The document published below: ‘Winning the War’, is an original manuscript written by General Sarath Fonseka in his attempt to bring this Government façade to light; as the government carries on with an event of this kind while the man behind the victory is still behind bars.
*WINNING THE WAR – SRI LANKAN EXPERIENCE*:
-By General GSC Fonseka (Retd) RWP, RSP, rcds, psc – former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army-
1. The war victory was achieved mainly due to the success of the military on the ground campaign supported by the other services. Although the politicians are trying to claim the credit, they did not do anything extra than what was done by the previous heads of state or defense officials. All successive heads of state gave equal support to the forces and had given clear orders to finish the war. However, due to the failure in the part of the services during that time prevented any victory against the LTTE.
Although, the present President says that he withstood the out side pressure and allowed the forces to continue the battle uninterruptedly, even the previous Presidents would have done the same thing that time, if the forces had gone closer to the Terrorist leadership as we did during the final operation. The LTTE would have then requested foreign powers to exercise pressure on the government by asking for cease-fires etc as they did during the final stages of the operation.
As the Army successfully moved forward and reached, the point of no return, the President or the defense officials had no way in asking the Army to halt the operations at that stage.
Therefore, the credit for moving forward until the victory was achieved has to go to the Military and not to the politicians. Of course, the President on 31 Jan and 01 Feb 2009, at the very critical stage of the operation wanted to give a cease-fire despite the protest from the Army Commander.
Probably this was done after secret discussions with Kumara Pathmanadan alias KP to allow them to take the terrorist leaders out from the war zone.
The terrorist made use of this opportunity and launched a massive counter attack during this period where the Army had to under go a large set back and almost collapsed. However, the Army commander’s personal influence together with the determination of the GOC’s save the day for all Sri Lankans during that LTTE counter attack. It should be mentioned here that through out all serious situations, the Secretary Defense was only a spectator and only contribution from him for the war was attending to procurement process once the service Commanders project their arms and ammunition requirements. Purchase of all arms and ammunition was carried out by the Secretary Defense and the prices for purchases were discussed and agreed by him with the suppliers. There were instances where certain purchases negotiated by the Secretary Defense were questionable. For an example at the beginning of the war, the Army purchased a 130 mm Artillery round for US$ 250 and towards the latter stages of the war, Secretary Defense paid US$ 650 for a round of 130 mm Artillery.
Although at early stages of the war, the President and the Secretary Defense listened to the advice of the Service Commanders about the purchases however, towards the latter stages they were not willing to listen to the Service Commanders regarding the arms and ammunition requirements and preferred to decide themselves about all purchases after discussing directly with the suppliers.
2. Moment the war was over and on the very first day, the President said no more recruiting to the Army and totally ignored the recruitment of manpower for the consolidation phase. After Jaffna was captured with 15000 troops in 1995, we had to deploy 35000 troops to hold the captured area. However, after we finished the war and the area we had to hold became four times bigger. The request made by Army Headquarters to recruit new cadres to cater to this additional requirement was turned down by the President and that made the troops more exhausted, resulting in large-scale desertion in the
Army, although there was no fighting.
President and Secretary Defense also did not take any interest to kit up and equip troops after the war victory.
The present Army Commander being a highly unprofessional officer who is only carrying out the job of a political stooge does not take any interest to care about his troops. Instead, he is employing soldiers in all types of unprofessional work such as cleaning drains, paddy cultivation and selling of vegetables etc to please the Secretary of Defense who thinks all types of problems faced by the government due to its inability to take proper development measures could be over come by deploying the Army. Outcome of that is we have now ended up with a poorly administered low morale Army.
What was Jagath Jayasooriya, present Army Commander doing during the war and his background.
3. He was just another officer who had applied to retire from the Army after 20 years of service. In 1999 as he was posted to a Division deployed in operation “Jaya Sekurui” (Victory Certain) in Vanni. As he did not, had confidence to Command a Division in a major offensive operation and scared to go to Vavunia he applied to retire from the Army. After that, he even applied for a job at Ceylinco Security and got selected. However, the Army insisted that he report to Vavunia and take over the appointment until his retirement papers are approved. Due to that, he had to report to Vavunia.
One day when he was in Vavunia, he had been driving around sight seeing and his vehicle went over an old land mine buried in own rear area. He was seriously injured owing to that incident and made him bed ridden for almost two years. Due to his injury and he had to take treatment from the Military hospital, he withdrew his retirement papers. After he recovered, a cease-fire was in force and he decided to continue in the Army. This is his background in the Army and has never commanded troops in any high intensity operation. During the Ealam war IV he was the Security Forces Commander Vavunia carrying out the tasks of a holding Formation and providing the logistic backing for the Divisions involved in the offensive operations forward of his area which were under the direct command of the Army Commander.
All strategies and operational plans of Elam war IV was worked out purely by the Commander of the Army and all tactical plans of the GOC’s
were closely monitored and directed by the Army Commander himself. During Elam war IV, there was no Overall Operations Commander commanding the offensive operations as done in the past. Only time an offensive Division was kept under the Command of Jagath Jayasooriya was 59 Division, which was launched along the Eastern axis during its formative stage and later deployed in the rear area of the holding Brigade in Welioya for a period of two months. All other times Jagath Jayasooriya’s job was either going on sight seeing in the operational area, receiving the Army Commander during his visits to Vavunia and giving the welcome speech at the Commander’s weekly Operations Review Conference welcoming the Army Commander.
4. During Army Commanders weekly operations review conferences in Vavunia, sometimes Jayasooriya used to ask stupid questions and get pulled up by the Commander. One day when the Army had moved even beyond Thunukai, half way on the western axis, Jayasooriya asked the Commander, “what would happen if the terrorist employ all their resources and attack the Army in one single place”? This led the Commander to severely reprimand him for being so negative and unprofessional and lacking the ability to understand the tactical picture. In addition to this, Jayasooriya’s (then a Major General), conduct was well below that of a General Officer Commanding. The day the Army launched the biggest rescue operation taking a very high risk at Pudumatalan where a large amount of logistic problems were expected once over 115000 civilians were rescued from the crutches of the terrorist causing immense logistic problems, Jayasooriya was staying at home on leave.
He was not bothered to make an effort to return and attend to any urgent requirements in the field. Due to this, the Army Commander had to berate him and summon him to Vavunia like a Young Officer and asked him to attend to the urgent logistic matters.
5. During Elam war IV, the Commander had banned alcohol in the North and East operation areas as he expected all officers to be fully sober and
committed all the time as the operations continued. However, during this time it was reported to Army Headquarters by one of the escorts of
Jayasooriya who gave an anonymous call to Army HQ saying that Jayasooriya was consuming liquor in his room every day and indulging in homosexual activities with his Aid de Camp. Based on the report the Army Commander got his Aid de Camp arrested by the Military police where the officer had given a statement saying that he used to drink with Jayasooriya in his bedroom while Jayasooriya was lying down in bed and the Aid de Camp sitting next to him.
However, the officer had denied involvement in any sexual activates.
Anyway, Jayasooriya keeping a junior Lieutenant as his Adc, instead of a Captain and retaining the same officer even as the Commander of the Army when the normal rank of the Commanders Adc is a Major, the allegation of homosexual behavior with this young officer was seems to be quite true although it was not proved.
6. During Ealam war IV, not only Jayasooriya, even in the East the Security Force Commanders or even the GOC’s on holding role, except the GOC of Trincomalee Division were not involved in offensive operations. Trincomalee GOC commanded the Mavil Aru and Sampur operation. The Army Commander placing the Task Force Commander directly under his command commanded all other operations in the East. Only Jaffna offensive operations were commanded by the Security Forces Commander Jaffna and two Reserve Division Commanders but
not the holding role Division Commanders. It is sad to mention that
Jayasooriya was clueless about the maneuvers of Divisions and Task Forces and did not have even any proper control over the holding Divisions. There were many instances where the Commander of the Army had to interfere and sort out problems pertaining to his holding Formations. Major General Rajitha De Silva who was a holding role Division Commander under him will justify this.
