Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Crumbling of Muhamale

Paranthan

With at least two previous failures of a successful breakthrough through the Tamil Tiger Devil's garden along the KILALY/MUHAMALE/NAGARKOVIL axis, mainly due to indirect fire via anti personal/ anti-armor mines and arti/mortar units, battleplanners in this sector set about to destabilise the Tamil Tiger FDL using crumbling operations to force the enemy's defensive cohesion to flood away thereby destabilizing the FDL. Further as I have mentioned in an earlier brief lengthily such a series of crumbling operations allows the Sri Lankan battle planners to master their opening game as well as shore up the morale of its soldiers.

With the Tamil Tigers having more than 5 years to perfect their defences along the 7 miles stretch spanning from KILALY to NAGARKOVIL, this front provides the most fortified line in the current Sri Lankan conflict. The Tamil Tiger defences had provided them with concealment, cover, combined arms integration and more importantly a depth of 14kms towards EPS. The Tamil Tiger trenches and bunkers were irregularly distributed, formulaically interconnected, carefully camouflaged, combining ballistic protection with real concealment to withstand offensive fire. These positions were well fortified with anti-tank ditches, protective minefields and wire entanglements. Any cover the SLA could exploit were limited with interlocking fields of fire by positioning adjoining weapons so that each weapon can fire across the other's fronts. The defences were further strengthened with MG posts and mortars. Machine guns are direct fire-flat trajectory weapons and attackers can use directional cover by obscuring the line of sight (LOS). Mortars and artillery on the other hand can fire over intervening obstacles and engage targets without LOS. Hence working together, machine guns and artillery/mortars compliments for each other's weaknesses. Such interlocking fields of fire reduces the cover or dead space thus complicates things for the attacker to find and exploit concealed positions.

Classic military doctrine suggests that attackers need 3:1 ratio against defenders. Once the defender has integrated combined weapons tactics with fortified positions the force ratio required for a breakthrough increases. Hence against well entrenched positions it jumps to 5:1. It is very rare for any commander to have the 3:1 let alone 5:1 force ratio which military theorists consider essential to break a fortified line but it is possible to gather the necessary superiority at least locally by using deception, tactics and surprise.

Intermingled amongst these defences were observation posts and covering forces operating far from the main defences. The main defensive forces to the rear are to be warned by these cadres with warning of attack. Other than observation these covering forces are expected to carry out other functions such as intercepting SLA recce teams, slowing attackers' movements, canalising an assault and conducting their own reconnaissance. Even though it sounds straightforward in theory, this requires the cadres to often carry out orders from high command in the face of superior forces and in the case of a massive assault to manoeuvre and break contact with a superior attack force and fall back before being overrun while calling in reserves at the rear.

With constant Monty style crumbling operations causing daily attrition, the Tamil Tigers were compelled for a compromise.The Tamil Tigers knew their forward bunkers and observational posts were targets for such attacks hence they rationally reduced bunker manning levels leaving fewer on watch and relying more heavily on tactical warning to give units time to reoccupy bunkers in the event of a ground attack. Meanwhile the 57/58 Divisions were fast approaching the Tamil Tiger political capital and the environs of the JAFFNA lagoon. Urgent reinforcements were required to halt the enemy advance. This was another reason for unmanned bunkers due to overstretched cadre base where more reinforcements were required in defending the PARANTHAN-KILINOCHCHI axis. Hence much to the surprise of the attacking small units at MUHAMALE, men found a higher fraction of unmanned defending posts at the time of attack than would have been the case.

With the 58 Divisions occupying the strategic POONERYN peninsula on the 19th of November, battleplanners rapidly set about positioning indirect fire batteries and making 58's first move towards PARANTHAN. With the POONERYN peninsula gone, for the battleplanners it was one less Call-for-fire zone (CFFZ). CFFZ is an area in enemy territory that the commander wants suppressed, neutralized, or destroyed. This also meant the battleplanners Artillery target intelligence zone (ATIZ) was limited to areas South of MUHAMALE and the PARANTHAN environs. ATIZ is an area in enemy territory that the commanders wish to monitor closely. With these developments elsewhere the time was ripe for the National front to flare up and occupy the already crumbled Tamil Tiger FDL which lay just 500m ahead of them. This perfect coordination between 58/53/55 and the loss of strategic POONERYN meant the Tamil Tiger fortifications across the lagoon at MUHAMALE/KILALY were under fire from additional fire support bases. Further it also meant that its own howitzers stationed at K-point were no longer able to continue suppressive fire towards SLA's artillery batteries in areas such as KODIKAMAM/MIRUSUVIL and MSRs carrying reinforcements and medevac missions to and from the theatre of engagement.

