Army make inroads to Tiger territory
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Author:  Guest [ Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:19 am ]
Post subject:  Army make inroads to Tiger territory

Army make inroads to Tiger territory
Tigers make last ditch for survival
Heavy rains, earth bunds, no deterrent to Forces’ committment

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Fierce fighting continued in the Kilinochchi and Paranthan battlefronts as troops of the Task Force 1 and 57 Division further consolidated and expanded their positions north of the Pooneryn-Paranthan road and in the Kilinochchi front foiling continuous counter attacks by the LTTE.

Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships also carried out a series of air strikes at LTTE strongholds in the Kilinochchi town and its suburbs in support of the Army 57 Division and the Task Force 1 consolidating their positions on the massive earth bund.

The army carried out a series of assaults on LTTE fortifications in a bid to dislodge LTTE units defending the town. The coordinated assault mounted by 57 Division and Task Force I met with fierce resistance while on the Kilali front, too, troops faced heavy attacks. Many soldiers were killed and about 200 wounded in Tuesday’s clashes west of the Paranthan-Kilinochchi stretch of the A9 and on the Kilali front. The army dismissed LTTE claims that it lost 130 personnel in action and over 300 wounded during clashes at five different locations on Tuesday.

The army yesterday took Chorikenkulam about 7 kilometres west of the Paranthan-Kilinochchi stretch. During clearing operations carried out on Wednesday (17), the army recovered bodies of 15 LTTE cadres along with a large stock of arms and ammunition.

”Troops foiled a series of counter attacks by the LTTE inflicting heavy damages on them in their bid to consolidate and further expanding their positions”, military sources added.

Troops of the Task Force-1 further expanded their positions in Chorikankulam North and further advanced some 700 meters towards Paranthan amidst stiff resistance form the LTTE. Meanwhile, troops of the 57 Division too consolidated their position on the Tiger earth bund in the Iranamadu area inflicting heavy damages to the LTTE whilst foiling their counter attacks.

For the Army’s 58 Division, under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva, the main obstacle between the junction and their advance is the earth bunds. But when this same 58 Division liberated the Mannar district, they had to encounter such earth bunds all over the area. Yet, they surmounted these obstacles. Putting up earth bunds was the concept of the LTTE’s Jaffna area commander Theepan. According to reports, Theepan is now in overall command and is reporting directly to Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The 57 Division from Adampan was able to breach five positions along the Tiger-built earth bund and encountered LTTE cadres in the rain. The 58 Division too breached two positions on the Jaffna-Pooneryn road. A senior officer from the front said that pitched battles were raging. When the bunds were breached, the Tigers mounted counter-attacks, which the Army repulsed effectively backed by artillery, mortar and MBRL fire.

Meanwhile a senior officer at the thick of battle, said that Army intelligence had intercepted Tiger communications saying their casualties were mounting. At the same time Thileepan’s voice too had come on air instructing the LTTE cadres to fire with whatever last shots they had. The LTTE is pulling up its cadres Muhamalai area to the Kilinochchi and Paranthan areas. The concept of the Security Forces is to kill as many LTTE cadres as possible while wounding as many.

One Tiger cadre had surrendered to the security forces at Muhamalai had told the Army that the cadres were by now deeply frustrated and that the LTTE was forcibly recruiting civilians to fight the battle. Prabhakaran has already issued instructions that caders trying to flee or surrender would be shot on the head and killed. This has already happened on three occasions at Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, according to reliable reports. This has frightened the LTTE cadres who want to surrender, it seems. However , three female cadres and three male cadres surrendered at Mannar and three more at Pooneryn. Likewise, the security forces expect many more cadres to surrender in the very near future.

Meanwhile, the 57 Division is consolidating its positions in Adampan, west of Kilinochchi as well as the Murikandi areas. From the south the 574 Brigade is gradually advancing while facing similar earth bunds. They will overcome the 15 to 20 feet high earth bunds and march on to Kilinochchi. “Surmounting these bunds is not that difficult. But the weather conditions have made it a bit more difficult,” said a senior officer at the front.

Due to the way the troops are advancing towards Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, the LTTE has now shifted its administrative and command centres to Puthukudyiruppu west and Puliyanpokkani west of Kilinochchi, according to reliable sources. Civilians are said to be denied access to these areas right now, while even some Tigers cadres too are being denied access.

