Battle of Aanandapuram
|Battle of Aanandapuram|
|Part of Sri Lankan Civil War,
2008–2009 SLA Northern offensive
|Military of Sri Lanka||Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka:
Brig Shavendra Silva
Maj. Gen Kamal Gunaratne
Col. G.V. Ravipriya
|Sri Lanka Army:
Task Force 8
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Aanandapuram was a land battle fought between the Sri Lankan Military, 58 Division, 53 Division and Task Force 8 and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for the control of the last stronghold held by the LTTE. This battle is a part of the Northern Theater of Eelam War IV during the Sri Lankan civil war. The battle was fought in the Aanandapuram area of Puthukkudiyirippu AGA Sri Lanka.
Since the start of the northern offensive in 2008 the Sri Lankan Army had been steadily progressing on multiple fronts. As the LTTE had limited men and firepower, it was gradually withdrawing towards the North East part of the country. Finally they were confined to a small littoral strip of territory located between the A-35 highway (Paranthan-Mullaitheevu road) Nanthikadal and Chalai lagoons on one side and the Indian ocean on the other.
More than 50,000 soldiers from five divisions and three task forces besieged the LTTE. The Tigers were trying desperately to break out of this encirclement and drive the forces back. Against this backdrop the LTTE planned to launch a massive counter-offensive against the armed forces. The idea was to conduct a carefully planned operation that would deliver a crippling blow to the security forces.
On 30 March LTTE launched a massive attack on SLA front line in Puthukuduyirippu area, advancing out of the no fire zone. LTTE advanced towards Puthukudiyirippu facing stiff resistance by Sri Lankan Army. SL Army’s 53rd and 58th divisions and Task Force 8 advanced out of Puthukkudiyiruppu in a pincer movement intended to outflank the Charles Anthony regiment which held the eastward-running Puthukkudiyiruppu-Iranappaalai-Puthumaathalan road. A brigade of the 58th Division swung east and then south, while another from the 53rd, along with TF8, attacked east and then north, both pincers meeting at Pachaipullumottai junction to the rear of Charles Anthony, cutting the foot path between Ambalaranpokkanai to Pachaipullumotti which LTTE used as supply line. The Tigers fought fiercely to prevent the encirclement, but were overwhelmed. Special Forces and Commandos set an ambush in the coconut trees east of the pocket, cutting routes of reinforcement to the LTTE trapped in Aanandapuram. A reinforced company of Tigers under Col Lawrence was sent in a convoy which attempted to reach the 2km square pocket, but were ambushed and destroyed by special forces. Injured, Lawrence managed to escape with a few survivors. Another attempt at reinforcement saw a Sea Tiger unit leave Valainjarmadam and land at Pattiaddy from where they tried to fight their way through to Aanandapuram. But this attempt also failed as the Sea Tigers were beaten back by the SL Navy. The Army moved in heavy support weapons, artillery and multiple-barrel rocket launchers. By 5 April, the battle was over. This was an extremely decisive battle in 2008–2009 Sri Lankan Army Northern offensive. LTTE lost most of its major leaders in a single battle and this was the first time such a thing had happened in its history.
Senior LTTE leaders Killed
- Velayuthapillai Baheerathakumar alias Theepan (Overall commander of the LTTE northern front fighting formations)
- Manickapodi Maheswaran alias Keerthi (Special commander of Jayanthan Infanrty brigade)
- Selvaratnam Sundaram alias Nagesh (Special commander)
- Viduthalai alias Amuthan alias Gaddafi (Bodyguard of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, later a commander of the Imran-Pandian regiment)
- Gopith (Special commander the Charles Anthony infantry brigade)
- Vidhusha (Special commander of Maalathi regiment)
- Kamalini (Second-in-Command of Maalathi regiment)
- Durga (Special commander of Sothia regiment)
- Mohana (Second-in-Command of Sothia regiment)
- Manivannan (Leader of the "Kittu" artillery regiment)
- Gopal (Chief of the "Kutty Sri" mortar regiment)
- Seralaathan (In-charge of the Tiger TV "Nitharsanam")
- S. Thangan (Deputy-political commissar and administrative officer under S. P. Thamilselvan)
- Senior leaders named Ruban, Panjan, Nehru, Anton, Maankuyil, Amudha, Iniyawan, Aadithyan, Chitrangan and Mahindan.
Senior LTTE leaders captured
- Anbu (Deputy-commander of Radha regiment)
- Asmi (Leader of "Ponnamman" mining unit)
- Thamilini (Women's' wing political commissar)