Jump to content


Dutch Marines

  • Please log in to reply
1 reply to this topic

#1 RemySmit


    Lions of the Lowlands

  • Captain
  • 54 posts

Posted 14 June 2003 - 08:22 AM

In the 17th century, The Netherlands had one of the biggest trade and fishing fleets. Almost everything was done by sea. Many European countries envied The Netherlands for her leading trade position. It was often tried to break the power and to conquer the trade and fishing fleets. Most of the wars were fought on sea.

The war fleets fought with their canons. When a ship was close enough, it was boarded. The men of one ship would board the enemy ship and attack their crew. This resulted in hand-to-hand fights. Most of the sailors weren’t trained for this. They were trained in navigating ships but they weren’t soldiers. The hand-to-hand fights were a weak point for the naval battles. In 1627, Lieutenant-Admiral Philips van Dorp decided that 100 soldiers had to be divided over all the ships. So that, when in a naval battle, they could attack instead of the sailors. They were the precursors (?) of the Dutch Marines.

The 80-year war ended in 1648. Big parts of the army and navy were fired by the government. This didn’t last for long. The First English war broke out in 1652. The war started good for The Netherlands but the victories of the English admirals Blake, Monk and Dean in the spring of 1653 blocked the coasts of The Netherlands and Zeeland.

The soldiers of the land forces were now used for boarding enemy ships instead of the trained sea soldiers. Admiral Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp barely won at the battle of Terheijde with the help of the land forces. But the actions of the land forces still were disappointing.

Another war with England was expected in 1664. 4000 soldiers were brought into the ships of the fleet. They were called the "corps de marine". The first naval battle of the Second English War was on the 13th of June at Lowestoft. The Dutch fleet suffered a heavy defeat but lessons were learned.

Johan de Witt and Admiral Michiel de Ruyter made a concept resolution (?) about a regiment of sea soldiers. The “Regiment de Marine” was created on 10 December. It was a solid regiment of soldiers. They were paid by the States General and not by the Admirals. The first regiment consisted of 19 companies and was commanded by Colonel Willem Joseph. They companies were equipped with “modern” weapons.

The regiment participated in the journey to Chatmham on the river of Rochester. The commander-in-chief was Admiral De Ruyter. The foremost ship that went up the river and had to do most of the work was commanded by the commander of the Marine regiment, Colonel Van Ghent, who was promoted to Lieutenant-Admiral. He died on the 7th of June 1672, in a sea battle at Solebay. In time the Marines had build up a reputation of reliability and indispensability.

The Marines and sailors were used in defending the Dutch Waterline when the danger of an English landing on the Dutch coasts disappeared. The fought off the French troops that had attacked the Netherlands in 1672. The French wanted to reach the hart of the Netherlands.

The Marine Colonel Palm recaptured the stronghold at Naarden. He suffered from the heavy wounds in the battle of Seneffe on the 11th of August 1674 and he died that same year in Bergen/Mons on the 19th of august.

The company commanders had a contract with the government. The government gave money to the company commanders. The company commander had to spend that on salaries, clothes, weapons, transport, and shelter. They had to pay the salary themselves if the government didn’t have enough money!

Most of the soldiers were send home in peace times. Only the core of the regiments staid. The regiments were brought up to full strength if a war broke out. There were 3 Marine regiments in the Spanish succession war, 1702-1714. The 3 regiments were reduced to 600 men after the Peace of Utrecht. The maritime power of the Netherlands had also reduced.

The States-General decided to send an expeditionary army to South-America in 1763. There was a slave rebellion in the Dutch colony Berbice. Colonel De Salye made a regiment of 600 volunteers and went to Berbice. A new regiment was formed. The regiment that had returned from Berbice was changed to a Marine regiment.

In 1772, there was another rebellion in Suriname. A second regiment, commanded by Colonel Fourgeoud, was send to Suriname. It took 5 years before peace was restored and the regiment could go home. The regiment also took part in the Battle of Doggersbank in 1781.

In 1784 the regiment became a part of the VOC (United East Indian Company). In 1973 both Marine regiments, regiment Douglas and regiment Westerloo, fought together in the regions Brabant and Zeeland against the French. Both regiments were combined with the infantry regiments and were send to Russia with Napoleon. They never returned.

A new “Corps Mariniers” was created on the 20th of March 1801, and the ”Korps Koninklijke Grenadiers van de Marine”, an elite unit of the Navy, was created on the 14th of August. This wasn’t a Marine unit.

A new Marine Battalion was created on the 6th of February 1814. The Marines mainly operated in Dutch East-Indies (?). Countless actions and landings were operated to maintain Dutch authority.

The Marine unit in Atjeh formed the 3rd and 4th company of the 2nd Battalion Infantry. The Marines formed bridgeheads and landings until peace and order was restored in 1908.

Chinese groups began to rebel in China in 1899 and wanted to get rid of the Manchu government and the foreign rulers. England, France, Germany, USA and Japan had sent troops to oppress the rebellion. The delegations and embassies had to be protected from the actions of an organisation called Righteousness and Harmony Boxers. They were known in the West as the boxers. They tried to get all the foreigners out of the country. The Dutch delegation in Peking was guarded by the Dutch Marines.

Fort Amsterdam on Curacao was attacked on the 8th of June 1928. De military commander was taken hostage and the weapons storage was robbed. There wasn’t a ship in the nearby area and there also weren’t any Marines on the islands. A torpedoboat, Hr. Ms. Kortenaer, left immediately from Den Helder. A detachment Marines had come on board at Hoek van Holland. Within 24 hours the ship was on its way to the West. The armoured ship Hr. Ms. Hertog Hendrik soon followed with a company of Marines. After the incident a ship with Marines was stationed in the West.

