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Sri Lanka Armoured Corps

Whither the Fates Call

HISTORY OF THE 6th (RFT) REGIMENT SRI LANKA ARMOURED CORPS

Constant  expansion  of  the  Army  invariably  resulted  in  raising  new  Regiments.  Army  headquarters  approved  the  establishment  of  6th  Regiment  SLAC  as  a  reinforcement  entity.  The  Regimental  Centre  directed  accordingly  and  Maj  GJS  Piyatunga  was  appointed  as  the  first  Commanding  Officer.  The  Regiment  was  initially  deployed  in  Jaffna  peninsula. 

The  induction  of  troops  was  gradual  and  02  x  officers  and  409  men  reached  Jaffna  by  sea  on  03  January  1997  and  another  173  men  reached  Jaffna  on  10  January  1997.  The Security Force Headquarters (Jaffna) approved the location selected  for  deployment.  The  Muslim  Vidyalaya  at Taffers  road,  Jaffna  became  the  site  to  raise  the  6th  Regiment  SLAC.  Maj Gen PA  Karunathilake  RWP  was  present  to  brace  the occasion.  The  regiment  comprised  of  Headquarter,  A,  B,  C and  D  Squadrons.

HISTORY

Since  its raising,  the  Regimental Headquarter  with  Headquarter  Squadron  was  located  at  Muslim  Vidyalaya  Jaffna.  A  Squadron  was  deployed  at  Manthurai,  B  Squadron  was  located  at  Hospital  road  Jaffna  and  C  squadron  at  Gurunagar.  They  commenced  performing  operational  duties  immediately.

The  regiment  celebrated  the  first  anniversary  at  Vasavilan  in  1998.  By  10  July  1998,  all  the  squadrons  were  deployed  in  Manipai  for  election  duties.  The  Regiment  was  deployed  in  Killinochchi  sector  as  a  Reinforcement  Regiment  after  the  terrorists  attacked  the  Wanni  defences.  Progressing  towards  better  goals,  the  regiment  prepared  itself  to  receive  BTR  Armoured  Personnel  Carriers  as  a  new  consignment  was  anticipated.  The  pilot  programme  to  train  the  troops  on  trades  related  to  BTR  commenced.  On  07  June  1998,  the  much  anticipated  BTRs  reached  Sri  Lanka.  The  regiment  moved  to  Kallattawa  and  formally  took  over  the  vehicles  on  25  July  1998.  Thereafter  the  vehicles  were  taken  to  Clappenburg  army  camp  for  training.  The  course  culminated  with  a  colourful  parade  to  then  Colonel  Commandant  of  the  Corps  Maj  Gen  PA  Karunatilake  RWP  on  01  September  1998. Subsequently  the  regiment  was  operationally  deployed  as  a  fully  fledged  regiment  on  the  classic  role.

From the beginning of the year 1999, the Regimental  Headquarter  and  the  Headquarter  Squadron  were  located  at  Kallattawa.  Since  the  requirement  of  more  troops  arose,  on  24  September  1999,  all  the  elements  were  redeployed  in  Omanthai  and  Vellakvetikulam.  Due  to  concerted  attacks  by  the  enemy  to  Oddusudan  and  the  subsequent  withdrawal  by  own  troops  on  04  November,  the  Regiment  too  was  redeployed  at  Thandikulam  camp  on  06  November  1999. After 3 days, on 09  November 1999,  the  Regiment  moved  to  Kallattawa.

The  A  Squadron  was  relieved of  its  dutiesat  212  Brigade  Tallady and  moved  to  232  Brigade  Valachchanai. The B Squadron, which was  located at 232 Brigade,was relieved of its duties and redeployed at Gurunagar. Regimental Headquarters and Headquarter  Squadron were moved to Kosgama on 24 April 2000, operating a Tactical Headquarter at Tallady camp. During this period apart from the  duties  in  the North and East, the regiment was tasked to provide Parliament Security Duties in Colombo as well.

