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Thread: KNIL (Royal Netherlands Indies Army)

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    George

    You're welcome.

    Regarding your first link, I wasn't aware of your thread. I think I posted a link to the same site somewhere else as it's a site I'm familiar with.

    It's good to see that someone else was directing attention to the too often overlooked Dutch effort long before I arrived on the scene.

    I actually started these posts in the Dutch Army and Air Force 1939-40 thread http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/show...?t=2155&page=2 but decided that this was really a quite separate topic, so deleted them and put them here.

    Cheers.
    -

    Thanks again Rising Sun.

    Well, my earlier thread on the KNIL was archived into the 2005 Archives. But, it's nice to see some more interest in the early Pacific campaigns in the Dutch East Indies. I've been interested in the NEI since childhood as my grandfather (mother's father) was an Onderluitenant in the KNIL.

    -

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post
    -

    Thanks again Rising Sun.

    Well, my earlier thread on the KNIL was archived into the 2005 Archives. But, it's nice to see some more interest in the early Pacific campaigns in the Dutch East Indies. I've been interested in the NEI since childhood as my grandfather (mother's father) was an Onderluitenant in the KNIL.

    -
    George

    My interest in the Dutch effort in the Pacific springs from a desire to see it get proper recognition.

    The Dutch effort is acknowledged in serious histories, often only in passing, but as I mentioned in my first post it's usually ignored elsewhere as if the Dutch did nothing after the NEI fell. There usually isn’t much attention given to the Dutch fight on land in the NEI, either, compared with that given to Malaya and the Philippines which weren’t fought any better.

    Compared with the propaganda and morale-boosting attention given to, say, Polish pilots in the RAF or the French Resistance while conveniently ignoring the Vichy French co-operation with the Germans and holding the French Navy from its Ally, Britain, and fighting its Ally, Britain in the Middle East, the Dutch got a lousy press. This is most unfair as, unlike the French, the Netherlands never surrendered; never co-operated with the Germans** or Japanese; never gave Japan access to its colonies like France did with Indo-China; did its best to deny its assets (especially considerable oil production facilities) to the Japanese; fought to the best of its ability as long as it had forces to do so; and after losing the NEI transferred some very valuable resources to its Allies, unlike France after surrendering to Germany, to carry on the fight, which the Netherlands did for the remainder of the war.

    ** There’s something I read years ago, the details of which I can’t remember, which was essentially that as a matter of principle over some wider Dutch conflict with the Nazis the Dutch medical profession went on strike against the Nazis, at considerable risk to each doctor The doctors won. I wish I could remember the full story, as it reflected great credit on the Dutch doctors.

    I'm one eighth Dutch on my mother's side but that was never reflected in any connection with the Dutch community here, nor do I know anything about that part of my family history or where they came from (I‘m not in the least curious about family history unless someone hands it to me.). I'm also one eighth Portuguese on my father's side, and had a very, very slight childhood connection with the expatriate Portuguese community here who fled the Japanese in Timor. This heritage probably puts me in a very select group of Australians with a link with both the European colonial powers who were ejected by the Japanese to our north in 1942. Not that that has had any practical impact on me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post
    -
    Well, my earlier thread on the KNIL was archived into the 2005 Archives.
    Thread merged.
    Regimentul 38 "Neagoe Basarab"
    Divizia 10 Infanterie


    101st Airborne

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dani View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post
    -

    Well, my earlier thread on the KNIL was archived into the 2005 Archives.

    -
    Thread merged.
    -

    Thanks Dani

    -

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    George

    My interest in the Dutch effort in the Pacific springs from a desire to see it get proper recognition.

    The Dutch effort is acknowledged in serious histories, often only in passing, but as I mentioned in my first post it's usually ignored elsewhere as if the Dutch did nothing after the NEI fell. There usually isn’t much attention given to the Dutch fight on land in the NEI, either, compared with that given to Malaya and the Philippines which weren’t fought any better.

