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 Post subject: Troops probe Wanni, Tigers die for Land
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:07 am 
Troops probe Wanni, Tigers die for Land
Military is riding high on a series of victories

Sri Lanka's military has made some undeniable gains. It has seized the Tiger-held east of the country, sunk supply ships carrying arms to the rebels and, last month, it managed to drop a precision bomb on a meeting in the rebel's northern stronghold, killing the Tigers' top political leader. Sri Lanka is in its all-out bid to finally defeat the country's Tamil Tiger separatists by military force

By RH / @ agencies/ DW/DN

Undeclared and unnamed operations are conducted in differnt fronts in Wanni with the strategic objective of not fighting for control over land but forcing the Tigers to defend their own. The strategy has yielded significant successes. Field Commanders are being pushed to kill as many LTTE as possible and not to hold on to the territory gained. With the LTTE front lines being destroyed or captured in several places, LTTE casualties have been heavy, with nearly a hundred dead and several hundred wounded. The LTTE are suffering 4-5 casualties for every soldier killed or wounded.

The Sri Lanka Military has significantly altered its tactics of conventional war against the LTTE. The Army seems to have changed its decision to march large columns of men into Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Mannar (LTTE controlled) and Pooneryn. The concentrated attacks on LTTE assets at sea and land demonstrate this strategy.


The objective is to incapacitate an enemy in a shocking series of attacks and through disruptive movements. The strike on Thamilselvan and the continuous movement of troops in Vanni FDLs by the Army is an indication of this. Ambush or the element of surprise has been a vital strategy for both sides (particularly LTTE).

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers deployed in the Vavuniya-Mannar region have made inroads into LTTE's stronghold in Wanni with a series of successful group based attacks. LTTE has been forced into a defensive stance in these areas as the armed forced increased the number of 'hit and run' style attacks guerilla frontline positions.

Sri Lanka soldiers deployed in the Mannar defense lines were able to overrun LTTE's first bunker line in Manthai region (South of Adampan) recently. Soldiers of the 57th division spearheaded by Special Infantry (SI) formations carried out the limited offensive. The bunker line is now completely under SLA control. Meanwhile sporadic clashes were reported in the Perya-Thampanai region in Vavuniya and also in Weli Oya. According to Military intelligence reports, 16 LTTE cadres have been killed and nearly 40 more have been wounded in battle during two days. 4 SLA soldiers have been killed and 16 more have received injuries in the confrontations.

The army has increased the number of small scale attacks on the frontlines which guard the entrances to Wanni LTTE heartland. SLA has deployed 3 newly raised offensive formations along with elite Special Forces regiments on three fronts near Wanni defense lines.

In addition to 57th, 58th, 59th divisions and 1st and 2nd Special Forces regiments, the Mechanized Infantry Division has also been strategically placed in the area. Mechanized Infantry Division (MID) is comprised of regular infantry formations and vehicles of SLA armored corps such as heavy tanks, armored personnel carriers (APC) and infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). After the loss of 12 vehicles (6 tanks + 6 IFVS) in the failed advance at Muhamalai last year, 100 new Chinese built APCs have been added to Mechanized Infantry Division's inventory.

Its primary use would be to invade enemy territory utilizing brute force of the armoured vehicles and then deploy its infantry to the heart of the battle. Due to protection from APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers), troop casualties are expected to be lower. Mechanized Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel Ralf Nugera currently consists of specially trained 3 regiments and has a wide variety of armored vehicles including BTR-80A, BMP-2 and WZ551 under its wing.

Meanwhile army's 55th division and the elite 53rd division have also been placed on high alert in the Jaffna peninsula. 55th division has played an active role in the 4th Eelam War with a number of successful small scale attacks on LTTE frontlines near the National Front (Muhamalai / Kilali/ NagarKovil region) under their belt.

To the west of the Giant’s Tank in the Mannar District, are many small tanks and lush paddy cultivation, while to the east, fewer tanks in the scrub jungle. North east of the Giant’s Tank is the dense Madhu jungles.

