Sri Lanka Army

The Sri Lanka Army is the oldest and largest of the Sri LankaArmed Forces and is responsible for land-based military and humanitarian operations. Established as the Ceylon Army in 1949, it was renamed when Sri Lanka became a republic in 1972. As of the year 2000, the Army had approximately 150,000 regular and reserve personnel and 18,000 National Guardsmen[1][2] and comprises 13 operational divisions, one air-mobile brigade, one commando brigade, one special forces brigade, one independent armored brigade, three mechanized infantry brigades and over 40 infantry brigades.[3]. From the 1980s to 2009 the army was engaged in the Sri Lankan civil war.The professional head of the Sri Lanka Army is the Commander of the Army, currently Lieutenant GeneralJagath Jayasuriya[4]. The Commander-in-Chief of the Sri Lankan Military is the President of the country, who heads the National Security Council through the Ministry of Defense, which is the highest level of military command charged with formulating, executing defence policy and procurements for the armed forces.[5]. However operations of the Sri Lanka Army are coordinated by the Joint Operations Command, with other two armed forces.Contents [hide]1History1.1Ancient and pre-colonial times1.2Colonial era1.2.1Portuguese and Dutch rule (1505-1796 AD)1.2.2British rule (1798-1948 AD)1.3Post-independence1.41970–Presen1.4.1Peacekeeping1.4.1.1Peacekeeping Sex Scandal2Current deployment2.1Domestic2.2Foreign3Organization Structure3.1Administrative3.1.1Regiments & Corps3.2Operational Command3.2.1Combat formations4Trainin4.1Training establishments5Personnel5.1Parama Weera Vibhushanaya recipients5.2Notable fallen members5.3Women in the Sri Lanka Army5.4Complaints over survivors’ benefits6Equipment6.1Armour6.2Artillery6.3Infantry weapons7See also8Further reading9References10External links // [edit]History[edit]Ancient and pre-colonial times The first military engagements in Sri Lankan history were marked by the advent of King Vijaya, a Bengal prince who landed along with his followers on the beaches of northwestern Sri Lanka around 543 BC. Prince Vijaya and his followers occupied the lands of the native Veddah people. Repeated incursions by South Indians, particularly the Cholas, into Sri Lankan territory occurred throughout the next few centuries and led to the engagement of the rival forces in battle.[6] In one famous encounter, Sinhalese King Dutugemunu (200 BC) raised an army of eleven thousand inhabitants in his battle against the Chola invader King Elara, whom he eventually defeated. King Dutugemunu's organizational skills, bravery and chivalry are famous and his battles have gone down in history as outstanding offensive operations.[7]Other Sri Lankan rulers whose military achievements stand out include King Gajabâhu (113 AD), who sailed to India to bring back his captured soldiers, and King Dhatusena (433 AD) who is credited with repulsing numerous Indian invasions and for organizing a naval build-up to deter seaborne attacks. He also had the foresight to cover his defenses with artillery. Vijayabâhu I (1001 AD) was another warrior king who dislodged Indian invaders and united the country. Parakramabahu the Great (1153 AD) was an outstanding monarch of the Polonnaruwa period of Sri Lankan history, and his accomplishments as a military leader and a great administrator are noteworthy. His reign included a military expedition to Burma (Myanmar) in retaliation for indignities inflicted on his envoys and Burmese interference in the elephant trade. This marked the first overseas expedition in Sri Lankan military history. It is also reported that Parakramabahu's fame was such that his assistance was sought by South Indian rulers who were involved in internecine struggles. Another strong ruler in the pre-colonial era was Parâkramabâhu VI, who defeated Indian invaders, united the island and ruled it from capital Sri Jayawardhanapura, Kotte.[7] Although the known epigraphical records do not indicate that the Sri Lankan rulers had a full-time standing army at their disposal, there is evidence supported by legend, designation, name, place and tradition that prove there were 'stand-by' equestrian, elephant, and infantry divisions to ensure royal authority at all times. Militias were raised as the necessity arose, and the soldiers returned to their pursuits, mainly for farming, after their spell of military duty.[7][edit]Colonial era Parts of Sri Lanka came under the control of three colonial European powers, namely the Portuguese in the 16th century, the Dutch in the 17th century and the British in the 18th century. Yet, until the entire island was ceded to the British in 1815, regional kingdoms maintained most of their independent defense forces and were able to successfully repulse repeated thrusts by the European armies. However the British, unlike their counterparts, were not primarily restricted to maritime power, and thus had the capability to bring the entire island under their control and to integrate locals into the British defense forces.[7][edit]Portuguese and Dutch rule (1505-1796 AD) In the beginning of the 16th century, modern Europe first came in contact with Sri Lanka, which was then referred to as Ceylon. In 1505 a Portuguese fleet, while operating in the Indian seas against Arab traders, was blown off course and landed at Galle, on the southern coast of the island.[8] In 1517 the Portuguese re-appeared, and with the consent of the Sinhalese King established a trading post in Colombo. Having initiated contact with Sri Lanka as traders, the Portuguese soon made themselves political masters of the western seaboard. Numerous forts were soon established, and features of European civilization were introduced.[7] The Portuguese are credited with the introduction of European-style fortresses to Sri Lanka during this era. Although some locals already possessed military training and fighting experience, there is no evidence that the Portuguese employed local inhabitants into their own forces. Thus the Portuguese were forced to restrict their presence in the island due to their small numbers and their efforts were more focussed toward projecting maritime power.