|The inconvenient truth on the Wanni front
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|Author:||Guest [ Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:41 pm ]|
|Post subject:||The inconvenient truth on the Wanni front|
The inconvenient truth on the Wanni front
Tigers desparate attempts to breach defences fail
After Intense fighting of 3 days, Troops in Full Contol
The Commander of the Army, Lt General Sarath Fonseka was commanding the troops himself from the Operatation Room at the Army Headquarters. He knew what was at stake. He instructed troops to hold onto their new positions and rushed reinforcements to the battlefront. The Air Mobile Brigade, two Special Force units, and 13 eight-man Commando teams too, were rushed to beat back the Tigers. Although the terrorists were commanded by their frontline commanders Bhanu, Swarnam, Soosai, and Jeyam, they suffered extensive damage under artillery and multi-barrel fire of the SLA.
Friday, 6 February 2009
According to military sources, a devastating LTTE offensive directed at the 59 Division and Task Force IV (TF IV) was beaten back by valient troops at the Mullaitivu front early this week. Hundreds of LTTE cadres had launched a large scale attack after using two explosives laden vehicles- a lorry and a tractor - to attack key points held by the army.
At least 6 columns of Tiger cadres had infiltrated into the Security Forces defences South of Puthukuduiruppu and West of Nanthikadal lagoon to attack key points held by the army Last Sunday morning. Fierce fighting raged for the next three days till the forces finally neutralized the resistance by midnight of February 3. After some initial difficulties, SLA finally manged to foil all desperate LTTE attempts to reverse the military victories. LTTE intention was to push the Security Forces out of Puthukuduyiruppu South and to re-capture Mullaitivu town.
According to military intelligence, the Tiger leadership had planned this operation to reach up to Oddusudan and cut off the troops operating in Mullaitivu and Puthuthukuduyiruppu South region. The LTTE who made capital out of the unofficial truce of 48-hours, planned to attack the SLDF from three directions.
According to military intelligence all top level Tiger leaders - Sea Tiger leaders Soosai, Theepan, Swarnam and Bhanu were on communication sets instructing the over 150 Tiger cadres who had infiltrated the Security Forces defences West of Nanthikadal lagoon.
The infiltrated Tiger cadres attacked number of Army vehicles and tanks which were operating South of Puthukuduyiruppu and causing a large number of casualties among the troops. The Tiger cadres who infiltrated into these defences had attacked several Company Headquarters of the 593 Brigade located West of Nanthikadal lagoon too.
On the morning of February 1, an estimated 30 Black Tiger cadres infiltrated the military controlled area, apparently through a gap in the forward defence lines, a muddy stretch of about 1 km in the west of Nandikadal lagoon.
The first attack from three directions commenced with RPG fire on a bus and a tractor transporting soldiers of the 59 Brigade from Mullayawali. The terrorists who obstructed the roads from Mullayawali to the A-34 Highway, launched the attack and at the same time infiltrated the area from the direction of the Watalappalai Kovil.
The black Tigers functioned as forward observers for the Tiger artillery attacks. Artillery and mortar shells began to rain on the security forces positions. Under artillery fire, more cadres crossed the lagoon. Military officials say estimated 700-1000 guerrillas took part in the offensive, attacking the eastern and western flanks of the 59 Division. A group of LTTE under “Rekkie Jeyam”, who had infiltrated the defence line, launched the attack.
The Seven Gemunu Watch (7 GW) battalion attached to the 593 Brigade had just been deployed in the forward defence line. The 7GR, of 593 Brigade, after its victory at the Mullaitivu battle, was instructed on January 31 to advance from Pudukudyirippu West. They faced this attack on the very day they entered the Pudukudiruppu battlefront. They were caught off guard. The initial attack was so intense that troops pulled back 3 km from their original positions. The 7th Gemunu Regiment (7GR), however, fought valiantly and foiled the preliminary stage of the LTTE’s plan. Additional troops were dispatched to the frontline. First to be deployed was the Air Mobile Brigade attached to the 53 Division, which has been kept in a reserve role in Mankulam.
The Commander of the Army, Lt General Sarath Fonseka was commanding the troops himself from the Operatation Room at the Army Headquarters. He knew what was at stake. He instructed troops to hold onto their new positions and rushed reinforcements to the battlefront. Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka immediately sent Brigade Commander 57 Brigade, Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias and Brigade Commander 53 Brigade, Brig. Kamal Gunaratne to assist Brigade Commander 59 Brigade, Brig. Nanadana Udawatta. Army Headquarters took immediate measures and unprecedented changes on the battlefield. Major General Jagath Dias, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 57 Division was directed to oversee both 59 Division and TF IV.
The Air Mobile Brigade, two Special Force units, and 13 eight-man Commando teams too, were rushed to beat back the Tigers. Although the terrorists were commanded by their frontline commanders Bhanu, Swarnam, Soosai, and Jeyam, they suffered extensive damage under artillery and multi-barrel fire of the SLA.