7. There were many other allegations against Jayasooriya’s conduct and the Army Commander was to initiate many other inquiries against him and remove him from Command when the President acting against Gen Fonseka’s advice appointed him as the Commander of the Army. Jayasooriya, is now trying to change the history of the war victory together with Secretary Defence who is a man suffering from an inferiority complex to claim the credit for the victory. He has shamelessly removed the name of General Fonseka, which had
been put up on all the monuments erected to felicitate the war victory to
please the politicians. In fact in short, Jayasooriya has never commanded any offensive operation during his career and did not understand the a thing about new tactical concepts introduced by General Fonseka for the Infantry units to achieve the great victory with his own past experiences.
8. The war was won mainly due to the strong command of the Commander at that time and the concept, tactics and training introduced by him in addition to his ability to identify and detail the correct people for the job, due to his vast experience in offensive operations over a long time at various ranks. Commander not only selected the correct field commanders but also efficient staff officers who formed the backbone of his war machinery.
Commander had to take the unpopular decision of side lining weak officers and create a Command Stream of selected officers, which was not a popular decision, which previous Commanders never wanted to take. This motivated the capable officers and the Army Commander streamlined this system after studying the existing systems in the Indian and the Pakistan Armies. These were the basic reasons for the reawakening of the Sri Lanka Army, which fought a loosing battle for over 30 years. Although the stupid political leadership and the Defence Secretary tries to claim the credit for the war victory and the cowardice present Army Commander has shown his willingness to give the credit to politicians, present President and the Secretary defence did not do anything more than previous heads of state did towards the war effort. It was nothing other than the Army Commander’s commitment and the dedication of troops under his command, which paved the way for the
9. The Sri Lanka Army’s contribution towards the war victory is
unexplainable and may be about 90% of the total effort when compared with what the other services had to do. Nevertheless, the present cowardice Army Commander as he is ready to do anything to please politicians, will never be prepared to claim its due credit for the Army although the contributions of the Army could be highlighted as below.
ARMY NAVY AF POLICE CIVIL DEF FORCE
OWN DEATHS 5,200 300** 8 50 25
OWN WOUNDED 27,000 150 10 25 25
TERRORIST KILLED 23,000 200 1,500 50 20
TERRORIST CAPTURED 12,000 10 0 10 0
**50% of the above Navy deaths were out of the battle area and was due to the suicide bomb explosion in Dambulla.
10. Even with above statistics the President or the Secretary Defence and even the present cowardice Army Commander will never want to say that the credit of the war victory should go to the Army because they know that General Fonseka directed the Army to Victory. The contribution of other services and all other citizens of the country, which helped the Army to achieve this victory against the LTTE, which was some years back, was only a dream to all Sri Lankans as well as the international community, which the Army always appreciates with gratitude.
