Monday, September 8, 2008

SLAF increases air attacks as tigers dig in to fight

Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has been frequently bombing LTTE positions in the Wanni for the past week. LTTE positions in Nachchikuda, Kilinochchi, Mankulam and Pooneryn have been hit during these aerial raids. Not only have the Air Force deployed its bombers but increased use of gunships of the 9th attack helicopter squadron was also noticeable.


Air attacks have increased at a time when the LTTE has showed willingness to engage in close quarter fighting against advancing troops. Battles in southern Kilinochchi in the last 10 days have seen the LTTE deploying their experienced cadres heavily to the front line. The move was anticipated by the army and was only a question of 'when' the tigers would resort to this strategy rather than 'if'.

SLA troops closing in on Kilinochchi experienced fierce LTTE resistance in Nachchikuda, Akkarayankulam and Vennerikulam last week. The 20km long and 6 feet high earth bund the tigers have constructed runs between these areas. Both parties have suffered casualties while the SLA tried to breach the LTTE defense line. The tigers have managed to hold off the army advance on two occasions but these have not been 'flawless victories' as pro LTTE media claim. Military Intelligence has the names of 60 LTTE cadres killed in last week's fighting while the SLA has breached the LTTE line at more than 5 locations. Around 4KM of the LTTE line (at various locations) is now under SLA control.

Tigers have been reinforcing their defenses in Nachchikuda and Vennerikulam using cadres previously deployed in Muhamalai/Nagarkovil axis. They cannot afford to overdo this as SLA has 55 and 53 divisions deployed on the national front ready to advance south at any time. MI estimates the LTTE manpower on the Muhamalai/Kilali/Nagarkovil axis to be around 800.


  1. DN: Thanks for the update. This on and off air support still baffles me. None of our operations are coordinated. They claim the air attacks were done in support of advancing troops. It should not be just support, it should be a part of the operation itself. Since Nachchikuda is a coastal village, why cant our Navy send some gifts from the ocean side? I assume that civilians have already evacuated this village.

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  3. Hi guys I think the proper name for the LTTE's "earth bund" is actually BERM. That is one fucking long berm.

    I bet it was built during the ceasefire period. Fuck that cocksucking pussy Ranil and the dickwads in the UNP. Someone should put a bullet in his head.

    Anyway, does rain have any effect on it? Would like to see a picture of this berm.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. onecountry
    [Since Nachchikuda is a coastal village, why cant our Navy send some gifts from the ocean side? I assume that civilians have already evacuated this village.]

    A really damn good questions! I hope DN has the answer to this?!?

    I guess we could use our naval power and the close air support to the ground forces

  6. Thanks for update...
    I was just wondering why SLAF not helping them in this stage..what I am thinking is if SLF can push from three fronts simultaneously from north south and from the sea…(may be this is not a good idea…(?)) while breaking the trench using some equipment like earthmover (with bullet proof guard panels) SLF can cave some area ..…as I saw on TV these trenches are very big and muddy..So that destroying this trench is going to be very big task for case if they want to withdraw it should be possible withdraw rather than trap in the LTTE area..
    At this stage I think SLF must use more military hardware rather than man powder to reduce number of causalities…I hope they will do whatever thay can...
    May the triple gem bless you all ….meantime we all can help API WENUWEN API…

  7. Onecountry, this business of co-ordinated CAS is exactly what I asked about on Defencewire, as copied below:

    What is the level of CAS (close air support) for the SLA? i.e. is there a FAC (forward air controller) from the SLAF accompanying ground troops in constant touch with Mi-24 attack squadrons?

    Often the SLAF don't seem to (correct me if I'm wrong) co-ordinate their air-strikes with ground offensives or preparing for ground offensives.

    For example, this huge trench line was presumably dug with earth movers and manual labour. This must've taken at least a week or more to prepare. Bulldozers are not easy to camouflage. We know that some NGO operated heavy vehicles were taken by the LTTE. Why wasn't the trench construction under continual artillery and air attack?

    The LTTE also used their heavy artillery to support their counteroffensives. Where was the SLA's counter-battery radar? Surely this should've been operational and linked to the SLAF attack squadrons for near instant air-strikes on these arty positions?

    What's happened to our UAVs? I presume the areas under consideration for attack were under continual surveillance? If not, why not?

  8. I think we should use tanks to overcome earth bunds and should use fuel bombs for rats in trenches.

  9. Also, we don't need to destroy the entire trench - that would be pointless.

    We need to breach it and encircle the defenders without huge losses to our attacking forces.

