Wednesday, May 28, 2008

57 advancing on Mallavi, Thunukkai

Mallavi-Thunukkai advance (linear)- click to enlarge

The 57 Division has advanced upto the general area Mallavi and Thunukkai in the Mullaithivu District, a distance of 45kms into LTTE controlled areas by this evening. The capture of Palampiddi has opened-up the new front in Mallavi, which is a popular route of the Tigers from Mullaithivu to Kilinochchi. As it stands now, the Army is in control of 600km2 in Vavuniya North.

The Army says that since the formation of the 58 Division, around 2000 LTTE cadres have been killed by that Division in the Mannar sector alone. In today's fighting, 58 Division snipers sniped and killed four Tigers in Nedunkandal.

Nedunkandal Map- click to enlarge

6 and 8 Gemunu Watch (GW) have started consolidating the newly captured 300m FDL of the LTTE in the general area Nedunkandal North. The Tiger FDL was decimated by Army Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) yesterday. Gemunu Watch troops were able to discover a large underground bunker at Nedunkandal North.

The 40-foot-deep bunker was the largest ever captured since the start of this war. Troops believe it has sheltered senior LTTE leaders from artillery barrages and air-raids. The underground bunker had been abandoned by the Tigers after yesterday's raid by the SLA.

Meanwhile around 4000 soldiers who deserted their ranks and file have rejoined the Sri Lanka Army. They have taken advantage of the general amnesty declared by the Army, which will end on the 31st of this month.

29 comments:

LKDOOD said...

DW

thanks for the update & the maps

good news

Shan said...

heavy fighting in Nedunkandal means there's a terror concentration still in the area.
1). in that context isn't 57 expsing it's flanks? especaill with Vidduthalthivu on the western flank.

2). with 57 reaching far and 58 capturing Nedunkandal, is the strategy to encircle the whole area around Vidduthalthivu?

all supply route to Vidduthalthivu seems to be being covered, which also means supplies from is blocked

Shan said...

read island editorial 'all blasts, no eelam' superb.

http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20080528_03

'All blasts, no Eelam' - The Island Editorial

Nothing worries a person more than the feeling that he has no chance of succeeding in life. One may come to terms with a bad hair day or two, but what about two decades of failure? That is too much for one to resign oneself to. What one is in for finally when an enterprise one has invested one's whole life in teeters on the verge of collapse is frustration. This has been Prabhakaran's predicament. His two-and-a-half decade long struggle has taken him nowhere near his goal. The dark empire for the establishment of which he destroyed so many lives is crumbling before his own eyes. Its eastern wing is already gone and there has emerged a popularly elected new leader! The LTTE is being encircled on several fronts in the Wanni with his trusted lieutenants falling one by one. He is getting beaten at his own game, something he may have considered impossible in the heyday of his terror.

A wick is said to burn brighter the closer it gets to its end. So, a high incidence of savage terror strikes on civilian targets at the behest of Prabhakaran is something to be expected at this juncture. He may step up attacks like the one at Dehiwala on Monday in a desperate bid to prevent his slide towards disaster. He is scared, frustrated and confused. Such men are capable of anything.

Prabhakaran knows there is a limit to his holding out against the military in the Wanni. He cannot go on fooling his cadres forever. They will realise the truth when they begin to buckle under pressure sooner or later.

This country has proved to be extremely resilient vis-`Eo-vis terrorism. It has learnt to live with it thanks to inoculation against terrorism courtesy of Prabhakaran who keeps administering booster doses from time to time. Even if he were to blast one thousand more civilian targets, he wouldn't get his Eelam.

His barbarism only steels this country to fight back. Else, he would have achieved his goal a long time ago. There are no new targets for him to take. He has attacked almost all nerve centres and killed a large number of political and military leaders including a President, a foreign minister, a Navy Commander and an umpteen number of high ranking military officers. He has bombed economic and military facilities even from the air. But nothing worked for him!

Security forces suffered many debacles in the past. They lost camps, fleets of planes and ships, men and material. But, they have bounced back and turned the tables on the LTTE. Prabhakaran, who was once able to get thousands of volunteers for his call to arms is hard put to recruit combatants. Today, he is forcibly recruiting children, men, women and even the elderly people as cannon fodder. He is creating conditions for a mass uprising against LTTE terrorism in the Wanni.

