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.
Read an extract of Royal Netherlands East Indies Army 1936–42
Table of Contents
Introduction Geopolitical developments Defence of the Netherlands East Indies: principles Command and control Organisation Infantry Tanks Artillery Air defence artillery Cavalry Engineers Signals Motor transport Medical Service Supplies Aviation Indigenous auxiliary corps Army formation Weapons Combat history Uniforms and insignia Bibliography Glossary