Elephant Pass Bulldozer (Improvised battle tank)
Lance Corporal Gamini Kularathna was born to a humble family in Hasalaka, near Mahiyangana. He was the second son in a family of six children. Born on September 22, 1966, he joined the Army in August 1987 and was serving at Elephant Pass army camp with 800 other soldiers in 1991.
At about 4.30 a.m. on July 10,1991 the LTTE terrorists mounted a massive attack with approx 5000 carders which they called the Mother of All Battles. They had positioned their anti aircraft guns so that no plane or helicopter could support them. The attack continued during next two nights with the LTTE attacking the camp with mortars and machine guns.
The Sri Lankan Army was trapped and was severely outnumbered. On the 13th night they launched their main assault to over run the camp. A heavyly armor plated bulldozer started coming towards the camp and nothing seems to stop it. The bulldozer which now looked like a giant tank had sophisticated machine guns mounted on it. It effortlessly razed the bunkers to the ground on its way. There was no way of stopping this monster entering the camp.
Then, Lance Corporal Gamini who was defending another bunker suddenly took off from his position and ran towards the advancing bulldozer dodging the bullets being fired from behind the vehicle, he managed to climb the bulldozer and threw two hand grenades through a hatch on the top of the bulldozer instantly killing four terrorists and making the supreme sacrifice himself. The bulldozer came to a halt hitting a building nearby thus giving time for support troops to make a rescue effort.
On August 4th the reinforcements had arrived at Elephant Pass and the camp, under siege for nearly a month was saved but with heavy losses. By the end, over 200 Sri Lankan army soldiers and over 800 terrorists had died, many injured.
In recognition of his act of gallantry Lance Corporal Gamini Kularatne was promoted to the rank of Corporal and was honoured with the award of “Parama Weera Vibhushanaya”, the highest gallantry award in Sri Lanka for the first time in the history of Sri Lanka Army.
Later, he came to be known as the “Hasalaka Weeraya”(Hasalaka Hero) and the improvised battle tank he blew away still stands where it stopped in 1991 on the route to Elephant Pass.
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Map of Elephant Pass Bulldozer
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Traveling Directions to Elephant Pass Bulldozer
Route 01 from Colombo to Elephant Pass Bulldozer
Route 02 from Colombo to Elephant Pass Bulldozer
|Though : Kurunegala – Dambulla – Anuradhapura – Vavunia|
Distance :345 km
Travel time : 7-8 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
|Through : Negambo – Chilaw – Puttlam – Eluvankulama – Mannar – Pooneryn – Chavacachcheri|
Distance : 357 km
Travel time : 7-8 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps