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Sri Lanka Armoured Corps

Whither the Fates Call

HISTORY OF THE 3rd ARMOURED REGIMENT SRI LANKA ARMOURED CORPS

3rd Reconnaissance Regiment is the third Regiment to join the Armoured Corps. The Regiment was initially raised by acquiring armoured vehicles and personnel from 1st Recce Regiment SLAC. The new regiment comprised of 10 Officers and 320 ORs. Its fleet of Armoured Fighting Vehicles comprised of 12 x Saladin, 14 x Saracen, 15 x Scout Cars and 01 x Stalwart. The Regimental Headquarters was based at Rock House. ‘A’ Squadron was located in Batalanda while ‘B’ Squadron was at Trincomalee. The Regiment moved to Anuradhapura and established its headquarters at Tissawewa on 03 July 1989 prior to shifting to Kalattewa Camp and co-located with ACTC.

At present the regiment is equipped with T 55 MBTs, T 85 Light Tanks and T 86 (Wheeled) and T 86 (Tracked) Armoured Fighting Vehicles. 3rd Recce Regiment SLAC is presently developing into a Tank Regiment from an APC Regiment.

The Regiment was raised on 16 November 1988. The first Commanding Officer was Lt Col D Kalupahana psc. In 1990, 3rd Recce Regiment SLAC was initially based at Rock House Camp, Colombo. The Regiment received 4 x Saracen Armoured Cars on 05 Jan 1990. By 1991, A Squadron was deployed in Jaffna Peninsula. The Regimental Headquarters was moved to Horowupothana and co-located with 5 (V) Gajaba Regiment. The regiment  was tasked to provide protection to border villages such as Yan-Oya, Parangiyawadiya, Dematawewa and Diyathiththawewe which were threatened by terrorists. Chinese made T 85 Light Tanks were imported for the first time on 22 September 1991 and was commissioned into 3rd Recce Regiment. In October 1991, the RHQ was relocated at Kalattewa. The Regiment received T 86 Wheeled Armoured Cars on 26 December 1991. In 1992, A and B Squadrons for the first time were involved in an offensive operation by participating in Operation WANNNI WICKRAMA 3 with its newly acquired T 85 and T 86 Armoured vehicles. C Squadron was deployed in Welioya area. Due to the untiring efforts taken by then Commanding Officer, Lt Col D V S Y Kulatunga psc the regiment acquired approximately 50 acres of land at Kalattewa.

At the beginning of 1993, A, B, & C squadrons were deployed in Mannar, Cheddikulam, and Welioya respectively. By the end of 1993, all Senior Non Commissioned Officers stationed at ACTC Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess shifted to a temporary Mess constructed at 3 SLAC camp. By 1994, A, B & C Squadrons were deployed in Mannar, Palaly, and Welioya respectively. C Squadron, which deployed at Welioya, was redeployed in Jaffna on operational requirements. Due to operational commitments Tactical Headquarters of 3 SLAC was deployed to Kankesanthurai on 01 September 1995. A Squadron was deployed in Mannar, B Squadron and C Squadron were at Vettilaikerni, Vasavilan, Kankasenthurai and Jaffna Peninsula respectively.

In 1996, D Squadron was raised by combining one troop each from A and B Squadrons. The new squadron was deployed at Paranthan and Elephant Pass. D Squadron participated in Operation SATHJAYA to recapture Kilinochchi area. In 1997, the Armoured Brigade deployed its Tactical Headquarters with 3rd Recce Regiment at Vavuniya due to the operational requirements and to coordinate squadrons under command. After the operational duties A, B and C Squadrons were redeployed in Mannar area to take part in operation EDIBALA. Thereafter D Squadron was disbanded and its AFVs and crews were absorbed into A and B squadrons. These squadrons were deployed in Vavuniya and participated in Operation JAYASIKURUI. While the unit was engaged in operations, a new fleet of 14 x T 86 Armoured Vehicles and the balance T 85 Armoured Vehicles were attached to A and B Squadrons.

In 1998, the Tactical Headquarters, A and B Squadrons were under command to Tactical Headquarters Armoured Brigade which was engaged in Operation JAYASIKURU throughout the year. By 1999, the Tactical Headquarters was deployed at Vavuniya. A and B Squadrons participated in Operation RANAGOSA. C Squadron was deployed in Jaffna Peninsula for operational duties throughout the year.