    Compared with the propaganda and morale-boosting attention given to, say, Polish pilots in the RAF or the French Resistance while conveniently ignoring the Vichy French co-operation with the Germans and holding the French Navy from its Ally, Britain, and fighting its Ally, Britain in the Middle East, the Dutch got a lousy press. This is most unfair as, unlike the French, the Netherlands never surrendered; never co-operated with the Germans** or Japanese; never gave Japan access to its colonies like France did with Indo-China; did its best to deny its assets (especially considerable oil production facilities) to the Japanese; fought to the best of its ability as long as it had forces to do so; and after losing the NEI transferred some very valuable resources to its Allies, unlike France after surrendering to Germany, to carry on the fight, which the Netherlands did for the remainder of the war.

    ** There’s something I read years ago, the details of which I can’t remember, which was essentially that as a matter of principle over some wider Dutch conflict with the Nazis the Dutch medical profession went on strike against the Nazis, at considerable risk to each doctor The doctors won. I wish I could remember the full story, as it reflected great credit on the Dutch doctors.

    I'm one eighth Dutch on my mother's side but that was never reflected in any connection with the Dutch community here, nor do I know anything about that part of my family history or where they came from (I‘m not in the least curious about family history unless someone hands it to me.). I'm also one eighth Portuguese on my father's side, and had a very, very slight childhood connection with the expatriate Portuguese community here who fled the Japanese in Timor. This heritage probably puts me in a very select group of Australians with a link with both the European colonial powers who were ejected by the Japanese to our north in 1942. Not that that has had any practical impact on me.
    -

    Thanks Rising Sun

    I think that you're doing a great job of bringing attention to various Dutch contributions to the allied war effort. I find it very interesting.

    IIRC, there were some 2,000 Dutch marines training in the United States when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Dutch East Indies fell before they could be sent back, so these Dutch Marines served with the United States Marines in the Pacific. I believe they served as tank crewmen with the Marines.

    In Europe, Dutch troops served with the British Army after Holland fell to the Germans. They were equipped with British uniforms and equipment as well.

    That's interesting about some of your ancestors being Dutch and Portugese. I think that my mother told me that many Dutch from the NEI moved to Australia after Indonesia gained it's independence following WWII. Mom's family moved to Holland after the war, about 1950.

    My mother immigrated to the United States in 1957 during Eisenhower's administration. She met my American father in Elkhart, Indiana and they married in 1958.

    Many from the former Dutch East Indies have since settled here in the United States.

    -
    Last edited by George Eller; 06-03-2007 at 07:39 PM.

  6. #21
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    George

    The Dutch had a long association with Australia, and were probably the first Europeans to discover it. The other contender is Portugal.

    Short summary of Dutch in Australia here.
    http://www.radio.sbs.com.au/language...language=Dutch

    Info on Dutch exploration of Australia
    http://www.ammerlaan.demon.nl/quadcentenary.htm

    The wreck of the Batavia and the bizarre story of subsequent rapes and murders and inter-island warfare among Dutch sailors and soldiers is reasonably well known in Australia, and probably Holland, but probably not elsewhere.
    http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/out_voyages2/batavia.html

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    George

    The Dutch had a long association with Australia, and were probably the first Europeans to discover it. The other contender is Portugal.

    Short summary of Dutch in Australia here.
    http://www.radio.sbs.com.au/language...language=Dutch

    Info on Dutch exploration of Australia
    http://www.ammerlaan.demon.nl/quadcentenary.htm

    The wreck of the Batavia and the bizarre story of subsequent rapes and murders and inter-island warfare among Dutch sailors and soldiers is reasonably well known in Australia, and probably Holland, but probably not elsewhere.
    http://www.vocshipwrecks.nl/out_voyages2/batavia.html
    -

    Very interesting information RS

    I had no idea that many Dutch emigrated to Australia (125,000 between 1947 and 1961).

    The early Dutch exploration of Australia is also fascinating, curious too about the Dutch-Aborigines.

    The last story about the Batavia - wow. What a group of monsters those mutineers were...the evil that men do. Thank God they were brought to justice.

    -
    Last edited by George Eller; 06-03-2007 at 11:14 PM.

  8. #23
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    More on the Dutch merchant navy's significant contribution in the Pacific War, especially in the early days of resisting and turning Japan back in 1942.


    Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij

    Royal Packet Navigation Co. of Netherlands East Indies (NEI)


    There is virtually no record in Australia of the contribution that KPM ships, their officers and crews made to the Allied war effort during World War II, and in particular in the "Battle for Australia" in the years 1941/1945. The following narrative briefly sets this out. Some thirty KPM ships were involved in the New Guinea campaign in the South West Pacific area and these were superintended by KPM staff from the Sydney office after Batavia (Jakarta) was lost to the Japanese.

    KPM commenced operations late in the 19th Century, advancing the increasing Dutch influence in the area. It became one of the largest shipping companies in the world, and then during World War II, half of what was left of its battered fleet after Japan over-ran Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, played a crucial part in slowing then repelling the Japanese advance on Australia during the critical days after Pearl Harbour. (The fleet's other half deployed to other oceans, the Company's five largest vessels contributing notably to the war effort as Allied troopships.) On 10 May 1940, the full might of the German armed forces was unleashed on Holland, stores and supplies of all kinds from home-based infrastructure for their fleet of 150 ships operating in the NEI ceased, logistical problems mounted and the operations formerly run by the Batavia Head Office now became more reliant on supply from Australia, carried in KPM and Burns Philp cargo ships.

    On 20 February 1942 the Australian Parliament was summoned to discuss ways and means of satisfying the Dutch East Indies' request for help.

    7 December 1941 - 7 March 1942.
    The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941, commenced a savage war in South East Asia and the Pacific. The real Japanese targets in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies were the oil, tin, bauxite, rubber and many other commodities they badly needed. Singapore, cornerstone of the Allied defence whole of South East Asia, must be captured. So at the same time as they attacked Pearl Harbour, they also launched two other powerful forces southward - one through the Phillipines and New Guinea, the other through (the then) French Indo China.

    On 10 December 1941, just three days after Pearl Harbour, the British battleships Repulse and Prince of Wales, were sunk off the east coast of Malaya by Japanese land based bombers with the loss of over 800 lives. The Allies had now suffered grievous naval losses at each end of Japan's campaign area and the vulnerability of the whole region was immense.

    Sinking of Repulse and Prince Of Wales by Japanese torpedo bombers on 10 December 1941.

    Dutch naval forces in NEI consisted of several cruisers, 3 or 4 destroyers, some submarines, and minesweepers as well as a number of aircraft.These forces were supplemented by the United States cruisers Houston and Marblehead, and some old US destroyers, the British Cruiser HMS Exeter and several destroyers as well as from Australia the Cruiser HMAS Perth, nine corvettes and the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMAS Kanimbla. KPM's situation, up to this time precarious, now became quite desperate.

    As the Japanese Naval Forces closed in for the kill, the KPM merchant shipping losses started. Over the months they mounted. January 1942 sinkings were:-

    Van Rees and Van Riebeeck 8/1/42.
    Camphuys and Benkoelen 9/1/42.
    Sloet van de Beele 17/1/42.
    Van Imhoff 19/1/42.
    Togian 20/1/42.
    Pynacker Hordyck and Van Overstaten 22/1/42.
    Lemtang 23/1/42.
    Buyskes 26/1/42.
    Boelongan and Elout 28/1/42.
    During February 1942 KPM lost another nine ships, including two captured at sea, Op Ten Noort (converted to a hospital ship) and Tobelo. . The other seven were sunk and included Rooseboom, crammed with over 500 civilians and servicemen, only six of whom survived. This was the greatest Dutch ship loss of life anywhere in the world during WWII and is mentioned again below. February saw the Allied and Japanese naval forces engaged in the Battles of the Java Sea and Bantam Bay, with the losses including Dutch naval vessels and HMAS Perth .

    On 1 March Toradja, Tomohon, Siaoe, Parigi and Batak were sunk, while Le Maire disappeared without trace en route from Tjilatjap to Australia. Over the next four days Minjak, Siberoet and Merkus were sunk. Fourteen ships were scuttled in Soerabaya and Tjilatjap, two were captured at sea and one totally destroyed in Tjilatjap. There were other losses at sea and ships destroyed in a number of ports to deny them to the invaders, and by the time the Japanese land forces reached Tjilatjap on 7 March, in all a staggering seventy-nine ships, over half the KPM fleet, had been lost.

    The Dutch and Netherlands East Indies Merchant Navy and Defence Forces, with some elements of their allies, had held the Japanese from occupation of their territory for three weeks after Singapore had fallen on 15 February. The cost and the bravery were beyond count, and who can measure the benefits derived by Australia and its allies in precious preparation time for the turning battles to come, on the Kokoda Trail, at Milne Bay,and in the Coral and Bismarck Seas ?

