Let their be no confusion as to the root attributes of the current success by Sri Lankan Army in the northern front. General Fonseka and his strategy has effectively bled the enemy through slow attrition for over 18 months and now the SLA is going in for the kill. The SLA is moving in on the LTTE northern strongholds at a pace of almost 3KM per day.
Effectively, 6 Divisons (61, 59, 58, 57, 53, 55) and 1 Task Force (TFII) are active against the LTTE. By attacking, or commiting multiple divisons against the LTTE, Fonseka has ensured that the enemy is not able to mass troops against one front without inviting simaltaneous attacks from the other SLA divisons.
For an example, the LTTE currently has over 1200 Cadres on the northern front facing the 53rd and 55th divisons of the army. These 1200 Cadres, their field suppport material and heavy weapons are effectively out of battle and not utilized against the army in combat, as such they pose no threat to the other divisons in the south. The LTTE also cannot utilize these troops in the Jaffna front in a 'ceaseless' waves type of assault without inviting massive casualties. If the LTTE does decide to even temorariliy redeploy these cadres for an attack in Weli-Oya or Mannar, the 53rd and 55th division will be put into action, thereby rolling through the Muhumalai and Kilali FDL's and into Elephant Pass. The brilliant tactics employed by Fonseka are evident here. The 'division' of regions amongst 6 Divisions and TF's ensure that each Commanding Officer has specific goals and targets to achieve, thus empowering them to drive hard in their individual sectors. 58 Divisions has been given the target of capturing all coastal areas along the A32 (Mannar-Pooneryn) road. The 57 Divison, which is the tip of the spear is leading the attack into the heartland of the enemy currently in the Mannar sector and soon into Killinochchi. TFII has been tasked with securing the towns parallel to the west of the A9. 59 Divison has been tasked with leading the attack on the Wanni. Since the the Divison commanders are empowered and given clear directions on their objectives, they are able to control and adapt to the unique situations which arise in their sectors, thus contributing to the holistic success for the over-all battle plan...only known to Gen. Fonseka and his inner circle. The image above (courtesy http://www.defence.lk/) provides are clear picture of the division of labour between the individual sectors.
Last night 58 Divsion troops who were roughly 1KM outside the town of Illuppakadavai launched an night attack on the town. Commando units secured the centre of the town while troops from the 58th surrounded the perimeter of the town. The LTTE were not expecting the SLA to move this quickly along the A32, thus were caught unawares inside the town. Heavy fighting was reported overnight, but resistence melted away after a few hours. We expect the LTTE casualty figures to be very heavy, but exact figures are not available right now. The dangers of an LTTE counter-attack against 57 and 58 Divison are increasing daily.
Mundampiddi, Vellankulam, Mallavi and Tunukkai Next...
With the Divsions moving very quickly northwards, the LTTE will need to slow down the progress. We expect the LTTE to launch a limited counter-attack against the 57 Division at Mallavi or Tunukkai. The capture of these two towns will effectivly put Mankulam under threat thus permitting the army to disrupt LTTE communications and logistics on the A9. Killinochchi too will be under direct artillary range with the capture of these locations. It is unlikely that the LTTE will permit the fall of these towns without offering a limited counter-offensive.
The next major milestone of the 58 Divison will be Vellankulam, the 58 Division will need to move northwards quickly to ensure that they provide effective flank support to the 57 Division which is currently based about 2KM south of Mallavi and Tunukkai. Thus, their is pressure on the 58 Division to move north quickly, this adds to the risk in this sector as proper time is required to consolidated captured land and clear the areas of trappings.
Within the next few weeks our brave troops will be knocking the the devils back door, Killinochchi...
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