The Task force 3 – the newly created offensive formation commanded by Brigadier Satyapriya Liyanage, is marching towards Mullaitivu along the A-9 road. After severe clashes, they entered the Ampakamam village on December 15. From here, the distance to Iranamadu tank is just fewer than seven to eight kilometres. At the Mullaitivu theatre of operations, troops are advancing after the capture of Ampakamam village against heavy LTTE resistance. The Army was supported by heavy artillery and mortars.

The advancing 59 Division troops who are now making effective inroads towards the LTTE’s eastern coastal garrison township, have reportedly taken control over a 3km vital road stretch along the Oddusudan-Mullaittivu (A-34) road following intense battles with LTTE terrorists . The road stretch located southwest of Mulliyaweli village is now under military domination, as ground troops said that the blockade would deny LTTE the use of the vital supply route connecting its eastern coastal township.

According to battlefield reports, the 59 Division troops led by Brigadier Nandana Udawatte is fiercely engaging LTTE resistance as fresh fighting has shifted towards the southern outskirts of Mullaittivu. Defence observers, are also of the view that troops would make their presence felt at Mulliyaweli village , which LTTE continues to operate as a main terror strongpoint, soon.

Meanwhile, the 59 Division Commander Brigadier Nandana Udawatte divided his troops into three groups to operate on three fronts. One formation is proceeding along the coastal line, another towards Nedunkerni while yet another is advancing from in between these two. The 59 Division liberated the entire Nayaru lagoon area in Mullaitivu. This lagoon area is where the Sea Tigers conduct their exercises. Somewhere in 2006 , Sea Tiger leader Soosai was injured during such an exercise in this area, while his son was killed.

On the coastal line, troops of 59 Division have passed Kumulamunai. Before reaching Kumulamunai they had to pass a wide forest area in Andankulam. In the history of the Eelam War the Sri Lanka Army had never ever cleared this jungle area in Andankulam – also known as the thickest jungle area in Sri Lanka. Even though the Army had reached and passed Kumulamunai area, even on Monday, December 15, there was some LTTE resistance in the area. This, in other words, means counter-attacks. The Army was able to overcome this counter-attack too. Passing Kumulamunai, there is another strip of forest area, from where it is around eight kilometres to the centre of Mullaitivu township. In their march towards Mullaitivu troops will have to confront yet another thick jungle area at Mulliyawalai. A senior Army officer said, “Our soldiers are very comfortable while fighting in jungle areas because soldiers trained for jungle warfare.”

The Task Force 3 is heading towards Mullaitivu the same way that the 59 Division too is heading there. The Sri Lanka Army is sure to dominate the eastern coastal line the way they did the western coastal line.

Author:  Guest [ Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Troops gain upper hand after fierce battles

Troops gain upper hand after fierce battles
Eleven waves of LTTE attacks successfully repulsed

@ CDN /Friday, 19 December 2008

One of the fiercest battles erupted in the early hours on Tuesday in the Kilinochchi, Paranthan and Jaffna fronts amidst bad weather conditions in the Wanni and the North currently hit by monsoonal rains when the Security Forces advancing on all three fronts launched simultaneous attacks on Tiger defences ahead of them.

The battles that erupted in Kilinochchi and Paranthan have turned out to be the most crucial and decisive battles that is being fought by the Security Forces in the Wanni liberation operation. This is because they are now knocking on the door of Kilinochchi the de-facto capital of the illusionary Tamil Eelam, from many directions.

A fair number of deaths and casualties were reported from the LTTE and also from the Security Forces. It turned out to be a do or die battle for the LTTE as they cannot afford to lose either Kilinochchi the de-facto capital and Paranthan, the only linkage they have between the Jaffna and the Kilinochchi fronts.

It was the 53 Division under the command of Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne which started the first move deploying his troops to the front lines to move forward to the Tiger FDL which is located some 100 to 150 meters away from the Security Forces defences.

The troops attached to the 1 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment and the 6 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment attached to the Air Mobile Brigade and the 6 Sinha Regiment and 5 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment attached to the 533 Brigade took part in this operation.

Due to incessant bad weather conditions the 55 Division under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva commenced operations later than the 53 Division under the command of Brigadier Kamal Gunaratne and started to move towards the second defence line of the LTTE from the South of A-9 road.

The troops attached to the 53 Division were to take the full brunt of the artillery and mortar fire coming from the LTTE towards the advancing troops, but troops fought fearlessly and moved forward taking the second line of the LTTE which has been manned by the hardcore of the LTTE. The muddy terrain ahead of the Tiger FDL proved a major obstacle for the Security Forces in their move towards the Tiger FDL. The LTTE made use of its full fire power as all Tiger leaders including Theepan, Muhundan and Jeyam were thrown into the battlefront.

