Some reasons why the Muhamale Forward Defense Line is so hard to breach
With the Tamil Tigers having more than 5 years to perfect their defences along the 7 miles stretch spanning from KILALY to NAGARKOVIL, this front provides the most fortified line in the current Sri Lankan conflict.
The Tamil Tiger defences had provided them with concealment, cover, combined arms integration and more importantly a depth of 14kms towards EPS. The Tamil Tiger trenches and bunkers were irregularly distributed, formulaically interconnected, carefully camouflaged, combining ballistic protection with real concealment to withstand offensive fire.
These positions were well fortified with anti-tank ditches, protective minefields and wire entanglements. Any cover the SLA could exploit were limited with interlocking fields of fire by positioning adjoining weapons so that each weapon can fire across the other's fronts.
The defences were further strengthened with MG posts and mortars. Machine guns are direct fire-flat trajectory weapons and attackers can use directional cover by obscuring the line of sight (LOS). Mortars and artillery on the other hand can fire over intervening obstacles and engage targets without LOS. Hence working together, machine guns and artillery/mortars compliments for each other's weaknesses.
Such interlocking fields of fire reduces the cover or dead space thus complicates things for the attacker to find and exploit concealed positions.
Classic military doctrine suggests that attackers need 3:1 ratio against defenders. Once the defender has integrated combined weapons tactics with fortified positions the force ratio required for a breakthrough increases. Hence against well entrenched positions it jumps to 5:1. It is very rare for any commander to have the 3:1 let alone 5:1 force ratio which military theorists consider essential to break a fortified line but it is possible to gather the necessary superiority at least locally by using deception, tactics and surprise.
Tamil Tiger grid maps of the MUHAMALE-KILALY axis
complete article- http://sf-3.blogspot.com/2008/12/cru...-muhamale.html
This is why we are having so many casualties in the Muhamale FDL than other fronts