  10. SLA have to sing right now. Rain rain go away...

    Monsoon is not a possitive scenareo for the Marching forces. once suffered from chekunguniya & dengue.. Few thousands escaped... so

    I have an Idea. I dont tell u what

  11. crimewatch, could you please shut the fuck up and piss off from this blog? You have nothing positive to add, nothing interesting, nothing of worth to share. Why the fuck do you continue to hang around like a bad smell thread after thread?

  12. "Since Nachchikuda is a coastal village, why cant our Navy send some gifts from the ocean side? I assume that civilians have already evacuated this village"

    Usually only the smaller IPC's operate in the shallow waters on Mannar side. The heaviest weapon they carry is a 23mm gun. Even if the larger gun boats carrying 37mm and 76mm guns could operate in these waters they would be of very limited use against dug in enemy positions (the trenchline anyway runs inland not parallel to the coast). Even larger navies stopped using big calibre naval artillery a long time ago. So the navy doesn't have much to offer in terms of firepower compared to what is available to SLA/SLAF.

    A better use for SLN might be to make an amphibious landing behind the lines/Pooneryn. But we probably don't have the resources for this. But they might be able to help out with small scale SBS operations behind the LTTE lines. If not, the SLN will just have to stick to the current role and restrict LTTE supplies as best possible, which should be much easier now that the coastline available to the LTTE is greatly reduced.

  13. I'm the guy who fucked your momma in the mouth crimewatch. You are an utter twat who can even string a coherent sentence together. Did you go to school? Now fuck off from defencenet instead of stinking up the place with your nonsense. A right fucking cunt you are.

  14. thanks for the update DN, can you give us any idea on Sea tiger assets in the north east and jaffna lagoon. why havnt we seen the navy helping the land forces directly since the fall of vedithalthivu?

  15. Re., SLN activity, I presume they are doing their work quietly in the background "The Silent Service". For operational security reasons they shouldn't announce every aspect of their attacks and strategy.

  16. 6 METRES high!! i don't believe it.


    it was not built during ranil ponnaya's time.

    trench warfare is the buzz word. how can SLDFs overcome these obstacles?

    i suggested in DW to BYPASS these trenches and when we reach the north, tigers will be trapped for a good harvesting run.

  17. Crimewatch,

    Let them to enjoy the DN & DW Bullshits....

    .. as predicted we are in action...

    LTTE counter-attacks SLA ambush, 12 SLA soldiers were killed and one was captured.

    Jayawewa !

  18. I think all the ideas that sound so simple and too good to be true like "bypass the trench" "smash it with tanks" "land behind enemy lines" "send gifts from the sea" are what they are, TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE/PRACTICAL....

    I dnt think the generals/commanders are so dumb not to realize these "simple solutions", nor do I think that the LTTE has some form of countermeasures if that to happen....

    What do u think guys?

  19. "The Sixth amendment of the constitution clearly points out that any person may make an application to the Court of Appeal for a declaration that a Member of Parliament has directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka supported, espoused, promoted, financed, encouraged or advocated the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka. Accordingly the Court of appeal can make declaration of its findings.

    In case the courts determines that the said Member of Parliament has advocated for a separate state within the Sri Lanka’s territory, then that parliamentary seat of such member shall be deemed to be vacant with effect from the date if such declaration and such Member shall be disqualified from sitting and voting in Parliament and from being elected or nominated to Parliament for a period of seven years from the date of such declaration."

    so why wait????

    no bullshit, i raised this issue with basil r. in 2006 or 2007 before he became a MP. i bugged him until he ALMOST lost his temper (he has a bad temper) and he insisted that there is a LONG procedure than a simple application to court and it won't work bcos they have taken the oath anyway and if asked to do again, will do it and continue their usual work.

    at least now GOSL should uphold the SUPREME LAW of the land - the CONSTITUTION.

    why the GOSL? bcos there are manythings to prove and disapprove and the govt has access to required services.

  20. thoughful guy,

    no mate. these suggested strategies are NOT easy. they require a WHOLE new approach/es and SLDFs have not done so in the past in the scale it is required now.

  21. Article should be corrected as 6 feet high (not 6m).

  22. I have some Questions...

    Good to have Mi24s & jets in action to MAKE the way..

    1.DID these BIRDS came into action when the Breakthrough happend?Supporting the troops when mortars & Arti from Pooneryn came?
    2. It is said that the ltte Arti in Pooneryn were directed to this front. So why couldnt the Army attack the arti positions from Muhamalai & Jaffna penninsula?
    3.DW said some Arti Tracking Equipment were gained, So arent we using them in Nochikuda or even at Jaffna?
    Seems our forces are not as Dynamic & jointly coordinated as they should have been..