In 2000, Tactical Headquarters was deployed at Thallady. A and B Squadrons were deployed respectively at Mannar and Vavuniya. During 2001, Tactical Headquarters and A Squadron were deployed at Mannar. The regiment took over 14 x T 55 tanks from 4 AR, SLAC. In 2002, Tactical Headquarters shifted from Mannar to Vavuniya. A Squadron shifted to 211 Brigade Headquarters in Vavuniya. On 18 October 2002 A Squadron was deployed at Agobopura under command to 56 Division. HQ Squadron, B Squadron was deployed at Thandikulam. In 2003 January 17, A Squadron was deployed at Agbopura. B Squadron was deployed at Thandikulam. C Squadron was deployed at Pampamadu. Deployment remains the same up to date. Regiment is involved in training due to the prevailing non operational environment.

By the year 2005, the RHQ was deployed in Anuradhapura and was in the process of providing troops for operational requirements as per the instructions issued by the 21 Division. Saber squadrons were deployed in Vavunia.

In 2006, troops of C Squadron participated in Eastern Humanitarian operations in Alla Kantale, Mavilaru, Sevanagar, Sampoor and Kattaparichchan areas. This troop also participated for operations which liberated Barrans Cap area. Maj S R Fernando, Sgt Wipula LM, Cpl Kumarasinghe HGM, Cpl Jayasooriya RLD and L/Cpl Kumara LRSW of C Squadron, paid the suprime sacrifise during this operation.

Starting from 2008, the A and B Squadrons of the regiment were deployed for operation in Vavunia. C Squadron was deployed with 58 Division and their long march from Mannar to Nanthi Kadal with 58 Division is significant. Along with C Squadon, III Troop of A squadron also was deployed along, Manthottam, Manthai, Vellankulam, Punaryn, Paranthan, Kilinochchi, Dharmapuram and Vishwamadu areas. Meanwhile, I Troop of A Squadron was deployed along with 59 Division starting from Welioya uptill Mulaithivu. The B squadron, after reciving T 55 Tanks by February 2009, was deployed along with 57 and 58 Divisions. This squadron participated for operations along Vishwamadu, Puthukudiyiruppu, Puthumathalan and Wellamulliwikkal up till Nanthikadal Lagoon. Sgt Dasanayake KG is the last soldier of the regiment who paid the suprime sacrifice in the operatins. He was KIA in Puthukudiyiruppu on 31 March 2009.

OPERATIONAL COMMITMENTS

On the establishment of the unit on 16 November 1988, the following conversions were made:
1. D Squadron 1 SLAC renamed as A Squadron 3 SLAC.
2. B Squadron 1 SLAC renamed as B Squadron 3 SLAC.

A Squadron was stationed in Kilinochchi area while B Squadron was stationed in Mollipothana and engaged in operational activities. In 1989, A Squadron was stationed in Kelaniya while 2 Troop and its Armoured vehicles and some of the  Armoured vehicles of HQ Squadron were stationed in Kilinochchi for operational duties. 2 Troop was stationed in Palaly and B Squadron engaged in operational activities in Trincomalee. C Squadron was stationed at Kalattewa Camp for special operational purposes.

During 1990, A Squadron was located in different locations as independent troops to repulse insurgent activities launched against the Government in Hambantota, Kelaniya, Mattakkuliya.BSquadron was stationed at Batticaloa, Valachchenai, Trincomalee, Mollipothana and Kanthale in the Eastern province and Puttalam in the North Western Province, Sillawathurai and Mannar in the Northern Province and Horoupothana in the North Central Province to suppress terrorist activities. In 1991, A Squadron under the 21 Brigade and a troop each was stationed at Keeramalai, Karainagar, and Kayts, while another troop was stationed at Horowpothana area for operational activities. The troops of B Squadron were stationed at Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Valachchenai and Mollipothana in the Eastern Province, Puttalam in North Western Province, Mannar, Sillawathurai in Northern Province and engaged in operational activities. Further, the troops of B Squadron were stationed at Kankasanthurai, Vauniya, Welioya and Horowpothana in the Eastern Province. The major operation the regiment took part was the Operation WANNI WICKRAMA during this year.

