Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Casualties in LTTE artillery fire

The Sri Lanka Army's advance towards Kilali and Muhamalai LTTE FDL (originally 2nd FDL) managed in the capture of the LTTE's 1st FDL but were surprised by a heavy volume of artillery and mortar attacks launched by Tigers from LTTE areas.

The Tigers, sensing the advance retreated and direct artillery strikes at advancing troops killing 88 soldiers while 30 others have gone missing. 376 soldiers were wounded in action. The number of Tigers killed is 52 while LTTE claims it lost only 16 fighters.

The Tigers have also claimed the SLA lost 150 soldiers, which is not true. Meanwhile the main Battle Tank (MBT) lost in yesterday's fighting is now believed to be an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) T89 (or YW534). This is a China North Industries APC made similar in shape (tracked) to an MBT but with a smaller canon for an entirely different battlefield concept.

Czech T-55AM2 MBT
T89 (YW534)


Realastic said...

what the hell our slaf doing??
can't we have a deasent air suport for advancing??

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

Thanks for the update DW,

You have said Type-89 MBT?? i think the Type-89 we have is classified as an IFV and not a MBT.
Can you explain.

LKDOOD said...

thanks DW for the update

just shocking :(

Anymouse said...

DW are we still holding the captured areas? The LTTE pictures show indicate that the sla has withdrawn from the captured areas.

If the LTTE retreated how come their casulties are 50?


chamal said...


"i think the Type-89 we have is classified as an IFV and not a MBT."

This is what I was thinking too. And being an IFV, the T-89 has less armour than a T-55 so maybe this explains why it was damaged so much with an RPG? Also can you give details about the armoured vehicles we have lost today?

Sun Tzu's disciple said...

This is like herding cattle to the abattoir.And same tactic with same results every time.

Either SLA poorly-led or LTTE brilliantly-led. Or both.

But the result is heartrending.
What happened to MID boss G.A.Chandrasiris boast less than a month back promising a surprise licking to ltte soon?

chamal said...

"If the LTTE retreated how come their casulties are 50?"

I guess this is because today's one was a large offensive, not like the small scale ones we've been seeing for a while now. Even when retreating they would take a lot of casualties, as more than 500 troops have taken part judging by the number of casualties. Also there has been some air raids and the troops would have had artillery & MBRL support.

hemantha said...

From tamilnet.

"The SLA units were defeated at two of the three fronts, in Mukamaalai and Ki'laali, by 10:30 a.m. after stiff resistance. Heavy fighting raged till 12:40 p.m. in Ka'ndal."

So according to them, Forward movement has been stopped in two fronts. What happened in the other front?

Rover said...

"surprised by a heavy volume of artillery and mortar attacks launched by Tigers from LTTE areas."

How can this be surprising? Wasn't this expected? What was the SLAF doing when mortar and arti positions opened up?

SnakeVI said...

SLAF should be airborne and waiting when SLA is making a push. That way they can knock off the LTTE guns when they open up.

ravana said...

i dont know why every ones talking abouth this much ..thisa is the war it self..every ones wining every you'd remebered what happened after the A'pura...few days later thamil selvan went up side down..
see carfully with in few days i am sure joy will be.up side down...

lets pray foe every one who lost the lives in there...hope every missing soldiers will find by army

koombiya said...

Why why why, this is just history repeating it self. SLF has not changed its tactics, I agree with Snakevi the role of the SLAF is not enough, and they may have bombed the tiger positions after everything was over.
SLAF should be airborne and waiting for targets. Not the other way. Bombing the positions after they have taken the guns away makes no difference.
I don’t know why the top brass don’t seem to understand this.
Are they still not coordinating with each other? Due to some bureaucratic bulsh**.
They need to change the line of command. Allowing air strikes to be called by troops on the ground. Is this happening now?
Without this kind of coordinated attack, the Muhamai front should not be attempted. The commanders should have realized that open ground is too risky, due to mortar and arti fire.We should focus our attack from south to north not north to south.

My heart felt sympathy to the heroes who laid their lives for the country. May they attain Nibbhana.

Sam Perera said...


Can you please enlightnen us little more about the operation, thisng like reason, timing etc?

LKDOOD said...

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement claimed they had also wounded about 400 government troops in the latest fighting in the northern peninsula of Jaffna.

"The Sri Lanka army suffered more than 100 killed in action and about 400 wounded in action," the LTTE statement said. "Sixteen valiant LTTE soldiers sacrificed their lives in this confrontation."

However, the military rejected Tiger claims and said only 38 government troops were killed and 84 wounded. The military said troops had killed 52 Tigers.

There was no independent verification of the claims. Unconfirmed reports said about 127 soldiers were killed or missing following the latest fire fight.


perein said...

Do n't we use the intelligence info before movements?
Why do we play for the land while our main objective is to kill the terrorists?

dhanushka said...

