Royal Netherlands East Indies Army 1936–42

Royal Netherlands East Indies Army 1936–42

Men-at-Arms 521
  • Author: Marc Lohnstein
  • Illustrator: Adam Hook
  • Short code: MAA 521
  • Publication Date: 23 Aug 2018
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About this Product

Until 1945, Indonesia was a Dutch colony known as the Netherlands East Indies. In 1930, the area had over 60 million inhabitants and was a major exporter to Japan, providing some 13 per cent of its oil needs - second only after the United States. Following Germany's occupation of the Netherlands in May 1940, Japan decided to expand its influence in the Netherlands East Indies.

Defending the colony was the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL). This force, designed primarily for colonial policing, underwent a series of cutbacks in the interwar years before adopting a modernisation programme in 1936, which focused on building up a strike air force, introducing tanks and increasing the firepower of the infantry and artillery.

Fully illustrated with period photographs and full-colour artwork, this book examines the dress, insignia, equipment, organization and combat performance of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army as it faced the all-conquering Japanese forces in World War II.

Biographical Note

MARC LOHNSTEIN holds an MA in history; his main focus is the former Dutch colonies in Indonesia and Surinam. He specializes in colonial army and police organization, equipment, uniformsand tactics, and has published several studies on these subjects. He is currently assistant curator at the Royal Home forRetired Military Personnel & Museum Bronbeek, at Arnhem in The Netherlands. Adam Hook studied graphic design, and began his work as an illustrator in 1983. He specializes in detailed historical reconstructions, and has illustrated Osprey titles on subjects as diverse as the Aztecs, the Ancient Greeks, Roman battle tactics, several 19th-century American subjects, the modern Chinese Army, and a number of books in the Fortress series. His work features in exhibitions and publications throughout the world.



Geopolitical developments
Defence of the Netherlands East Indies: principles
Command and control


Air defence artillery
Motor transport
Medical Service
Indigenous auxiliary corps
Army formation

Combat history

Uniforms and insignia