Friday, 26 December 2008

The Dilemma of the Tamil Tigers


On the aftermath of the capture of the entire JAFFNA peninsula in 1995 the battleplanners had drawn the blueprints to continue the series of operations into mainland Wanni with the main aim of extending the EPS defences up to KILINOCHCHI. With the intention of stalling these preparations the Tamil Tigers set about to dismantle the isolated MULLATIVU base on the 18th of July 1996 with Ceaseless Waves I.

Since the fall of the base the Tamil Tigers have been in control of the coastal littorals spanning from KOKKUTHUDUVAI to EPS. This coastal stretch for decades have been quite significant to the Tamil Tiger military machine especially to its sea wing. Millions of dollars worth of cargo have been unloaded along this coastal stretch and hundreds of Sea Tiger missions have been conducted along this belt against both the SLA and SLN. The lack of land routes through the dense WELIOYA jungles also meant that the sea route was the most viable and quickest to reach areas South of MULLATIVU. Furthermore MULLATIVU being strategically positioned midway along the East coast made it ideal to intercept the sea bridge connecting the Jaffna peninsula to TRINCOMALEE. The observation posts at SAMPUR/SUDAIKUDA used to relay vital intelligence of naval movements to the sea tiger bases littered around these coasts.

This heightened activity of the sea tigers along this stretch was the primary reason for the SLN to establish its doctrine of making a rendezvous point for the FAC escorts of COMNORTH and COMEAST just off the MULLATIVU coast and to conduct the now defunct Operation Waruna Kirana as a deterrent against weapons smuggling along the same waters.

With the establishment of the current politico-military machine in 2005, one of the main objectives highlighted in the first Security Council Meeting was to clip the abilities of the Sea Tigers and thereby starve the Tamil Tigers of its much needed logistics. Carrying on the tradition of securing the coastal belt before jutting inland which successfully secured the Eastern province, the battleplanners set about to implement a similar doctrine towards Wanni. While securing the Western belt fell on the THOPPIGALA heroes of TF1, the responsibility of the Eastern belt fell on the newly formed 59 Division.

Since the birth of 59 HQ on the 13th of December 2007 it has made serious inroads to the Tamil Tiger heartland maintaining roughly a 16Km front along the Eastern coast.

At the moment 591 Brigade who laid siege on ALAMPIL are moving along the coastline and are operating South of TANNIYUTTU/CHILAWATTAI areas. Knowing very well the 59 troops were converging on MULLATIVU the Tamil Tigers set about creating an extension to the L bund all the way from the IRANAMADU tank connecting KALMADU, VISUVAMADU, MULLIYAWALI and CHILAWATTAI. However due to forward operating elements of 591 the Tamil Tigers have failed to extend the bund up to the coast at CHILAWATTAI. Such forward operating exploitation forces are known to operate around areas hugging the lagoon and the Vattapalai amman kovil. Some recon teams have also managed to conduct Forward Observation (FO) of the MULLIYAWALI airstrip facility. Once 591 intercepts the A34 it would severe MULLIYAWALI from MULLATIVU and the coast.

Mulliyawali airstrip

Image of MULLIYAWALI airstrip. Note the paved North Eastern section and the unpaved but hardened South Western extension. Source- Jane's

593 Brigade meanwhile are heading towards the all important MULLIYAWALI area which holds important Government institutions such as the hospital and Vidyananda college. North of this buildup area holds the Tamil Tigers' latest air strip which has been undergoing a 1000m extension towards the South West. As highlighted earlier such a lengthy runway is not meant for the Tamil Tigers' Zlin/PC7 fleet but larger aircraft. Given its meager resources it is unlikely the Tamil Tigers would have invested so much time and effort on a white elephant. A similar guerilla organisation the FARC have had successful airdrops over Southern Colombia where aircrafts have flown over the Canary islands and Guyana dropping its cargo and flying through to IQUITOS in Peru's side of the Amazon river. Similar drops were to be made from KIGALI in Rwanda to the Alpha one base of UNITA rebels in Angola. The mercenary pilot who was recruited for the mission Brian 'Sport' Martin recalls him landing a Boeing 707 on a 'very narrow' 1800 yard runway with a landing weight of over 12 tonnes during a mission to Congo. In his interview he has said "Whatever else one may think of them, the crews involved in this clandestine world are consummate aviators who are able to fly in conditions beyond normal limits". It is indeed beyond normal limits to attempt a landing on a 1000m airstrip. Perhaps this explains why the Tamil Tigers are pursuing to extend the MULLIYAWALI runway up to 2000m. The 1000m extension may also serve any logistics aircraft with sufficient over-run area if it attempts a landing during the rough monsoons which will help the Tamil Tigers to exploit the instrumental limitations of the SLAF. And hence they will be in a better position to entice any interested mercenary aviator to take up the mission of illegally navigating to the Wanni. This also brings to light one hidden advantage the Zlin 'airstrikes' pose. Any takeoff of the Zlin aircraft and its return back to Wanni unscathed no matter how inaccurate the bombing run is; can still be used to display the infancy of the Sri Lankan air defence/interceptor capability to any interested mercenaries and support any recruitment of such mercenary pilots easily to the organisation. If the possibility of a successful interception was high with a high risk landing on a short runway with a heavy landing weight, the Tamil Tigers may find it hard to recruit any potential mercenary pilots who are skilled enough for the job. If that is the case the plausible option would be to air drop the cargo without making a landing.

Meanwhile 592 Brigade have made strides to prepare the ground for a possible link up of the 59 Division with two other Divisions, namely TFIII and TFIV. 592 augmented the efforts of the newly established TFIV by cutting off the MULLATIVU-NEDUNKERNI road from KODDALIKKALLU and are expected to intercept the ODDUSUDAN-MULLATIVU A34 road. This would render the Tamil Tiger resistance towards TFIII incapable of operating at full efficiency. The rapid movements of the daring commanders of this Division has made the Tamil Tigers to reposition the planned earth bund. According to captured/surrendered cadres the initial plan had been to position the bund defending the all important A34 which provides the Tamil Tigers a vital road link cutting through the dense jungles. However this was not to be.

With the possible fall of both MULLIYAWALI and TANNIYUTTU the guerilla stronghold PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU comes under immense threat since the road from TANNIYUTTU junction runs straight to PUTHUKKUDIYIRUPPU via VATTAPPALAI amman kovil and KEPPAPULAVU. However this road runs through an urban area. Given the fact that the modern SLA doctrine of exploiting as much as cover and concealment via circuitous routes, it can be expected for the SLA to employ concealed, dispersed, small unit independent manoeuvre techniques. This terrain offers plenty of cover but the useable dead ground is often irregularly shaped and irregularly distributed. Hence to make most of it careful scouting, mapping of minefields, MG posts, sites of fighting positions to fit the peculiarities of each unit's immediate surroundings is required. Long gone are the text book formations that marched towards the objective along open roads and then held onto the objective with formulaic defensive formations.

If the 57/58 Divisions are attempting to force the door on the Tamil Tiger heartland by assaulting KILINOCHCHI/PARANTHAN, then for those two divisions the areas surrounding MULLATIVU turns out to be the deep battle space where the Tamil Tigers are known to house its commanders/ammo dumps/supply routes/hospitals treating injured cadre and training bases for new recruits. Any strikes towards the rear reduces the command efficiency of the enemy, forces the enemy to restrict its movements and dents its aura of invincibility. Such strikes substantially increases the time the guerillas require to counter concentrate, move supplies or replacements of a sufficient force to the forward lines. This can also compel the enemy to disperse its stocks/fuel hence further slowing resupply and can seriously depress the enemy's operating tempos. Without a stable rear the guerillas can still continue to fight and offer resistance, however the performance will fall dramatically when they are denied the essential support and coordination that separates a military from an armed mob.

With 59 Division inching towards the Tamil Tiger rear the Sri Lankan forces have easy access to this all important deep battle sphere. With the NAYARU lagoon and ALAMPIL coming under Government's writ, the 59 commanders have been busy establishing additional fire support bases surrounding this area making Tamil Tiger strongholds that are known to hold many vital guerilla installations within range of the T59 130mm howitzers. Such a development is a serious concern to the Tamil Tigers since it allows the field commanders a real time strike capability. However the saving grace for the Tamil Tigers has been the high concentration of civilian population held up in this area which pose as a deterrent. Since the SLA have no precision guided artillery shells such as the XM982 Excalibur 155mm projectile, artillery fire have been directed towards targets that are assessed to pose less collateral damage. SLAF's arsenal of precision guided munitions (PGMs) will still continue to see action till concentration of the civilian population are thought to be reduced to 'safer' levels.

Furthermore is the fact that with every inch 59 forges ahead, is an inch the Tamil Tigers lose of their one and only coastal belt. Due to the rough seas that persisted during the last two months and SLN's instrumental limitations in such rough seas the Tamil Tigers had managed to unload significant amounts of supplies along the MULLATIVU coast. This was verified by civilians who managed to cross over into GOSL territory and surrendered cadres. Unfortunately this was also verified by the very high volume of indirect fire which some field commanders explained as the 'mortar monsoon'.

The fierce defensive battle the Tamil Tigers are conducting along the PARANTHAN/KILINOCHCHI/IRANAMADU axis according to the pro-tamiltiger pundits is a war winning battle plan. However the ground situation does not reflect this at all. As mentioned previously in the doctrine of a defensive battle plan, its main objective is to invite the enemy to attack, deter the enemy long enough and grind them till the defending commanders decide an opportune moment to launch their counterattack to completely reverse the present status quo. Such a counterstrike at any stage remains the crucial factor in the defensive battle, battleplan. It is almost always the last act. However, the great danger of this battleplan is that the defender may not really know the enemy's full real intentions. It very well might be the enemy who actually has the initiative intending to pin the bulk of defensive forces down and outflank them from elsewhere.

With so many avenues of approach, divisions and units available for the Sri Lankan battle planners to outfox the Tamil Tigers unlike in any other previous Eelam wars, they; and they only hold all the cards of surprise and dynamism to take any of the available avenues that may not be eagerly apparent to the enemy. As indicated by the last poll conducted in my portal, not even the diligent followers of the Sri Lankan war were able to predict what SLA's next objective was after POONERYN. As always only time told...


londonistan said...

Good, current analysis as always, Sir.

For my part, i am encouraged by the number of sorties conducted by SLAF (particulary, night time raids targetting an extension of a bun to Iranamadu North recently) but am concerned by the ease with which the LTTE have managed to re-supply and the possibilit of a daring 'The Lord of War'-style re-supply mission by air or airdrop as you say.

hemantha said...

59 is moving too fast even for the Long Ranger's standard. I guess you have written the middle part few days back. But still this is a very good analysis. Thank you.

waruna said...

Dear Long Ranger

Thank you for the analysis. We are expecting more and more analysis from you.

have a nice day


waruna said...

Mulliyawalai LTTE terror bastion under-siege: terrorists sustain heavy damages- Mullaittivu
59 Division troops have entered the Mulliawalai township along the A-34 Oddusudan- Mullaittivu main road claiming soaring LTTE casualties after hours of heavy fighting that broke-out between troops and LTTE in the tactically important battle terrain since last evening (Dec 25).

According to latest reports received from the battlefield, 16 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (16SLLI) regiment troops are now engaged in a fierce gun battle with LTTE in the area, today(Dec 26). Troops had to come across difficult ground where mobility was seriously limited, area military sources said. Terrorists have constructed long stretches of earth bunds, which were successfully negotiated by the advancing infantry battalions, the sources added.

Earlier, on Thursday (25) soldiers captured an LTTE communication tower located North of Mulliyawali. According to Army media sources, "3 fortified overhead bunkers constructed in defence of the tower with a height of about 40 ft showed its significance to the LTTE in maintaining communication between their bases".

An LTTE terrorist body and a communication set were also recovered by the troops from the same area during clearing operations conducted subsequent to the confrontations, yesterday.

Terrorist resistances in Mullaittivu are disintegrating with the intense military amour, artillery and infantry assaults, Wanni defences sources said adding that the 7GW troops have also closed-in on Tanniyuttu, an LTTE stronghold located 3.5km further Northeast along the A-34 main road. The advancing troops were also assisted with close-combat air support provided by the SLAF jets and MI-24 helicopter gunships, military sources said.

Terrorists being cutoff of both reinforcements and logistic supplies are receiving heavy beating from the advancing military flanks either side of the Eastern Mullaittivu battlefront. The capture of Mulliyawalai is expected to trigger the fall of Tanniyuttu, defence observes stated. The fall of Tanniyuttu is inevitable and this marks history with an expected double blow to LTTE in the 'boxing-day', and the fourth year commemoration of the 2004 Tsunami.

Meanwhile, security forces have now gained control over a 9km stretch of the A-34 main road, along the Oddusudan- Mullaittivu main road. This is the first time ever that security forces have entered into the fringes of Mulliyawali and its outskirts, defence observers stated.

bungu said...

Dear Long Ranger,

Thanks for the article!

Right now I could see 5 LTTE bases on the Orbat map.

If we assume they keep 1000 carders per base then they have at least 5000 strong fighting force. Then there could be some more unidentified bases and camps. So my estimate of current enemy strength is 10000~15000.

What do you think?

Defence Column said...

# Eelam war as seen by ‘Lieutenant’ SubramaniAM Priya
Click here

# Minister calls to crush terrorism
Click here

# A welcome development
Click here

# With continued support for war against terror: Troops maintain momentum in all fronts
Click here

# Who’s fooling whom?
Click here

Wakkaman said...

Thank you for this superb analysis, Long Ranger. I follow this blog for nearly a year now, and was eagerly awaiting your update.

[quote]As indicated by the last poll conducted in my portal, not even the diligent followers of the Sri Lankan war were able to predict what SLA's next objective was after POONERYN. As always only time told...[/quote]
May I remind you that in your poll, the possibility of indicating Mullaitivu as the next target was not given? ;-) The sealing off of the Eastern coast of the Wanni is the key to the final act in this war.