Taking Muhamalai expose kilinocchi. Therefore this much be one of the best guarded Defense lines of LTTE. I am pretty sure our COs are not stupid, they probably knew that this was going to be tough, but if we want to make a push to kilinocchi we have to take Muhamalai.. If we did take their first FDL, I think our sacrifices are worth it..

san said...

what a disaster for entire nation.

Srilankan said...

Fully agree bro..

Srilankan said...

I can accept (very painfully) if these brave soldiers sacrificed their lives for their country according to some well thought of strategy..but this nonsense is an utter waste of their precious lives..

Vibe said...

Whoever is commanding the troops in the North should be fired. So far they have failed too many times and lost too many lives. I think it's time for new military leadership in that area.

குழைக்காட்டான் said...

Mr. Ilanthirayan provided details of the arms and ammunition seized by the Tigers:

Forty-one T-56 Type 2 assault rifles,
Three T-56 Type-1 assault rifles,
Five Light Machine Guns (LMG),
Two PKT Tank machine guns,
Five Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers (RPG),
Three 40 mm Grenade Launchers,
Seven anti-armour RPG shells,
Twenty-one anti-personnel RPG shells,
Twenty-six propellers for RPGs,
8500 inter-medium ammunition,
1500 chained ammo for machine guns,
104 magazines
Twelve helmets

They released pictures too...

Rajaratasurfer said...

Tnet pics on SLA soldiers is propaganda for the Diaspora ! Mortar and Arty killed those poor soldiers it's the same old trap guys ! Grab your balls cuz, this iz the fight to the finish ! We will never know the true ltte KIA's which are hundreds so... calm down this is not a cake walk !

Support the troops cuz... we are just spectators fellas ! But, this show SLAS still lack CAS assets.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Peter said...

yes you will

"The latest setback came despite official claims that the separatists had been virtually wiped out.

At the start of the year, the military said there were only 3,000 Tiger rebels left.

Latest official defence ministry figures, which include Wednesday's toll, show that 3,073 Tigers have been killed by security forces this year."

Unknown said...

Defencewire, this was an interesting photo amongst those making the rounds on pro-LTTE sites.

Tamilnet Image

1st are these two anyone important?

2nd the one tiger seems to have tiger fatigued combat helment and body armour, are they making their own or redoing ones they have brought in? This is the first time I have seen such equipment being used by the tigers. I know some of their boat crews wear helmets etc but these all seem to be ones captured from the SLA, unlike the ones in this photo.


Sen said...

how the hell can they fight, one of them has a huge gut, he wont even be able to run away from the army

Moshe Dyan said...

It’s a failed operation. 120+ dead. 400 injured with 250 of them either seriously injured or more injured than “walking wounded”.

About 7 AFVs destroyed/damaged

LTTE is holding on to their positions.

There is no sense in splitting hairs over it. WE LOST THE BATTLE, FULLSTOP.

For some LTTE pigs this is a “victory” for the SLA!! They want more such “victories” for the SLA by following similar strategies.

But the important thing is to LEARN from it at least now. The 2006 & 2007 similar debacles in the same place were played down by the MoD and they continue with the SAME blunder over and over and over again.

This is only one battle; there will be dozens of battles ahead. We should learn and move forward.

What have we learnt?
1. LTTE is very capable of raining artillery on advancing troops from the safety of over 20km – 27km.
2. there is NOTHING the advancing troops can do to protect themselves from artillery barrages in this terrain
3. yesterday’s battle was decided on the strength of fire power and NOT manpower
4. the real battle is to take on the LTTE artillery.
5. from present SLA FDLs we cannot reach LTTE artillery
6. SLAF is better suited to bomb these long range LTTE big guns
7. first we must identify LTTE arti. Positions; these are changing and real-time data on these positions is a must
8. then we should destroy these positions
9. their destruction should also be filmed
10. new artillery build-up should also be identified and destroyed
11. Supply routes of arti. Shells, etc., etc. should also be monitored and bombed
12. Essentially monitoring and bombing should be very closely co-ordinated. If possible should be done by the same aircraft
13. A radius of 20km from LTTE arti positions should be marked and if the circle is falling in the sea, the possibility of SLN involvement must be considered. On land area, the possibility of fast deploying MBRLs, our arti. Guns must be considered.
14. The battle should be analysed also from the pov of the LTTE. Since they won it they will want to copy it again and again.
15. This time the threat of LTTE anti-tank guys was lesser compared to the threat of arti. Barrage. However, the good work we did to face such an eventuality must be maintained.
16. those responsible for this debacle and the 2006 & 2007 debacles MUST be identified and handled appropriately. Otherwise we will see another one very soon.
17. SLAF’s ability to engage LTTE arti. Positions DURING a battle must be increased. LTTE cannot hide their arti. Underground during yesterday’s battle!!!!