This well coordinated movement of 58 and 53/55 not only made the Tamil Tiger ground cadre thin out, but also its limited indirect fire units. A fraction of these mortar/arti units which have proved to be anathema to the troops of 53/55 have been compelled to be diverted to suppress troops of 58 moving along the B69 KILALY lagoon. The reserves meant to defend the KILALY/MUHAMALE axis were drawn into an area where the same reserves will engage the 58 and 53/55 when the need arises. This thinning out greatly reduced the Tamil Tiger Force to Space Ratio (FSR) which is the number of troops per linear km. As said above it is very rare for any commander to have the 3:1 let alone 5:1 force ratio which military theorists consider essential to break a fortified line. With the Tamil Tigers moving a fraction of its men and assets to protect its rear, the battleplanners got the edge over the numbers they were hoping for; for an ultimate forward thrust.

DSC07102

Tamil Tiger grid maps of the MUHAMALE-KILALY axis

The breaching Sri Lankan armed forces made extensive Small unit manoeuvre, dispersion, cover and concealment thanks to modern tactics. The breaching effort was spearheaded by combat engineers operating under the cover of artillery, MBTs and smoke rounds with infantry support immediately available via Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) advancing immediately behind the echelon. The long and medium range artillery/MBRL support suppressed or destroyed enemy support fire bases until assault teams approached within around 300 meters whereupon 60mm/81mm mortars and direct fire from troops took over. Meanwhile fixed and rotary wing aircraft provided vital Combat Air Support (CAS) and electronic warfare units jammed Tamil Tiger communication systems and used Tamil Tiger radio emissions to provide targeting data of Tamil Tiger forward command posts. Such a combination of air and ground technology in which indirect fire served essentially a suppressive purpose - it induced the Tamil Tigers to take protective postures that reduced their ability to return fire, thereby reducing their effectiveness even without killing them directly.

Facilitated by extensive rehearsals this complex combined arms manoeuvre focused their efforts simultaneously on the objective area exploiting what little cover the terrain provided thus presenting the Tamil Tigers with few opportunities to engage isolated forward operating units on their own favourable terms. The paraded corpses of fallen soldiers in previous engagements within this sector were mainly of such forward operating men.

The extensive rehearsals conducted prior to the battle ensured that even junior soldiers were trained well enough to operate independently in small units, using their own tactical judgement to solve problems and keep the assault moving forward, for any bogged down strike team on unfavourable ground can leave the team and the mission highly vulnerable. The units engaged in battle were so professional that unit leaders on the scene were making their own decisions, seizing fleeting opportunities and exploiting idiosyncratic local conditions. Extensive battlefield rehearsals and intelligence gathering also meant the commanders were well aware of Clausewitz's culminating point. They very well knew that by halting their immediate operation with just one FDL under their occupation and fortifying the defences according to their requirements was suffice at least for the time being.

The reason why the culminating point was set just after this FDL and the main thrust halted with limited aims was this operation was NOT designed for a breakthrough. Rather this operation was intended to exploit the temporary advantage garnered by the series of coordinated crumbling operations carried over the last few months. By occupying this FDL the SLA have seized important terrain and major sections of the Tamil Tigers' prepared positions. This positional advantage can then be used in subsequent offensive operations; i.e more crumbling type operations to engage as many Tiger cadres as possible within this sector before engaging them in the dense jungles of MULATIVU where they might withdraw. In military parlance this is termed as Fixing attacks where the Tamil Tigers can be pinned into place at little cost to the attackers.

The main advantage of such operations holding limited aims is that it avoids over extension of troops and in the same time reduces its vulnerability to counterattack. In military doctrine any defender that holds a defensive depth as deep as 14kms (as the National Front) is expected to concede initial ground in the event of a forward thrust. Depth is a tradeoff for the defenders and 14kms of depth gives time for an astute defender in the likes of the Tamil Tigers to counterconcentrate troops in sufficient strength to grind the 53/55 military machine. Such depth also allows the Tamil Tiger battleplanners to rectify any miscalculations of their defence. To regain the lost ground which was lost initially, a counterattack is relied upon. Hence breakthrough attempts create such counterattack opportunities for the Tamil Tigers as seen previously. And with each counterattack, the attrition the Tamil Tigers will suffer to its experienced reserves is not easily replaceable since new junior recruits lack the experience, the morale, the skill and coordination to perform complex manoeuvres to push back the superior Sri Lankan forces.

With the commanders of 53/55 finding lesser resistance, barring the weather, it will not be long before the National Front will flare up again with assault teams adding pressure on the remaining FDLs of the Tamil Tigers. With 58 troops having breached the earth bund defending the PARANTHAN town limits, it will be not long before the Tamil Tiger reserves based around the EPS region be under severe pressure facing a dilemma similar to the troops of 54 Division faced in 2000. If the Tamil Tigers are to withdraw and lose EPS and PARANTHAN it is sure to abandon what's left of KILINOCHCHI as well because the KILINOCHCHI area will become a massive salient. A salient is a battlefield feature which projects into enemy territory and any Tamil Tigers within this area will become highly vulnerable.

There lies yet another strategically significant reason for the SLA commanders' need to push down from the National Front. If there was one counterstrike that could tip the balance in favour of the Tamil Tigers that would be the one to regain the Jaffna peninsula. Any daring counterstrike with the remaining cadre strength is sure to deplete the Tamil Tigers further of its cadre base and its assets, for with the current strength it will have to vacate its entire cadre base of the Wanni and mobilise it to accomplish the strike on Jaffna. Thus such a large scale ambitious counterstrike simply put; is a risky gamble for the Tamil Tigers. By doing so it is sure to lose the entire Wanni. This means it can choose only either Jaffna or the Wanni.

If it opts for Wanni as it is doing at present and launches a counterstrike with all its might to regain a region of the Wanni for example POONERYN; it may succeed with its entire cadre base being mobilised for this objective. However, whether it will be the Gordian knot for its woes is the million dollar question. POONERYN holds no population base hence the Tamil Tigers will not be in a position to recruit its lost cadre. It may manage to replenish a small fraction of its supplies across the Palk Straits however, it will fail to meet the requirement since annihilating 58 Division alone to reach POONERYN will not mean the Tamil Tigers have seen the back of the Sri Lankan armed forces. By having mobilised its entire cadre to regain POONERYN means it would have lost the entire Wanni barring POONERYN and will be staring down the barrel of the rest of the offensive divisions.

Therefore if the Tamil Tigers are to launch a successful counterattack, it has to be a region that holds a sizeable population base for new recruits and an area that is close enough to smuggle in vital supplies. Out of the entire Northern theatre of operations ONLY the Jaffna peninsula brings forth such rich dividends. Jaffna peninsula holds a population base of over 650000 compared to the sparsely populated Wanni which estimates are thought to hold less than 300000. And it is in close proximity to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu where many Tamil Tiger safe houses are known to exist. With the entire peninsula under its control it will have plenty of coastal belts to continue its smuggling operation with impunity.

By mobilising the 53/55 Divisions and making them go on the offense and force its way South completely negates the Tamil Tigers' ability to launch ANY counterstrike to get a foothold on the Jaffna peninsula - the cultural centre of the Eelam ethos. This is why earlier I briefed my avid readers that any counterstrike by the Tamil Tigers after 53/55 have been mobilised may come too little too late.

54 comments:

Long - Ranger said...

I hope this answers many outstanding questions.

I have seen many questions been asked to which the answers are already contained in my past briefs.

I have given many basics of military operations in all my briefs. Hence I would like all my readers to apply the knowledge I have given out in analysing whatever development that may take place within the Sri Lankan sphere of operations.

Take care all. :-)

hemantha said...

Superb job, Long Ranger. Excellent. Thank you.

CASC said...

Long-Ranger,

Many thanks for your great analysis and for educating your readers about classical military doctrine

NOLTTE=Peace said...

Treating LTTE defenses with few Volleys of MBRL in sideways from A35/Poonerin before every offensive by SLA would pay much dividends.

Much of the LTTE trenches have been prepared to run from East-West direction, and they are much vulnerable when treated from the sides.

This would soften LTTE defences in the south of Muhammalai. After softening the defenses only SLA should attack.

TigerKiller said...

Excellent !!!

this solved the question I had why we spent 100+ best mens we have just to get 800 m in th national front

waruna said...

Excellent Analysis

Thank you

Moshe Dyan said...

long ranger,

thanks for the good analysis.

it raises a few more questions.

i believe that the battle in the NF is between LTTE long range arti positions (targeting this area) and our measures to neutralise them.

infantry units supported by arti and air cover can handle the rest.

if we use our arti to neutralise them, the battle is fought 15km to 25km away from each other. in that case what lies in the area below becomes irrelevant.

SLAF has a good chance to take on tiger big guns when they are firing in a battle. this was never attempted.