    The most tragic KPM loss in this period (and mentioned earlier) in terms of lives lost was that of the Rooseboom, sunk on 28 February. Having left Emmahaven on the 27th with over 500 passengers and crew she was torpedoed in the Indian Ocean by the Japanese submarine I-59 under Lt Yoshimatsu, the force of the explosion destroying all but one of the lifeboats and the ship sinking within minutes. There were some eighty survivors in and around that lifeboat. One by one they succumbed to injuries, sunstroke or exhaustion, while the lifeboat drifted towards the west coast of Sumatra. Three and a half weeks later, the lifeboat was washed up on Sipora Island, containing four living skeletons - a Scottish regiment's Sergeant Gibson and three others - to recount the story. Two weeks earlier, two others had been picked up from other wreckage.

    7 March 1942 - 15 August 1945.
    Chaotic conditions meant that no Dutch crew and passenger lists or manifests survived to detail evacuees, casualties or lost lives, thus little or no record remains. By April, some thirty vessels had escaped to Australian ports, but such was the Japanese threat to Australia, that some of these KPM ships took up their war time task once again almost as soon as they reached Sydney, unarmed as they were. On 6 April, barely a month after the fall of Tjilatjap, Cremer, Van Heutsz, Tasman and Maetsuycker in convoy with other allied merchant ships left Sydney for New Guinea, with Australian and American troops aboard.

    During all this wartime conflict the Dutch KPM ships operating in all areas continued to fly the Dutch National Flag and remained manned by KPM Officers and Engineers.The tragedy for the Dutch Officers was having to leave their wives and families behind, thousands of these becoming prisoners of war, with one in six dying in Japanese captivity. Many of the KPM Javanese crewmen in Sydney at this time and unable to return home, refused duty, accepting the wartime penalty of internment. Replacement crews came from Australian merchant seamen and naval ratings who sailed in Dutch ships thus under a foreign flag.

    Progressively armed, the KPM ships went into action, many spear-heading the forward movement of troops and supplies to such places as Oro Bay (where, in Operation "Lilliput", the KPM ships predominated), Buna, Finschhafen and Aitape. They also carried out special missions to Noumea, Darwin, Exmouth Gulf, and Merauke and Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea.

    As the Japanese forces moved south towards Port Moresby, the allied Convoy ZK8, comprising KPM ships Bantam, Bontekoe, Van Heemskerk and Van Heutsz, with other Australian and foreign vessels left Australian ports late in May for Port Moresby. They carried 4,735 troops of the Australian 14th Brigade and their equipment, the first Australian units to meet the Japanese on the Kokoda Trail.

    The first convoy carrying defence reinforcements into Milne Bay on 25 June included KPM's Karsik and Bontekoe. In July, Tasman (later converted to a hospital ship) transported portions of the Australian 7th Brigade to Milne Bay, the brigade consisting of the 9th, 25th, and 61st Militia Battalions, largely raised in the Darling Downs of Queensland.

    This emphasis on strengthening the Milne Bay turning point was rewarded: on 25 August 1942, two Japanese cruisers, three destroyers and a transport carryng 1200 troops with tanks entered Milne Bay to effect a landing. They forced Tasman and HMAS Arunta to seek shelter in another part of the bay. Twelve days later these Japanese forces had been defeated, and on 7 and 8 September they withdrew, having suffered the first repulse of a Japanese invading force in the Pacific War.
    http://merchant-navy-ships.com/index.php

    continued

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    Continuation

    This narrative does not attempt to cover that portion of the KPM fleet based in Bombay following the evacuation from the NEI, however some detail of just one port circumstance shows their hazards. On 14 April 1944 the British ship Fort Stikine blew apart while discharging ammunition and explosives in Bombay (now Mumbai), the blast causing massive damage. Among the ship casualties were KPM's Generaal van der Heyden, Generaal van Sweieten and Tinombo, lying in the same dock and blown to pieces. One other 6,000 ton vessel was blown out of the water and landed on what was left of the wharf, adjoining suburbs were flattened by the blast and the rubble consumed by a sea of fire. The Port of Bombay harbour installations and suburbs were demolished, the loss of life and shipping tonnage to the allies was immense.