In the year 1992, the regiment was able to achieve considerable results by effective involvement in following operations;

    • OperationWANNI WICKRAMA III.
    • Operation HAYE PAHARA.
    • Operation GREEN BELT III.
    • Operation DURAGAMANA.
    • Operation SEEGRA PAHARA.

    Constant attacks launched by the terrorists on the defences were kept under control by the unit during 1993. Apart from the above operations, the squadrons participated in following operations:

    1. A Squadron - Operation CHECK MATE for 3 days along with 02 x Infantry Battalions.
    1. B Squadron - Operation BLACK FOX, Operation SADA PAHARA, and Operation SHOCK ACTION.

    Furthermore, the unit engaged in operational activities at Thanthirimale under command to 18 Brigade.

    In 1994, A Squadron under command to 5 Brigade engaged in limited operations with an aim of suppressing the constant attacks on the defence line by the terrorists. Subsequently, the regiment launched operations to strengthen the Forward Defence Lines. Following operations were conducted in order to maintain the initiative;

      • SPREAD FIRE I.    8 days with Gemunu Watch.
      • SPREAD FIRE II.  8 days with Gemunu Watch.

      In order to sustain and maintain a strong defence at Vauniya, Operation JAYABIMA was launched in which the regiment participated extensively. Regiment launched its operations from the defence line in Vauniya across the enemy held areas for about 9 miles towards Periyampanai withthe purpose of marrying up with troops deployed at Palaly and Vasavilan and linked withOperation JAYAHANDA launched from Achchuveli. C Squadron was under 6 Brigade and participated in Operation WEGA GAMANA launched from Vauniya. Later troops were stationed at Palaly and Vasavilan in the North and took part in the JAYAHANDA Operations launched from Achchuveli.

      During 1995, A Squadron was engaged in operational activities in the Mannar area while B Squadron under the 19 Brigade took part in Operations IDIRI PIMMA and JAYAHANDA 2. The Regiment took part in Operations WEGA PAHARA, SAFE PASSAGE and VIDULI PAHARA under the 26 Brigade. Regiment was deployed under the Armoured Brigade in Jaffna Peninsula for operational activities and took part in operations THUNDER STRIKE, RIVIRESA I, II, and III and many other limited offensive operations in 1996. C Squadron was stationed at Kankesanthurai and Palaly. D Squadron was deployed at Vettilaikerni and took part in Operation SATHJAYA III. Operation WEGA GAMANA was launched to liberate the area between Pampaimadu and Parayanakulam of Vavunia / Mannar road, which was under LTTE.

      The beginning of the year 1997, 2 x Sabre Squadrons of the Regiment took part in Operation EDIBALA. After successful completion of operation, the A Squadron was stationed at Parayanakulam and underwent operational oriented training at Veddikulam. B Squadron also took part in Operation JAYASIKURU. Meanwhile C Squadron involved in operational activities in strengthening vast areas captured during Operation JAYASIKURU. During 1998 A Squadron participated in Operation JAYASIKURU and was stationed at Kanagaryankulam. B Squadron too was deployed and was engaged withthe Operation JAYASIKURU. It was stationed at Marakutti area for operational purposes during 1998. Aftermath of the Operation RIVIRESA C Squadron was stationed at Vasavilan and Point Pedro.

      During 1999, A and B Squadrons participated in Operation JAYAGOSA V conducted in Mannar.   Withthe short rest received after the Operation JAYASIKURU, A squadron encamped at Thandikulam. B and C Squadrons were located respectively in Mankulam, Maraikutti, Vasavilan, Point Pedro and Achchuveli and took part in operations. In 2000, in order to suppress terrorist activities, sabre squadrons took part in limited offensive operations. 01 x Troop of A Squadron, under 215 Brigade took part in operational activities in Manthai area. B Squadron was able to spoil a terrorist attack in Iranaiirrippukulam on 12.11.1999 with success. Heavy attacks launched on the forward defence line at Omanthai by terrorists were suppressed successfully. C Squadron contributed much effort to sustain attacks launched by terrorists in Palaly.

      The Regiment did not engage in any operations during the year 2001. Yet under the directions given by higher headquarters, A and B Squadrons were stationed in Mannar and Vavuniya and were engaged in limited operations. 02 x Troops of A Squadron under command  to Security Forces Headquarters (Jaffna) participated in Operation KINIHIRA and AGNIKHEELA.