Tactical Headquarters was redeployed from Mannar to  Palaly  on 07 July 2001 and was located at Kankesanthurei.  The 4th anniversary was restricted to religious ceremonies and all Officers and men made a pilgrimage to Sri Pada. A Squadron handed over all the BTRs to  1st Recce Regiment on 27 April 2001 andmoved to Kankesanthurei. The Squadron was attached to 4 Armoured Regiment to fulfil the troop requirement of the Regiment. B Squadron continued to be at Gurungar under 512 Brigade. Tactical headquarters  continued to be at Varani and the Regimental Headquarters was re-located from Kosgama to Varani on 12 January 2002. The  day 13 March 2002, was another fateful day as the officers leaving after an Officer's  Mess function at Rock House met with an accident at Nawagamuwa junction. Capt  A  H  L  R  Silva RSP, Lt D N L  Jayaweera  ,Tpr  Weerasooriya  S  J succumbed to their injury.  Another 3 x Officers and 2 x  Other ranks escaped with injuries. C  Squadron was raised at Salawa camp and was moved  to  52 Division for operational requirements.

The Regiment received a fleet of BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicles to become a  fully equipped Mechanised Regiment. Sabre Squadrons commenced training on 30  March  2002. A demonstration on BMP was conducted for Commander Security Forces Headquarters (Jaffna) witnessed by Commanders  52, 55 Divisions, Commander Armoured Brigade and all  brigade commanders. Armour / infantry cooperation training commenced at Nagarkovil. The regiment, located at Varani, deployed at Manthuvil. A Squadron was at Meesalai, B Squadron at Manthuvil and C  Squadron at Nagarkovil  by this  time.

A New Year festival was organized withthe participation of  Tamil  population in  the vicinity of the camp at Manthuvil on 14  April 2003. A Squadron, which was located at Manthuvil was  shiftedto Meesalai South. The test firing  of all AFV  weapons and zeroing of weapons was  done at Nagarkovil on  07 June 2003. Regiment participated in the Exercise GREEN  FIELD conducted by the 52 Division at Thanankillappu from 13to  20 October. Warning order was received to  shift the camp from  the present location to 5-way  junction at  Sarasalai on  13 November 2003. The dawn of year 2004 was celebrated at the new camp. There were no major changes in deployment since then due to peace efforts and the Regiment took this opportunity to concentrate on training more.

OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES

At the inception in 1997, Regiment was  operationally under command to 512 Brigade. Internal Security duties were assigned to maintain normalcy in the Jaffna town. Regiment was redeployed  in  the Kodikamam area to conduct cordon and search operations under 522 Brigade.

Terrorist threat continued in the Paranthan and Kilinochchi sectors. The regiment was deployed indefinitely to cater for the threat under 543 Brigade by 1998.  Since the LTTE managed to capture  part of  the Kilinochchi defence, a limited operation was  launched to regain the lost ground on 04 June 1998, in which the Regiment participated. The Regiment was depleted due to the heavy casualty rate. Therefore, on 14 June 1998, all the troops deployed on defensive tasks  were withdrawn and moved back to new locations. Regimental Headquarter and Headquarter Squadron moved back to Vasavilan

Regiment  involved effectively in Operation JAYASIKURUI. BTRs  gave a positive edge for the commanders due to its high speed and rate of fire. The deployment was changed to  suit the operational requirements. Since the situation in East too was not  satisfactory, the need for armour was contemplated and a squadron was sent to Batticaloa. B Squadron  located itself with 232 Brigade  in  Valachchenai.

A squadron continued to be under command to 212 Brigade in Mannar sector for all operational purpose in 1999. It effectively provided security to convoys and all other road movement on a daily basis. The squadron was committed to the success of Operation RANAGOSA launched in Nanattan on 08 April 1999. It involved a limited operation conducted to capture Veditaltivu on 26 June 1999. B Squadron continued to be with 232 Brigade in Valachchenai for all operational purposes. The commitment was mainly route clearance, escort duties and snap operations. The squadron took part in the operation conducted to secure Vakarai - Kadiraveli road on 30 August 1999. The Squadron took part in Operation RIVIKIRANA and all the other limited operations   conducted in the sector. Since 2000, the regiment did not take part in a major offencive operation thus continued to provide defensive support to the formations to which the Squadrons were attached.