    KPM's vessels were ubiquitous in the Pacific campaign. Delivering almost a million tons and 100,000 troops during those years, their names became known usually only to those service personnel manning or served by them. The March 1942 - August 1945 period cost KPM's Sydney-based shipping five vessels: s. Jacob 2839 gross tons lost 8 March 1943, Bantam 3322 gross tons lost 28 March 1943, van Heemskerk 2996 gross tons lost 14 April 1943, Cremer 4608 gross tons lost 5 September 1943 and Sibigo 1594 gross tons lost 16 March 1945, as well as several others seriously damaged.

    This website is indebted to Mr. Lieuwe Pronk, of the KPM shore based staff Sydney 1942/43/44/45, for his co-operation, and permission granted to use extracts and background from his book, KPM 1888 - 1967 A Most Remarkable Shipping Company.

    Having been in convoy and involved with the KPM Co. during the New Guinea Campaign 1939/45 with Burns, Philp & Co. as a seagoing Deck Officer, I can attest to the factual information written by the Author Lieuwe Pronk. KPM with ships of the Australian, United States, British, and other Nations that were involved and manned by Merchant Mariners from the many countries, can only be designated as the Fourth Ally in the "Battle For Australia".
    Ron (Steve) Wylie.

    ..................................

    POSTSCRIPT: Another Dutch vessel, while not belonging to KPM, became well-known in the Asia/Pacific wartime environment. It was the "Oranje", which had been built in 1939 for the Nederland Line. Of 20,565 gross tons, she was laid up in Soerabaya after the Netherlands had been invaded by Germany. In February 1941 the Dutch Government offered the ship to Australia as a Hospital Ship and agreed to pay the cost of modification. After conversion in Sydney, she commenced her first hospital ship voyage in August 1941 and during the next five years made 40 voyages before resuming the East Indies passenger service in July 1946.
    http://merchant-navy-ships.com/index.php

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post
    -
    The last story about the Batavia - wow. What a group of monsters those mutineers were...the evil that men do. Thank God they were brought to justice.

    -
    Yeah, but bloody brutal justice!

  11. #26
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    The first convoy carrying defence reinforcements into Milne Bay on 25 June included KPM's Karsik and Bontekoe. In July, Tasman (later converted to a hospital ship) transported portions of the Australian 7th Brigade to Milne Bay, the brigade consisting of the 9th, 25th, and 61st Militia Battalions, largely raised in the Darling Downs of Queensland.

    This emphasis on strengthening the Milne Bay turning point was rewarded: on 25 August 1942, two Japanese cruisers, three destroyers and a transport carryng 1200 troops with tanks entered Milne Bay to effect a landing. They forced Tasman and HMAS Arunta to seek shelter in another part of the bay. Twelve days later these Japanese forces had been defeated, and on 7 and 8 September they withdrew, having suffered the first repulse of a Japanese invading force in the Pacific War.
    Milne Bay was the first time that a Japanese landing force had been defeated and the remnants forced to withdraw.

    Gen Slim in Burma held it out as the first great morale booster showing that the supposedly unbeatable Japanese could be beaten. As steadily they were from then on, with many reverses and at huge cost.

    Popular, and often official and other, war histories tend to focus on the battles and fighting campaigns rather than the logisitics which in many cases decide battles and campaigns. Without taking anythng away from the Australian troops involved in the vicious fighting at Milne Bay, where the Japanese SNLF engaged in their common pointless brutality such as wiring Australian prisoners to trees and slowly bayoneting them to death, if the Australians hadn't been transported there mainly by the Dutch ships and hadn't had their supplies transported there largely by the Dutch ships, they wouldn't have won.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 06-04-2007 at 09:23 AM.

  12. #27
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    Australian National Archives records on NEI, near end of page at

    http://www.naa.gov.au/publications/f...ets/FS156.html

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    ABDA in action, and its problems.

    http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-...ies/index.html

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    The Fourth Ally.

    The Netherlands in the Pacific in a reasonable perspective.

    http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/books...ourth_ally.htm

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    I can't find my source (probably a library book) but I recall reading something by a woman / women on the Australian home front in Queensland about very attractive Javanese officers knocking the socks off Aussie sheilas there.

    I had assumed to that point that all KNIL officers were Dutch.

    Anyone know?

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