Sri Lanka Army Commando Regiment

The Sri Lanka Army Commando Regiment is one of two Special Operations units of the Sri Lanka Army, alongside the Sri Lanka Army Special Forces Regiment. The organizational and operational Structure of the Sri Lanka Army Commando Regiment is much similar to the British Special Air Service unit. Within one of the four Army Commando Regiments there is a 140-man counter-terrorist unit that provides the primary counter-terrorism response for Sri Lanka. This unit was created in 1980 and is based in Ganemulla, a suburb of Colombo.


In 1977 Lt. General J.E.D Perera, founder of Commandos, issued a call to combating terrorism in Sri Lanka, a decision was made by the Army HQ to raise a special counter-terrorist unit. Maj. Sunil Peris from 1GW, Capt. Sarath Handapangoda from 1st SR and three other ranks were selected as a Core Group and training commenced in the Ella Camp, Army Training Centre, Diyatalawa.
On 9 February 1978 the first ever commando training course commenced, Lt U. Edirisinghe and Lt. P. Chandrawansa, and 24 Other Ranks were drawn from the Armoured Corps, Artillery, Engineers, Sri Lanka Light Infantry, Sinha Regiment and the Gemunu Watch on a volunteer basis. Lt Percy Fernando was drawn from Officer Cadet School to assist in training. Lt. Srinath Rajapaksa, Lt. Vijitha Walikala, and four Officers volunteered for the second training course conducted at Diyatalawa. All trainees of both courses, except for aforementioned Officers, returned to their parent units after training.
A Commando squadron was formed in Gemunu Watch 'B’ Camp at Diyatalawa and Maj S.D. Peiris GW was appointed officer commanding, and Capt. Sarath Handapangoda was appointed as 2nd in Command. Shortly after that, the Squadron received specialised training in anti-terrorist and anti – hijack techniques conducted by the members of the elite Special Air Service Regiment of Britain. The Commandos were later trained in parachuting at Agra, India and they performed their maiden display during Army Day celebrations on 10 October 1980. 4 December 1980, the Squadron moved to its new premises in Ganemulla. In 1981 the Commandos were employed in counter terrorist operations in Jaffna for the first time. It also performs special duties in the Presidential Security Division. To meet the operational requirements the Commando Regiment was expanded and a Commando Brigade was formed on 18 March 1997.4 Commando regiment was formed before the 3 Commando Regiment on 15 March 2003 which is responsible for VIP protection, hostage rescue and anti terrorist tasks and War dog operations. Four Groups which were conducting long range patrols since 1995 was converted into the third regiment was formed 1 August 2007 with Maj Uditha Bandara as the Commanding officer.


The units used 20-man teams which are split into four 4–8-man assault units. They have received training from Great Britain, India, Israel and Pakistan. Approximately 40 per cent of the Regiments are airborne qualified. The third Commando Regiment and the third Army Special Forces Regiment are grouped together to form the independent Special Reconnaissance LRRP Brigade. Approximately 95 percent of the two Commando Regiments are airborne qualified, either in Pakistan, India or at the commando parachute training school in Ganemulla. It may operate in conjunction with the Special Boat Squadron of the Sri Lanka Navy, although this has not been confirmed. The Commando Regiment has only 4 Regular Units.


Current CR roles are believed to include

Regular Army

The Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol is a covert operation unit of the Sri Lanka Army. This unit is operated under the Directorate of Military Intelligence of the Army and it is believed to be composed of personnel from the Commando Regiment and Special Forces Regiment.

Military operations

With the commencement of the 4th phase of the Sri Lankan Civil War, the Commandos and Special Forces were tasked to conduct deep operations to disrupt and deny the freedom of action of LTTE. Commandos were able to disorientate the LTTE Leadership by conducting Ambushes and Raids by inflicting attrition on LTTE, thus forcing them to deploy more troops for their rear area security. Their operations shaped up the battle field creating favourable situation to launch a historical major offensive to liberate Eastern Province from LTTE. Most of the operations conducted by the Commando Regiment are Covert operations. A successful small group raid was done in 1990 In Mallakam in Jaffna peninsula. By Delta Patrol of 1st Commando Regiment. Another successful raid was done in Welioya Thannimuruppu Kulam area in 1993 by a small team of Bravo Group of 2nd Commando Regiment. LTTE's Colonel Amudan alias Thambi was also killed in 1994 creating a great impact on the chain of command of the LTTE.

Operation Thoppigala

The 3rd Commando Regiment participated in the military offensive which was launched to capture the Thoppigala from LTTE during the period of June/July 2007. They managed to seize the rocky plateau which had been named by the LTTE as Tora Bora. Around 200 LTTE cadres were killed during the entire offensive.'''

Capture of the Unnichchai tank bund

After a successful operation to capture Vakarai and Sampur by the Special Forces Brigade, the Commandos were tasked to capture the LTTE strong holds around Thoppigala and Narakamulla. Gaining control of A–5 road which runs from Maha Oya to Batticaloa via Chenkaladi was essential to gaining access to the jungles of Thoppigala. From Pullumale to Black Bridge at Chenkalladi road was totally controlled by the LTTE. Further, the LTTE was operating freely in the jungles between the A−27 and A−5 roads. Hence, it was essential to gain control of this portion of the road and in the jungles, to launch any operation to destroy the bastion of Thoppigala. However, the A-27 road which runs from Maha Oya to Potuvil and the road from Trikonamadu to Kalmunai were controlled by the Army, but were vulnerable to the LTTE attacks. After finalising plans for a major operation, the mobilisation of assigned troops commenced in preparation for launching a decisive attack against LTTE strong holds in the theatre. However, intelligence revealed that the LTTE planned to destroy the Unnichchai tank bund if the Security Forces launched any operation to gain control over the area. Their intent was to inundate the area by destroying the tank bund to destabilise the government and the ultimately spoil the security forces plan. In this back drop commandos were tasked to capture Unichchai Tank bund intact to facilitate the major offensive. The capture of Unnichchai tank bund was one of the most significant raids conducted by commandos to facilitate break out of the major offensive to capture the LTTE strong hold Thoppigala.

Reconnaissance missions