Royal Netherlands East Indies Army

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army
Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Militairen tijdens de Niau (Nederlandsch Indische Athletiek Unie) wandelmars Soerabaja TMnr 60007159.jpg
KNIL troops marching through Surabaya, 1937
Founded 1819 (1830 official)
Disbanded 1950 (1951 Colonial Reserve disbanded)
Headquarters Batavia, Dutch East Indies

The Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger; KNIL) was the military force maintained by the Netherlands in its colony of the Netherlands East Indies (also known as the Dutch East Indies), in areas that are now part of Indonesia. The KNIL's air arm was the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force. Elements of the Royal Netherlands Navy were also stationed in the Netherlands East Indies.

History 1830–1942[edit]

Isaac Israëls, Het transport der kolonialen (Transport of the Colonial Soldiers), showing recruits for the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army marching through Rotterdam to their transport to the Dutch East Indies[1]
Cavalry of the Royal Dutch East India Army in 1906 during the Dutch intervention in Bali (1906).

The KNIL was formed by royal decree on 10 March 1830. It was not part of the Royal Netherlands Army, but a separate military arm specifically formed for service in the Netherlands East Indies. Its establishment coincided with the Dutch drive to expand colonial rule from the 17th century area of control to the far larger territories comprising the Dutch East Indies seventy years later.[2][not in citation given]

The KNIL was involved in many campaigns against indigenous groups in the area including the Padri War (1821–1845), the Java War (1825–1830), crushing the final resistance of Bali inhabitants to colonial rule in 1849, and the prolonged Aceh War (1873–1904).[3] In 1894, Lombok and Karangasem were annexed in response to reports of the local Balinese aristocracy oppressing the native Sasak people.[4] Bali was finally taken under full control with the Dutch intervention in Bali (1906) and the final Dutch intervention in Bali (1908).[4]

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the KNIL prosecuted the conquest of the Indonesian archipelago. After 1904 the Netherlands East Indies were considered pacified, with no large-scale armed opposition to Dutch rule until World War II, and the KNIL served a mainly defensive role protecting the Dutch East Indies from the possibility of foreign invasion.

Once the archipelago was considered pacified the KNIL was mainly involved with military policing tasks. To ensure a sizeable European military segment in the KNIL and reduce costly recruitment in Europe the colonial government introduced obligatory military service for all resident male conscripts in the European legal class in 1917.[5] In 1922 a supplemental legal enactment introduced the creation of Home Guard (Dutch: Landstorm) for European conscripts older than 32.[6]

No large-scale armed threat to Dutch rule existed until World War II.

World War II[edit]

KNIL troops marching through Melbourne, Australia on 14 June 1943.

Dutch forces in the Netherlands East Indies were severely weakened by the defeat and occupation of the Netherlands itself, by Nazi Germany, in 1940. The KNIL was cut off from external Dutch assistance, except by Royal Netherlands Navy units. The KNIL, hastily and inadequately, attempted to transform into a modern military force able to protect the Dutch East Indies from foreign invasion. By December 1941, Dutch forces in Indonesia numbered around 85,000 personnel: regular troops comprised about 1,000 officers and 34,000 enlisted soldiers, of whom 28,000 were indigenous. The remainder were made up of locally organised militia, territorial guard units and civilian auxiliaries. The KNIL air force, Militaire Luchtvaart KNIL (Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force (ML-KNIL))[7] numbered 389 planes of all types, but was largely outclassed by superior Japanese planes. The Royal Netherlands Navy Air Service, or MLD, also had significant forces in the NEI.[8]

During the Dutch East Indies campaign of 1941–42 most of the KNIL and other Allied forces were quickly defeated.[9] Most European soldiers, which in practice included all able bodied Indo-European males, were interned by the Japanese as POWs. 25% of the POWs did not survive their internment.

A handful of soldiers, mostly indigenous personnel, mounted guerilla campaigns against the Japanese. These were usually unknown to, and unassisted by, the Allies until the end of the war.