Strategies, Tactics, Training and Command Techniques of the Sri Lanka Army
11. General Fonseka started preparing for the future battles when he was the Jaffna Commander in 2002. He knew one day when the war starts again he will be asked to Command the war the same way the authorities asked him to Command the Jaffna Defence, giving only two hours to take over when Jaffna was about to fall in 2000. As the Security Forces Commander Jaffna in 2002 and being No 5 in the overall Army seniority, the first thing the General did was ensuring that Jaffna defences are strengthened and kept ready for any future eventuality although, there was a cease fire in force. As the Chief of Staff (Army’s No 2) again in 2005, he visited Jaffna several occasions and every time he visited, he made it a point to walk along the defences, and to ensure that the defences are well prepared and could sustain any major terrorist attack. This readiness was the only reason, which helped the Army defences to sustain the massive terrorist assault at the beginning of Elam war IV in 2006. In 2002 as the Jaffna Commander, the General was trying to find out the tactics and strategies, which should be adopted by the Army if it had to go on the offensive again as against the previous tactics of the Army. The previous tactics adopted by the Army always confined them to the main road net work system and the terrorist had
already worked out all the counter tactics, which they employed very
successfully. General realized that if we are to avoid confining the
movement of the Army astride main roads, the other alternative was to enter into the jungles and be prepared to do that in wide fronts to deny the enemy’s ability to use asymmetric tactics to hit the flanks and rear of the Army advance. In addition, the General realized that it was better to engage the terrorist’s strong points and to engage them in large numbers in many fronts to inflict more casualties on him rather than commit the Army for soft targets leaving the initiative to the terrorist. Therefore, the Army advance had to be prepared for jungle terrain in wider fronts and thin front lines. To meet this type of deployment according to the General’s thinking, the Army had to deploy in versatile small teams preferably of four man teams within the framework of eight man teams and platoons. As per this thinking of General, he introduced a new training concept for regular Infantry what he named as Special Infantry Operations Training. During this course of strenuous and tough training, an Infantry soldier learned not only the Infantry skills within a four man team but also learned basic communications, field engineering, first aid, calling for air and artillery fire etc. At the end of the 6 1/2 months training course, the Infantry soldier was very confident of himself and became a fighting machine in the battlefield. With this advance training given to all Infantry soldiers, which even continued throughout Elam war IV, the Section Commanders and the Platoon Commanders became very confident to take on any difficult task in the battlefield. This included even going through enemy lines or fighting behind enemy lines and they really gave a tough time to the terrorists in the battlefield. The Infantry soldiers who had received this training together with a one month training leg in Commando and Special Forces Training Centres could even operate shoulder to shoulder with the Commando
and Special Forces troops in the immediate distance beyond our own lines, up to about 5 km in to the enemy territory. This even gave a good back up for Commandos and SF operations and totally put the terrorist’s defensive deployment paralyzed.
12. Army Commander wanted to take the Eastern and the Northern theaters in peace meal and cleared eastern province in one year. In the eastern province, it was only an Infantry Brigade together with about two Commando or Special Forces battalions, which were deployed at any stage of the operation. The Commander of the Army personally drew out even the tactical plans of Batticaloa west and Thoppigala Operation and the Task Force Commander had only to execute it. Although the Eastern Province operations always found the troop levels below the real requirement, the Commander decided to deploy 57 Division in the North for offensive in the middle of the Eastern Province Operation to prevent terrorists moving reinforcements to the East.
These were difficult decisions to take at the early stage of the war as Army had only a Brigade as reserve. Then, as the East was cleared
after one year of fighting Army Commander kept on creating new Battalions as he had a very successful recruiting campaign. By the time the war ended, he had created and inducted three new Divisions and six Task Forces of Six Battalions in each into the Northern Theater. Induction of new Formations, their timings and locations of induction was purely done as per the Commander’s overall strategy. Commander’s Strategy was to open up more fronts as much as possible in wide frontages and to ensure that all the fronts contribute towards the each other’s tactical move forward as they move forward deep into enemy territory. Finally, the plan was to join up all fronts and form as encirclement on the worn off and withdrawing enemy.
Commander aimed at engaging the terrorist where they were strong as against the Sun Tzu’s theory of attacking the enemy where he is weak because the aim was to draw the terrorist and get the maximum kills. Therefore, the General’s plan was to go for the kill during the first two years of the battle rather than capturing land as he new very well that the terrorists would pull out and vacate the ground little by little when they are worn off. This is what exactly happened at the end on the Eastern Coast, exactly according to the Commander’s overall plan. Commander wanted first to deny the Western Coast to the terrorist to ensure no movement of terrorists to take place between India and Sri Lanka and finally they can be eliminated on the Eastern Coast. When the Commander was inducting troops in a wide front especially facing difficult jungle terrain, the President and the Secretary Defence was never happy due to lack of knowledge on tactics adopted by the
Infantry troops. In addition, during the first two years the President and
the Secretary Defence used to become very impatient at times as troops were not moving forward fast but only concentrating on the kills. Secretary Defence had the habit of asking to induct Divisions from various places after talking to some junior officers in the field as if Commander could create Divisions over night. Commander had to handle these situations patiently although their conduct was painful at times.