Through the Madhu jungles, the security forces could penetrate one of the LTTE Forward Defence Lines (FDL) running from Vidalthivu on the western coast to Pulliyakulam, north of Omanthai on the A-9 Road from Vavuniya to Jaffna. The LTTE controls this road from Omanthai to Muhamalai, running through the districts of Vavuniya, Mulativu and Jaffna. As several efforts to penetrate west of Giant’s Tank failed, the government decided to capture areas behind the enemy lines north of the current Madhu jungles. This is to make the entrenched impregnable places south, redundant, as supplies and reinforcements would get automatically cut off, forcing the LTTE to withdraw its beleaguered cadres. This tactic referred to as ‘bypassing the enemy line behind it,’ was also used in Operation Jayasikuru.

Hence, the military thrust was to secure places such as Adampan, Palampiddi and extending it up to Puliyankulam, by moving east from here and north from Omanthai.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were reinforcing defense lines along Wanni in the wake of intensified fighting in the area. Latest rebel move came as the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) launched several limited offensives on strategic positions that guard entrances to Wanni LTTE heartland. Most of the missions were able to meet their objectives with extremely low casualty figures for the army.

With the LTTE front lines being destroyed in several places (the enemy bunkers were destroyed or captured). LTTE casualties have been heavy, with nearly a hundred dead and several hundred wounded. The LTTE are suffering 4-5 casualties for every soldier killed or wounded.

LTTE's senior most Women's Military Wing cadre and leader of the Women's Wing, Vidusha has been sent to Vavuniya LTTE FDL to strengthen the organization's defenses in the area against continuous assaults by the Army. The Vauniya FDL is 'manned' by a large number of female cadres and it is hoped that Vidusha's coming would assist them hold the defenses against marauding Army units.

With army opening multiple fronts towards Wanni, even the Charles Anthony brigade (which had previously been deployed near secondary defense lines of Wanni) is showing more signs of activity. Up to now, Charles Anthony brigade was rarely used in battle even though they were deployed near the war zone.

A few weeks back, under pressure, the LTTE deserted Vietnam Base at Mullipallam, which was one of the main supply bases for the Wanni FDL. The LTTE had launched operations from Vietnam Base, to prevent the military from wresting control of Madhu.

At Adampan, in the Mannar District, a predominantly Catholic area, on December 1, troops broke out of their FDLs at the crack of dawn, with the intent of wresting control of Adampan, which had been under Tiger control from the nineties. Adampan is situated in the Manthai West Division.

Troops met with heavy resistance, as the first round of fighting lasted two and a half hours. This was one of the fiercest battles since Wanni operations began. The Army said 28 Tiger cadres were killed and 57 were wounded in the confrontation. The troops came under a heavy barrage of 81 and 120 mm mortar fire. Five soldiers were killed in action and 25 others suffered injuries, mainly due to indirect fire and anti personnel mines.

Troops for this operation were drawn from 8 Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR) commanded by Lt. Col. Ramesh Fernando, 2 Commando Regiment commanded by Maj. D.M.J. Balasuriya and 3 Commando Regiment under Lt. Col. Uditha Bandara. The operation was commanded by Task Force 01 under Brig. Shavindra Silva.

Cadres from the Charles Anthony Brigade hit back several times in a bid to retake Adampan. There were three retaliatory strikes on Sunday and Monday. The military claims 35 Tigers and six soldiers died in the retaliatory strikes to retake Adampan. Another two dozen soldiers were wounded as troops held on to newly secured territory, now being consolidated.

On Saturday (01) evening, 57 Divisional Commander Brig. Jagath Dias launched another operation east of Vavuniya to secure Periyapandirichchan, which had been under LTTE control from the late nineties. Troops from the 7 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) commanded by Col. U.R. Abeyratne were drawn for the operation.

Heavy fighting flared up in Periyathampanai, west of Omanthai, which had been the theatre for some of the fierce battles during the past six months. Troops overran a fortified Tiger position at Periyathampanai, breaching a Tiger bunker line. Military sources citing intercepted Tiger communications said at least 20 cadres were killed and 25 injured in the fighting.

Troops stepped up operations ahead of their northern defence localities. Special Infantry Operation Troops operating in small teams, sneaked in to the Tiger territory on Wednesday, killing five cadres.

In another incident, the Army said thirteen LTTE cadres were killed in clashes at Kilali and Nagarkovil. Two soldiers were killed while five others were injured in the fighting. Two soldiers later succumbed to injuries.
Senior security officials say the Tigers have been forced to defend themselves on all fronts. As the security forces concentrate on purging the manpower of the Tigers .

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