Friday, February 1, 2008

Army Riding High

The Sri Lanka Army is currently training around 31,000 personnel, of whom 28,000 are new recruits to various regiments of the Army. The Sri Lanka Military Academy in Diyatalawa is currently training intake 62 of the Army’s Officer Cadets who will soon pass-out as Second Lieutenants. One regiment which has received the most attention from both serving officers and new recruits is the Special Forces Brigade.

In October last year, over 130 serving officers and men from the Army’s regular infantry completed their training program and passed out with flying colours at Maduru Oya. They were the only successful candidates to receive the Black Beret out of over 900 officers and men who applied for the training.

In April this year, a batch of around 350 new recruits to the Special Forces are to pass out with another 350 expected to pass out from the same Training School in July this year. Each new trainee must undergo a grueling 9-month training, including a Compass March, Night-time Training and Close-Quarter Combat. During the Compass March for example, each trainee must fend for himself and survive alone in rough terrain, facing ambushes and live firing by experienced instructors.

The Special Forces have raised some interest overseas as well. A considerably large contingent of Maldivian Army officers and men are also undergoing training at Special Forces and Commando Training Schools as we speak. In an unprecedented move, Special Operations Instructors from the US Marine Corp are to train the Army at Maduru Oya in March. The Marine Corp had previously agreed to train the Army only in Tangalle. Now they have agreed to train the Special Forces at their own Training School in Maduru Oya, which is unprecedented.

Meanwhile Major General L.A.D. Ameratunga was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Special Forces in a recent shakeup in the Army’s top rankers following the forthcoming retirement of some senior officers, including an experienced Major General. The former Colonel Commandant, Maj. Gen G.A. Chandrasiri took over Command of the Armoured Corp, whilst also serving as SF Commander Jaffna.

The Special Forces, which has a very fluid command structure, functions with just one Brigadier, one full Colonel and three lieutenant Colonels. All three Regiments are commanded by Majors. 5 battle-hardened Special Forces Majors from intake 32 were recently enlisted at the Batalanda Staff Training College for a one year training program. Here they will be trained in everything from battle-field strategy, operational strategy to procurement; essential skills to becoming a fully fledged and all-round officer in the Army. Earlier, this course was available for only a select few who had to go abroad (USA-Fort Knox, Kentucky) for the training.

Meanwhile the LTTE is again feeding misinformation to the foreign media, particularly about the casualty rates in the SLA. Their target is probably the Tamil Diaspora and concerned Human Rights groups. A recent example is Al-Jazeera TV, which had reported that 42 SLA were killed in the last artillery strike in Jaffna. The channel subsequently withdrew its report. DefenceWire has independently verified this report and discovered that of the 24 shells that fell in or near the SLA bases in Jaffna, only 7 had landed inside the location where the alleged casualties had been caused. These were inside the 214 Brigade and there were no casualties. The current casualty rate in all confrontations is on average less than 10% of the LTTE losses of each clash reported.


perein said...

Thank you for the very detailed article.
This article is a tribute to all our heroes.

Anonymous said...

//The current casualty rate in all confrontations is on average less than 10% of the LTTE losses of each clash reported.//

So if my math is good when 10 tigers killed only one SLA killed.

LKDOOD said...

Ninja Bandara

your math is good :)

Sanath said...

Great article but very soon there will be apost by an LTTE bootliker saying that DW is doing SLA propaganda...

Keep up the gud work guys
thnx for the info

Illegal.existence said...

Defencewire, great reporting. Nice to hear the Americans are actively involved in training our guys. With American training techniques, and actual experience gained in the battlefield, I bet our Special Forces are among the best in the world.

A couple of things about the attack on the Mechanized division passing out parade, in todays Daily Mirror defense column, the writer says "A military official claimed that due to the shelling a vehicle was damaged while one soldier was killed and several soldiers were injured." Is that true?

And also, he says if the Army positioned heavy artillery on the Mandathivu islands, attacks like this could have been avoided. That seems far fetched, cos the edge of Mandathivu is less than 4 miles off the coast of Jaffna. Anything we could do form there, we should be able to do from the mainland. Any comments on that?

CASC said...

Very informative article. Thank you.

Unknown said...

huh after long time DW done the home works...wonderfull article....

LKDOOD said...

Scores of LTTE bunkers destroyed: Colombo


Upul said...

"The current casualty rate in all confrontations is on average less than 10% of the LTTE losses of each clash reported."

This is obvious example of blowing in the air.. DW is parroting what is saying. How can 2:1 ~ 1.5:1 casualty rate between SLA:LTTE go to 1:10 after Rajapakse tookover ? Were former SLA Generals (like Kobbegaduwa), Brigadiers and the like first class fools ??

