Monday, December 10, 2007

Mechanized Infantry Division concludes training phase

Sri Lanka Army (SLA)'s newest offensive fighting formation has concluded its training phase and is now ready to enter the heated battlefields in Northern province. The Mechanized Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel Ralf Nugera, consists of specially trained ground troops and armored vehicles.

Although it has successfully concluded its training phase, the process hasn't been a joyride. On February 14th, a meeting of army officials was taking place at 53rd division HQ. It was in this meeting the Mechanized Infantry Division was to be officially raised. However, LTTE shelled the HQ with at least four 130mm artillery guns (stationed in Pooneryn) wounding 14 including several senior military officials. Even the commander of army's 53rd division was injured.

Plans for the MID suffered another setback when LTTE's Victor (aka "Vetter") anti-armor unit destroyed 6 tanks and 6 IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) when the army tried to advance towards Pallei last year. The loss came at a time when the SLA were trying to boost its inventory of armored vehicles.

However, the Mechanized Infantry Division is now an active part of the Sri Lankan Army despite the early disturbances. Its primary use would be to invade enemy territory utilizing brute force of the armoured vehicles and then deploy its infantry to the heart of the battle. Due to protection from APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers), troop casualties are expected to be lower.

Mechanized Infantry Division currently consists of 3 regiments and has a wide variety of armored vehicles including BTR-80A, BMP-2 and WZ551 under its wing.


53rd Division HQ artillery attack: Inside job suspected

On February 14th, LTTE directed a heavy artillery barrage towards army held Arali area using their long range artillery guns stationed in Pooneryn. The target of this barrage was the 53rd division headquarters. 53rd division consists of several special infantry batallions which are highly trained and heavily armed. Artillery shells hit the HQ buildings and 14 soldiers received injuries due to this. A meeting of 53rd division top officials was taking place in the HQ when the shells fell. Therefore, several senior army officials including the commander of 53rd division were among the injured.

However, the most worrying element in this incident is how the LTTE knew that a meeting was taking place. 53rd division meetings are held in utmost secrecy and only few know the time and location of the meeting untill it starts. Therefore, for the LTTE to know the exact time and location of meeting, someone from within the army has to pass them information.

Traitors, they should be given death sentence.

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