Intense fighting erupted in the Puthukuduyiruppu South as Tiger cadres opened fire at the Security Forces defences and the vehicles. Many soldiers wounded in the fighting were rushed to Oddusudan area and taken to Vavuniya for further treatment. Some soldiers went missing during the fierce fighting that erupted on Sunday.
On Monday further measures were taken to strengthen the defences of the 59 Division under the command of Brigadier Nandana Udawatta and the Task Force IV under the command of Colonel Nishantha Wanniarachchi, which were operating in Puthukuduyiruppu South.
The Forward Defence Lines were readjusted to face this situation with additional troops deployed into these defences. The 1st Vijayaba, 6th Gajaba, the Special Forces, and the Commando Brigade were deployed in the defence line. From then onwards, the Special Forces and the Commando Regiment launched a major counterattack on the terrorists, with round-the-clock air support from helicopter gunships and attack aircraft.
There were strong indications that a large number of Tiger cadres have infiltrated into the area due to isolated incidents taking place in Oddusudan North and Puthukuduiruppu South areas.
As Tiger cadres that infiltrated into Puthukuyiruppu South failed to achieve their objective the Tiger leaders sent explosive laden cabs and trucks into Security Forces defence South of Puthukuduyiruppu. On Tuesday February 3, the terrorists made another attempt to break through the FDL, by blasting four explosive laden vehicles. Three soldiers were killed and seventeen wounded in the series of explosions. The explosions were to be followed by columns of guerrillas who would storm the security forces positions. The Operational Headquarters, the armoury, and the helipad came under continuous LTTE artillery fire, in an attempt to cripple the operation. Even the field operational centre of the three Divisional commanders were targeted. However, the plan fell short of the objective. Troops held on to their positions. Commandos and Special Forces had also been inducted to the frontline. The air force continued to provide close air support, targeting reinforcement of Tiger guerrillas and their artillery and mortar launching positions. Even with massive suicide blasts the LTTE could not reach the desired objectives through these suicide blasts but only displayed its desperation.
Taking no chances, the Army Chief then personally took charge of the situation and commanded the SF’s fightback and the deployment of reinforcements. He remained at Army Headquarters till 2.30 am on Independence Day. Under his direct command, the SF were able to neutralise the terrorist attacks and build up a strong FDL, consolidating their positions. The LTTE offensive was neutralized by the midnight of February 3.
SL Air force carried out dozens of raids in support to the 59 Division and Task force 4 troops on the ground during the LTTE counter attack. The Tigers suffered a heavy defeat as the military fought back valiently. Senior leaders such as Soosai and Theepan had blamed the third level leaders Gopith and Velavan for being unable to carry out a devastating attack against the military even after a succesfull infiltration of hard-core caders into Puthukuyiruppu South.
This desparate counter attack was a huge gamble for the LTTE. The attack succeeded in pushing back the troops 3 km from their original defence lines, but it was at a heavy cost. Several soldiers who went missing during the initial guerrilla attack joined the troops later. They said the initial attack was so intense that they could not hold on. As for guerrilla casualties, they have reportedly seen scores of bodies of slain cadres scattered on the ground.
As the 59 Division consolidated their positions, the LTTE turned its guns to Task Force 4. On February 5, four waves of counter attacks were launched against troops of this division, who repulsed each attack. Troops emerged unscathed and, miraculously, did not suffer any casualties, according to military sources.
While tackling the LTTE offensive directed at the 59 Division and TF IV, the army went ahead with operations at Chalai and Vishvamadu and captured both places yesterday.
The Defence Ministry down played the LTTE’s counter attack. No special mention was made of the LTTE counter attack which lasted for three days. Neither was there any reference to the string of suicide truck bombs. Understandably, the government which has now written off the guerrillas as a military challenge did not want the public to know about bitter battles which took place on the eve of the Independence Day.
The LTTE’s propaganda machinery was tightlipped for most of the week. Finally, TamilNet on Friday posted “Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) this week seized arms storage from the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK), sources close to LTTE told TamilNet Friday. Hundreds of SLA crack commandos were drawn into Mannaka’ndal and Keappaapulavu ‘boxes’ and were cut off from their rear supplies during a pre-emptive strike by the Tiger forces, resulting in the loss of more than one thousand SLA soldiers since February 01. An arms storage, which was full of weapons as the SLA was in full preparation to launch its ‘final assault’ on PTK was seized by the Tiger commandos engaged in the preemptive strike.” This report was promptly denied by the Sri Lanka Military and was obviously a fiction to impress the Tamil Diaspora who is fast becoming disillusioned with the LTTE’s poor showing in the battle front.
|Author:||Saman [ Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:13 am ]|
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