When I posted the Advance to Mullaitivu on January 8th, the situation was roughly thus:
The 53rd Division had just taken the northern side of Elephant Pass, and the 55th was rolling down the northeast coast of the Jaffna Peninsula, squeezing the Tigers into the narrow Chundikilam spit. On the mainland, Task Force 1 — newly formalized as the 58th Division had sent a brigade up the A9 to secure the southern end of Elephant Pass before its other elements started pushing southeast down the A35 against the Tiger’s next line of defence. Further south, the 57th Division was pushing through Irananamadu and across the Old Kandy Road. This division was also in contact, as was elements of Task Force 3 on the 57th’s right flank. Task Force 2, between Karuppaddamuripu and Oddusuddan, lined up just north of the A34 was fairly static. On its right flank, Task Force 4 was in heavy contact in what looked like a probing or diversionary attack up the Oddusuddan – Puthukkudiyiruppu road. At the far right of the line, the 59th Division was fairly static as well, just south of Mullaitivu, though facing regular counterattacks.
My prediction at the time was that of a ‘left hook’ with the main thrust going down the A35, spearheaded by the 58th Division. It’s left flank would be protected by mechanized elements of the 55th, moving quickly across from Elephant Pass if the causeway was motorable. The four division-sized formations south of the 58th would apply pressure into the southern and western sides of the Tiger triangle, moving forward incrementally where possible to threaten the LTTE’s left flank as it defended the A35. The 59th, south of Mullaitivu, would apply maximum pressure against the tigers and act as a pivot for the entire line. However, Task Force 4 could still be used to punch up into the triangle’s underbelly, driving for Puthukkudiyiruppu if the 58th found its advance faltering. I predicted that the end of Phase 1 would look something like this: Continue reading