OTOH if when the SLAf attacks them, they are concelaed, even better. then infantry units will have a field day without LTTE artillery (at least for some time).

i find it difficult to believe that SLA has retained the length they advanced recently. as long as LTTE has arti 25 km away and informers, these positions are under threat constantly.

commando said...

god analysis as always!
Keep up the good work!

Minikura said...

LongRanger
Can SLDF add one more elements to the battle?
• Navy elites attacking from the eastern (Eastern Sea) & western (Jaffna Lagoon) flanks at a delayed stage, if coordinated with forward thrust this could be effective. Didn’t Balraj use this tactic to overrun EP on 2000? Coordinated attack can take the attention away from the forward thrust thus reducing the casualties.

Your thoughts?

Rajaratakai said...

Awesome past mate !
BTW: Why cant the SLA hit EP rather than hit Muhamalai ? Do ya thing it's possible ?

Renegade! said...

LR,

great text-book style analysis and tactics...superb..just curious to know why do you refer to the LTTE as Tamil tigers always?.isnt it more sensible and shorter to term them as LTTE?..or do i smell sinhala chauvinism in your articles??

Long - Ranger said...

You are all welcome :-)

Moshe Dyan,

“if we use our arti to neutralise them, the battle is fought 15km to 25km away from each other. in that case what lies in the area below becomes irrelevant.”

This is a very wrong misconception being circulated within the public domain. If you deem the battle is merely an artillery duel between locations 15-25Kms wide, then how does 120mm/81mm/60mm mortars come into play? As you say if the area in between becomes irrelevant, does it mean the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan forces have signed a treaty NOT to use the short range mortar units?

As Ive mentioned the 130mm units are used by both sides against Long range tactical targets say for example to target ammo dumps/ADRs/Command posts in deep battle space while for pitched battles the more medium/short range units such as 152mm/122mm/120mm/81mm and 60mm mortar/arti units are used.

“SLAF has a good chance to take on tiger big guns when they are firing in a battle. this was never attempted.”

May I ask on what have you based this conclusion?

As occurred during all engagements including the East, the Tamil Tigers have ONLY used their larger artillery guns sparingly in short bursts periodically particularly after they lost two T59 Howitzers in one day. The great majority of the attacks have been courtesy of 120mm/81mm/60mm mortar units. Unlike the larger artillery guns which give out large dust clouds; such mortar units will not do so. And after a few rounds these mortar units will scoot to another location while another unit will start firing. While the second unit begins to scoot and reposition itself the first unit which is already repositioned itself begins to fire. And the cycle continues. This becomes VERY effective by using multiple such units against predetermined positions and especially when the troops are pinned down. With larger guns, it is difficult to conduct this manoeuvre hence the feasible method is to fire it intermittently in short bursts. This means its firing rate is low, hence if the need arises the gun crew can still accommodate time to relocate the gun and continue firing at the same firing rate.

One must bear in mind that any aerial asset in service be it the USAF or the SLAF are transient observers. This makes it hard to capture any targets in their fleeting moments before the targets are again under cover. The SLAF simply put does not have sufficient number of assets to maintain a continuous presence over the entire battlefield. Thus ground targets normally enjoy periods where the sky is clear of aircraft. During the Gulf war despite the far more superior USAF, the Iraqis still managed to move over 4 Divisions comprising over 1000 armoured vehicles and MBTs across the open desert to meet the US 7th Corps. I could reveal more, however it is out of the scope of this public portal. Despite these limitations the SLAF have taken out more artillery and mortar assets than the ground artillery of the SLA have managed over the last two years. This is a commendable achievement.

Long - Ranger said...

Minikura and Rajaratakai,

I have briefed Here on a possible sea borne assault on POONERYN in March 08. As I have said to undertake such a mass movement of troops, assets and importantly to continue the resupply via the beachhead requires tremendous amount of coordination and is always inherently risky. Furthermore the SLN should have sufficient numbers of assets that could serve such an operation. Finally the overall theatrewide operational objective needs to be considered. Land is no longer an objective. :-)

“Didn’t Balraj use this tactic to overrun EP on 2000?”

Indeed. Balraj circumvented SLA’s forward defences and satellite camps and landed at the rear of EPS. If the SLA are to emulate the tactics of this feat they should land in areas South of EPS. I believe 58 Division is already positioned in such a region.

Dhanushka said...

Bravo............u r the realy heros..!

cable said...

As always outstanding!

Thanks for clearing up the issue of SLAF taking out the field guns

Sometimes we are critical of AirForce without knowing the real issues and lack of resources they face

Minikura said...