  23. Do we have a joint chief commander? Maybe we need to have one who oversee all three forces.

  24. Why not give them some RM 70 treatment?

  25. DN, can you comment on why SLA is not currently attacking from Northern defence lines? If we do attack from Muhamallai, LTTE will be in a real jeopardy as they have to concentrate on multiple places in order to defend Kilinochchi.

  26. 3 air attacks within 45 minute
    Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets carried out three air raids targeting gatherings of LTTE reinforcement cadre in the North of Nachchikudha this afternoon (Sept 8), said Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara .

    He said, the raids were launched at 1.25 PM, 1.35 PM and 2.10 PM in support of advancing Task Force 1 troops on the Southern Kilinochchi front.

  27. ranilb5
    why SLA is not currently attacking from Northern defence lines?

    good point. with lppe pulling out cadres to nachchikuda it wold be the best time to attack from north or atleast increase the pressure up there.

  28. How to turn LTTE trench defences into LTTE burial grounds

    Here's how the US-led coalition dealt with Iraqi trench defences in the 1st Gulf War:

    "Thousands of Iraqi soldiers, some of them firing their weapons from first world war-style trenches, had been buried by ploughs mounted on Abrams tanks.

    The tanks had flanked the lines so that tons of sand from the plough spoil had funnelled into the trenches. Just behind the tanks, straddling the trench line, came Bradleys pumping machine-gun bullets into Iraqi troops."

    and as important, this: "The operation had been rehearsed repeatedly, weeks before, on a mile-long trench line built according to satellite photographs.

    The finishing touches were made by armoured combat earth-movers (ACEs). These massive bulldozers, with armoured cockpits impervious to small-arms fire, smoothed away any hint of the carnage."

    from The Guardian

    I'm sure that SLA can do something similar with their T55 tanks and/or armoured bulldozers with mounted ploughs (locally modified) accompanied by BMPs and infantry to take care of any surviving LTTE infantry.

    To be buried alive is admittedly not a very pleasant way to die, but needs must etc.

  29. Day long prayer vigils to deliver the oppressed (Tamil) people of Sri Lanka
    Mon, 2008-09-08 04:27
    By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune
    An e-mail transmitted world over by a group of Tamils in Melbourne, Australia request all Tamils spread all over the world to pray the whole day with fasting including Jesus Novena.

    The prayers and fasting is aimed at ‘deliverance of our oppressed people' (Tamils) and urged ‘All Tamils living all over the world to pray all day with fasting to the Almighty God.’

    They mentioned that God is their only hope and "He is only a prayer away."

    They mentioned "Yet we don’t ask God for help because somewhere well beneath our surface layer of faith and trust, we don’t really believe, God has power to do anything about them. The mountain looks so large we see no point in asking GOD to move it."

    Wondered where Shyam,Sharp & bandara were...
    Must be Fasting.

  30. yah please use some more tanks guys, because tigers need some more tanks to capture, they only have t55s which they captured from past offensive attacks by SLA, do you SLA have better tanks than that?, we could use something new, please tell your kothaiyan rajapakse to buy some abrahm or some T95s lol

  31. sure the kathaiyan can keep some money in his pocket to when he get the money for the tanks, as he did for the MIGS 27 and 29

  32. DefenceNet,
    what effect will rain have on this 6ft high bund?or is it in oncrete?.

  33. defencenet/guys..

    thanks for the updates..

    Can you tell how many T-55's are operational by the Tigers? and also BMP's?..and if so,what about the ammo?.have they purchased fresh stocks or do they manufacture their own?

  34. continuing...

    What are the planned acquisitions for the SLN?.are we going to get 2 missile boats from serbia or is it all BS?..Some time back,we were going to purchase some Al-khalid Main Battle Tanks from Pakistan.whats the status?..

  35. a bomb blast??
    (ITN News)

  36. Four SLA troopers killed in mistaken ambush in Batticaloa
    [TamilNet, Sunday, 07 September 2008, 00:25 GMT]
    A unit of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troopers lying in ambush in Vadamunai village in Koa'ra'laippattu South District Secretariat’s administrative area, mistaking another group of SLA soldiers as Liberation Tigers, fired at the troopers, killing four of them Friday night, sources in Batticaloa said.

    The confrontation took place near Miniminththave’li, a border village in Batticaloa.