With most of the Tiger troops tied to the Muhamalai and the Paranthan-Killinochi fronts, the neutralization of Mullathivu is an imminent possibility. For historic reasons the army might consider it preferable to actually take the town and the site of the 1996 massacre.

The last main land target on the coast has to be Chundikulam. It has the disadvantage that it is close to the important tiger complexes of Theravilkulam and therefore likely to be very vigorously defended. Perhaps, too, the importance of the remaining littoral stretch dominated by the tigers diminishes with the end of this monsoon. Better weather conditions will enable the navy to more effectively prevent significant arms deliverances to the Tigers.

nemesis said...

Thank you for yet another splendid write up. yes indeed time will tell...

but I have a feeling that the TAF will buzz about again, and this time if they do have a PC-7..could bring one or two rocket pods with them, they'll make a better mess (which in turn in more air time in the media) and could hit some targets with better accuracy...

I hope Im wrong, but as to what you say about a cargo bird to the extended runway, burma & Laos are not too far for a AN-12 or similar flight to hop across!

best regards for the new year LR,
lets hope major Operations end and open warfare end in 2009...
but then we might well face a long terror camp. for some time eh?? well lets see what 2009 brings in.


Defence Column said...

Excellent write up. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up. Tanks.....

# Continued clashes in Kilinochchi outskirts; TF 1 enters Nalanawakulam village
Click here

# Air Force goes for terror leadership while army closing in LTTE HQ
Click here

lovethynation said...

brilliant post LR, and I am an dilligent follower of your articles. I have a query though. I searched for the Mulankavil LTTE air strip but could not find it in the Google earth. do you have the coordinates for it?

Ogre said...

Long Ranger,

Right now LTTE's weapons stocks are enough for another 2-3 weeks of resistance.

LTTE is also hurriedly reinforcing multativu and then building zig zag bunds across the paranthan--mulativu and all roads south of mulativu.

The force strength I think is adequate for capturing these pos. But LTTE manages to find the most strongest frontal thrust and puts big numbers and quality cadre. in local battles they seem to know where the point of attack is, but in the larger sphere they do not have any idea.

Ogre said...

long ranger

Kili was never a focal point of attack, but politics forced the div to take it.

the objectives are much deep, we already have plans for post war...which I think US didnt even have in Iraq.

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

Wishing Longranger and all who blog a Happy and wholesome 2009!

keep em coming ranger, I wish you'd get that seat in the map room or op's room in 2009. thats if you have not been there already :) best regards..keep your powder dry

~There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy~ George Washington.

Bomb Jack said...

Looks like your sailors are suffering from backscatter on monsoon seas.

perein said...

Long Ranger-
Thanks for the detailed article

Bro, Can you define whom do you mean by the "we" as below (from your comment)?
Do you mean the forces or the politicians?

the objectives are much deep, we already have plans for post war...which I think US didnt even have in Iraq.

Hawkeye said...


Been an avid reader for a while. Got an question if you dont mind.

There is much debate on the strategy to counter ltte mortar fire. Obviously the SLA are still moving forward despite this mortar fire meaning they have the answers to counter mortar fire.

If you dont mind can you describe briefly on how it is done?

And I love this when you say "With so many avenues of approach, divisions and units available for the Sri Lankan battle planners to outfox the Tamil Tigers unlike in any other previous Eelam wars, they; and they only hold all the cards of surprise and dynamism"

Its so true with 58 Division. Keep up the great work.

TropicalStorm said...

I would've thought the better strategy for the SLDF would be to pin the enemy in 4-5 different distant theatres where their fighting assets cannot be easily transfered from one to the other.
That would allow the SLDF to 'soften up' the LTTE adequately in each location seperately prior to a systematic annihilation, or precipitate an organizational implosion.

Either way, there's more than one way to skin this cat and the SLDF planners appear to know all the tricks.

Calvin said...

Good article brother!
as always !

annonymousthesecond said...

Always believed that the so called “legendary mobility of the tigers” was part of the operational invincibility they achieved by means of planning and structure. a main element of this mobility is that they maintain hidden armories without the accompanying large cadre. what they do is they move the cadre around light (without any equipment and also have distributed cadre) assemble them near the base they are going to hit. Therefor the great sense of mobility and force concentration hence the operational invincibility.

SLA haven't managed to break this structure of invincibility in the past. Therefor if they can manage to get arms within areas outside of north east they might launch large attacks just to tire and confuse SLA, the Government and the population. But it looks like the LTTE wouldn't be able to range into SLA deep territory in strength. By looking at the recent news LTTE achieved this invincibility by having a preemptive strike Southwest of iranamadu tank. Is it only the tempo of SLA that is disrupting LTTE invincibility or has the SLA profiled the structure and have an active plan to break this structure.

