|Army re-captures Pooneryn - update
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|Author:||Guest [ Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:39 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Army re-captures Pooneryn - update|
Army captures Pooneryn
Commandos escape death by a whisker
8 officers, 48 soldiers killed, 311 wounded - unconfirmed reports
The Tigers, who challenged the Army to come to Wanni, have now become cry babes. Tigers had been occupying Pooneryn after dislodging the main military base there in November 1993. Strategically, Pooneryn was critically important for the LTTE as it was from here (Kalmunai Point) that they directed their long range 130mm artillery threatening the Military base including the Pallali airfield.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
@ News Agencies /LL / LeN
Security forces on Saturday captured the strategically important northern town of Pooneryn from Tamil Tigers the defence ministry said.
"Troops of army Task Force I have entered LTTE bastion of Pooneryn this morning (Saturday)," the ministry said in a statement. Tigers had been occupying Pooneryn after dislodging the main military base there in November 1993. A-32 (Mannar-Jaffna) main route has been cleared follwing the capture.
“In the early hours of yesterday troops of the 12 Gajaba Regiment and 10 Gajaba Regiment took control of the Pooneryn-Paranthan road at the ninth mile post up to Pooneryn junction with the support of the Commandos and Special Force troops. Fierce fighting continued till 3.30 am yesterday until the LTTE withdrew from the area”, a senior military official said.
President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a televised address to the nation that security forces had wrested control of the town of Pooneryn and requested Tamil Tigers to surrender. "The entire A-32 road and Pooneryn was captured by our security forces," the president said. "On this occasion, I ask Prabhakaran to lay down arms and immediately come for talks." "The best thing he can do for the (Tamil) people in the north is to lay down arms and surrender," he said.
According to defence sources the troops of the 12th battalion of the Gamunu Watch and 10th battalion of the Gajaba Regiment had negotiated the marshlands south of Pooneryn on Friday night. Meanwhile, the troops were also able to gain full control of around nine-kilometre stretch of Pooneryn-Paranthan B-69 Road cutting off the main LTTE supply route to Pooneryn.
With the fall of Pooneryn, the military has taken the north-western seaboard of the island and are poised to open a new land route to the Jaffna peninsula, which had so far been supplied by sea and air routes.
Strategically, Pooneryn was critically important for the LTTE as it was from here (Kalmunai Point) that they directed their long range 130mm artillery threatening the Military base including the Pallali airfield. LTTE before fleeing withdrew their big artillery guns deep into the Mullaitivu district.
Also, the LTTE in Paranthan is now under great threat since the Army has already entered the Paranthan Road. It is speculated that the LTTE will also have to give up Jaffna, Muhamalai, Nagarkovil areas as the troops have begun marching towards Paranthan from the west.
Meanwhile, the air force deployed helicopter gunships to pound suspected Tiger strongholds in the Jaffna peninsula on Saturday morning in support of ground troops in the area, the military said.
Despite the blanket cover on casualty figures, according to unconfirmed reports 8 officers and 48 soldiers were killed and 311 were wounded in the last days in Pooneryn battle. Reports from the front indicated that during Friday alone, over 100 soldiers were injured, while another 150 wounded on Saturday in Pooneryn.
The military stopped releasing its own casualty figures in daily bulletins since last month. However, official figures tabled in parliament show 1,269 troops were killed in the first 10 months of this year. The military claimed killing more than 7,500 Tigers during the same period.
Escape death by a whisker
Several 8-man teams that had infiltrated behind enemy lines last week, in Pooneryn escaped death by a whisker, not so much at the hands of two legged Tigers, but in crossing a crocodile infested deep rivulet, swollen by heavy rains. Though most of them lived to tell the tale, at least three commandos paid with their lives.
They met this unusual experience operating behind enemy lines, while crossing Mandakadal Aru, which flows to the sea between 9th and 10th mileposts on the A-32 Road. On that day, four 8-man teams from the Second Commando Regiment had infiltrated the northern reaches of this rivulet. Their objective was to prepare the ground for induction of more infantry units into the region. Tigers sensing something amiss had surrounded the area. When their search dogs stumbled on one 8-man team, a clash erupted. In the firefight, LCpl Ambanwala was killed and another injured. They had immediately begun withdrawing along the river bank with the body of the corporal and the wounded colleague. After covering about a kilometer, they had stopped to treat their injured colleague. But the four teams had not been able to stop for very long, as they again heard voices of LTTE cadres encircling the area.