    In August, 23 SLA troops were killed when LTTE cadres triggered a claymore device targeting troops traveling in a military vehicle in the same area.

    - LOL. A sign of things to come in the Northern front.

    IT is very pathetic to see every Sinhala president try to crush the Tamil people's asiprations through violence and war but FAIL MISERABLY every single time. The down wards trend is now happening again...

    However, I must warn, soon there is not going to be any more presidents of Sri Lanka. Maybe you will have presidents in the Sinhala State yet to be named, and you will have one new neighbour right beside you just like pre-colonial times.

    Also, there is a huge reason why the SLA is wetting their pants to move forward from the North-to-south. Where they stand now, they have great advantage because xxxxxxx, should they move out and all equipment move forward and the Tigers counter - it is highly possible they will lose their strategoc position - with that loss, Tigers can move into Jaffna regardless if Trino goes down or not.

    Enjoy your racism with violence while it lasts.

    SHARP >>>>>>

  37. su,
    this request for god's help has only one motive:that is to identify with the "rest of the "free" world" and let the world think that
    the christian community in SLanka is being wipedout by the forces.I am curious if these requests to god is done by descendents of people who immigrated to Aus in the late 40 early 50's because they could not live with the singhalas?

  38. If the LTTE's tanks are still operational, the best time to use them would be at night, when the SLAF may not be able to accurately target them. But then, then they'd also be very vulnerable to SLA RPG fire. Hmmmm.. bit of a dilemma.

    What do our resident LTTE military experts think?

  39. Sharp and other idiots are back big time!!! lol!

  40. Sharp,

    "Enjoy your racism with violence while it lasts."

    Thank you sincerely (and I really mean that) for encapsulating in one sentence, the entire ethos of the LTTE. Thanks again.

  41. Instead of praying for god they must concentrate on sending some bucks to fat pig. Do more sakkili work !!!

  42. bungu,
    they are doing that anyway..just shows you what kind of lunatics these LTTE di-ass-phora hypocrites are.

  43. mango, nobody can use tanks at the nacchikuda akkarayan wall because its a jungle out there. there are huge tress all over the place.

  44. It is fairly clear that the LTTE is deploying its core cadre now. There are several questions that arise, which some of you raise. There are similar questions to ask.

    1. Why now?
    2. What are their tactics?
    3. What are their prospects?

    These are but three questions.

    1. On the first count, it seems that being cut of from India is not something the LTTE can hope to allow. Also, allowing a land link from Colombo to Jaffna would be threatening to the LTTE's cause. Then there is also the strategic picture: if the SLA opens another front in the West (facing the East, with the Mannar-Pooneryn road at the rear as a safe supply route and for SLA heavy equipment) then the LTTE, which is short on fighters, would be even weaker.

    Thus, preventing a Jaffna-Mannar land link on the West cost is something the LTTE must stop... almost at any cost, though I am sure they will pull out when it sees more utility elsewhere.

    2. On the military tactical front, the idea is first to preserve hardcore LTTE cadre from getting KIA. Every other death was expendable (in the extreme sense of Thamil kids and older folk being used as cannon fodder). The hardcore cadre is another matter, as that is about the survival of the group itself.

    I do not for a moment believe that the LTTE is low on hardcore cadre, as intel might suggest. If I were running the SLA that would not be an assumption I would make, and would rather be surprised by it with a sudden victory.

    I would assume the LTTE will use its refugees as well, and ways that are not predictable.

    I would assume the LTTE are looking to isolate and destroy one of the brigades in the front. I mean, the LTTE wants about 3000 SLA deaths in a week of carnage, but would settle for 300. That sort of body count usually means the end of support for a war in a democratic country, and the LTTE know it, given the politically divided south that even has Tigers among its ranks!

    Strategically the LTTE's main goals now is break the political will of the GOSL/SLA, and it would do anything to get that done.

    The SLA must therefore 'watch' their backs and watch out for civilian wave being pushed towards them.

    It is clear that the LTTE is now returning, to the extent it can, to old style mobile warfare. The question is if they can sustain this over time, and if they have enough of the best units to create the decimation of a brigade.

    3. So, what can we expect from the LTTE's latest deployment?

    It is likely that every area the LTTE has left contains a predetermined weapons cache or caches. These are coordinates that local sleeper cells can use when the time comes. Right now however, the war is frontal; let us say, the LTTE would launch counter attacks in spurts with the intention of creating SLA casualties, not with the intention of holding ground, except in places such as Mallavi, from the reports, and Nachchikuda.