If they can annihilate a division like the 58 the primary objective of Pillai Prabakaran would be to make southern leadership lose the bowels and the political will. For no reason the commander, the secretary or the leadership should think that there will be popular support under economic hardship and a major setback. Part of the split personality of Pillai Prabakaran would know that it cant win against a army but always strive for a win. The other part will be always directing the circumstances towards the politico-militaristic principles he have learned of delivering huge blows putting the enemy at knees. There will be so many countries India being the major one who will be knocking on the SLG door saying this is not winnable. Furthermore out of the present situation if the LTTE have the ability and subterfuge to capture Jaffna shouldn't they be ...

Isn't the major part of LTTE success lies on the structure, total concentration and the major investment on feigning and intelligence. Its the capability, pro activeness and the energy of the SLA/SLG that checked this. At times as naive as it can be Pillai Prabakarans strategies and tactics they work because of the boldness and circumstances. Major part of the strategy and tactics of the eelam war 4 were to blockade the troops and heavy use of explosives, claymores and grenades. In the same vein his naiveness would be planning large hits on SLA and large hits in the south in the present situation. Wouldn't a major secondary objective of the present resistance would be to prepare ground and maneuver SLA to a large kill zone. Feel one of their tactics would be to have long tunnels to insert cadre to the SLA rear. And also large demolition zones, hiding cadres underground. Shouldn't the forces expect a biggest blow in the south qualitative wise.

In the past two thirds of the ability of the LTTE was the varied inabilities of the south. Pillai Prabakarans main trait is naive boldness. At times that would be very effective. After SLA reach and go beyond paranthan LTTE would go for a strategic hit in the south and after that launch a counteroffensive in the north. Hope for a country which bled for 25 years this is the end of that.

Longranger could you kindly please explain/analyze all the reasons why the Nagarkovil is left alone couldn't this axis be used to fight a a dynamic and mobile war eventually opening the LTTE rear. And wouldn't very heavy and fast momentum be given to 59, 58 turn north from paranthan rather than going east.
Anyway to be fair to us your readers in your poll regarding the SLA objective you haven't included alampil. So out of the choices you have given we have got it right isn't it?

waruna said...

Paranthan falls to our security forces

Lets salute our brave soldiers.

Rajaratakai said...

I very thorough post mate..well done, I believe mate SLAF has bombed the Mulliyawalli air strip in the past right ? Have ya heard any news on the ltte battle tank that was active around Parathan ?
Also, why ltte has no offensive suicide wave capability or are they saving it till SLA gets to Mulletivu west ? Abt. Mullaitivu can SLDF stage a amphib landing in Mullaitivu since, it makes offensive sense now ?

Keep up the good work mate !
Roohaaah !

wijayapala said...


"I would've thought the better strategy for the SLDF would be to pin the enemy in 4-5 different distant theatres where their fighting assets cannot be easily transfered from one to the other."

What do you think the SLA had been doing for the last year and a half?

Pottu said...

Annoymoustheseond has said a good point.

In order to counter act the LTTE hiding weapons everywhere, I think, SLA should use LTTE cadre double agents and also there may be aerial scanning methods to find the changes in magnetism in different areas. So, a low flying airplane may be able to map it.

Pottu said...

Finding of hidden weapons is an good one instance that GOSL/SLA should get the help of universities like people to find a method to finish this with the help of the army.

By, that way, money that goes overseas can be used within the country.

Ranil said...

I believe Ogre meant forces and sri lanka when he said "we" cos he is SLDF to my knowledge

Long - Ranger said...


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

Quite a dicey question from the God of war.

After mapping out the terrain with the information provided by the forward recce teams and snipers the commanders set about the strategy. The basics of the strategy is to spearhead the assault with elites either the commandos in the case of 58 or the Special forces in the case of 57 and create a breachpoint. At this breachpoint the infantry will set about rapidly deploying our own defences filling up empty gunny sacks with dirt. If the terrain and intel permits, the elites can even outflank the target objective even from the rear. Since the elites have the penchant of distinguishing themselves from the rest with bandannas for example, seeing the bandanna clad men heading towards the defences followed by the regular infantry ensures the Tamil Tigers that no elites will strike from the rear. Hence as a measure to ‘fool’ the enemy at times the regular infantry may wear bandannas while the real elite strikes at the rear.

This is just the minimum basics of one of many many strategies. I have NOT even touched on the combined arms tactics. The captured earth bunds and trenches are used extensively to train prior to any assault.

Long - Ranger said...