Their only route of escape was across the crocodile infested rivulet, which, due to recent rains, was now 15 to 20 feet deep. Even attempting to swim across the river was a problem, as they had to take their wounded colleague with them. A rope one of them carried too, was not long enough, to be tied to trees on either side of the river, to facilitate their crossing. Then, they had removed their trousers and tied them together to lengthen the rope. Finally, when one of the commandos tried to swim across the river, to tie the rope to a tree on the other side, he had been nearly snatched away by a crocodile.
Overcoming all these obstacles, three teams had crossed the river, but, before the fourth could cross safely, the pursuing Tiger reinforcements had fired at them, forcing them to swim across. Four members of this team managed to swim across to safety, but two others were lost, including its leader. This is just one of many untold stories of many encounters that the galant fighting men face on a daily basis, in their endeavour to save the country from the LTTE.
March of 58 Division
The battlefront of the 58 Division in the Western part of Kilinochchi District took on a momentum as they breached the strong defence line which was described as the last LTTE defence line and advanced towards Pooneryn.
The 58 Division commenced its operation at a time when LTTE was operating along the Vavuniya-Mannar Road threatening military vehicles and military convoys. Many of the troops going on leave and reporting back to duty and other military vehicles frequently came under LTTE attacks along this route killing a large number of them.
The Division was initially formed with the Task Force -I with a strength of two Brigades concentrated on liberating Mannar ‘Rice Bowl’, one of the fertile lands in Mannar region. They had to come across one of the most difficult terrains as explained in military books as they had to cross huge open terrains to defeat the enemy and capture the area. A large number of senior level Tiger cadres who operated in the area were killed as they came and were caught in the trap laid by the Military.
According to records, more than 2000 Tiger cadres were confirmed killed in Operation ‘Rice Bowl’ which took nearly 10 months for the 58 Division to accomplish under bad weather conditions. It was on June 29th Security Forces officially declared that the entire “Rice Bowl’ was taken under the control of the Security Forces.
Seven days after capturing the Rice Bowl, Army managed to capture Viddathalthivu the biggest Sea Tiger base in the Western coast.
Three days after the capture of Viddathalthivu the troops of the 58 Division managed to capture Illuppakadavai, one of the important townships in the North of Mannar on the Mannar-Pooneryn A-32 Road.
Then troops reached Vellankulam, the last township in the Mannar District, where LTTE had many of their offices, Police stations and political offices on August 07, 2008 completely liberating the Mannar District from the clutches of the LTTE
Having captured Vellankulam within five days troops reached Mullankavil that was the second most important township in the Kilinochchi District where LTTE had famous Mahaveer Stadium the largest Mahaveer cemetery, political offices and estates, on August 13 this year.
After Mulankavil LTTE had its last defence bund from Nachchikuda to Akkarayankulam via Pandiveddikulam and Vannerikulam stretching over 25 to 30 kilometres.
After breaching the LTTE earth bund from Karamabakulam troops advanced immediately to the North and took control of 13km North of Nachchikuda from an area called Madam on the A-32 Road.Having captured Madam, the LTTE expected to advance towards Kiranch and Vallaipadu but troops this time too took a different path and advanced towards the Pooneryn to the North whilst columns of troops advanced towards South along the A-32 Road to take control of Nachchikuda.
After the capture of Jeyapuram, troops managed to capture Nachchikuda defence line on November 01. Then onwards the troops cut off the area jacking out from the A-32 Road between 16th Mile Post and 12th Mile Post sealing off the area where LTTE had their Sea Tiger bases such as Kiranchi, Palavi, Devil’s Point and Vallaipadu.
It was after reaching the 8th mile post that troops, once again had to pass many natural barriers such as marshy lands, open terrain and water ways. They confronted heavily with the LTTE in the South of Sempangundu. Though the area was so difficult troops managed to reach close to the Pooneryn-Paranthan Road from the East of A-32 Road amidst stiff resistance from the LTTE.