      COMMANDING OFFICERS

      Name From To
      Lieutenant Colonel D Kalupahana psc 1988.11.16 1989.05.14
      Lieutenant Colonel M H C Malwaththa psc 1989.05.14 1989.11.10
      Lieutenant Colonel N R Marambe psc 1989.11.10 1991.10.06
      Lieutenant Colonel D V S V Kulathunga psc 1991.10.06 1994.04.21
      Lieutenant Colonel G Balasuriya psc 1994.04.21 1995.04.24
      Lieutenant Colonel R M J A Rathnayake 1995.04.24 1997.01.02
      Lieutenant Colonel A M Perera 1997.01.02 1998.01.13
      Major H M R De Sillva psc 1998.01.13 2000.01.17
      Major A S Wijewickrama 2000.01.17 2004.01.13
      Major D T Gamage 2004.01.13 2004.04.08
      Major M K S Silva RWP RSP 2004.04.08 2006.07.21
      Major K G M S Fernandoo 2006.07.21 2006.07.26
      Lieutenant Colonel K G M S Fernandoo 2006.07.26 2008.07.23
      Lieutenant Colonel G D Suriyabandara 2008.07.23 2009.12.21
      Lieutenant Colonel M G T D Rathnasekara 2009.12.21 2009.12.25
      Lieutenant Colonel M G T D Rathnasekara 2009.12.25 2011.05.12
      Lieutenant Colonel P R Pathirawithana 2011.05.12 2012.03.29
      Lieutenant Colonel M W A R C Wjesuriya RSP 2012.03.29 2014.01.01
      Lieutenant Colonel A P C R Premathilaka RSP 2014.01.01 2015.09.24
      Lieutenant Colonel R R M P N B Bambaradeniya RWP RSP USP psc 2015.09.25 2016.08.10
      Lieutenant Colonel K G M N Senevirathne USP 2016.08.10 2017.02.16
      Lieutenant Colonel A P A D D Dharmakeerthi RWP RSP USP psc 2017.02.17 2019.02.17
      Lieutenant Colonel D M G K H De Silva psc 2019.02.18 2021.02.18
      Lieutenant Colonel T H M D R M Peiris RSP psc 2021.02.19 Up to Date

      SECOND IN COMMAND

      Name From To
      Major G Balasuriya 1988.11.16 1990.05.02
      Major N A Ranasingha 1990.05.02 1992.08.01
      Major J Jayasuriya psc 1992.08.01 1993.12.13
      Major N Udawaththa 1993.12.13 1995.01.17
      Major U A B Madawala 1995.01.17 1995.05.25
      Major M W E W Silva 1995.05.25 1996.11.26
      Major G D Abegunawardana RWP RSP 1996.11.26 1997.11.25
      Major M K S Silva RWP RSP 1997.11.25 1998.11.16
      Major H M S J K Hennayaka 1998.11.16 2000.03.22
      Major M K S De Silva RWP RSP 2000.03.22 2001.03.16
      Major D K N De Silva 2001.03.16 2003.04.30
      Major L B K Pussadeniya RWP 2003.04.30 2005.03.03
      Major K G M S Fernandoo 2005.03.03 2006.07.21
      Major W A S R Wijedasa 2006.07.21 2008.01.22
      Major B K A P Dariju 2008.01.23 2009.12.25
      Major B K A G Dariju 2009.12.25 2010.10.29
      Major M W S Marapana RSP 2010.10.29 2012.04.16
      Major R R M P N B Bambaradeniya RWP RSP USP psc 2012.04.16 2012.09.06
      Major M S Witharanage 2012.09.06 2015.01.26
      Major U M T C Karunarathna 2015.01.26 2016.06.18
      Major E M S N Ekanayaka 2016.06.18 2017.04.01
      Major W A W T Sujith RWP psc 2017.04.01 2018.08.18
      Major R D P Lankathilake USP 2018.08.18 2019.07.21
      Major S B R Rajapakse RSP 2019.09.05 2020.01.31
      Major D M V M R Dissanayaka RWP RSP psc 2020.06.15 2020.09.08
      Lieutenant Colonel D M V M R Dissanayaka RWP RSP psc 2020.09.08 2020.09.28
      Major P W N P W B S U B Pilimatalawwe psc 2020.09.29 2020.10.05
      Major P G I L Perera RSP 2020.12.15 Up to Date