“I guess you have written the middle part few days back.”

Whenever time permits I add a line or two to my brief and it grows with time. So, yes I had this saved for a while. Just that my priorities lies somewhere else. :-)


“So my estimate of current enemy strength is 10000~15000.”

With any guerrilla organisation that has access to a civilian population base the rule of thumb is NEVER to estimate and assume. It will only raise a false sense of security.


My pleasure.

“May I remind you that in your poll, the possibility of indicating Mullaitivu as the next target was not given?”

Is the reason not too obvious? :-)


“Longranger could you kindly please explain/analyze all the reasons why the Nagarkovil is left alone couldn't this axis be used to fight a a dynamic and mobile war”

Negative. The primary reason is the limitations presented by the terrain which mostly consist of soft sand complemented with littered marshland. The recent inclement weather made it worse since these marshes held all the water and made the area somewhat submerged.


“Kili was never a focal point of attack, but politics forced the div to take it.”

Military strategy wise KILINOCHCHI bears no significance. The significance lay mainly towards the lay public and the world at large. The other fact is that if 57 was to move its assault towards MULLATIVU it HAD to cross KILINOCHCHI one way or another. Say for example 58 having to cross the strategically insignificant areas such as ADAMPAN to reach its objective at POONERYN. Further is the objective of eliminating as much as Tamil Tigers from the battlefield then and there instead of engaging them somewhere else. The months long resistance and counterattacks enabled this objective. If one read clearly between the lines of my briefs released during the last few months, I have clearly said which will fall first out of PARANTHAN and KILINOCHCHI and why the Tamil Tigers will automatically withdraw from KILINOCHCHI since it becomes a salient.

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.

“we already have plans for post war...”

Even though it is too early to say at this moment in time, it will involve a similar setting to the East. Interestingly a similar programme is implemented in Iraq involving the Sunni paramilitary groups calling themselves the Sons of Iraq. The recruits are drawn from the ranks of former insurgents and acts as police auxiliaries. The results are pretty impressive I’ve been told.

Bomb Jack,

“Looks like your sailors are suffering from backscatter on monsoon seas.”

Tamil Tigers have always cashed in during the monsoons exploiting the limitations of the Naval instruments as I have touched in the brief. The seas off the coast of MULLATIVU/VETTILEIKERNI are pretty rough during the NE monsoons. The attempted suicide assault on the two cargo vessels too was carried out on rough seas. Luckily for us they couldn’t beat the visuals.

Long - Ranger said...


My pleasure.

“If you dont mind can you describe briefly on how it is done?”

By looking at past questions this seems to be quite a hot topic. Perhaps it warrants a brief completely dedicated to indirect fire support?

Here goes in a nutshell.

To achieve neutralization, rule of thumb is that it must deliver enough rounds to destroy 30% of the intended target(s).
Knowing very well what sort of assets the Tamil Tigers are using at any given arti/mortar encounter the combined arms commander will have a rough idea of the range of the Call for fire zone CFFZ is and will take measures to send a fire mission to the supported Fire Control Elements FCE to launch a barrage to suppress this fire. Each firing command is given depending on the priority order of the Call for fire CFF. This barrage may or may not completely neutralise the enemy mortar batteries. What it almost definitely does is forces the enemy mortar/arti to Shoot and scoot. This reduces its firing rate by roughly a factor of ten or more even if it kills none. Assuming 5-10 mins to reach, setup new azimuth and elevation at new firing positions and recommence firing. This manoeuvre delays can be negated if the Tamil Tigers use multiple fire locations. One location fires while the other is cold. The first one scoots while the second one goes hot. The cycle continues. But what wont change is the rough range of the CFFZ hence with the superior number of assets the combined arms commander can still neutralise the CFFZ. The RM70 for example can saturate an area of 3 hectares in one volley.

These manoeuvres have been in place for the last decade or so. What’s more different now than before is the change of SLA manoeuvre tactics in dispersed small man teams. Dispersion reduces vulnerability by putting fewer targets in the splash damage radius of an incoming shell. Artillery was never meant to target soldiers. They are meant to target the centroid of formations.
As put out in the public media the majority of indirect fire by the Tamil Tigers WERE NOT directed at marauding small teams. It is hard to target these highly mobile assault teams. Hence the Tamil Tigers directed at the one thing that is NOT mobile, their own earthbund and its strongpoints which fell.

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

LR said


"May I remind you that in your poll, the possibility of indicating Mullaitivu as the next target was not given?"

Is the reason not too obvious? :-)"

It is! :LOL:

Moshe Dyan said...

long ranger,

a revisit of an old topic due to its relevance.