SLDF’s capabilities in identifying and destroying LTTE arti positions on a timely basis will be the biggest contributing factor in winning the war. MoD should immediately get into building this capability.

Rover said...

The SLA website is a disgrace (so are the other gov. websites) to our nation, almost every sentence they write has got grammatical errors.

This is one of the sites that foreign news agencies refer for authentic information, and for them Sri Lanka must look like nation made up of illiterates.

PLEASE fire the unmitigated baboons who write/edit this incomprehensible drivel and hire a couple of school kids who could do a better job.

Rover said...

I said this yesterday.

"With the advent of guided missiles and advanced helicopters, the tanks will have a poor chance of survival in large scale conventional warfare between nations. The Iraqi war, were we witnessed the almost complete annihilation of the Iraqi tanks is a good example for this. However, since US has the air superiority, they will keep using tanks for a while."

And today, we have this. We could not even defend our guys despite having air superiority, what a disgrace. What is the point of buying equipment that is worth millions of dollars if SLAF does not use it when needed? I think it is time to think about having a dedicated air wing for the army.

I know in a war, loosing a couple of tanks and life is not such a big deal. But today, it was a damned waste.

For me, more than anything, this debacle looks like an intelligence failure. Def.Wire said that the army was surprised by the volume of artillery fire that came our way; and this for me, is an indication that poor intelligence.

Rover said...

So since we did not anticipate a heavy arti barrage, the SLA probably went ahead with the operation without letting the SLAF know.

SLAF was probably not informed to reduce a possible leak of sensitive information, but still the manner in which our guys are sacrificed, when no major objectives are achieved, is unforgivable.

If there are problems with information leaks, it is high time that all three forces do a series of counter espionage operations before gallivanting on major operations.

LKDOOD said...

...Defence sources report that the LTTE offensive was overall led by Theepan and Muhudan, two senior LTTE cadres , whilst fighting formations at Muhamalai and Kilaly were reported respectively led by 'Jerry', Kumunan and Kutti.

deborak said...

Please go through the and you'll have the correct picture. Folks, it true that our army is a brave army, but don't you think we ahve to change the military strategies according to the geographic area. Please remember this is the third time we lost Muhammalai battle, and probably will not be the last. Also I hear that from we have retreated from the Nagarkovil FDL.

MasterOfAll said...


Just dont believe what says as they are doing sub contract of TamilNet Propaganda. Bloody UNP(United Napunsaka Party) which has bunch of drop kicks led by Ponsi R.W. who should be killed before VP.

Jambudipa said...

There are multiple failures here.

1. The military thought prolonged attrition will weaken their capacity to fight. The problem is they rarely engage the forces in close quarters. Its always booby traps and stand off weapons they depend on. Looking at the campaign so far, the casualties are from mines, artillery and mortar. Attrition does not weaken their main capability which are mines and arti.

2. There are clearly intelligence failures. The forces under estimated their artillery thinking perhaps they have run out of supplies. The fact is they MANUFACTURE atri shells according to some websites. So many LTTEs surrender, yet how-come we don't know their MO with these artillery pieces?

3. The SLAF have really not thought of their priorities when procuring weapons. Their top priority should be the destruction of their standoff weapons. They dont have any conventional capability without these guns. The rain of artillery fell for hours, yet no aircraft to detect and destroy these guns. In my opinion, the purchase of Mig29 was totally unnecessary. What we need is airbourne artillery detection systems that can provide realtime feedback while the advance is in progress. Have we replaced the HISAR we lost at AAB? Shouldn;t we find a suitable replacement for this BEFORE the Mig29?

Puffy said...

We lost this battle, no point denying it!
And no point crying over spilt milk...
This is war, you win some, you lose some!

But I have one point to make;

All our brave brothers who have laid their lives, fighting the LTTE, have died with the positive thought "Mission Accomplished" in their minds!

i.e. They knew very well that all their services, up to the very end, resulted in denying Eelam to the LTTE!

But all the LTTE terrorists who have died fighting the SLA, have died with the negative thought "Mission Failed" in their minds!

i.e. They knew very well that all their forced services, up to the very end, did not result in Eelam for the LTTE!

san said...

"All our brave brothers who have laid their lives, fighting the LTTE, have died with the positive thought "Mission Accomplished" in their minds!

i.e. They knew very well that all their services, up to the very end, resulted in denying Eelam to the LTTE!"

Yohan Liyanage said...

Peter said...

" At the start of the year, the military said there were only 3,000 Tiger rebels left.

Latest official defence ministry figures, which include Wednesday's toll, show that 3,073 Tigers have been killed by security forces this year."

I agree that Gov. numbers are not accurate about the amount of remaining rebels. However, they do enroll new rebels and also, force people to do their bidding.

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