Having reached closer to Pooneryn-Paranthan Road, forward domination teams from the two battalions from the Commando Brigade, 2 Commando and 3 Commando Regiment and one squadron from the Special Forces clearly took the lead in their advance towards the Pooneryn-Paranthan Road. It was on Friday evening they were given orders to hit the Pooneryn-Paranthan Road and thereby reach Pooneryn junction to capture the whole area. Troops attached to the 12 and 10 Gajaba Regiments hit the Pooneryn-Paranthan Road and headed towards Pooneryn, taking 11km stretch of road on the Pooneryn-Paranthan Road.
The Tigers, who challenged the Army to come to Wanni, have now become cry babes.
|Author:||Guest [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:19 am ]|
Bravo to the Commander in Chief and to the four forces... LTTE's defeat is imminent... Prabhakaran may have to find a new hiding point soon. .but he’ll be caught in no time Salute to the President.
|Author:||Guest [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:56 am ]|
|Post subject:||The history of Pooneryn|
The history of Pooneryn
The history of Pooneryn is bloody and bitter and the strategic importance of the area is such it has been the theatre of one of the bloodiest battles in the recent military history.
The Pooneryn military camp located overlooking the Kilali lagoon functioned as a major deterrent to the movement of LTTE boats in the lagoon till it was vacated in 1996.
In the early hours of November 11, 1993, the LTTE launched a major attack at the Nagathevanthurai naval base and the Army defence lines in Pooneryn. The attack took the soldiers by surprise, though a subsequent court of inquiry revealed that military intelligence had warned of an LTTE attempt to overrun the camp. However troops who were not briefed of the warning did not the expect the LTTE to attack from the direction of the lagoon. It is believed that prior to the attack, the guerrillas succeeded in infiltrating the defence lines in small groups. The troops without a central command was compelled to fight in small groups till commandos were sent in as reinforcement.
One instance of show of valour during the face of enemy was by a young second Lieutenant K W T Nissanka of the Gajaba Regiment, who was a platoon commander at the time. Second Lt Nissanka, who was wounded in the battle and outnumbered by Tiger cadres, held his position in order to enable his men to pull back in the face of a fierce attack. He ran towards the advancing LTTE cadres, carrying two hand grenades and exploded them killing him and the advancing Tiger cadres. He was later awarded the Parama Weera Vibushanaya for “his individual acts of gallantry and conspicuous bravery of the most exceptional order in the face of the enemy, performed voluntarily whilst on active service and with no regard to the risks to his own life.”
Thamilselvan, who commanded the LTTE attack on Pooneryn was hit by a shrapnel of a mortar and was evacuated.
Four hundred and forty one soldiers were killed in the battle, 200 soldiers were classified as missing in action. LTTE losses were estimated at 469.
Despite the attack, the Army continued to maintain the base and during the failed peace negotiations between the Chandrika Kumaratunga Administration and the LTTE, it was a cause of dispute. The LTTE demanded the removal of the Pooneryn camp in order to open the Pooneryn- Sandupiddy Road. The government refused and instead offered to pull back the camp by 500 meters in order to facilitate civilian traffic. However talks collapsed with the LTTE’s unilateral withdrawal and sinking of two naval gun boats at the Trincomalee harbour.
The Pooneryn camp was later vacated in 1996 in order to avoid the repetition of the Mullaitivu debacle in which over 1400 troops perished in an LTTE attack on the isolated military garrison.
The Kalmunai point, located at the tip of Pooneryn is of strategic importance as it is the only place in the LTTE held area which comes under 27 km radius, which is the effective range of 130 mm artillery - within the security forces headquarters in Jaffna. Devil’s point located further South is a major launching pad of sea Tiger boats.
Poonaryn remains a hallmark of the undying courage of Sri Lanka Army soldiers as they withstood frenetic attack by the LTTE at the isolated camp in 1993.
Army handed over their positions in the area to IPKF in 1987 and regained them in 1992 in Operations Valampuri 1 and 2.
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