During early 1942, some KNIL personnel escaped to Australia. Some indigenous personnel were interned in Australia under suspicion of sympathies with the Japanese. The remainder began a long process of re-grouping. In late 1942, a failed attempt to land in East Timor, to reinforce Australian commandos waging a guerrilla campaign ended with the loss of 60 Dutch personnel.

Four "NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES" squadrons were formed from ML-KNIL personnel, under the auspices of the Royal Australian Air Force, with Australian ground staff. (See: RAAF-NEI squadrons.)

KNIL infantry forces (much like their counterparts in the UK), were augmented by recruitment among Dutch expatriates around the world and by colonial troops from as far away as the Dutch West Indies. During 1944–45 some small units saw action in the New Guinea campaign and Borneo campaign.

Order of battle, 12 December 1941[edit]

A joint Australian-NEI patrol on Tarakan during the retaking of the island.

Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger or KNIL (Army status), commanded by LtGen Hein Ter Poorten.

1st Military Area (Division status), overseeing western part of Java, coterminous with 1st Infantry division, commanded by MajGen W. Schilling. Combat units:

  • 1st Infantry regiment, based in Weltevreden, commanded by Col Struivenberg
    • HQ Company
    • (10th) Motorized Infantry company of 1st Infantry Regiment
    • Heavy Infantry company of 1st Infantry regiment
    • 10th Infantry battalion, based in Weltevreden
    • 11th Infantry battalion, based in Meester Cornelis
    • 12th Infantry battalion, based in Meester Cornelis, commanded by Capt F.A.M. Harterink
    • 14th Infantry battalion, based in Buitenzorg
  • 2nd Infantry regiment, based in Bandoeng, commanded by Col Toorop
    • HQ Company
    • (10th) Motorized Infantry company of 2nd Infantry Regiment
    • Heavy Infantry company of 2nd Infantry regiment
    • 4th Infantry battalion, based in Tjimahi
    • 9th Infantry battalion, based in Bandoeng
    • 15th Infantry battalion, based in Bandoeng
  • Mobile (Armored) battalion, based in Bandoeng, commanded by Capt G.J. Wulfhorst
    • Reconnaissance platoon, commanded by Lt van Hellenberg Hubar
    • Armored company, commanded by Capt Bakhuis
      • 1st Armored platoon, commanded by Lt Christan
      • 2nd Armored platoon, commanded by Lt Cox
      • 3rd Armored platoon, commanded by SgtMaj Verboeken
    • Mechanized Infantry company, commanded by Capt Brendgen
      • 1st Mechanized Infantry platoon, commanded by Lt Rheasa
      • 2nd Mechanized Infantry platoon, commanded by Lt Reep
      • 3rd Mechanized Infantry platoon, commanded by WO Kampers
    • Motorized Antitank column
    • Motorized 2nd battery of 1st Mountain Artillery battalion, commanded by Capt Twiss
  • 1st Cavalry regiment, based in Bandoeng
    • HQ Company
    • 1st Cavalry squadron, based in Meester Cornelis, commanded by Maj Wessel
    • 2nd Cavalry squadron, based in Bandoeng, commanded by Capt Romswinckel
    • 5th (Horsed) Cavalry squadron, based in Bandoeng, commanded by Capt R.T. Soerjobroto
  • 1st Conscript battalion
  • 4th Conscript battalion

Maneuver units:

  • Afdeeling Ritman ((Infantry) Reconnaissance company), commanded by Capt Ritman
  • Afdeeling van Dongen ((Cavalry) Reconnaissance squadron), commanded by Capt van Dongen
  • 1st (Combat) Engineer battalion, based in Weltevreden
  • Technical battalion, based in Tjimahi
  • Pioneer battalion, based in Tjimahi

Detached units:

  • Batavia & Tandjong Priok Coast Defence Area
    • 1st Air Defense Artillery battalion, based in Batavia
    • 1st Coast Artillery battalion, based in Batavia
  • 3rd Air Defense Artillery battalion, based in Bandoeng
  • Coastal Artillery unit, based in Merak
  • Coastal Artillery unit, based in Bantam
  • Coastal Artillery battery, based in Pelaboean Ratoe