SLA had attacked murasumoaddai and surrounds yesterday which is in the are south-east of EPS. these are the areas that supported fire power,etc. to tigers fighting SLA north of EPS.

as i said b4 the REAL battle in the N-M-K sector is fought from positions 14-25 km apart. (this led to a lot of confusion then!)

clearing of this area has been/is being done by both SLAF and SLA.

now we have reached that 14-25km from N-M-K area, (from the south) of EPS, victory is certain.

further attacks are needed in the area south and south east of EPS before moving in.

tigers seem to be holding on to nagarkovil than other areas in this sector. they need to be "handled".

thanks for your previous responses. this matter had a remarkable resolution AFAIC!

Bomb Jack said...

Dont get me wrong Chief Moshe but isnt this marusapotai area some 31 kilos away from the FDL of your army? The last time I observed the maximum range of howitzers in operation within the island goes to around 26Kilos. Unless the Tamils managed to smuggle in some A100s thorough a rogue Chinese general. haha.


Interesting you mentioned about sons of Iraq. I believe it was some field meeting of the fellas that went up in smoke today at Yusufiya. The downside of militias is you never know who is under.

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

Happy New Yea LR!
Bloody Marvellous - The capture of Kilinochhi. Any more Surprises – Now that SLA’s influence overwhelms all along A9, it has extended all the way to EPS. Marvellous! Congratulations! –“… Meanwhile 35 Ratha Regiment elite Tigers were killed when they clashed with a Brigade from the 59 Division near the town of Oddusudan yesterday” 02/01

There was a story last week or so that Tamil Tigers received a shipment of Arms off the coast of Mullaittivu/Mulliyan . Any confirmation of this and about the consignment

Also just herd that Tamil Tigers are withdrawing to Chalai by sea.

Thank You for the analysis and for the Article

Moshe Dyan said...

bomb jack,

yes it is.

the point is, it forces LTTE to vacate its positions ESPECIALLY remove big guns/long range motar (which are VERY VERY valuable for them now) from the area < 31 km counted from SL FDLs.

Moshe Dyan said...

31 km is indicative as SLA is targeting the said area. essentially > 26 km. attacking the area within 26 is also happening as 58 is very cautious in they pounce.

sorry, couldn't write in the earlier post.

Long - Ranger said...

Negative again Mr. Dyan.

You are assuming too much here that every single air strike that takes place in a particular area say for example the MARUSAMOTTAI area, targets Tamil Tiger indirect fire batteries?. Well, here’s something I can reveal. On one single day there were 8 airstrikes and NONE of them were concerned with Tamil Tiger indirect fire support units. There are no indirect fire units stationed at MARUSAMOTTAI that could reach the MUHAMALE axis. It is just simply out of range. Furthermore the only assets that could target the 25/26Km range are the 130mm howitzers that at the moment only a maximum of 4 such units (Reports of 2 damaged during previous confontations, not proved) available for the Tamil Tigers. With 4 units you simply CANNOT suppress counterbattery fire.

In current warfare artillery support alone cannot win war. There is always going to be dead space available hence you combine the artillery with MG posts and Devil's gardens to increase your FFR. It is a well understood doctrine hence in current military parlance it goes by the name Combined arms tactics and is taught as a separate module as the CATAC course among other modules such as joint operations planning, battle group planning, formation battle planning etc.

It is quite an arduous subject to grasp for the average layman and certainly not in a few blog lines. At times it is a difficult subject to grasp even for seasoned officers after weeks of lectures. :-)

Happy new year to you as well.

“Any confirmation of this and about the consignment”

I believe the Naval intelligence sources are piecing together the complete list. Hence, I am yet to hear anything regarding this. However it is safe to assume that it consisted mainly of artillery/mortar shells. Supplies from the Indian warehouses has mainly been less suspicious fuel, batteries and medical supplies.

Moshe Dyan said...

long ranger,

thanks for the reply, mate. that was informative as ever.

"On one single day there were 8 airstrikes and NONE of them were concerned with Tamil Tiger indirect fire support units."

need NOT be. by this time i'm sure LTTE has removed most of their fire support units as they are too precious.

"There are no indirect fire units stationed at MARUSAMOTTAI that could reach the MUHAMALE axis."

of course. i explained this in the reply to bombjack.

but looks like you have missed my main theme here.

"the REAL battle in the N-M-K sector is fought from positions 14-25 km apart."

this was it.

it has been proved correct now. TF-1/58 is clearing THIS AREA and NOT the area within!!

on top of that SLAF is also softening this area.

of course SLA/SLAF are ALSO clearing areas BEYOND this that are supplying to these areas which is fantastic.

only after they had cleared this can 53/55 move in.

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


Detailed analysis,as always!!.thanks..

Could you confirm whether we have got any new goodies?..and if its not too confidential(i mean,killi is captured and EPS is gonna fall soon), could you reveal the make/models of these weapon systems??

sldf said...