[7] In 1602 Dutch explorers first landed in Sri Lanka, which was then under Portuguese control. By 1658 they had completely ousted the Portuguese from the coastal regions of the island. Much like the Portuguese, they did not employ locals in their military, and preferred to live in isolation, pursuing their interests in trade and commerce. Like the Portuguese, they defended their forts with their own forces, but unlike the Portuguese, Dutch forces employed Swiss and Malaymercenaries. The Dutch Forts in Jaffna, Galle, Matara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee were sturdily built and are considered a tribute to their military engineering skills. Also, like the Portuguese, the Dutch focussed on maritime power and although they had the capability to develop and use local forces, they chose to isolate themselves from the local population.[7][edit]British rule (1798-1948 AD) The British Empire then ousted the Dutch from the coastal areas of the country, and sought to conquer the independent Kandyan Kingdom. In the face of repeated British assaults, the Kandyans were forced into a degree of guerrilla warfare and fared well against their superior British adversaries.[7] Initially the British stationed their forces, which included naval vessels, artillery troops and infantry, to defend of the island nation from other foreign powers, using the natural harbor of Trincomalee as their headquarters in Sri Lanka. In 1796, the Swiss and Malay mercenaries who were previously in the service of the Dutch were transferred to the British East India Company. While the Swiss De Meuron's Regiment was eventually disbanded in Canada in 1822, the Malays, who initially formed a Malay Corps, were converted into the 1st Ceylon Regiment in 1802 and placed under a British commanding officer. In the same year, the British became the first foreign power to raise a Sinhalese unit, which was named the 2nd Ceylon Regiment, also known as the Sepoy Corps.[7] In 1803 the 3rd Ceylon Regiment was created with Moluccans and recruits from Penang. All these regiments fought alongside British troops in the Kandyan wars which began in 1803. Throughout the following years, more Sinhalese and Malays were recruited to these regiments, and in 1814 the 4th Regiment was raised, which was comprised entirely of African troops. It was later renamed as the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. Eventually, the Kandyan Kingdom was ceded to the British in 1815, and with that they gained control over the whole island. Resistance to British occupation cropped up almost instantly. During the first half-century of occupation, the British faced a number of uprisings, and were forced to maintain a sizable army in order to guarantee their control over the island. After the Matale Rebellion lead by Puran Appu in 1848, in which a number of Sinhalese recruits defected to the side of the rebels, the recruitment of Sinhalese to the British forces was temporarily halted.[7] Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers The second phase in the employment of non-British personnel commenced in 1861 after the enactment of an ordinance designed to authorize the creation of a Volunteer Corps in the island. It was designated the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers (CLIV). This move compensated for the disbandment of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment in 1874. The Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers was originally administered as a single unit. However, over the years various sections of the volunteers grew large enough to become independent from their parent unit. The different units that emerged from the Volunteer Force were the Ceylon Defence Force Main article: Ceylon Defence ForceFirst Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka Hon. D.S.Senanayaka visiting the 1st battalion of the CLI at the Echelon Square and watching volunteers being trained to handle light machine guns. In 1910 the name of the military was formally changed to the Ceylon Defence Force (CDF). It continued to grow throughout the early period of the 20th century. The CDF saw active service when a contingent of the Ceylon Mounted Infantry (CMI) in 1900, and a contingent of the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps (CPRC) in 1902, took part in the Second Boer War in South Africa. Their services were recognized by the presentation in 1902 of a color to the CMI, and a presentation in 1904 of a banner to the CPRC. In 1922, the CDF was honored by the presentation of the King's and Regimental colors to the Ceylon Light Infantry (CLI).[7] During the First World War, many volunteers from the Defence Force traveled to England and joined the British Army, and many of them were killed in action. One of them mentioned by SirArthur Conan Doyle was Private Jacotine of the CLI, who was the last man left alive in his unit at the Battle of Lys, and who continued to fight for 20 minutes before he was killed.[9] In 1939, the CDF was mobilized and an enormous expansion took place which required the raising of new units such as the Ceylon Signals Corps, the Auxiliary Territorial Service (Ceylon) and also the Colombo Town Guard, which had been previously disbanded, but was later re-formed to meet military requirements. During the Second World War, Britain assumed direct control over the Armed Forces of Ceylon.