    The initial assessment I have is that these tactics are working for the LTTE, as they are willing to move to fight elsewhere in what is very familiar terrain for them. They are able to hit and run, and in time, they will move to locations as refugees, and then use that cover to access weapons, etc., to launch daily attacks.

    Yet, I am not sure the LTTE can sustain itself in this frontal mode. It is vulnerable to similar tactics from the SLA with the DPUs. This would make the LTTE vulnerable to its lines being hit from behind.

    4. What doe the SLA, etc., do?

    Let me see here:

    * The LTTE is not deploying formations that allow air power to have a major impact, at least not air power that is of the MiG 27sort--it is after all just a fighter bomber--and of COIN sort, the Mi 24/35 gun ships. The LTTE is thus not that vulnerable to Naval bombardment either, as one might imagine.

    * The LTTE have a mobile force. They coordinate attacks on forces that are immobile, and count on fixed formation for their targets. The more land the SLA hold, the more target they provide to the LTTE.

    With the shifting of LTTE tactics, the SLA would need to deploy differently. While holding land is said to not be the objective, it is hard not to think that is exactly what the SLA is doing, even unintentionally. The zone maps certainly do convey this message, and while many like clarity of it, I am not sure that this is useful—unless of course the SLA are very cleverly letting the media buy the land maps to allow the people have some idea of the gains despite the dear costs.

    If the SLA is now defending, then defending trenches or settlements is not what the SLA will be good at. Indeed, no army is good at that when they are faced with short range mortar fire, hit and run attacks, mines, etc. When inactivity leads to KIA that is the worst from of morale destroyer—soldiers like to be taking the initiative, not sitting around in trenches to be shot at, etc.

    The SLA needs to modify tactics and keep its forces mobile and away from fixed lines. That means it must abandon trench warfare, and instead move the bulk of its forces into small relatively self sufficient units, connected to each other on particular modes of communication and on a map grid via satellite from the local command posts.

    The first sighting of LTTE ought not lead to a firefight; that gives away the advantage of ‘sight.’

    What the LTTE cannot handle is not being able to ‘see’ its foe. That means, cleverer use of booby traps, pin-point painting of targets for the SLAF, etc. When firefights are used, it would be best executed when the right teams are in place to eliminate the entire LTTE cell in a given area.

    To defeat the LTTE even in the short term, the SLA KIA must be brought down to less than 10/month (in attritional terms). My “guess” here is that that would be more of an acceptable political number than 20/month. The wrong strategy is to think that even a 1:5 is a good "kill" ratio. That sort of thinking overlooks the political context of the war: whereas the LTTE has no problem with human sacrifice in which it very happily engages, the SLA has every reason to feel the pressure of potential KIA as it must value the lives of its volunteer personnel, and so must avoid losses. (For an example of this stringent protection of its soldiers, look at the Israeli forces! And, even so, they could not take on more determined elements.)

    I think the threshold of SLA KIA is no more than 20 in a major engagement. The 30 from last week is not sustainable in a democratic country that is also so badly divided within the parliament—so badly that the opposition might be willing to lose a few battles in order to gain political power.

    This poses obviously hard questions of strategy and tactics. The SLA has its work cut out for it. This does not mean it is impossible, only that it is very difficult to fight with one hand tied behind the back.

    Faced with this current situation, the SLA must be open to shaping other strategies and tactics that shifts the structure of the war in the Wanni away from the LTTE, forcing it to reconsider its current response.
    1. Open another front: threaten to land on Mullativu via sea, threaten to land on Pooneryn from Jaffna, etc.
    2. Threaten Elephant Pass somehow: is there a para-brigade, that can then use the area to land more soldiers via a local field, etc.
    3. Introduce another division to threaten to encircle the LTTE FDLs on the Southern Front, i.e., just north of Vavuniya.
    4. Use small, but deadly changes in emphasis of other tactics: use long range sniper fire specialists to focus on command elements at various FDLs, use night time sleep depravation tactics in a sustained manner on various FDLs.

    I am sure the people here are more imaginative than I am, and can add to shifting strategy and changing tactics.

    I hope the above get people to discuss strategy and tactics a bit more. At the end of the day, we are just sitting behind desks. The daring and the brave carry on defending democracy.


  45. Mboi,
    Good point about the terrain. But on some footage I've seen of LTTE defences (on LTTE video), there are areas of relatively open sandy or loose soil where this method could be tried.

  46. One takran air is down this morning. Well done SLAF.


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