Long ranger,

It seems TF 1 is heading straight to EP complex. TF1 has already reached the southern outskirts of Elephant Pass (EPS). Also recent Army's rain of MBRL and arti fire across the lagoon from both from south and north indicate that Army has plans to inflict maximum causalities to remaining LTTE forces in national front. This would be the best opportunity to for Sri Lanka Navy to cut off LTTE supplies from NK, Killali fronts to mullaithivu.

If you can shed some light to developments in the EP & National front in the coming days that will be great.

Hawkeye said...

Long Ranger,

Fantastic! Thank you for your response. So apart from experience this artilery target zone can also be known with firefinders as well I believe.


Something tells me 58 won't go to EP complex. It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever to me.

Hawkeye said...

A January 7th article from Asia times.

Long Ranger,

Today's island and Tamilnet have reported of RAW flights over the LTTE areas. Anything you know of that? Cheers.

sldf said...

I think India is inpatient to get their hands on our "friend" Praba. India is constantly keep under surveillance the North eastern coast for possible LTTE infiltrations into tamilnadu. These Air and Naval operations are been carried out with Sri Lankan authorities.

Looks like LTTE have already vacated from the western sector of the national front. Soon in the coming days they will withdraw from the eastern coast in the national front.

Long Ranger,

Will the commander send both 55 and 53 to mainland or plans are to send only one division? Also I hope 58 and 57 defenses are not over stretched - especially 58 south eastern flank since LTTE Mullative defenses will be reinforced by good 1000-1500 cadres and mortar units from national front. Well timed massive counter attack from LTTE can not be rules out in this sector against 58. If one of the divisions above come down I believe we should be ok. Hope you understand my concerns and appreciate if you can shed some light here.

Bomb Jack said...


Well predicted.

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

Long Ranger, I've been checking your blog almost daily for an update. When will we see one? I'd love to read our perspective on the final stage of the war :)

Please be kind and write some thing, even if it is 2 paragraphs :)

Moshe Dyan said...

this is exactly what i said about south & south east of EPS for a LONG LONG time!

"Separately, jets have raided LTTE vehicles carrying two heavy artillery guns in general area Chundikulam around 4.00PM. SLAF fighter jets immediately launched air sorties once observed LTTE vehicle movement caring artillery guns from Chundikulam towards Chalai. Two LTTE artillery guns were completely destroyed due to the attack, air force spokesperson confirmed."

suerly these are the one that stopped us from getting EPS, now being relocated.

well done SLAF!!

i had a MAJOR disagreement with the LONG RANGER over this. now the third element of my argument has also come true. (second one being the way EPS was captured).

thank you LR for discussing it.

now the biggest challenge is HARVESTING tigers (in my "chena boy" terms!!) to complete (of course taking land as needed is part of the equation) the wipe out.

Su33 said...

Ok ive been following this discussion for a while and find it quite amusing.

Come on Moshe. Who are you trying to impress here? Just look at your own previous comments. First you said the real battle was 14-25 Kms away. Then you said SLAF was bombing marusamoddai and was jumping with joy that SLAF was listening to you. But then marusamoddai is over 30Kms away from Muhamale. And now you jump with joy over Chuddukulam which is again some 30Kms away from Muhamale.

If the real battles are 14-25km away then what the hell is happening at mulativu? When Shavi was fighting at Mannar then SLAF should have continued bombing pooneryn with your 14-25 Km theory. Me and Eksath have been compiling SLAf strikes for the last 2 years please go and have a look.

Where's the continuity of your arguement?

Like happened in the discussion with the ranger how can you completely ignore mortar fire like 81mm or 120mm? Veterans like ranger know their stuff and strut their stuff. They don’t need counting lessons from you. Remember the SLAF duty list you posted? Which even our eelam friends found quite amusing?

And oh recruiting people with suicide intent into forces was also quite amusing.

Who are you trying to impress so much?

And if you ever change your mind regarding the SLAF please drop a line over here. Afterall they do a 9 to 5 shift ha? heehee. And oh you could post your SLAF to do list over there. Cant wait to see you torn away by the real airmen. heehee.

Moshe Dyan said...


i had a fruitful discuccion with the LR, not with you or your sl_t mother!!!

Ranil said...

Oh c'mon MD
don't be a looser by insulting people when you can't take their points...
this is anopen blog...
folks can critique and should do so by all means...
your showing you immaturity by calling people and their parents names when logic fails you...
now go ahead and insult me too

Anusha Ganegoda said...

we are very grateful to your effort and courage. Finally we are free from LTTE!

The Sufferer said...

Great post. I'd be really interested in hearing more about these flights especially.