The military and the police are never short of recruits. There are thousands of youth willing to enlist and serve in the conflict zone. The national economy is far from ruined. It is capable of absorbing defence expenditure and shocks.

So, what has Prabhakaran achieved all these years? His organisation is on the defensive clutching at the straw of human rights and hoping and praying for a deus ex machina. Unless help comes from abroad in the form of foreign pressure on the government to call off the military operations-which is very unlikely, given India's stand-he will be done for.

Yesterday, addressing a meeting of editors and electronic media heads President Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed to go ahead with his military campaign at any cost until the LTTE was defeated, according to a report in this newspaper today. He must be having reasons for being so confident. His pronouncement demonstrates that Prabhakaran's terror strikes have not had the desired impact on the State.

The President also asked Prabhakaran to target him and not innocent people. (His words hark back to the late President Premadasa's plea to the JVP at the height of its violence in the late 1980s.) But, Prabhakaran will never be weaned away from turning to soft targets as he is hooked on bloodletting.

What Prabhakaran is doing at present could be likened, as we have said in these columns previously, to a university graduate going back to kindergarten to start education all over again. Having started his struggle by killing civilians and blasting trains and buses, he has had to resort to the same tactics to keep his movement going even after one quarter of a century!

Many were the opportunities he missed because of his hubris along the path of terror he has trekked. He used to be India's blue-eyed boy and was in a position to be the chief minister of the North and East or to reign supreme in the North, which former President Kumaratunga offered him for ten years without elections.

Attempts are being made in some quarters to prop him up. But, that is an exercise in futility. He is no longer capable of achieving his Eelam. He can only kill civilians in the name of liberation.

What a comedown for a 'liberator'!

Courtesy: The Island

lankanews said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lankanews said...

Defencewire,

Is weditalativ the next target?

LKDOOD said...

shan

thanks

Sam Perera said...

Defencewire,

Is Vidduthalthivu taken? Mallavi? aren't we over exposing ourselves to a rear end attack? What is happening in the Welioya front, have we advanced equally?

Defencewire said...

shan,lankanews, sam perera,

Exposing ones flanks is inevitable when you move further and further into enemy territory. Question is, what, when and how the enemy takes advantage. No objective such as Veduthalthivu has yet been given. Its all in the Commander's head.

The 59 has made some progress in Janakapura north and Kiriibbanwewa. If this continues, the entire heel of Mulaithivu District will be under SLA control. However, once in Kilinochchi, the concentration of the LTTE will be denser. But the strategy seems definitely to get the Tigers to engage troops, instead of capturing land. To what extent the Tigers have committed their frontline troops and to what extent they are being annihilated is the million dollar question.

Shan said...

you mean exposing a flank is a deliberate ploy to tempt the enemy to attack

hemantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Defencewire said...

LTTE is trying to flank troops every single day. SLA is trying to flank LTTE also.

In order to stall the advance, LTTE must flank and cut across an advancing line, surrounding troops who are ahead, instigate panic and a breakdown in command and control, disrupt logistics and pick on troops scattered across the region. This is what they did when troops advanced from Kilinochchi to Mankulam. The Difference is, SLA is no longer advancing along the A9. Flanking and curring off troops would mean a powerful and sustained operation deep into SLA advance (cutting through the various avenues of approaches and to a considerable extent into the mobility corridor created). They must capture several GTIs (Ground Tactical Importance) in one sweeping attack, then dominate the surroundings, thus weakening the troops. Currently, we believe the LTTE maybe planning such an offensive. This is their only chance. Whether they still have that capacity and how such an attack will be faced by the SLA this time is an unknown at this point.

Defencewire said...

Two LTTE field commanders who have done this before are no longer with the organization. One disbanded (Karuna). The other died recently (Balraj). Swarnam, Jeyam, Bhanu etc are not of that caliber.

hemantha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Long-Ranger said...