Fire Support units:

  • 1st Artillery regiment, based in Weltevreden, commanded by Col Koppen
    • 1st Howitzer Artillery battalion, based in Weltevreden, commanded by Maj Schmidtz
    • 2nd Field Artillery battalion, based in Tjimahi, commanded by Lt Col Claassen
    • 1st Mountain Artillery battalion, based in Tjimahi, commanded by Capt Hanssen
    • (Military School) Depot Mobile Artillery battery, in Tjimahi, commanded by Col P.C. Hoolboom

Other Support units:

  • 1st Constabulary battalion, based in Weltevreden
  • 1st Transport company
  • 2nd Transport company
  • 1st (Military School) Infantry battalion, based in Bandoeng
  • Military hospital in Weltevreden
  • Military hospital in Tjimahi

Army Aviation units:

  • 1st Air Reconnaissance squadron, based in Soekaboemi, commanded by Lt J.W. Verhoven
  • 3rd Air Reconnaissance squadron, based in Soebang, commanded by Lt D. Berlijn

2nd Military Area (Division status), overseeing central part of Java, coterminous with 2nd Infantry division, commanded by MajGen P.A. Cox. Combat units:

  • 4th Infantry regiment, based in Magelang, commanded by Col de Veer
    • HQ Company
    • (10th) Motorized Infantry company of 4th Infantry regiment
    • Heavy Infantry company of 4th Infantry regiment
    • 1st Infantry battalion, based in Magelang
    • 2nd Infantry battalion, based in Magelang
    • 5th Infantry battalion, based in Semarang
  • 3rd Conscript battalion
  • 5th Conscript battalion
  • 6th Conscript battalion

Detached units:

  • South Group (Regiment status), based in Soerakarta, commanded by Col Scholten
    • Legioen Mangkoe Negoro (Battalion status), based in Soerakarta
    • 21st Infantry battalion, based in Jogjakarta
    • Legioen Pakoe Alam (Company status), based in Jogjakarta
    • 4th Cavalry squadron, based in Magelang, commanded by Capt de Boer
    • Life Guards Cavalry squadron, based in Jogjakarta and Soerakarta, commanded by Capt Lips
    • Mountain Artillery battery, commanded by Capt van Praag
  • Tjilatjap Brigade (Brigade status), based in Tjilatjap
    • 5th company of 9th Infantry battalion
    • Volunteer company
    • National Reserve company
    • City Watchmen company
    • Heavy Infantry company
    • 6th Coastal and Air Defense Artillery battalion, based in Tjilatjap
    • Coastal Artillery battery, based in Popoh
  • 5th Coastal and Air Defense Artillery battalion, based in Semarang, commanded by Capt van Dilst
    • Coastal and Air Defense Artillery detachment, based in Cheribon
    • Coastal and Air Defense Artillery detachment, based in Tegal
    • Coastal and Air Defense Artillery detachment, based in Pekalongan
    • Coastal and Air Defense Artillery detachment, based in Semarang

Fire Support unit:

  • 2nd Mountain Artillery battalion, based in Salatiga, commanded by Lt Col Reerink

Other Support units:

  • Signal company
  • 4th Transport company
  • 2nd (Military School) Infantry battalion, based in Poerworedjo
  • 3rd (Military School) Infantry battalion, based in Gombong
  • (Military School) Cavalry battalion, based in Salatiga, commanded by Lt Col Fokkema
  • Military hospital in Magelang

Army Aviation units:

  • 2nd Air Reconnaissance squadron, based in Jogjakarta, commanded by Capt W.A. Meelhuijsen
  • 4th Air Reconnaissance squadron, based in Semarang, commanded by Lt A.L. Cox

3rd Military Area (Division status), overseeing eastern part of Java, manned by 3rd Infantry division, commanded by MajGen G.A. Ilgen. Combat units:

  • 6th Infantry regiment, based in Malang
    • HQ Company
    • (10th) Motorized Infantry company of 6th Infantry regiment
    • Heavy Infantry company of 6th Infantry regiment
    • 3rd Infantry battalion, based in Malang
    • 8th Infantry battalion, based in Malang, commanded by Capt J.W.R.H. Doorman.
    • 13th Infantry battalion, based in Malang, commanded by Maj G.J. van der Meulen.
  •  ? Conscript battalion
  •  ? Conscript battalion

Maneuver units:

  • 3rd Cavalry squadron, based in Malang, commanded by Capt de Longh
  • 6th Cavalry squadron, based in Malang

Detached units:

  • Soerabaja Defense Zone (Brigade status)
    • Marine Infantry battalion
    • 2nd Conscript battalion
    • Barisan Korps Madoera (Regiment), based in Soerabaja
      • 1st Barisan Korps van Madoera (Half-Battalion status)
      • 2nd Barisan Korps van Madoera (Half-Battalion status)
      • 3rd Barisan Korps van Madoera (Half-Battalion status)
      • 4th Barisan Korps van Madoera (Half-Battalion status)
      • Barisan Korps van Madoera Artillery battery
    • 2nd Air Defense Artillery battalion
    •  ? Coastal Artillery battalion, based in Soerabaja, commanded by Maj von de Eem
    • 2nd Constabulary battalion, based in Soerabaja
    • Radar company
  • Bali Detachment (Regiment status), commanded by LtCol W.P. Roodenburg
    • Korps Prajoda (Battalion status), based in Bali
    • Coastal Artillery unit, based in Denpasar
    • Coastal Artillery unit, based in Benoa

Fire Support units:

  • 2nd Artillery regiment, based in Malang, commanded by Col van Dijk
    • 1st Field Artillery battalion, based in Malang, commanded by Maj Stenger

Other Support units:

  • 2nd company, 2nd Constabulary battalion, based in Malang
  • 3rd Transport company
  • Military hospital in Malang

Army Aviation unit:

  • 5th Air Reconnaissance squadron, based in Malang

Sumatra High Command (Division status), overseeing the island of Sumatra, commanded by MajGen R.T. Overakker. The Sumatra High Command divided into four territorial commands, i.e. North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riouw and South Sumatra.

North Sumatra Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing northern part of Sumatra, commanded by Col G.F.V. Gosenson. Combat units in Koetaradja:

  • North Sumatra 1st Garrison battalion, based in Koetaradja
  • North Sumatra 2nd Garrison battalion, based in Koetaradja
  • Constabulary battalion, based in Koetaradja

Combat units in Medan:

  • (Composite) Infantry battalion, based in Medan
  • City Watchmen company, based in Medan

Detached units:

  • Sabang detachment, based in Sabang
    • Infantry company
    • Machine Gun Infantry platoon
    • Coastal Artillery unit

Fire Support units:

  • Coastal Artillery detachment, based in Medan
  • Coastal Artillery unit, based in Belawan
  • Coastal Artillery unit, based in Belawan

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

West Sumatra & Tapanoeli Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing western part of Sumatra, commanded by Lt Col J.H.M. Blogg. Combat units:

  • West Sumatra 1st Garrison battalion, based in Padang
  • City Watchmen company, based in Padang
  • City Watchmen company, based in Padang

Detached units:

  • West Sumatra 2nd Garrison battalion, based in Fort de Kock
  • 2 companies of West Sumatra 2nd Garrison battalion, based in Padangpandjang

Fire Support units:

  • Coastal Artillery battery, based in Emmahaven
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon, based in Pakanbaroe
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon, based in Pakanbaroe
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon, based in Pakanbaroe

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Riouw Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing eastern part of Sumatra, commanded by Maj J.H. de Vries. Combat units:

Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

South Sumatra Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing southern part of Sumatra, commanded by Lt Col L.W.N. Vogelsang. Combat units in Palembang:

  • South Sumatra Garrison battalion, based in Palembang
  • City Watchmen company, based in Palembang
  • 3 (Mortar) Infantry platoons
  • 8 (Machine Gun) Infantry squads

Combat units in Djambi:

  • Infantry company, based in Djambi
  • (Composite) Infantry company, based in Djambi
  • (Mortar) Infantry platoon
  • (Machine Gun) Infantry squad

Fire Support units:

  • Palembang Detachment
  • Air Defense Artillery platoon, based in Palembang
  • Air Defense Artillery platoon, based in Soengei Gerong
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

West Borneo Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing western part of Borneo, commanded by Lt Col D.P.F. Mars. Combat units:

  • West Borneo Garrison battalion, based in Pontianak
  • City Watchmen company, based in Pontianak

Detached units:

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

South and East Borneo Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing southern and eastern part of Borneo, commanded by Lt Col H.T. Halkema. Combat units:

Detached units:

Fire Support unit:

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Balikpapan Local Command (Regiment status), overseeing the city of Balikpapan, commanded by Lt Col C. van den Hoogenband. Combat unit:

Fire Support unit:

  • 2nd Coastal and Air Defence Artillery battalion, based in Balikpapan, commanded by Capt Fergusen

Detached unit:

Other Support unit:

  • Engineer company, based in Balikpapan
  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid detachment

Tarakan Local Command (Regiment status), overseeing the city of Tarakan, commanded by Lt Col S. de Waal. Combat unit:

  • 7th Infantry battalion, based in Tarakan

Fire Support unit:

  • 3rd Coastal and Air Defense Artillery battalion, based in Tarakan, commanded by Capt Bakker

Other Support units:

  • Engineer platoon
  • Engineer platoon
  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Samarinda Local Command (Battalion status), overseeing the city of Samarinda, commanded by Capt G.A.C. Monteiro. Combat units:

  • Infantry company, based in Samarinda
  • Militia company, based in Samarinda
  • 2 (Mortar) Infantry squads
  • 2 (Machine Gun) Infantry squads

Fire Support unit:

  • Coastal and Air Defense Artillery battery, based in Sanga-sanga

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Samarinda II Air Base Local Command (Battalion status), overseeing Samarinda II Air Base, commanded by Maj G. du Rij van Beest Holle. Combat unit:

Fire Support unit:

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Celebes Territorial Command (Brigade status), overseeing the island of Celebes, commanded by Col M. Vooren. The Celebes Territorial Command divided into three local commands, i.e. Manado, Kendari and Makassar.

Manado Local Command (Regiment status), overseeing the northern part of Celebes, commanded by Maj B.F.A. Schilmöller. Combat units:

  • National Reserve battalion, based in Manado, commanded by Capt W.C. van den Berg.
    • A Company (8 squads) commanded by 1Lt A.O. Radema
    • B Company (8 squads) commanded by 1Lt W.G. van de Laar
    • C Company (8 squads) commanded by 1Lt H. Fucher
    • D Company (8 squads) commanded by 1Lt J.G. Wielinga
    • E Detachment (3 squads/natives) commanded by Sgt Maliëzer
  • Infantry company, based in Manado, commanded by Capt W.F.J. Kroon.
  • Volunteer company, commanded by Capt J.D.W.T. Abbink.
  • Conscript company (European), commanded by Lt F. Masselink.
  • Militia company (Minahasan), commanded by Capt J.H.A.L.C. de Swert.
  • City Watchmen company, commanded by Lt M.A. Nolthenius de Man.
  • Mobile column (Platoon status), commanded by SgtMaj A.J. ter Voert.

Fire Support unit:

  • Coastal and Air Defense Artillery battery, based in Manado

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid detachment

Kendari II Airbase Garrison (Battalion status), overseeing Kendari II Airbase, commanded by Capt F.B. van Straalen. Combat units:

  • Infantry company (10 Infantry squads), commanded by Capt E.G.T. Anthonio.
  • Infantry company (10 Infantry squads)
  • 3 (Mortar) Infantry squads
  • 3 (Machine Gun) Infantry squads

Fire Support units:

  • Air Defense Artillery platoon
  • (Machine Gun) Air Defense Artillery platoon

Makassar Local Command (Battalion status), overseeing the southern part of Celebes Combat units:

  • Infantry company
  • Infantry company (18 Infantry squads)
  • (Machine Gun) Infantry platoon
  • (Composite) Infantry company
  • Volunteer company
  • National Reserve company
  • City Watchmen company
  • Mobile column (Company status)

Fire Support unit:

  • Coastal Artillery platoon, based in Makassar

Other Support units:

  • Constabulary platoon
  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Timor Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing Lesser Sunda Islands, commanded by LtCol W.E.C. Detiger. Combat units:

  • Timor Garrison battalion, based in Koepang, commanded by LtCol N.L.W. van Straten.
  • (Machine Gun) Infantry platoon

Detached unit:

  • 3rd company, 8th Infantry battalion, based in Atamboea, commanded by Capt C.L.E.F. van Swieten

Other Support unit:

  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid platoon

Moluccas Territorial Command (Regiment status), overseeing Moluccas Islands, commanded by Lt Col J.L.R. Kapitz. Combat units:

  • Moluccas Garrison battalion, based in Amboina, commanded by Maj H.H.L. Tieland.
    • 1st company (Javanese Kort Verband), commanded by Capt H.A. de Jongh Swemer
    • 2nd company (mixed natives), commanded by Capt E.P. Bouman
    • 3rd company (Ambonese), commanded by Capt A.G.M. Schouten
    • 4th company (mixed natives), commanded by Capt J. Kaseger
    • 5th company (European militia), commanded by Capt W.A. Blaauboer
    • Machine Gun Coy, commanded by 1Lt F.E.A.H. de Jong
  • 5 (Machine Gun) Infantry squads
  • 3 (Mortar) Infantry squads
  • Militia battalion, commanded by Capt H.M.J. Hesterman
  • City Watchmen company, based in Amboina, commanded by 1Lt J. Creutz-Lechleitner
  • National Reserve company, based in Amboina, commanded by Capt L.G.H. Uckerman

Detached units:

  • City Watchmen company, based in Laha
  • National Reserve company, based in Saparoea

Fire Support unit:

  • 4th Coastal and Air Defense Artillery battalion, based in Amboina, commanded by Maj D. Buur

Other Support units:

  • Engineer platoon
  • Mobile Auxiliary First-Aid detachment

Military Aviation of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Brigade status), based in Soerabaja, commanded by Lt Gen L.H. van Oyen, acting commander Col E.T. Kengen.

  • 1st (Bomber) Flight Group, based in Bandoeng
    • 1st Squadron of 1st Flight Group, based in Samarinda, commanded by Capt W.F.H. van Rantwijk
    • 2nd Squadron of 1st Flight Group, based in Singkawang, commanded by Capt R. De Seneport Domis
  • 2nd (Bomber) Flight Group, based in Malang
    • 1st Squadron of 2nd Flight Group, based in Malang, commanded by Lt. H.M.E. van Leyden
    • 2nd Squadron of 2nd Flight Group, based in Malang, commanded by Capt. D.L. Asjes
  • 3rd (Bomber) Flight Group, based in Meester Cornelis, commanded by Lt Col W.J. van Gulik
    • 1st Squadron of 3rd Flight Group, based in Singapore, commanded by Lt F.R. Letting
    • 2nd Squadron of 3rd Flight Group, based in Soebang, commanded by Lt E.W.H. Spiekerman
    • 3rd Squadron of 3rd Flight Group, based in Singapore, commanded by Lt A.B. Wolff
  • 4th (Interceptor) Flight Group, based in Madioen
    • 1st Squadron of 4th Flight Group, based in Meester Cornelis, commanded by Lt M.W. van der Poel
    • 2nd Squadron of 4th Flight Group, based in Bandoeng, commanded by Lt R.A.D. Anemaet
      • 4th Flight of 2nd Squadron of Flight Group, based in Amboina, commanded by Lt F.E. Broers
    • 3rd Squadron of 4th Flight Group, based in Madioen
  • 5th (Interceptor) Flight Group, based in Buitenzorg
    • 1st Squadron of 5th Flight Group, based in Singkawang, commanded by Lt A.A.M. van Rest
      • 1st Flight of 1st Squadron of Flight Group, based in Samarinda, commanded by Lt P.A.C. Benjamins
      • 2nd Flight of 1st Squadron of Flight Group, based in Samarinda, commanded by 2Lt J.N. Droog
    • 2nd squadron of Flight Group, based in Singapore, commanded by Capt J.P. van Helsdingen
    • 3rd squadron of Flight Group, based in Singapore
  • 6th (Training) Flight Group, based in Madioen, commanded by Capt S. de Mul
    • 1st squadron of Flight Group, based in Bandoeng