Personal Involvement of the Commander in Commanding the Operations down to Tactical Levels at All Times
13. During this Operations, the Commander used to decide even down to
Battalion deployments and Battalion Fronts. He directed Division and Brigade Commanders about the exact deployment on ground, down to Battalion level and monitored the progress of even four-man team deployments of all the front line Battalions. He also ensured that his Operation map had the entire deployment, including the deployment of four man teams are marked on his map, which was updated, twice daily in the morning and evening. Commander always directed the Division and Brigade Commanders about the Battalion maneuvers during the advance and consolidation phases. Especially during the times when Davison and Brigades were stuck unable, to breach the terrorists
defences on ditches and bunds. During this time, the Commander used to direct and tell the GOC’s and Brigade Commanders where they should breach the bund /defences and how they should hold or consolidate to face the frequent daring counter attacks of the terrorists.
14. As the Commander personally got involved in the Command aspect the GOC’s, Brigade Commanders and Battalion Commanders used to take difficult and risky decisions and lead the troops from front with confidence. This involvement by the Commander directly with the field Commanders not only kept the Commander in the exact picture all the time but also ensured that there were no lapses or negligence in the part of the field Commanders who were also under pressure to complete the job given to them. During last stages of the war there were daring counter attacks launched by the terrorists on our front lines and there were occasions where they managed to breach our front lines and the GOC’s and Brigade Commanders were rendered unable to manage with their own resources. During such situations, the Army Commander used his personal influence, shifted Commander’s reserves of Commando and Special Forces troops and took appropriate action to take the
situation under control. This system and relationship gave confidence to
field commanders, as they knew that the Commander was right behind them to help during a crisis. Good example is the cease-fire granted by the president on 31st Jan and 01st Feb 2009 having succumbed to the external pressures and connived with the terrorist leaders like KP alias Kumaran Pathmanadan to grant a cease-fire at the height of the battle, against the advice of the Commander of the Army. Probably, this would have done to give respite for the terrorists to take their leaders away from the country. KP revealed this plan during a press interview lately and the terrorists launched a massive counter attack forcing the Army to pull back nearly four kilometers. At this stage, the Army lines began to fall and created a disorganized situation with some GOC’s even loosing control. If the Army fell back another three kilo meters on that day it would not have been possible to hold on to our gains and it would have been the end of all what we have achieved after 2 1/2 years of fighting. Nevertheless, at this stage, the Army Commander managed to pullout the Commando and the Special Forces Troops who were operating deep inside the jungles and heli lift them to the area.
Finally, the Commandos and the SF troops managed to block the
terrorists counter attack almost at the last moment after fighting a bitter
battle. Such was the involvement of the Commander of the Army who was virtually the Overall Operation Commander during the Elam War IV. It was hilarious that one day just one month before the Army finished the war, the Secretary Defence, asked the Army Commander why he was not getting Major General Jayasooriya who was only the holding Formation Commander in Vavunia to Command the overall offensive operation. This made the Secretary Defence’s dirty attempts clear to prevent any credit coming to the Army Commander for commanding the offensive personally. It was not only the offensive operation that the Commander had to personally monitor but even the holding operations in Vavunia, where regular terrorist activities were taking place had to be monitored by the Commander. As and when terrorist’s infiltrations and strikes took place in holding formations, especially in Vavunia, the Commander had to arrange Re-deployment of troops, as Jayasooriya lacked control and initiative to take control over any crisis situation.
During the weekly visits by the Commander to Vavunia, all Offensive and Defensive Operations were reviewed; in addition to Commander’s
daily Operation discussions with the Commanders of Offensive Formations, through the Operations Communication system and Operation maps.
