Victor.
    Any vehicle easily can be made remote control and that is already done by several school kids in SL.

  46. Pundaeelam

    "can you tell the round figure of different aircrafts (attack crafts, helicopters ...)"

    The main attack aircraft of the SLAF and approximate numbers are as follows. This is public information.

    - 12 Kfir (C2, C7 and TC2)
    - 07 Mig-27
    - 01 Mig-23UB
    - 03 F-7BS
    - 03 FT-7
    - 06 F-7G
    - 08 K-8
    - 10 to 14 Mi-24/35

    Not all aircraft may be operational at a given time.

  47. //i disagree that this war will be won or lost on infantry.//

    Where ever SLA won, noth or east it was the infantry who delivered victory. eg: rivirasa, vimukthi, balavegaya, sathjaya, jayasikuru (forward phase), ...

    When ever SLA lost it was also due to infantry + other reasons. eg: jayasikiru (backward phase), ceaseless waves, ...

  48. Defencenet,
    What is the reason for
    "The Army Headquarters has banned retired Major General Janaka Perera and Colonel Jayavi Fernando from entering army camps citing security reasons."

  49. Andare

    DW operated by RAW? ANy Explanation??

  50. b#1

    What's the source? If its true probably becuz both of them are well known UNP supporters.

  51. Ninja,

    May be you are correct.


  52. Why still LTTE is too strong is Presently they have two Giants supporting them in Sri Lanka.

    01. UNP (politically)
    02. S T V aka Sirasa/Head of Tiger Velu.

  53. As regards JCP..........

    he is one of the most obnoxious, self-important and boasful guys i have met; our families are known to each other.

    he has a STRONG anti-war attitude NOW; seems (based on his conduct)determined to reverse the "problems" he created for the LTTE. me thinks.

    and he is trying VERY hard to get into politics which will be a calamity not only for him but also for the party.

    its better to keep him away. he is like a movie character who fights evil ferociously and eventually joins them.

    but he was one of the best 'fighting' generals we had during his day. whatever he does now, the good will stay with him.

    retired generals are better kept out of SLDFs

  54. Defencenet,

    One shot from an RPG is enough to destroy a T-55?

    And hasn't our T-55's been upgraded to Al-Zarrar yet? Or is that not going to happen?

  55. Fresh offensive in north, heavy toll
    The military this morning advanced its forward defence lines in Muhamalai to Kilali by 500 metres after a fierce battle. At least 52 LTTE cadres were reportedly killed. The military also confirmed that 15 soldiers were killed and 74 injured.


    Def Net:
    Any more news you know about that?

  56. Is this the big push we are waiting for? I hope this time the push will be strong and relentless.

    I beleive once u get into a defensive mode its pretty hard to get into attacking mode. Some where u need to break the ice and go forward. We may have to face casualities, but I hope this this time the PUSH is Strong enough to break the backs of the terras.

  57. Has it started? The major push towards EP?

    People please concentrate and keep updating what is happening in the Muramaale front..

  58. Heavy Fighting Erupts in Muhamale; Fifteen Brave Soldiers Lay Their Lives (www.army.lk)

    JAFFNA: TROOPS after a fierce multi-pronged counter attack on the Tiger terrorists in MUHAMALE Wednesday (23) early morning, in response to an LTTE terrorist strike earlier on the day to overrun Army bunkers, thrust themselves into enemy defences capturing an area of about 400 – 500 metres, ahead of the Forward Defence Line (FDL).

    Tiger terrorists who have been desperately trying to provoke the troops in the opposite side of their defences in the past few weeks, broke off their lines and miserably tried to overrun Army defences this morning (23) at about 5.00 a.m..

    But alert and brave troops of the Army hit back hard in full swing after launching counter attacks from both north and south directions, and strode into enemy-dominated areas, ahead of the FDL and captured an area covering about 400 – 500 metres where troops are now consolidating their positions at the time this report was pasted.

    The LTTE’s miscalculated move against the troops has reportedly brought about disaster and losses to the terrorists with their casualties as high as some fifty-two terrorists killed in the encounter. A large number of terrorists have suffered injuries, according to initial reports.

    The ensuing gun-battles that erupted in the north and south of MUHAMALE on A-9 road lasted for about three hours.

    Fifteen brave sons of the Army while in action against the terrorists laid their lives for the sake of the territorial integrity of the motherland. A total of seventy-four valiant soldiers injured in the offensives were evacuated to PALALY military hospital. Some of them were airlifted to other major hospitals elsewhere for immediate surgery and treatment.

    Troops are clearing and consolidating their positions.

  59. The mayor of London collaborating with the LTTE terrorists???


    Well, well, well..
    Is he in the payroll of the LTTE?

    What say about Vaiko, Nedumaran and M Karunanidhi?

  60. Comeon fellas, ya falling for ltte faggorts rubbish abt the T 55 gettinng whacked by RPG or Carl Gustav round ? Hello, they hit a Sino Dfence Type 89 AFV !!
    Do ya believe anything the ltte faggorts say ?


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