LR
Thanks for your response
Excellent synopsis of what is really happening in the battlefield.
Keep up the great work!

obama said...

Long ranger,
Just wanted to ask you a question. In holywood action films we allways see the US Army field troups using a laptop and getting clear satelite images of enemy soldiers approching them. You know what I mean? Is this true in reality? Or how practical is it?

This probably needs dedicated military satelites with high powered thermal camaras and also if the enemy has same fascilies no advantage is gained.

Moshe Dyan said...

long ranger,

thank you very much for taking the time to answer; appreciate it.

re: the 15km to 25km gap between MAIN arti positions.....

as you know 120mm shells can well land in this target area. the point is until LTTE heavy artillery guns are neutralised, there is little sense in SLA advancing into their range. that is why i said the real battle is fought 15km-25km apart from each other.

the fact that SLA FDLs are ABOUT 14km from the mainland is no accident. this is the distance LTTE heavy gun positions in the relative safety of the mainland can suppress large scale SLA movements with reasonable accuracy.

the effectiveness of LTTE long range guns in the mahamalai sector was highlighted in DW, DN and many other defence sites.

now that does not mean the area between the above range is not a battle zone. it only says this area is of secondary importance AS LONG AS LTTE heavy guns are safe.

every time SLA walks into this area, the SAME happens and WILL HAPPEN. arti/long range mortar threat is only one threat; there are LTTE fighters, mines, etc. to avoid too.

at least four times SLA suffered major losses TRYING to PERMANANTLY advance 1km or less. dozens of limited operations have taken place in this area and LTTE knew that they were temporary and didn't commit too much of their resources to counter them. they tactically withdrew. truely at least in those instances!!

"“SLAF has a good chance to take on tiger big guns when they are firing in a battle. this was never attempted.”

May I ask on what have you based this conclusion?"

based on SLAF attack times when SLAF attacked this area.

it CLEARLY shows there were NO attacks WHILE the battle was raging. of course LONG after the forward movement stopped and long after LTTE has stopped responding vigourously, SLA still fires arti/motar. but the battle has (for all intents and purposes of the matter considered here - LTTE having their big guns firing so that they are not hidden) has come to and end. no point splitting hairs over when a battle technically ends. as far as the opportunity for SLAf to take out LTTE heavy guns while they are out of their hiding places is concerned, the best time is when they are firing.

there is no point bombing where LTTE arti guns WERE hours b4.

b4 the advance, SLAF had bombed this area for hours, but not DURING the time when LTTE was firng big guns.

with the available assets SLAf can do it if attempted WHILE the battle is raging.

yes i agree that OVERALL, SLAF has taken out more arti/motar positions than SLA for the past two years. but there is lot more room for improvement.

unless LTTE big guns targeting the area concerned are "neutralised"/driven away by SLAF or arti or whatever other means, ANY large scale SLA advance will not achieve a permanant advance, will kill more SLA than tigers and will halt any further advances. we have seen this at least 4 times now.

Shan said...

classic, textbook stuff. I've read all but the best yet.

thanks ranger

sent you a mail

Constantin Demiris said...

[based on SLAF attack times when SLAF attacked this area.]

So in your opinion whats the 'perfect' attack time then? Exactly when the first foot soldier steps ahead of the FDL?

This is the thing with our country everyone's an expert. Like the ranger said the USAF couldnt manage to wipe out the entire iraqi army and armoured vehicles. And these were out on open desert. Thousands of them.

To prove the point, just get yourself a pair of binoculors and look through it. To get finer details you need to zoom into at least 50x. Once you are zoomed into 50x at a certain bird or flower, will you see the surrounding area? Now consider the same with the zoom in capabilities of a UAV which is thousands of feet above.

[the battle is fought 15km to 25km away from each other]

This is even funnier.

I think you have seen the flooded ground in the Wanni right? I am surprised that you didnt suggest to deploy Navy Dvoras or water jets to hit the LTTE. Its a good idea isn't it?

Constantin Demiris said...

And compare as to how Tamilnadu police is finding boats on its shores. If you listened to the army commander's interview he too acknowledged that we are not in a position to halt prabakaran escaping. These are men with 30 years of experience talking. If you want to ridicule them as well, then please go ahead.

Moshe Dyan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Constantin Demiris said...

[i'm qualified in defence though inexperienced]

Qualified? Is this why you basically told the everyone that you have to pull the pin of a grenade and throw the grenade and not the pin? Basically that's what you meant when you typed a whole glarb on what SLAF should do.