During this entire operation, the Commander of the Army did all Strategic and Operational level planning and the GOC’s and the Brigade Commanders did all tactical planning.
15. During the year 2008 and early months of 2009, the fighting was heavy and use of support weapons by own troops were controlled largely to avoid civilian casualties where by rate of own casualties went up as a result. By this time, troops have been in heavy fighting in difficult
terrain and weather conditions for nearly two years and due to unbearable strain, troops started deserting the Army leaving battalion strengths going down rapidly. At this stage, the Commander had to take the difficult decision of Court Marshaling the deserters and this prevented the troops deserting the Army.
Subsequently, the ungrateful government after Court Martialing the Commander on spurious charges to take revenge from him for
contesting for the Presidential Election, started saying that if the Army
Commander could Court Martial 4000 soldiers, why the Commander cannot be Court Martialed.
Such is the ungrateful behavior of the present Sri Lankan Government. The President and the Secretary Defence believes that Army need
not to be credited for winning the war. Their conduct only indicated that
they have no respect for those who won the war to save the country, but they are now honey mooning with the terrorist leaders.
16. In addition to the above, during the war Commander created a Mechanized Brigade for the Sri Lanka Army to get more mobility, mainly for the Infantry reserves. Armoured vehicles were operating giving intimate support to Infantry wherever the terrain permitted. Army Commander personally ensured that limited financial allocations for the Army were efficiently used and no corruption took place during the war. Ensuring that the logistics matters were attended to on time, made things easy for field Commanders and boosted the morale of the troops in the battlefield. As the troops realized that, the Commander was sincere and committed troops gave their best to the country and the Army with a sense of sacrifice.
17. The significant feature in the Ealam war IV that was personally directed by the Commander of the Army was it had no H-hrs and Start lines. However, it was continuous fighting day and night, 24 hrs in all weather in difficult terrain for two years and nine months and all over in wide front lines, on flanks and in the rear without any respite. As much as the troops had no rest, the Commander and his Staff at AHQ also had no rest or breaks.
Commander kept thmashas and other ceremonials to the minimum and followed all principles of efficient Command to the last letter. All in all, it was the new concepts and tactics along with hard work by every body, which paid devidence. Some politicians and officials in the Defence Ministry and even some in the Army, who were enjoying the booze and sex, never realized the stress on the Commander and field troops. Commander and the field troops had no private life for 3 years, Operations continued under tremendous constraints. At times in worst weather conditions and even with limitations on ammunition stock levels. Operations were totally launched as per the tactical requirements with least attention for auspicious timings or political agendas, etc. Finally, it was the soldier behind the weapon with dedication and ready to sacrifice with sound strategies, operation and tactical plans with exemplary leadership of the Commander of the Army, GOC’s and downward Commanders as well as the commitment of the Staff and Logistic troops made the victory a reality.
18. During Elam War IV offensive, operation command was exercised down to eight down level as against the accepted one down in offensive
conventionally. Army Commander monitored even the platoon, section and four man team operations. This was the case even with GOC’s and Brigade Commanders. As a result, Army Commander downwards every one had to take responsibility for all Operational matters down to four-man team level. For example, when an Operation in Muhamalai Defence in Jaffna ended up with heavy casualties and the media criticized the operation heavily, The Army Commander took the total responsibility for the Operation but greedy politicians claiming credit for the war victory never came out to accept blame for bad results Army achieved in certain battles. Even in Defensive Operations, the deployment down to platoon level were always decided by the Army Commander and when he was No 5 in the Army and holding the appointment of Jaffna Commander and No2 as Chief of Staff of the Army used to go from
bunker to bunker and even supervised the sighting of machine guns.
19. During last one year of the Elam War, as the Army was moving forward and capturing large new areas, the troop requirement to hold those areas were heavy and as all the new recruits were absorbed into offensive battalions Commander decided to raise Re inforcement Battalions with Battle Casualties for the holding role in newly captured areas. Some battle casualties still undergoing treatment as P3 casualties (priority 3) were used to raise Re-inforcement Battalions and about 10000 such soldiers willingly joined these Battalions as they realized that they had to support the Commanders Operation plan to ensure smooth progress of the offensive.
