Sunday, 28 September 2008

57 expands its tentacles

57 copy

After 57 successfully captured MALLAVI and UYILANKULAM on the 22nd of August 08, displaying immense flexibility and manoeuvrability the focus of 57 shifted to the A9 trunk road. The triple assault on the SFHQ-W on the 9th of September 08 at VAVUNIYA made the battleplanners shift their focus towards the A9, which was used to tow the Tamil Tiger heavy guns and possibly to make one of their Zling-143 aircraft airborne.

With the Tamil Tiger main defence line already running from NACHCHIKUDA to West of AKKARAYANKULAM, they set about with hectic preparations to extend their earth bund towards the East of AKKARAYANKULAM to prevent 57 from reaching the outskirts of KILINOCHCHI. To seize the initiative early on from the Tamil Tigers, troops attached to 571 were dispatched with two main objectives at hand:

1. Cut off the AKKARAYANKULAM-TERUMURIKANDI road

2. Thereby cutting off any supplies running towards AKKARAYANKULAM, and encircle the AKKARANKULAM tank thus outflanking the staunch Tamil Tiger defences based west of AKKARAYANKULAM. This also relieves the pressure on 58 Division battling the same earth bund running between NACHCHIKUDA to KARAMBAKULAM.

While 571 is faced with these objectives, 572 from KOKAVIL and 573 from MANKULAM are tasked with cutting off the A9 to prevent the Tamil Tigers from exploiting the A9 to bring vital security installations under its artillery range and bringing in supplies to its VAVUNIYA front. With this move the 57 Division is very well poised to capture two major hubs of the Tamil Tigers. If KOKAVIL is of political value, MANKULAM is of the highest military value for it is a vital junction that connects the A9 to the A34 that runs through dense MULATIVU jungles towards the North East. The overall military gain of this move is the denial of the A9 from KOKAVIL to MANKULAM to the Tamil Tigers. With the cut off of the A9 from the North, the 56 and 62 Divisions further South battling the Tamil Tigers are expected to find a depleted resistance and ease through the territory once the Tamil Tiger defences flood away on its own due to the lack of vital supplies and medevacs.

With one of the priorities being to filter out civilians as much as from the Wanni hinterland before a final onslaught, thus far the battleplanners have left the A9 as a conflict free zone. This is to make sure the civilians moving towards the OMANTHAI entry/exit point to be free of hassle as well as to ensure the smooth flow of humanitarian aid.

With the current developments taking shape on the A9 from MANKULAM onwards, aid agencies are expected to take the A34 towards MULATIVU avoiding the current conflict zones. This move also highlights the likely areas where a major military thrust is likely to take place.

With the Tamil Tigers fast losing its vast swathes of territory it once had, its VIPs and valuable assets are now confined to a limited land area - namely the dense MULATIVU forest. Using the knowledge of Tiger guerilla doctrine, the capability of modern weapon systems/platforms and the laws of elimination, the day of the dreaded decapitation strikes for the Tamil Tigers that will eliminate their once invincible leaders once and for all is not far off. Only time will tell...

19 comments:

TropicalStorm said...

Great article yet again.

What I am unable to understand though is why the SLA allows the LTTE to continue to maintain a check point within a few miles from its positions on the A9.

If the objective of keeping the A9 out of battle plans is to facilitate free civillian movement, allowing an LTTE check point defeats that purpose and only serves the enemy, who manipulates civillians and uses the road for war logistical purposes. Taking out any LTTE presences, strong points would make it a more attractive escape route for the civillians and force the LTTE heirarchy to continue to commit manpower to try and hold this position under control.

SLA should continuously assault any LTTE presence on the A9 at least from now on.

Long-Ranger said...

Tropical storm,

The answer is quite elementary. It is through this post the NGOs/humanitarian aid deliveries get their respective passes from the Tamil Tigers. Until liberated, 'officially' the land the Tamil Tigers posses belong to their territory. That I believe is the current agreement they have with regards to humanitarian aid. This post also helps the warring parties to exchange captured corpses. If not for this point, where would anyone be in continuous contact with the Tamil Tigers? As you may know currently the Tamil Tigers are shifting their 'officials' deeper into MULATIVU district.

"If the objective of keeping the A9 out of battle plans is to facilitate free civillian movement, allowing an LTTE check point defeats that purpose"

I agree. It seems allowing safe passage for humanitarian aid is the main objective. With the A9 being closed north of MANKULAM for food convoys, the current strategy will focus to capture the A9 in stages and change the covoy routes accordingly. Say for eg - if fighting erupts South of MANKULAM at any given day, the convoys will be moved up the A32 and then turn East at VELLANKULAM to reach the A9 at MANKULAM.

However, this all depends if SLA makes their focus on the A9. I believe the rail road may prove sufficient for current battlefield requirements. It runs close and parallel to the A9 thus the troops can keep the A9 in check.

Hope you understand :-)

True Sri Lankan said...

Kilinochchi a 'ghost town' as LTTE administration collapses

Shan said...

Ranger

is that you? the language and style doesn't sound the same

Long-Ranger said...

Shan,

Well, I do have to admit, this is yet another one of those hasty briefs. My initial idea was to brief the fellow bloggers on a hypothetical Tamil Tiger counterattack, but as you can see I took a small detour first so that hopefully my next brief will make better sense. :-)

Long-Ranger said...

Commando,

"If you read a lot on military matters you can generally predict where the next move is. I think we are helping the enemy there. What is your opinion?"

