Infantries bulldoze LTTE sea base:
Tigers, now fangless!
The latest territorial gains by the Sri Lanka Army have brought the
area under the LTTE down to approximately 100 square kilometers with the
fall of the last Sea Tiger base Chalai and Vishvamadu, late last week.
Stage is now set for the ground finale of the ground battles in our
Forward Defence Lines (FDLs).
As the troops attached to the 55 Division commanded by Brigadier
Prasanna de Silva overran the last Sea Tiger base with the capture of
Chalai LTTE has lost its strongest and most fearsome fighting wing.
Breaking the sea power
It was on February 5, that the troops attached to the 553 brigade
commanded by Colonel Mahinda Weerasooriya under the Division Commander
Brigadier de Silva, launched the operation to capture this massive Sea
Tiger launching pad.
Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Deepal Pussella, the 7 Vijayaba
Infantry battalion (VIR) and the 6th Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI)
battalion led by Major Manada Yahampath along with soldiers of the 1st
Commando battalion with Captain Ruwan Perera as Officer Commanding
spearheaded the offensive.
Defeating the sea power of Tigers was of paramount importance to the
Security forces. Chalai, geographically, is rather inhospitable
especially to infantry troops.
The coastal line stretching from Nagar Kovil upto Chalai which the
troops had to cross is covered with marble coloured sand where any
movement is clearly visible even in the darkness.
Since it is a lagoon area, the high sand dunes and thickets with
thorny shrubs and trees was a natural obstacle the troops had to face.
This Sea Tiger base which has a history that extends to over two
decades was famous for intensive attacks in the waters, including deadly
According to military information it is from this point the LTTE
launched the attack on the 'Ruhunu' and 'Nilwala' cargo ships anchored
at the Mailady port on October 22 last year using a fleet of four Sea
It however failed to reach its target due to the combined efforts of
our Security Forces.
The attack on a cargo vessel sailing in the Vadamarachchi Eastern
coastal belt on January 22, 2008 was reported to have been launched from
the Chalai Sea Tiger base. This was also the LTTE's main operational
base to bring in arms and ammunition linking up with their international
network. From Chalai they had monitored the movements of the Sri Lanka
Navy with the help of a radar observation point.
The operation to capture Chalai area was initiated on January 31. The
LTTE offered its maximum resistance to hold back the Sri Lanka Army's
advance. LTTE had excavated six huge `sand bunds' in the stretch from
Chundikulam to Chalai with a massive number of Anti personnel mines and
deadly booby traps laid in the entire area.According to ground sources
Tigers fired 37 mm paddle guns, 30 mm canons and 12.7 mm guns that also
can be mounted on boats."It was not only from the ground that the LTTE
directed their attacks on us.
They attacked from the sea as well," Brigadier Prasanna de Silva
added explaining the tough battle they faced. Yet, nothing could
possibly deter the valiant soldiers.
In this open terrain that reduces the speed of the infantry troops,
additional fire and mechanical power is vital.
Seized LTTE ammunitions
The fire power of the tanks of the 4 Armoured Corp and the continuous
artillery support of the 4th Artillery Corp broke the passage for the
infantry troops to move vigorously.The support of the Mechanical
Infantry regiment, both in fire power and additional speed in moving the
troops was a great advantage to the Security Forces especially in the
According to military sources four leaders including the third in
Command of the Sea Tiger wing Vinayagam and four others including
Pagalawan, Cader, Sinnakannan, Annalavan and a large number of cadres
were killed. According to the military intelligence, Vinayagam had taken
part in most of the massive battles that took place in the Jaffna
During the 2002 truce he was one of the few who spearheaded the
mission to collect funds for the LTTE in billions during their tour of
European countries as a member of the peace delegation.Pagalawan, with
15 years in the LTTE was the area leader of the Sea Tigers for Pooneryn
and Jaffna in 2007 and was a key figure in the smuggling of arms and
ammunition to their outfit. Pagalawan had acted as the area leader in
the Iluppukadawai area in Mannar.Cader, the other significant character
of the LTTE, was an area leader at the beginning and had been active in
the Mannar coastal line. With these losses, the LTTE high command finds
it difficult to communicate with their ground troops.
At the time this article going to edition the troops who were
conducting search and clear operations in their consolidated positions
in Chalai, have recovered a large haul of weapons and ammunition left by
the fleeing LTTE cadres.