The troops moving into the Tiger FDL faced a number of counter attacks by the LTTE effectively but at one stage the LTTE, stopped all their counter attacks and started firing artillery and mortars towards the troops holding the Tiger FDL. As the heavy volume of artillery and mortar directed at the troops who were holding the Tiger defence line without any show up by the LTTE physically there, the defence authorities finally decided to withdraw the troops to their original defences some 100 to 150 meters away from the Tiger defence line.

The LTTE had thought it was the best way of stopping the Security Forces advancing towards their territory as they have already taken 18 loads of casualties towards the South of Muhamalai. After nine hours of fighting and after 60 soldiers sustaining injuries and more than 10 soldiers sacrificing their lives in the ensuing battle the Defence authorities decided to take back the soldiers to their original defence line as it was not worth keeping them there taking heavy casualties and facing an extremely difficult situation in the process of casualty evacuation.

As troops of the Jaffna front engaged in a fierce battle, the troops attached to the 57 Division and the Task Force I also deployed their forward elements ahead of the Kilinochchi and Paranthan fronts and started their offensive against the LTTE simultaneously at 5.30 a.m.

Their aim was to launch a simultaneous attack on the Tiger cadres operating on the earth bund which has been constructed from the Jaffna lagoon from the North of Pooneryn Paranthan road to the A-9 road in the South of Irananmadu and breach the Tiger defences to create a gateway to their heavily fortified Kilinochchi and Paranthan strongholds.

The Task Forces I operating under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva launched their Forward elements from the North and South of Pooneryn Paranthan road facing stiff resistance from the LTTE.

The troops in some areas had to move towards the Tiger earth bund crossing waterways with water level to their hip level and through marshy lands and paddy fields as continued rainy weather conditions made the going extremely difficult.

Troops attached to the 9 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Lal Chandrasiri, 10 Gajaba Regiment under the Command of Major Udaovita, 8 Gemunu Watch under the command of Lt. Colonel Vajira Welagedara, 12 Gajaba Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Saliya Amunugama and two companies of the 8 Sinha Regiment took part in this offensive operation.

By first light on Tuesday the troops moving from the North of Pooneryn-Paranthan road were able to destroy a number of Tiger bunkers on the Tiger earth bund and took control of more than 1.5 Kmm stretch of earth bund North of Chorikan Kulam area whilst another column of troops took control of the earth bund in the South of Pooneryn-Paranthan road.

The intercepted radio transmissions revealed that the Tiger leader Prabhakaran has given instructions to use full fire power available with them to stop the advance of the troops towards Paranthan and Kilinochchi.

By 10.30 am Tuesday troops found more than 30 Tiger cadres killed and more than 50 injured in the ensuing battle. That compelled the LTTE to draw cadres from Puthukuduiruppu, Oddusudan, Mullaitivu and Vishvamadu area to be deployed to the fronts as they were well aware of the fact that losing Paranthan is a precursor to the fall of Jaffna and Kilinochchi fronts.

A fair number of troops also sustained injuries and sacrificed their lives due to the nature of the battle, as they have to move forward amidst the heavy fire power of the LTTE. The LTTE has one advantage in this operation, unlike in the past, as they were aware that the Security Forces have to cross this earth bund at any cost to reach its objective. Therefore, they got the chance of targeting the advancing troops as they had already set their artillery and mortars for their own defences.

Whilst Task Force I under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva launched massive assaults on the LTTE in the Paranthan front the 57 Division under the command of Major General Jagath Dias also deployed his three Brigades in the South, South West and West of Kilinochchi.

The 571 Brigade under the command of Colonel G.V. Ravipriya launched its thrust from the West of Kilinochchi, whilst 572 Brigade under the Command of Lt. Colonel Dhammika Jayasundera and 574 Brigade under the Command of Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya launching their thrust from the South West and South of Kilinochchi.

As troops breached the Tiger earth bund from the West, South and South West of Kilinochchi the LTTE intensified its counter attack to thwart the troops’ advance towards Kilinochchi.

On the Kilinochchi front the LTTE has to resort to counter attacks unlike in the Jaffna front as they are aware that they cannot concentrate on each and every part of the earth bund with their artillery and mortar. The misfortune the troops had to face was the bad weather conditions, specially for the troops operating in the 571 Brigade front in the West of Kilinochchi.

