When released into independence from Great Britain in 1948, the stunningly beautiful island of Ceylon, renamed Sri Lanka in 1972, was expected to become a sort of ‘South Asian Singapore.' However, stable political order and bright economic prospects proved insufficient to maintain peace. A host of unsolved ethnic conflicts and social inequalities conspired to erupt into an armed conflict in 1971.
When this broke out the entire Sri Lankan society was shocked to its core by a large-scale insurgency instigated by a Sinhalese Maoist group, JVP. Worse still, this was followed by the gradual buildup of several other Tamil groups in the north of the island.
Following riots known as ‘Black July' in 1983, Sri Lanka was ripped apart by a murderous war against Tamil insurgents, which caught the armed forces wrong-footed because of the government’s reluctance to buildup its military to necessary levels. This came to a temporary stop in 1987 with the implementation of a peace arrangement virtually enforced by the government of India and a deployment of a large peacekeeping force of the Indian military. By that time, the notorious LTTE emerged as the most powerful Tamil insurgent movement and the principal opponent of the Sri Lankan armed forces.
Eventually, the Indian military intervention proved to be only a temporary solution. The LTTE turned against the Indian military but suffered heavily in return. However, this provided some breathing space for the Sri Lankan military, which then launched a vicious and protracted counterinsurgency campaign against the JVP. The fighting thus went on.
Relying on extensive studies of the Sri Lankan War with the help of firsthand sources, official documentation and publications from all of involved parties, this volume provides an in-depth and particularly detailed account of military operations during the first 16 years of this war.
About the Author
Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialisation in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. Except for authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books - including about a dozen of titles for Helion’s @War series - and over 1000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defence-related publications.
Adrien Fontanellaz, from Switzerland, is a military history researcher and author. He developed a passion for military history at an early age and has progressively narrowed his studies to modern-day conflicts. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Pully-based Centre d’histoire et de prospective militaries (Military History and Prospectives Centre), and regularly contributes for the Revue Militaire Suisse and various French military history magazines. He is co-founder and a regular contributor to the French military history website L’autre cotè de la colline, and this is his seventh title for Helion’s ‘@War’ series.