The airfield of Rotterdam was attacked by 2 German bombers on the 10th of May 1940 at about 0400 hours. A new bombardment began at 0515 hours. German parachutists were dropped in and around Waalhaven. The battle for Rotterdam had begun.

The Dutch Marines succeeded in undoing the German progress. The Germans were in a scrape (?) between the advancing Dutch troops. The Germans controlled the north point of the Willemsbrug. In the evening they only fought in the area of the Willemsbrug. The Marines also advanced in the Boompjes. The Germans were driven out of the Maashotel. The 7000 Dutch troops were reinforced with 1400 Dutch soldiers. They were again reinforced with 3500 soldiers.

The Marines again attacked the north point of the Maasbridges on the 13th of May. They positioned machine guns at the begin of the Willemsbrug but were directly fired upon from the building of the National life insurance bank.

The defenders of the Willemsbrug got a ultimatum from General Schmidt. He wrote that they would cross the Nieuwe Maas at 2 points. Artillery would fire on Rotterdam at 1300 hours, followed by a bombardment if they didn’t surrender. They accepted the ultimatum but bombers were already heading for Rotterdam. A few turned back but most of them didn’t!

Most of the Dutch Marines were send To America to be trained there. The detachments Marines boarded the cruisers Hr. Ms. Java and De Ruyter. Both cruisers sank in the Javasea. 100 Marines were assigned to the Prinses Irenebrigade. The landed in Normandy in begin August.

A Dutch brigade went to Indonesia to maintain authority after the Japanese surrendered in 1945. They were allowed to enter in 1946. The Netherlands wanted to maintain authority despite of the peace negotiations between The Netherlands and Indonesia. The “Korps Mariniers” was at its highest strength of 13.000 men.

The first Politionele (?) action, the biggest landing operation for the Marines ever, began in July 1947. The Brigade landed at Pasir Poetih and Meneng Baai. They succeeded in moving inwards Indonesia. The action was successful but had to be ceased according to the UN.

A second Politionele (?) action began on December 1948. Two Battalions landed at Glondong. The UN again said that the action had to be ceased. Indonesia was declared independent on the 27th of December 1949. The Brigade was cancelled on the 7th of June 1949 by Vice-Admiral A.S. Pinke. 262 Marines died in Indonesia.

The Marines had guarding duties in 1949 and 1950 in New-Guinea. Dutch-Indies was delegated (?) to the "Repoeblik Indonesia Serikat" on the 27th of December 1949. West New-Guinea remained under Dutch rule. A majority of the Papoea population were against the entry of New-Guinea in the Indonesian republic.

There was need for a mobile reserve that would match the high standards of the terrain of New-Guinea. A company of Marines (about 300 men) were sent to New-Guinea. The land forces took care of the garrisons while the Marines were used in danger. This didn’t change until the end of 1954. The government decided that the Navy had to take care of all the security on New-Guinea.

The first company of Marines that entered New-Guinea had to act against the Indonesians infiltrations. The infiltrators had the great advantage of surprise and terrain. They could easily clear their tracks. But they were found with the cooperation of the fleet, Marines, Navy air force, land forces, police and the native population. The Marines had the toughest part in fighting off the infiltrators. They had to follow the infiltrators into the jungle without any knowledge of the area.

The pressure increased between the Indonesian government and the Dutch government in 1958. The Dutch government decided to increase the defence of New-Guinea with air and land forces. The garrison duties were transferred to the land forces. The Marines could now concentrate on the nature and people of New-Guinea.

The Indonesian infiltrations took place in a sporadic way. This changed in begin 1962, when Indonesia launced a large scale attack on Dutch jurisdiction. Three Indonesian motortorpedoboats tried to infiltrate New-Guinea. On of them, the Matjan Tutul, was sunk. The other 2 boats escaped. A golf of infiltrations with boats started in March. The mobile troops had to be reinforced. 2 companies were sent. Indonesia started with their best troops, the parachutists, on the 26th of April. 1100 were dropped above New-Guinea. They didn’t gain a military advantage. This was because of the heavy patrols of the Dutch forces in 1962. Most of the patrols were done by the 5 companies of Marines. A cease-fire was ordered by the government en the dutch troops were send home.

“This badge is taken from the regimental badge worn on the Marines helmet. The motto “Qua Patet Orbis” (As Wide as the World), was the family motto of Johan Maurits, the Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679), who distinguished himself in the Battle of Seneffe (11 August 1674), in which the Marines were also involved. The motto was awarded to the Corps by Royal Degree of 20 November 1946, when the Corps had already been wearing the badge for some time, and refers to the Marine Corps` worldwide activities.”

10 December is the official birthday of the Dutch Marine corps. All the men who died in the “Korps Mariniers” are remembered on this day at the Marine monument in Rotterdam Oostplein.




Edited by RemySmit, 05 September 2003 - 12:10 AM.

#2 Kiwiwriter


    Lord of the Weasels

  • + Paratrooper
  • 7,603 posts

Posted 16 June 2003 - 11:12 AM

That's a very impressive history indeed

I believe the Dutch marines today operate as part of the Anglo-Dutch commando brigade, but I have seen photographs of them training with US amphibious forces in the Caribbean.

Dutch marine sergeants also do basic training for the entire Dutch Navy at Den Helder. That should motivate the recruits! :D

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users