The 6th Recce Regiment of the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps was disbanded on 4th February 2007 and the experienced troops and equipment were affiliated to raise the Mechanised Infantry Brigade. Later the regiment was raised as a Reinforcement Battalion by amalgamating troops from other regiments of the armoured corps. On 2nd August 2007 the new regiment was formed by Major D B S N Bothota in Kankasanturai with Major P R Pathirawithana as his deputy.

Soon after its inception the regiment was deployed in the forward defence line in the strategically important Kilaly lagoon. Subsequently the regiment was deployed at Nagarkovil and Mamunai in support of the Humanitarian Operation in January 2008 under the command of Major M G T D Rathnasekara. The regiment continued to hold the all important defence line throughout the Humanitarian Operation until 19 May 2009, when the curtain came down on LTTE terrorism.

Subsequently the regiment was deployed in Toppigala and then in Kumana under the command of Maj K M P S B Kulatunga. As a result of the army’s troop reduction plan after the Humanitarian Operation the 9th Battalion Sri Lanka Armoured Corps was amalgamated with 6th Regiment and was deployed in Morawewa in the Tricomalee District under the command of Maj P I U Silva RSP psc.

COMMANDING OFFICERS

Name From To
Lieutenant Colonel G J S Piyatunga 29.01.1997 14.03.1998
Major A M L De Zoysa RSP 14.03.1998 14.04.1998
Major I P Ranasinghe RWP RSP psc 14.04.1998 29.12.1998
Major A M L De Zoysa RSP 29.12.1998 14.06.1999
Major I P Ranasinghe RWP RSP psc 14.06.1999 07.02.2000
Major N I De Silva RSP 07.02.2000 04.02.2003
Major S A U Nanayakkara 04.02.2003 31.05.2004
Major W A Ariyaratne 31.05.2004  
Major D B S N Bothota RSP psc 02.08.2007 24.01.2008
Lieutenant Colonel M G T D Rathnasekara 24.01.2008 11.12.2009
Lieutenant Colonel K M P S B Kulathunge RSP psc 11.12.2009 01.03.2012
Major P I U Silva RSP psc 01.04.2012 05.10.2012
Lieutenant Colonel A P C R Premathilake RSP 05.10.2012 17.01.2014
Lieutenant Colonel D K R N Silva psc 17.01.2014 05.01.2015
Lieutenant Colonel K G M N Seneviratne USP 06.01.2015 07.08.2016
Lieutenant Colonel B Y Nanayakkara RSP psc 08.08.2016 26.10.2018
Lieutenant Colonel P J M De Silva RSP USP 26.10.2018 03.03.2020
Lieutenant Colonel R H A Hennade RSP psc 04.03.2020 07.05.2021
Lieutenant Colonel P A R Wijerathne RWP RSP 11.05.2021 Up to Date

SECOND IN COMMAND

Name From To
Major P R Pathiravithana psc 02.08.2007 15.07.2008
Major U K Wicramaarchchi 15.07.2008 07.01.2010
Major M W S Marapana RSP 07.01.2010 15.10.2010
Major R N Kotage RSP 15.10.2010 13.03.2013
Major H P N Parackramawansa RSP 13.03.2013 29.09.2014
Major K C J Kotalawala RWP USP 29.09.2014 11.07.2016
Major L R Amarasekara 12.07.2016 03.09.2017
Major N V A M Vithanage RSP psc 03.09.2017 31.04.2018
Major A M A G B Ubesekara 01.05.2018 09.05.2019
Major W D S D Wickramaarachchi RWP RSP USP psc 09.05.2019 08.12.2019
Major R M C Kamalasiri USP 09.12.2019 12.10.2020
Major W D S P Wickramasinghe RSP USP 13.10.2020 24.02.2021
Major P W N P W B S U B Pilimatalawwe psc 25.02.2021 18.05.2021
Lieutenant Colonel P W N P W B S U B Pilimatalawwe psc 18.05.2021 Up to Date