1945–1950[edit]

KNIL Soldier with an M1928 submachine gun, circa 1948.

Following World War II, the KNIL was used in two large military campaigns in 1947 and 1948 to re-establish Dutch control of Indonesia. The KNIL and its Ambonese auxiliaries have been accused of committing war crimes during this "police action". Dutch efforts to re-establish their colony failed and Netherlands recognition of Indonesian sovereignty came on 27 December 1949.[10] On 26 January 1950, elements of the KNIL were involved in an abortive coup in Bandung planned by Raymond Westerling and Sultan Hamid II. The coup failed and only accelerated the dissolution of the federal Republic of the United States of Indonesia.[11]

The KNIL was disbanded by 26 July 1950 with its indigenous personnel being given the option of demobilising or joining the Indonesian military.[12] However, efforts to integrate former KNIL units were impeded by mutual distrust between the predominantly Ambonese KNIL troops and the Javanese-dominated Republican military; leading to clashes at Makassar in April and the attempted secession of an independent Republic of South Maluku (RMS) in July.[11] These revolts were suppressed by November 1950 and approximately 12,500 Ambonese KNIL personnel and their families opted for temporary resettlement in the Netherlands.[13] Following this, the KNIL ceased to exist but its traditions are maintained by the Regiment Van Heutsz of the modern Royal Netherlands Army. At the time of disbandment the KNIL numbered 65,000, of whom 26,000 were incorporated into the new Indonesian Army. The remainder were either demobilised or transferred to the Netherlands Army.[14]

Recruiting[edit]

Decorated indigenous KNIL soldiers, 1927.

During the 19th century the KNIL recruited Dutch volunteers and foreign mercenaries of several nationalities.[15] During the protracted Aceh War the numbers of European troops were kept to 12,000 but continued Achenese resistance necessitated the deployment of up to 23,000 indigenous soldiers (mainly from Java, Ambon, and Manado).[16] Even slaves of the Ashanti (Ivory Coast and Ghana) were recruited in limited numbers for service in the East Indies (see Belanda Hitam).[17] The ratio of foreign and indigenous troops to those of Dutch origin was reported to be 60% to 40%. After the Aceh War, the enlistment of non-Dutch European troops ceased and the KNIL came to consist of Dutch regulars recruited in the Netherlands itself, Indonesians, Indos (Eurasians), and Dutch colonists living in the East Indies and undertaking their military service.

Indigenous KNIL troops, 1938

In 1884 personnel strength was numbered at 13,492 European, 14,982 Indonesian, 96 African, and at least 1,666 Eurasian recruits. The officer corps was wholly European and was probably close to 1,300. There were also about 1,300 horses.[18] Recruitment was carried out in Holland and India, with over 1,000 Dutch subjects and 500 other nationalities enlisting annually. The foreign troops consisted of Flemish, German, Swiss, and French volunteers. Walloons, Arabs, and nationals of both the United Kingdom and United States were forbidden from serving. Other foreigners who could not prove fluency in either Dutch or German were also not accepted for service.[18]

It was against the law to send Dutch conscripts from the Netherlands to the East Indies but Dutch volunteers continued to enlist for colonial service in the KNIL. In 1890 a Colonial Reserve (Koloniale Reserve) was established in the Netherlands itself to recruit and train these volunteers and to re-integrate them into Dutch society upon the conclusion of their overseas service. On the eve of the Japanese invasion in December 1941, Dutch regular troops in the East Indies comprised about 1,000 officers and 34,000 men, of whom 28,000 were indigenous. The largest proportion of these "native troops" had always consisted of Javanese and Sundanese soldiers.[19][20] During the Japanese occupation, most of the Dutch and Ambonese personnel were interned in POW camps.