This blog is descending into spreading fairytales and loosing credibility at the speed of a shooting star. They are getting more desperate as the frontline news has turned ugly. This gratifying to see. When these defence fan sites claim bunkers be taken over (something thats not verifiable by those not on the frontlines) then it means no progress was made, but some politican wanted a positive newsbite for the hundreds of soldiers killed and injured.

If DW was publishing when EP fell, he would have claimed, EP was the most fortified place in south asia and has 0 chance of falling.

Raptor said...

So your saying hundreds of SLA are dying? Where is your proof? If your trying to contradict DW please bring some proof and come, without just opening your big trap. Go and mingle with the fools who read and believe tamilnet. Anyone knows that casualty figures must be taken with a pinch of salt no matter who they come from. We dont need you to come and drop your useless two cents. If you dont like the forum then please FUCK OFF

Srilankan said...

nice article defencewire,..keep up the good work.i mean great work!!

Illegal.existence said...

See Raptor the thing is, Tamils have realized that their hopes of creating an Eelam militarily are over. Given enough time, the military is truly going to decimate the LTTE. The only hope they have now, is to prevent the forces from attacking the LTTE. The way to do that is to take away the will of the Sinhalese to fight, and force the politicians to hold back the military.

And comments like above, are how they are trying to do that. Take defencenet for example, there are a few Tamils pretending to be Sinhalese and praising the army, but they try to put that piece of doubt in the minds of others reading the blog, implying operations are failures, or military planing is really bad etc. etc.

Sadly for them, no one important really gives a shit what they have to say.

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

@ Defencewire & guys

who are these guys wearing red & who is the soldier wearing green ?
(if it is ok to tell)

defenceAnalyst said...

Red beret is Commando. Black Beret is SBS (Navy)

LKDOOD said...


maybe that person came back to life & join SLA


sandun great find :)


Sri lanka has no Immigration system

Iraq citizen can't become Sri lankan citizen

Foreigners can't join the SLA

LKDOOD said...

the person in the picture may rest in peace

i will pray today :)

tangara said...

Many thanks to the Defencewire...

SLA , go all the way, people will stand shoulder to shoulder with you..

tangara said...

Raptor, Well said Bro...

Keep up the good work...

Harder you kick these LTTE diehards, larger the fabrication of SLA casualities they come up with.What a bunch of LOOSERS...

When you say loosers...This is how they SPAM unsuspecting people of Britain..

Moshe Dyan said...

31,000! thats huge in finances as well. their cost salary, uniforms, food, etc. cost about 10 billion rupees a year (roughly US$90 million)!!!phew!

one may argue to reduce the intake and buy a Mi-24 for $6million, or another MiG-27 for $3-5m, or many, subject to currency exchange issues.

may be quantity matters over sustainable productivilty in military.

i hope the SLA is NOT recruiting the MOST they can, but only the planned number of personnel.

thanks DW for the great article. it is great that the US guys are increasing their help as we are also fighting the same war on terror in a different battlefield.

Thushanthi said...


Very interesting find!!


Sam Perera said...

Great work Sandun. Lets see how the boot lickers the boss, upul aka Revy etc come up with some eleborate stories. Yesterday we caught old IAF planes displayed as LTTE terror crafts. Today we caught an Iraqi man dead in 2006 turned to a SLA soldier (N Kumara, 25, found on the outskirts of Mannar). Hopefully we can eliminate all Baghdad Bob's soon.

Illegal.existence said...

Sandun, great find machan. I think it's actually a good thing. If the LTTE did recover bodies of soldiers, they wouldn't have to get fake photos from the internet to try and fool people.

Shows how increasingly desperate Tamils are getting.

NOLTTE=Peace said...

See the fabricated story in BBC

I also can write similar stories just my eyes shut.

See the other attempt to put the blame on Maheshwaran killing on State

This is how these MFrs sell their country for money to LTTE.

LKDOOD said...

blast in central Dambulla town
13 dead -LBO

chamal said...

Any information about the reported blast in Dambulla?

Unknown said...

Special forces are good, however the training and attention should also be spread to all forces to ensure morale is high in all units.

TropicalStorm said...

Interestingly, among the Sri lankan born Americans who serve in the US forces here in the USA, it is quite well known that the US considers Sri Lanka as a test case in anti-terror succeess. As much as the US instructors impart their conventional (and outdated, tested and failed in Iraq, Afghanistan) knowledge, they learn from us tactics that really work in a far more intense theatre of conflict.

But that factor has never been analized or pointed out anywhere by any of the so called "Defence Analysts" including the never-ceased-to-be-amusing Athas.

C. Coin said...

great article, thanks. ive heard stories about these US guys coming here to train us... that they come here to learn from the battle hardened troops under the pretex of training us. that they are a parth of knowledge gathering machinery. is there any truth in this ? do the US trainers do a value addition to our troops.

great work !!

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