1. destroy LTTE arti/motar positions
2. bombs LTTE gathering points
3. bombs sizable LTTE concentrations
4. destroy LTTE`s evacuation systems
5. destroy LTTE`s weapons transport systems (they must be VERY efficient)
6. burn down areas tigers can hide (if using fuel bombs it doesn`t matter if it is raining or not!!)
7. attack tiger leaders` fox holes
8. provide MORE CAS
9. provide MORE, UP-TO-THE-MINUTE UAV footage to SLA
10. rape LTTE cadre transport systems (to the battle front) that seem to be very efficient
11. run down the LTTE morale by using devastating gravity bombs
12. use cluster bombs in DIRECT retaliation to APMs heavily used by tigers.

This shows your how qualified you are. You even missed the basics like evacuation of the injured. And you say you are qualified?

Basically you are ridiculing everyone at the very top of our defence without knowing two hoots. I mean you know the top most commander in SL right now is Donald Perera right? And who was he before?

Just go to BBC or any other news site and see how effective the RAF has been in Afghanistan and how much complaints the British MOD is getting. everyone expects airpower to be some sort of "wham bam, thank you maam" type of action when its NOT!

Moshe Dyan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renegade! said...

LR, why dint answer my previous post re:reference to the LTTE as Tamil Tigers always?.Do u wish to brand all Tamils as LTTE?..and the Tigers as Tamils?

Constantin Demiris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Constantin Demiris said...

[i need not convince a motherfucker like you. ]

lol, touched a nerve now did we?

[i have convinced relevant personnel and they are already taking different appropriate action FYI.]

Wow, now that is very very convincing. Men with 30 years or more experience taking lessons from a keyboard warrior? Wow indeed!

I remember you crying out at the beginning of the year and even having a go with David Blacker on whether SLA should march to Elephant pass. So I suppose the defence establishment listened to you then as well?

Lol, it gets even better! Talk about a bloated ego eh?

rupert said...

Either this Long Ranger is from the SLA map room or Pottus right hand

Navindran said...

Renegade you bloody loser,

"LR, why dint answer my previous post re:reference to the LTTE as Tamil Tigers always?.Do u wish to brand all Tamils as LTTE?..and the Tigers as Tamils?"

You should tell your LTTE friends to remove the words "Tamil Tigers" from their name if you don't like other people using the term when referring to them. I guess the BBC and all the international media are also anti-Tamil, Sinhala chauvinists when they refer to "Tamil Tiger rebels"...

Renegade! said...

Navindran

The only reason i made that comment was to save your sorry tamil asses.ur name sounds tamil..anyways your so-called terrorist tamil "brehren" are getting butchered and exterminated daily,just like flies-hehehe

Patriot said...

Hi Longranger

It’s a pleasure to see a article of you after sometime,
Can you tell us 53 and 55 divisions are operating in a distinguish manner or they are doing a combined missions ?

As we see in Arial photographs it seems this place bit like flat and open, is it different?

Another important question last time this one left unanswered maybe you haven’t seen it
Why Gen. Janaka Perera joined UNP instead of present government?

Sri Lankikaya said...

Amumiris and Moshe

cool it guys... not the place and time

Moshe Dyan said...

LR and others,

my apologies for useless talk. deleted them.

will stick to productive discussions only in the future.

Moshe Dyan said...

SLA has advanced further in kilali.

roughly the KMN axis looks like.

kilali -2 steps advanced
muha -1 step advanced
nagar - same positions.

in that order from south-west to north-east. this should have some strategic implications, me thinks. anyone??

Sri Lankikaya said...

Moshe

looks more like SLA strategy throughout. Circumvent/avoid areas where LTTE has very strong defences and surround and choke.

With Kilali, MH advances NK will be untenable and LTTE will be forced to move out

Long - Ranger said...

Moshe Dyan,

I will make this simple as possible, however I feel I am repeating myself.

If the real ‘conflict’ is indeed between artillery batteries 15-25Kms away, then the majority of SLA casualties should be among the artillery regiment personnel. On previous occasions the Tamil Tigers paraded images of fallen soldiers on trenches covered in plenty of dirt indicating a high volume of mortar fire on the localities of the fallen soldiers.

“the fact that SLA FDLs are ABOUT 14km from the mainland is no accident”

Sorry, can you explain this further. The FDLs before the hostilities began were set up under the CFA which took into account where the SLA/Tamil Tiger positions were when the hostilities ceased.

“the effectiveness of LTTE long range guns in the mahamalai sector was highlighted in DW, DN and many other defence sites.”