I am afraid this brief is incorrect. 57 are never going to venture that far before 61 is deployed. Currently 571 and 572 are active North west of PALAMPIDDI while 573 are active North East of PALAMPIDDI. Hope this helps :-)

E.T. Bailey said...

Regarding the 300 meter advance the other day:

I assume that this is 300 meters deept, but how wide a gap has been made?

Seven LTTE fighters were reported killed. Were there any SLA losses?

For the quantity and quality of the captured earthworks, seven soldiers could not possibly make up even a significant fraction of the LTTE's garrison. Is the SLA advance so slow that the LTTE was able to pack up and leave while the attack was ongoing, have these positions been largely abandoned for some time now, or does it seem that they knew well in advance when an attack would come?

kaatikuddupaan said...

I believe LTTE is trying to funnel in the SLA through the mannar area instead while heavily defending Mullaithivu.

Prabhakaran is waiting for right time to launch a huge Unceasing waves type assault on SLA. When he will do it nobody knows.

Most of the hardcore units like Radha, Charles Antony, Imbran Pandian are not taking part in battles right now. They are relaxing in camps in Mullativu districts.

Somehow SLA needs to get LTTE to attack now and finish off their best.

The cadres they are killing now seem to be junior level conscripts who are left to die while the experienced guys are withdrawn to fight another day.

defenceAnalyst said...

longranger,
north east and north west of palampiddi constitutes the two flanks spreading northwards towards Mallavi and Tunukkai.

The 61 is almost ready. Parts of the East are already being taken over by Air Force, including Trincomalee. Some STF units will also be moved in. Recuitment to the Army is also on track. Army units will gradually move northwards from other parts of the island.

e.t. bailey,
The width in the gap is not a fixed constant. LTTE seems to withdraw when they find it hard to confront. This re-enforces our concern, as expressed by DW about the quality of LTTE's fighting units being killed.

Kaatikuduppaan,
This is the issue and you have highlighted our concerns pretty aptly. The SLA has deployed some SF and Commando units, but the Commander's Reserve is still not fully unleashed. Our estimate is that within the next 6-8 months some huge confrontation will take place. This will be preceded by defence in depth to wear down troops as they get into Mullaithivu.

londonistan said...

defenceanalyst & kaatikuduppaan,

Instead of waiting for the inevitable engagement from the elites, can we not take the fight to them? Stage an actual or mock attack with air mobile troops in a deep ltte area, threaten them with yet another flank being opened up, to force the elites to engage. Yes, it sounds like a tall order but it's at least an option.

E.T. Bailey said...

I've actually mentioned LTTE troop quality in that regard myself on my own blog. It is so rare to hear of a decorated LTTE unit being involved in this attrition campaign that I can only conclude that the vast majority of LTTE casualties are poorly trained conscripts. This seems to be the general conclusion wherever I look.

Given the length of time this strategy has been given, I fear that many of the conscripts killed in the daily skirmishes were drafted to counter the the attrition that killed them, leaving the LTTE no worse off than it was before. The SLA on the other hand has been losing smaller numbers of higher quality soldiers. When combined with the repeated failed assaults on the Jaffna Front, it is difficult to claim that the SLA is gaining an advantage from a kill ratio perspective.

thiru said...

Sea tigers destroy SLN camp near Ma'ndaitheevu island, atleast 13 SLN killed and weapons seized

Sam Perera said...

e.t. and london,

I agree with you on the need to destroy the elite terrorist of LTTE. We need to go after them or drag them to the battle field somehow. My understanding was that our Special Forces, Commandos, and Air Force is already doing this work, may be not to the levels we we would really like to have.

Moshe Dyan said...

i agree with kaati and bailey that we MUST engage the LTTE's "elites". in fact i have been harping on this ever since. to do this we have to step up the op.s in the welioya-mulaitivu front (the most important front for the LTTE) forcing them to engage their best.

mulaitivu is the most secret area of the LTTE that houses much of its permanant infrastructure. as a result LTTE will do whatever it takes to defend it. this is where we should lay our nets for the maximum harvest.

however, killing "ancillary" cadres is also important.

may be for obvious reasons, we are most active in the least important front for the LTTE (comparatively) - which is the mannar front.

kaatikuddupaan said...

a lot of important and hardcore LTTE'rs have died but not in the numbers neccessary to cause a drop in organistations capability. for example the LTTE is also training up a special boat squadron ( with uniform of longitudinal blue stripes )

Somehow we need to hit more of their bases inside Vanni. A good way is to interrogate or coerce civillians coming out of Vanni to give info about various LTTE bases and pinpoint them on maps.