In some instances troops had faced severe difficulties in casualty evacuation as some soldiers who sustained injuries in the ensuing battle could not be evacuated as they had to cross huge waterways amidst rains of artillery and mortar directed at them. There were instances where some injured soldiers were washed away in gushing waters and ended up in the Tiger controlled areas in Kilinochchi. By Wednesday evening the 571 Brigade had to give up the areas captured by them on Tuesday as they were facing an extremely difficult situation in casualty evacuation.

That was due to the bad weather condition, the troops were not able to evacuate the casualties and the bodies of the soldiers killed in the battlefront enabling the LTTE to engage in a huge media blitz with the bodies of the soldiers collected from the area.

But the 574 Brigade under the command of Lt. Colonel Senaka Wijesuriya managed to hold the ground they captured in the South of Iranamadu on Tuesday facing a number of counter attacks by the LTTE and also recovered a number of Tiger bodies along with their bodies.

Though LTTE did not come up with their casualty figures, the intercepted radio transmissions have confirmed that they have suffered heavy casualties than the Security Forces in the overall battle from Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon but stopped declaring the names of the dead cadres and the casualty figures.

The Army also sustained a fair number of casualties with more than 50 soldiers sacrificing their lives and more than 200 sustaining injuries. But two third of the injured soldiers were in the P3 category and were in a position to report back to duty after treatment. The overall victory in the battle went to the Security Forces as they had been able to capture almost a four to five Kilo metre stretch of the earth bund encircling the Kilinochchi front after two days of battle. They can now easily annex this piece of terrain to the small areas captured during the fierce battle.

Given that the troops were able to move forward after breaching the earth bund encircling the de-facto Tiger capital the LTTE will have to create another earth bund to defend Kilinochchi and Paranthan fronts as troops have already open the gateway to Kilinochchi following this battle.

After the troops captured the Tiger defence line south of Kilinochchi the LTTE launched several waves of attacks in order to re-capture the defence lines. Soldiers fought back to hold the defence line despite heavy fire from the Tigers. After capturing the earth bund and its surrounding areas at least eleven waves of attacks had been launched by the LTTE on the military, but were successfully repulsed.

In addition, Chorikenkulam village area, about 7 km to the west of the A-9 Highway was also brought under the troops’ control as fighting escalated, pushing the Tigers further into jungle areas as dusk fell on Tuesday. Capture of Choriken kulam, was brought to a total completion by Wednesday afternoon as the troops of the Task Force-I and 57 Division commenced their search and clear operations in the area.

During the search operation after the battles, 15 bodies of LTTE cadres were recovered along with a large quantity of arms, ammunition, radio sets, Multi Purpose Machine Guns (MPMG), T-56 assault rifles and several more LTTE items, which are yet to be accounted for. The clashes that lasted till Wednesday early morning enabled the troops to dominate the entire swathe to the west of Paranthan.

Troops from the Sinha Regiment, Ceylon Light Infantry, Gemnu Watch and the Gemenu Regiment took part in the operation.

The military monitoring LTTE technical sources, put the LTTE casualties as at least 120 LTTE cadres confirmed dead and another 250 Tigers wounded.

During the battle on Tuesday the LTTE tried to attack troops using the Kilali lagoon. An LTTE attack craft was confirmed destroyed and many other boats damaged after air force MI-24 helicopter gunships made close-in-air combat assaults at an LTTE boat movement in the Kilali lagoon around 6.10 p.m. The Air force said that identifying an LTTE boat movement with reinforcements towards Paranthan from the LTTE-held Elephant Pass area, the MI-24 helicopters continued engaging the boats forcing the Tigers to abandon the mission.

Air Force fighter jets and MI-24 helicopters stepped up aerial attacks on Tiger gatherings in the Kilinochchi town area, on the A-9 road, Iranamadu north, northwest of Kilinochchi and north of Kilinochchi town centre on Wednesday morning beginning about 6.45 a.m.

The first sortie carried out by MI-24 gunships struck Tiger gatherings in the northwest of Kilinochchi. At 7.30 a.m. fighter jets flew to Iranamadu north and Kilinochchi town areas and bombed Tiger hide-outs. Afterwards, jets conducted assaults on Tiger positions in the Kilinochchi west and Kilinochchi town perimeter about 9.45 a.m. Again on observation of another enemy gathering, jets strafed their hide-outs in the north of Kilinochchi about 10.10 a.m.

Fighter jets also bombed selected targets along the A-9 road in Kilinochchi late Tuesday as well, following intelligence received by the troops. Tigers have reportedly started to reinforce their strongholds in the dark after their setbacks in Paranthan west, the previous day (15).

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