During the Indonesian National Revolution, the KNIL's officers were still largely Dutch and Eurasians although most of its troops were recruited from predominantly Christian eastern Indonesia, particularly the South Moluccas, Timor and Manado. Although there were smaller numbers of Javanese, Sundanese, Sumatran and other Muslim troops in Dutch service, these received comparatively lower rates of pay than their Christian counterparts, leading to resentment and distrust. The Dutch sought to take advantage of these ethnic tensions by claiming that the Ambonese would lose their special privileges and pensions under a Javanese-dominated government.[11] As noted above, these factors contributed to clashes between demobilised KNIL units and the Republic of Indonesia's military throughout 1950.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.googleartproject.com/en-gb/collection/the-kroller-muller-museum/artwork/transport-of-colonial-soldiers-isaac-israels/440388/details/
  2. ^ The Royal Netherlands Indies Army
  3. ^ Ibrahim, Alfian. "Aceh and the Perang Sabil." Indonesian Heritage: Early Modern History. Vol. 3, ed. Anthony Reid, Sian Jay and T. Durairajoo. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2001. p132–133
  4. ^ a b Vickers, Adrian. (2005) A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p10–11
  5. ^ Willems, Wim ‘Sporen van een Indisch verleden (1600–1942).’ (COMT, Leiden, 1994). Chapter I, P.32-33 ISBN 90-71042-44-8
  6. ^ Willems, Wim ‘Sporen van een Indisch verleden (1600–1942).’ (COMT, Leiden, 1994). Chapter I, P.32-36 ISBN 90-71042-44-8
  7. ^ Broshot, James (1999–2000). "Dutch Air Force Order of Battle in the Dutch East Indies, 30 November 1941". Dutch East Indies Campaign website. 
  8. ^ "Armed Forces of World War II" Andrew Mollo ISBN 0-85613-296-9
  9. ^ Klemen, L (1999–2000). "Dutch East Indies 1941–1942". Dutch East Indies Campaign website. 
  10. ^ "Last Post – the End of Empire in the Far East", John Keay ISBN 0-7195-5589-2
  11. ^ a b c d Kahin, George McT. Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1952. p452
  12. ^ plechtigheden in Djakarta bij de opheffing van het KNIL Polygoon 1950 3 min. 20;embed=1 Video footage showing the official ceremony disbanding the KNIL
  13. ^ The complicated story of the disbanding of the KNIL is set out briefly here. For a more extended analysis see Manuhutu (1987); Steylen (1996: 33–63); van Amersfoort (1982: 101–8). The psychological impact of the dissolution of the KNIL on the Ambonese servicemen is described in Wittermans (1991).
  14. ^ John Keegan, page 314 "World Armies", ISBN 0-333-17236-1
  15. ^ Blakely, Allison (2001). Blacks in the Dutch World: The Evolution of Racial Imagery in a Modern Society. Indiana University Press. p. 15 ISBN 0-253-31191-8
  16. ^ Vickers (2005), p. 13
  17. ^ Radio Netherlands Worldwide – Ghana's Java connection
  18. ^ a b The Armed Strength of the Netherlands and Their Colonies. Trotter, JK. The British War Office Intelligence Division 1887. ISBN 9781104382513. p 162-167.
  19. ^ Javanese have always been the largest indigenous element of the colonial army. Cribb, R.B. (2004) ‘Historical dictionary of Indonesia.’ Scarecrow Press, Lanham, USA.ISBN 0 8108 4935 6, p. 221 [1]
  20. ^ The KNIL statistics of 1939 show at least 13,500 Javanese and Sundanese under arms compared to 4,000 Ambonese soldiers.Source: Netherlands Ministry of Defense.

References[edit]

External links[edit]