[10][edit]Post-independenceBrigadierJames Sinclair, Earl of Caithness inspecting a guard of honour wearing khaki drill. At the end of World War II, CDF which had increased in size during the war began demobilization.In 1948 Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain, becoming a Dominion within the commonwealth and a year earlier Ceylon entered into the bi-lateral Anglo-Ceylonese Defence Agreement of 1947. This followed by the Army Act No. 17 of 1949 which was passed by Parliament on April 11, 1949 and formalized in Gazette Extraordinary No. 10028 of October 10, 1949 marked the creation of the Ceylon Army, consisting of a regular and a volunteer force, the later being the successor of the disbanded CDF[11][12]. Therefor October 10, 1949 is considered the Ceylon Army was raised, and October 10 is celebrated annually as Army day. The Defence Agreement of 1947 provided the assurance that British would come to the aid of Ceylon in the event it was attacked by a foreign power and provided British military advises to build the country's military. BrigadierJames Sinclair, Earl of Caithness was appointed as general officer commanding Ceylon Army, as such becoming the first commander of the Ceylon Army. The initial requirement was to raise an artillery regiment, an engineer squadron, an infantry battalion, a medical unit, and a service corps company. For much of the 1950s the army was preoccupied with the task of building itself and training existing and new personal. To this aim the British Army Training Team (BATT) advisory group carried out training for ex-members of the CDF within the Ceylon Army, senior officers were sent to the British Army Staff College, Camberley and some attached to units of the British Army of the Rhine to gain field experience. New officers were sent for training at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst which continued until the 1960s and both officers and other ranks were sent to specialist training courses in Britain, India, Pakistan and Malaya. There were no formations and all units were structured to directly function under the Army Headquarters. However temporary field headquarters were to be formed at the time requirement arose[12]. Due to a lack of any major external threats the growth of the army was slow, and the primary duties of the army quickly moved towards internal security by the mid 50's, the same time as the first Ceylonese Commander Major GeneralAnton Muttukumaru took command of the army. The first internal security operation of the Ceylon Army began in 1952, code named Operation Monty to counter the influx of illegal South Indian immigrants brought in by smugglers on the north-western cost, in support of Royal Ceylon Navy coastal patrols and police operations. This was expanded and renamed as Task Force Anti-Illicit Immigration (TaFII) in 1963 and continued up to 1981 when it was disbanded. The Army was mobilized to help the police to restore peace under provincial emergency regulations during the 1953 hartal, the 1956 Gal Oya Valley riots and in 1958 it was deployed for the first time under emergency regulations throughout the island during the 1958 Riots[13]. During the 1950s and 1960s the army was called apron to carry to essential services when the workers went on strike which were organized by the left wing parties and trade unions for various reasons, the most notable was the 1961 Colombo Port strike, during which ships threatened to bypass Colombo port and the country almost staved. To counter these common strikes several units were formed, who were employed in development work when there were no strikes[13]. In 1962 several volunteer officers attempted a military coup, which was stopped hours before it was launched. This attempted coup effect the military to a great extent, since the government mistrusted the military, it reduced the size and growth of the army, especially the volunteer force, with several units being disbanded. In May 1972, when Ceylon was proclaimed a republic and changed its name to from the Dominion of Ceylon to the Republic of Sri Lanka, all Army units were renamed accordingly.[14][edit]1970–Present After successfully defeating the insurgency led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in 1971, the army was confronted with a new conflict, this time with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and other Tamil militant groups. The war escalated to the point where India was asked to intervene as a peacekeeping force. This was later seen as a tactical error, as the Indian Peace Keeping Force united nationalist elements such as the JVP to politically support the LTTE in their call to evict the IPKF. The war with the LTTE was halted following the signing of a ceasefire agreement in 2002 with the help of international mediation. However, renewed violence broke out in December 2005 and following the collapse of peace talks, the Army has been involved in the heavy fighting that has resumed in the north and east of the country. Main article: Sri Lankan Civil War Since 1980 the army has undertaken many operations against the LTTE rebels. The major operations conducted by the army eventually lead to the recapture of Jaffna and other rebel strongholds. In May 2009, the Tamil Tigers officially gave up their armed struggle for Tamil Ilam as a result of nonstop militery offensives conducted by Sri lanka 19th of may 2009 Sri lankan army declare the victory of war as they found the dead body of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and with that marked the end of an era in Sri Lankan combat[15]. Major combat operations [edit]Peacekeeping The Sri Lanka Army has taken part in two peacekeeping missions with United Nations over the course of its history. First assignment was in the Congo (ONUC) (1960–1963). Most recently, following the signing of a ceasefire agreement was signed between the government and the LTTE in 2002, Sri Lankan forces were invited by the United Nations to be part of the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti.[16] The Sri Lanka Light Infantry was selected to be part of the peacekeeping operations, and training programs on counter revolutionary warfare were conducted for the troops in Kukuleganga. Following the successful completion of the training, a battalion under the command of Col. K.A.D.A. Karunasekara left for Haiti on October 22, 2004. In the process of the peacekeeping operations, 2 soldiers were killed in a raid in Petit-Goave.[17] After over 6 months of service, the first contingent of the peacekeeping force returned to Sri Lanka on May 17, 2005[16]. In December 2007, 7th rotation of the Sri Lankan contingent had been deployed with a force of 991 officers and other ranks, many of the those deployed have been awarded the United Nations Medal for their services.[18]