A point to note is that most of the high ranking LTTE do not live in the forests as most believe.

They are in housing compounds mainly in suburban areas of Killinocchi, Mullativu, Visuvamadu Puthukudiruppu e.t.c So a lot of civilians will know where these bases are and who is inside them.

The forests are mainly used as training camps and production bases for bombs, and sea tiger boats.

Hell even destroying the LTTE kitchens and food supply houses will make them starve !

Long-Ranger said...

With regards to the current strategy, you all are missing one important point. The strategic gain of the Armed forces. It doesn't matter if the Tamil Tigers are holding its elites in reserve, but whether it is reserves or not one thing a new recruit and an elite require are a constant line of ammunition, supplies and logistics. Sans this they can't fight no matter how well trained they are.

As I am sure you all are aware how the current strategy is concentrating on securing coastal areas as the progress is made. The success of such a campaign was seen in the Eastern province. before THOPPIGALA/TRICONAMADU/KANDUKUDICHCHIARU campaign were begun the emphasis was to secure the coastal areas and clip the Tamil Tigers' sea wing seriously affecting its logistical capabilities. Using the Beirut trail it takes days or weeks for logistics to arrive, but the same logistics takes only a matter of hours via sea. How successful the sea route was shown when surrendered Tamil Tiger cadres revealed how sparsely they've been using this 'Beirut Trail'. In the East the same attrition campaign continued with the forces concentrating on the 4-6 sector which comprised of its KATHIRAVELI sea tiger base. There were many other Sea tiger bases and homicide boat launch pads surrounding SUDAIKUDA area in SAMPUR. As I am sure you all are aware these areas were taken under GOSL control before troops began concentrating bases located inland.

I hope this clears things up with regards to the current strategy. It not only dents the Tamil Tigers' much needed logistics, but it also ensures it loses its most vital wing - the Sea Tigers.

Shan said...

very interesting discussion here with four five people looking at it in different pov.

I tend to agree with long rangers more realistic sounding analysis and Moshe's technicalities.LR yu are an optimist, that's what we need in these torrid times.

Even with the unrealistic sounding quick advance towards Mallavi and Thunukkai, the strategy seems, as i said earlier, to cut off supply lines to Vidduthalthivu and the adjoining coastal areas, which also means the coastal areas are also cut off from Killi and supplies smuggled in cannot be taken to Killinochi.

Sam Perera said...

DefenceWire,

Do we have any more details of the 40-ft deep bunker? We need to study how it was constructed, i.e. concrete, steel, shape, sizes of structural elements, access hatches, stairs, ladders etc. Perhaps, you should run it bu KDU structural engineering staff to determine the maximum forces it can stand. Also we need to figur out how to get a thermobaric work with this type of bunkers. We should improve our odds in getting Velu out by studying this bunker.

kaatikuddupaan said...

Perhaps a way to take on the LTTE is to not persecute fleeing cadres and to perhaps use them to take on LTTE.

many LTTE cadres now in medics recalled in horror how in the Eastern province they were scared of who is the enemy since the Karuna group was hitting them hard along with the army.

It's a different feeling for a Tamil to get fired upon by another tamil, which can make him doubt the cause and make the sagging morale of LTTE fall even further.

Gringo said...

kaatikuddupaan

Many of Karuna's battled-hardned men are already with the SLDF in the North... to settle 'personal' scores with the fat pig. They are more determined than ever!

What a boomaranged 'Tamil issue'!

Sam Perera said...

gringo,

Many of Karuna's battled-hardned men are already with the SLDF in the North..

From where do you get this information? Do you mean to say that they are members of SLA now? I thought that all TMVP cadre are in the Eastern Province hunting for infiltrated and left-over LTTE members. Can you please elaborate what you said above?

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