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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2704

Mysterious weapon of the LTTE; only for the militarily illiterate

By Shafiq Gafoor

It was reported on 05th April 2009 that the valiant ground troops of 58 Division captured one of the most exciting military articles during the Eelam War IV of the LTTE, the terror outfit which was once renowned for its ferocity & innovativeness in the ways & means of attacking the government forces.

It is true that the total credit for capturing such a "prize of war" should go to all those brave sons of mother Lanka who are out there shedding blood & sweat alike to eliminate the remaining tigers who are struggling to catch their last breath. Yet, it is sad to see that there are a few militarily illiterate people in Colombo who desperately write anything on anything even if they don't know anything about such.

The so called Mysterious weapon, save for its classic design as an Anti Air (AA) weapon, can never be named so since the people who are in the "profession of arms” doing an extensive active role and a noble service in the name of the motherland, have been dealing with the same kind of weapons or at least variants of such weapons. The illiteracy of some reporters of military matters indirectly degrades the knowledge of military forces of Sri Lanka and more dangerously puffs up the weakened tigers. The clearest evidence of such military illiteracy or ignorance on the part of these journalists is shown by naming a world famous weapon as a mysterious weapon and erroneously exaggerating its calibre as 30 mm (over twice the actual size - 14.5 mm).

The details of this weapon obtained from a well trained Gunnery Officer, can be outlined as follows for the sake of correcting and moreover to educate the charlatan writers.

ZPU-4 – 14.5mm Quadruple-Barreled Anti Aircraft Gun

Quadruple-Barreled Anti Aircraft GunQuadruple-Barreled Anti Aircraft Gun

Model ZPU-4
Barrels 4

Elevation +90/-10

Traverse 360

Maximum range 8000 m

Maximum altitude 5000 m

Effective altitude 1400 m

Ammunition (rounds) 4800

Crew 5

The ZPU-4 is a towed quadruple barreled anti-aircraft gun based on the Soviet KPV 14.5 mm machine gun which entered service with the Soviet Union in 1949 and is presently used by over 50 countries worldwide. Double and single barreled versions of the weapon that exist are called the ZPU-2 and ZPU-1 respectively.

The quad-barrel ZPU-4 uses a four-wheel carriage. In firing position the weapon is lowered onto firing jacks. It can be brought in and out of action in about 15 to 20 seconds, and can be fired with the wheels in the traveling position if needed.

The series was used during the Korean War by Chinese and North Korean forces, and was later considered to be the most dangerous opposition to U.S. helicopters in Vietnam. It was also used by Iraqi forces during Operation Desert Storm.

The questions arising in anyone's mind as to how these weapons had been brought into this, can be best solved by referring to the statement made by the Government Defence Spokesman Hon. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella during the media briefing on 06th March 2009, where he reiterated that a large haul of weapons & other war related articles have been brought into the country through the customs & transported them into the un-cleared areas using heavy lift modes of transport. Furthermore, he told the media that the investigations are being carried out into such and the responsible persons will be brought before the law in due course.

The inerasable memories of the SLN destroying the floating warehouses in the deep seas, have sunk deeper into the hearts & minds of the grateful people of Sri Lanka than to the depths which those floating warehouses have sunk into. It was indeed the turning point of this war thanks to the brave sailors of our country who steered the SLN's 'men of war' fighting all odds in the toughest storms & turbulences out at sea for days & weeks which most of us have never seen even on films, eventually humiliating the LTTE's auxiliary fleet in the face of thebroadsides of SLN warships.

For any force, switching its roles is not that easy at all. Yet, the SLN have been successful in moving onto blue waters (Deep Seas) from brown waters (shallow waters) and then again going to the littoral theatre with its elite SBS & RABS. The recent attacks on the LTTE Sea tigers on 30th March destroying 04 LTTE Boats & killing 26 Sea Tiger cadres including their hard core leader 'Maran’ and the subsequent attack on the Sea Tigers in the wee hours of 04th April 2009 destroying an enemy craft & disabling another, & even compelling the enemy to go and beach right in front of some coastal batteries of our ground forces, stand as an undeniable testimony to the vigilance & commitment of the Sri Lanka Navy who have mastered the Art of Naval Warfare than any other contemporary navy in the world today. Hence, trying to teach SLN of their task by anyone is monstrously dogmatic.

- Asian Tribune -

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