Your concerns are well warranted. However, the success of the present strategy is that it exploits the weakness of the Tamil Tigers hence minimising its options even if it is in the knowhow. Hence, I do not see fault in the current Sri Lankan print media with regards to the war situation. There is much much more happening within the defence establishment and I can assure you, the print media are not privy to these.

adrenaline grin,

"was taking a look at the latest battle progress map on the defence.lk map and notice that there is a pocket of Tiger-held territory from omanthai down to just above madukanda to the east of vavuniya before curving up past talgahawela and padaviya."

I believe this map is incorrect. Border villages such as MAMADUWA, PIRAPPAMADUWA, MAHAKACHCHAKODIYA located within the same vicinity are firmly within the Government territory.

Sam Perera said...

Long Ranger,

Where does 574 fit in this picture?

Long-Ranger said...

Sam Perera,

As seen from my supplemented map, 57 at the moment is a bit overstretched with two major Tamil Tiger garrison towns under threat. As occurred earlier the Tamil Tigers exploited the overstretched 571 which was as far as MURIKANDI while 572 and 573 were encircling THUNUKKAI and MALLAVI.

574 will become operational in the most vulnerable area. And since it is early days it will play a semi-offensive role. That I believe is suffice for the blog community. :-)

Lion777 said...

Thanks Long Ranger for the update.There are a lot following your blog,but they may not participate..

Thambapanniya said...

Long Ranger,
Currently Killi is on knife edge and it seems its the focal point. and according to DW the LTTE is moving its Cadres from North to Killi?

So would it be possible SLA thinking of activate 53/55 Divisions? launch a surprise amphibious landing on Pooneryn o towards Elephant and Sarath Fonseka's statement is just a diversionary tactic

Like LTTE know SLA going to attack Killi Germans knew the invasion is coming but allies disguised their D-Day Landing and bluffed its going to come from Calais and they shifted their focus and alas it came to normandy....

sldf said...

Longranger, as you had mentioned I'm too a bit worried about 57 being thinly stretched even with the induction of 574. 58 on the other hand have its eastern flank covered by 57 troops. I was expecting 62's brigades would cover the rear of 57 in case LTTE decided cut 571 or 572. Do we have other reserve units available for an emergency?
I have notice in the past few weeks Navy's SBS and RABS units have been active and devastated sea tiger support units in West coast. Given these developments Army and Navy coordinated landing at Pooneryn sector will further send LTTE units resisting 57 into disarray. Any possibility of this happening soon?
I also here Army's training another Army special unit. Any truth? (Apart from commando, LRRP, SF units)

Long-Ranger said...

lion777,

You are welcome.

thambapanniya,

I believe it is quite common knowledge that 55/53 will break through the Devil's Garden up North at some point. The factors that directly affects the go ahead is detailed in my previous brief. :-)

SLDF,

Your concerns are well warranted. However, I can assure you the strengths of each battalion of 57 are higher to those of other Divisions. The strength is primarily dictated by theatre requirements and threat assessments. Its the principles of force to space ratio.

"Given these developments Army and Navy coordinated landing at Pooneryn sector will further send LTTE units resisting 57 into disarray."

The Sri Lankan theatre will not see any mass coastal landings. This battleplan always presents a higher risk and is not a possibility with the lack of sufficient naval assets. But what we will see is small assault teams making coastal or heliborne landings to get behind enemy lines. It has happened before and I dont see any reason why it won't be so in the future.

"I also here Army's training another Army special unit. Any truth?"

There are quite a few such units I must say. However, how each unit is deployed depends on the actual battlefield requirements. Thus, some units may not even see combat.

Long-Ranger said...

I ended my last brief with the following words "With the Tamil Tigers fast losing its vast swathes of territory it once had, its VIPs and valuable assets are now confined to a limited land area - namely the dense MULATIVU forest. Using the knowledge of Tiger guerilla doctrine, the capability of modern weapon systems/platforms and the laws of elimination, the day of the dreaded decapitation strikes for the Tamil Tigers that will eliminate their once invincible leaders once and for all is not far off. Only time will tell..."

Since then I am sure you all know how many airstrikes have taken place targetting the Tamil Tiger top rungs. Even if these strikes were unsuccessful in eliminating the top cadres, it definitely helps with the laws of probability. Take care

TigerKiller said...

thanks For your updates . Though I don't make my comments here , I am a regular visitor here .

Keep up your good job .

thanks

TropicalStorm said...

What are your thoughts on by-passing killonochchi town from the right (western) side and moving northwards to link with a downward movement by 53 and 55? Pooneryn could easily become roadkill in that process.

Trust there's plenty of 'outside the box' thinkers in the military strategy dept.

Constantin Demiris said...

TS

Isnt bypassing towns been what the army's been doing? So even though the media hyped up kilinochchi it is very possible for them to bypass the town. There is no strategic importance of the town is there?

mboi said...

kilinocchi isnt a just a town people. its more like a 6km strip. no such thing as bypassing that.

Long-Ranger said...

Tropicalstorm, Constantin Demiris and mboi,

All I can say is, the current SLA doctrine involves dispersion and independent small unit maneuver. This requires effective use of cover and concealment. To achieve this, open road ways, open terrain requires to be left out and use circuitous routes and difficult ground instead to exploit vegetation and small terrain features for cover.

That is all I can reveal for the time being. :-)

Adrenaline_Grin said...

Thanks, Long Ranger. I did think that spot on the map look somewhat abnormal.

Looking forward to your next analysis/comment! Cheers!