20. Although some Commanders believed in doing their own job and tasks, the Commander of the Army considered the whole war effort as the task of everyone. Therefore, whenever there were troop requirements in areas allocated to other Services or the Police and whenever they faced with any difficulties Army Commander undertook the their tasks voluntarily.
Especially, when the Army was operating in the North and the terrorists
tried to regroup in the East and started attacking the police in the area,
the Army Commander on his own initiative sent troops and Commandos to the East. This was again an additional deployment for the Army amidst its heavy commitments in the North. However, it enabled the Security Forces to take control of the East again. Not only that, but during the Northern operations there were many instances where the terrorists launched attacks on civilians deep in the south to divert the attention of the Army elsewhere. In order to overcome this situation Army Commander had to raise two new Battalions with Army deserters who had surrendered including some Commando and Special
Forces troops. After speaking to these deserters and motivating them, the Army was able to deploy them deep inside jungles in the South. In this manner, all the terrorists operating in the South were eliminated and the area was secured. These were difficult commitments which the Army under took amidst its main commitment in the North. These were the problems, which the Army overlooked in the past and which prevented success in the offensives as the terrorists were able to strike in the South when ever the Army gain any success in the North and not due to the lack of political leadership or political will. As the Army Commander on his own initiative addressed all these issues, politicians were able to enjoy life in the south as the Army was accomplishing its task. All these additional deployments were personally controlled by the Commander himself going down to Platoon level Operations
and not leaving anything unattended.
Normally in conventional deployments, the Army Commanders do only coordination of Operations, provide resources, and leave the battle and Operations to be commanded by the Formation Commanders.
Nevertheless, the Sri Lanka Army Commander took the whole Elam
war IV under his personal Operational Command and directed the Operation to Victory.
21. Although, the Army Commander had selected the best available Divisional Commanders to Command Divisions there were times where some showed their own weaknesses. Some were good in pushing troops but lacked ability to ensure the security of flanks or to stabilize the consolidation. Some led very well from the front but were poor in tactical planning. Some were very capable but lacked commitment. As per above situation, the Commander had to always be fully involved with what happens in the forward areas and fill the vacuum
whenever it arose. There were occasions where Divisional Commanders failed to coordinate between Divisions. If one Division comes under a counter attack, some times the Commander had to intervene and direct the adjoining Divisional Commander to extend the necessary support to the Division under attack. Although, these are not normally done by the Army Commander, in the case Elam war IV the Commander willingly attended to these problem areas as past experiences have shown that any delays in taking appropriate remedial measures at the correct time frame could lead to major setbacks to the whole operation.
22. Lastly, although the President and Secretary Defence claim the credit for eradicating terrorism in Sri Lanka, in Mahinda Rajapaksha’s Presidential campaign manifesto in 2005 he stated that he will solve the North East terrorist problem by personally meeting and talking to the LTTE leader Prabahakaran and never left any room for the Military Option. When the terrorist leader commenced hostilities in July 2006 in the East, Mahainda Rajapaksha went behind various parties and requested them to negotiate with Prabahakaran to settle the Mavil Aru problem in the East. He was not willing to go for the Military option.
Luckily the Army Commander who was hospitalized for three months after getting seriously injured after the suicide attempt on his life came out of the hospital the same day and decided to go on the offensive to recapture the Mavil Aru sluice. Major General N. Mallawarachchi who was the Chief of Staff and Acting Commander when the Commander was in hospital have said that he has no troops to go on any offensive. Army Commander having decided to go on the offensive decided to bring down the only Brigade, which was available in Jaffna as a reserve
and commenced the offensive operations. This is how the offensive against the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization began and ended up at Nandikadal as per the Commanders strategy three months before he anticipated.