As I’ve mentioned previously, in the current theatre of conflict, in my opinion ONLY the 130mm howitzers with an operational range of over 25Km can be considered as long range. The 130mm units are used by both sides against Long range tactical targets say for example to target ammo dumps/ADRs/Command posts/MSRs in deep battle space to disrupt enemy activity behind the FEBA (Forward Edge) while for pitched battles the more medium/short range units such as MBRL/152mm/122mm/120mm/81mm and 60mm mortar/arti units are used. Neither party uses the 130mm canons as a fire support measure for close proximity combat. However, this may differ from time to time from SLA’s side, but NOT from the Tamil Tigers’ side at least for the time being.

“it CLEARLY shows there were NO attacks WHILE the battle was raging”

A sad misconception. As I’ve highlighted the battle tactics for indirect fire, the great majority of indirect fire the Tamil Tigers gather to push back the SLA has been highly mobile 60mm/81mm and 120mm mortar units. These units have much superior firing rates and can sustain the firing rates at the same time while conducting the shoot and scoot manoeuvre because the Tamil Tiger have sufficient numbers of such units to supplement each other unlike the bigger calibre units. Even if the SLA manages to takeout a few of such units, it will not be detrimental for the Tamil Tigers hence they will keep taking the risk firing a high volume of fire.
The major disadvantage the Tamil Tigers suffered with the loss of POONERYN was they lost their artillery batteries for 130mm and 122mm calibre guns which could easily reach any position of the KILALY/MUHAMALE/NK axis. Since now the guns have been relocated to an area East of PARANTHAN and South of EPS, the artillery batteries/MSRs/ADRs/FOBs of the SLA have fallen out of their operational range. Hence they can only engage troops operating along the FEBA. The same troops positioned at FEBA can be reached using smaller calibre and numerically superior mortar batteries. Given the fact that more you fire, the more chances of the SLA locating the gun position and the more you spend the larger calibre shells (which are more expensive and harder to replenish), the Tamil Tigers will find it less risky and conservative to use their mortar units more. Furthermore even if you fire your larger calibre guns, the firing rate will not reach the rate that will be suppressive enough. So given these factors what’s the most feasible option that comes with lesser risk?

This is further highlighted by the fact that the majority of the air strikes came as CAS missions and not as BAI (Out of use in USAF doctrine) where the SLAF platforms engaged short or medium range fire support units/strong points/FOBs/trenches. If the battle was REALLY was between long range units, then of course the SLAF operations wouldn’t have been close air support.

Another factor many fail to comprehend is the fact that, with the intention of overstretching the Tamil Tiger cadre and its fire support units, the multiple fronts the SLA have opened have also overstretched the SLAF’s ability to conduct efficient aerial reconnaissance. The ground infantry have multiplied and hence the number of active fronts, but this is NOT proportional to the increase in the number of aerial assets.

Further one has to bear in mind that this is a Devil’s garden. Mortar/Arti is just one aspect of the combined arms tactics of the Tamil Tigers. Its all in my brief.

Long - Ranger said...

Renegade!

"Do u wish to brand all Tamils as LTTE?..and the Tigers as Tamils?"

The answer is quite elementary. I dont believe they are a liberation force and don't believe in a Tamil Eelam hence I have omitted the words "liberation" and "eelam". :-)

Long - Ranger said...

Patriot,

"Can you tell us 53 and 55 divisions are operating in a distinguish manner or they are doing a combined missions ?

As we see in Arial photographs it seems this place bit like flat and open, is it different?"

53/55 are complementing each other.Pretty much the same way 57 and 58 are doing. The same will be expected of 59/TFIV/TFIII etc.

The land is indeed flat and open. Whatever the tree cover this land once held hardly exists thanks to the prolonged conflict.

"Why Gen. Janaka Perera joined UNP instead of present government?"

I believe he spoke of the opposition approaching him first and he had given his word to the opposition leader before the GOSL approached him.

Either way what political views he held should not be a case for arguement since he served the country with distinction under both governments. I do hope you understand my inability to go into personal details of the late General. :-)

Moshe Dyan said...

LR,

thanks for the detailed responses.

i still disagree on a few trivial things. never mind.

as regards SLAF, i'm not crying anymore!!

appreciate your contribution to the readership.

cheers.

Bomb Jack said...

Hey Ranger,

Do you guys use the M32 MGL?

Bomb Jack said...

Hello chief Moshe!

(as regards SLAF, i'm not crying anymore!!)

You should! as every infantryman does!

Navindran said...

Renegade,

"The only reason i made that comment was to save your sorry tamil asses.."

The last thing the tamils need is you trying to save them.

"anyways your so-called terrorist tamil "brehren" are getting butchered and exterminated daily,just like flies-hehehe"

You're not fooling anyone, we know what you are. Are you losers so desparate these days you're still trying to fish for information on blogsites??

sldf said...

Long Ranger,

Thanks again for the wonderful analysis.

Past two weeks there were lot of confusion as to whether the Sri Lanka Army had captured Killinochchi town? Is there any truth?

I have also notice that commander suddenly change tactics and went for Iranamadu? However I do see some immediate benefits. I'd appreciate if you can shed some light as to what is happening in Killinochchi front.

Ares said...

Long-Ranger,

What are some of the strategies and weapons we use to overcome LTTE bunds?

waruna said...

Long - Ranger

Do you have any news regarding the latest heavy battles going on in Killi and Kilaly.

Your update is appreciated

Thanks

Long - Ranger said...

Waruna, SLDF,

As I've said in my current brief and many times ago "With 58 troops having breached the earth bund defending the PARANTHAN town limits, it will be not long before the Tamil Tiger reserves based around the EPS region be under severe pressure facing a dilemma similar to the troops of 54 Division faced in 2000."

Thinning out the enemy hence improving the force to force ratio of SLA strike teams was the main aim of opening up multiple fronts on the SLA objectives. 574 was directed to breach the bund covering the THERUMURIKANDI area and advance towards IRANAMADU which is basically the starting point of KILINOCHCHI south. Earlier the fronts on KILINOCHCHI were formed by 571/572 and 582 from the North West, West and South West.

It was well known fact that the Tamil Tigers were inducting its reserves via the lagoon as happened previously when 58 troops had to abandon the breachheads of the bund they had secured earlier. Similar occurrance was averted with prior preparation and making the National Front flare up.

Its all part of the excellent coordination which I have been highlighting since many months ago.

The next objective will be to expand the breachheads, for a narrow front CANNOT support exploitation forces that will pour into the enemy's rear. Moving through a narrow front will emulate a similar failure the British endured during Operation Goodwood.

I have briefed you all in detail the risks and strategies involving earthbunds before. http://sf-3.blogspot.com/2008/11/march-to-pooneryn-and-beyond.html

Long - Ranger said...

Bombjack,

Not the M32 which is the US version produced by the same manufacturer MILKOR. SLA's elite men are issued with the Mk1 version.

Sadly there seems to have been a few cases of fraticides as well with this weapon.

Long - Ranger said...

SLDF,

"Past two weeks there were lot of confusion as to whether the Sri Lanka Army had captured Killinochchi town? Is there any truth?"

If the town is indeed in SLA hands, then the L bund and its associated defences should have melted away. The fall of the town also means the Tamil Tigers having to vacate PARANTHAN as well since it will be a salient.

However scouts have been into the town as well as in and around the IRANAMADU airstrip.

waruna said...

Hi Long Ranger

I was shocked when I saw a Tamilnet report that SLA using child soldiers. I actually don't believe it as we don't need to recruit child soldiers.

Anyway I would like to have your comments on that report

Thanks

Minikura said...

Waruna
there was response (by pundeyeelam)to this issue in Defencenet recently, see below

"It's not a child, its a soldier with a childish face.Thats why LTTE has shown only the closeup, not the full body.

Interestingly the same dead body is shown with the rest.

* Look closely the full body and the closeup both has been bleeding from the right side of the chest.

** Closeup shows bleeding from right side of the head, full body right side of the face is turned away for us to think it's another soldier.

***Ofcourse T-shirt is Different i think he was wearing it as a under T."

The link is given below

http://s416.photobucket.com/albums/pp249/pundeyeelam/

waruna said...

To Minikura

Thanks for the clarification

Minikura said...

Waruna,
You re welcome.

sldf said...

Long Ranger,

Thanks again the clarification.

It is sad to hear about the loss of brave young men of Army's 57 and 58 divisions fighting to break Paranthan and Killi defenses. Do you 57 and 58 is experiencing battle fatigue?

Pasan said...

Long Ranger,

The recently destroyed LTTE vessel as well as the intensified shelling by the LTTE proves that the tigers are in the possesion of sufficient armoury at least for the moment. We need to find those pit's where they've stock piled the arms and destroy at any cost, if we are to win the war. I hope our higher officials have taken notice of the pirate captured Ukranian ship MV Faina, which is fully loaded with military items. Bad news is....the pirates are in line to get the ransom from an unknown source for the release of cargo. It's worth millions to be on alert !