The Korps Mariniers
is the marine corps
of the Netherlands
. The Dutch Marine Corps is the elite amphibious
infantry component of the Royal Netherlands Navy
, and it is trained to operate anywhere in the world under any (geological and climatological) condition, as an expeditionary rapid reaction force. Within 48 hours, the Dutch marines are deployed anywhere in the world. Their motto: Qua Patet Orbis
(Wherever The World Extends).
The corps was founded on 10 December 1665 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War
by the unofficial leader of the republic Johan de Witt
and Admiral Michiel de Ruyter
as the Regiment de Marine. Its leader was Willem Joseph Baron van Ghent
. The Dutch had successfully used ordinary soldiers in ships at sea in the First Anglo-Dutch War
. It was the fifth European Marine unit formed, being preceded by the Spanish Marines
(1537), the Portuguese Marines
(1610), the French Marines
(1622) and the British Royal Marines
(1664). Like Britain, the Netherlands has had several periods when its Marines were disbanded. The Netherlands itself was under French occupation or control from 1810 until 1813. A new Marine unit was raised on 20 March 1801 during the time of the Batavian Republic
and on 14 August 1806 the Korps Koninklijke Grenadiers van de Marine was raised under King Louis Bonaparte
. The modern Korps Mariniers dates from 1814, receiving its current name in 1817.
The battle honors on the Korps Mariniers' colors are: Chatham (1667), Kijkduin (1673), Sennefe (1674), Spain, Dogger Bank (1781), West Indies, Algiers (1816), Atjeh, Bali, Rotterdam (1940), Java Sea (1942), Java and Madoera (1947-1948), and New Guinea (1962).
In 1667, led by van Ghent, now an admiral, and their new commander, the Englishman Colonel Thomas Dolman, the Regiment de Marine played a prominent part in the large Dutch raid, the "Raid on the Medway" on England (10-14 June). The Korps' battle honor "Chatham" is one of the few ever won on British soil by a foreign unit. The July 2nd attack on Landguard fort near Harwich, performed by 1.500 Mariniers after landing at Woodrich was beaten off by the fort's garrison.
The Mariniers also fought in the Franco-Dutch War/Third Anglo-Dutch War. On June 29 1672, after serving in the naval Battle of Solebay (7 June), two-thirds of the Marines were withdrawn from the fleet and formed into a brigade in order to stiffen the inefficient and largely mercenary army in anticipation of an English invasion. They returned to their ships in time to help stop an English invasion by defeating a combined English and French force at the naval Battle of Kijkduin (Battle of Texel) on 21 August 1673. Led by Gerolf van Isselmuyden, they served in the land battle of Senef against the French in 1674.
Dutch support of American independence led to the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War, where the Mariniers served at Dogger Bank.
In 1704, Netherlands Marines were part of a combined British-Netherlands force under Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt that captured Gibraltar and defended it successfully shortly afterwards. They would combine with the British again for the bombardment of Algiers in 1816.
The Korps Mariniers served in some of the operations of the Netherlands in the Dutch East Indies colony. The Netherlands took a slow approach to conquering the entire colony and operations consolidating their rule lasted from the 1850s until shortly before World War I. The battle honors from the Aceh War (1873-1913) and Bali date from this time.
In World War II, a Korps Mariniers unit in Rotterdam preparing to ship out to the Dutch East Indies successfully defended the bridges across the Maas, preventing the German paratroopers in the central city from hooking up with conventional German infantry. The Germans ended the stalemate by bombing Rotterdam. The threat of an attack by Marines caused its German captain to scuttle the Antilla in Aruba in 1940.
When the surrender was declared and the Dutch soldiers came out of their positions, the German commander who was expecting a full battalion of men was stunned to see only a few Dutch Marines emerge in their black uniforms. He ordered his men to salute them out of respect for their bravery and determination and labelled them Zwarte duivels (The Black Devils).
Some Mariniers later joined the Princess Irene Brigade to fight against the Germans. They distinguished themselves in combat near the Dutch city of Tilburg in the autumn of 1944.
Starting in 1943, the United States Marine Corps trained and equipped a new brigade, the Mariniersbrigade, of the Korps Mariniers at Camp Lejeune and Camp Davis in North Carolina in preparation for amphibious landings against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies. The Japanese surrendered before such landings were needed, but the Mariniersbrigade, fully trained and equipped, left North Carolina in six transports in 1945 and fought against the Indonesians in their National Revolution for independence. It was part of the A Division, which was itself commanded by a Korps Mariniers officer. It was disbanded in 1949.
The Dutch kept West New Guinea after the Indonesian National Revolution and the Korps Mariniers served there until 1962 when it was granted independence. The same year it was invaded and incorporated into Indonesia.
Modern Korps Mariniers
On 11 June 1977, Dutch Army and Marines stormed a train that was being held hostage since 23 May by armed South Moluccan
extremists in the village of De Punt
, in the province of Drenthe
. Six Dutch Air Force F-104 Starfighters
buzzed the train as a diversion just before the assault. Six terrorists and two hostages were killed in the storming. The Marines have become one of the Dutch government's primary counter-terrorism
forces. (See "Combat Support Battalion" below.)
Lately the Marines have been deployed in various operations all over the world.
18 feb 1992 - 18 November 1993: United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).
- Three Battalion of Marines and a Navy field hospital (FDS)were stationed in Cambodia following the 1991 Paris peace treaty when the civil war was ended.
1995 - present: Former Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Kosovo.
28 July 2000 - 7 February 2003: United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).
11 January 2002 - present: deployment in Afghanistan.
- Marines have been deployed in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on several occasions. The second battalion with the field hospital was deployed in Mazar-e Sharif in 2005 to provide security during the elections. Marines and Navy personnel were also stationed in the Provincial Reconstruction Team in pol-e-Khomri, province of Baghlan. They took over from the Dutch Airforce and Army in 2005 and were relieved in October 2006 when Hungarian forces took over. Currently Marines are serving in Uruzgan as NLD Operational Mentor and Liaisons Team, for recruiting and training new military personnel of the Afghan National Army in the Uruzgan province. Training takes place at Kamp Holland, Tarin Kowt.
1 August 2003 - 2004: deployment in Iraq.
- Two battalions of marines were sent to Iraq after the second Gulf war as part of the stabilisation Force Iraq (SFIR). They were stationed in the province of Al-Muthanna were they fell under British command.Main base was located at camp Smitty in As Samawah. One company of marines was located at the village of Ar Rumaythah and one at the village of Al Khidr.
18 November 2003 - 19 February 2004: United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
2005-2006: United Nations Organization Mission in the democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)
The Corps celebrates its birthday each year at the Oostplein (lit., East Square) in Rotterdam, where all fallen (ex) corpsmembers are remembered.
All operational units of the Netherlands Marine Corps fall under the Marine Training Commando (MTC).
The MTC is a brigade sized organisation which contains two of the three Marine Battalions (MARNSBATs) (the third being in the Caribbean), the Amphibious Combat Support Battalion (AMFGEVSTBAT) and the Logistics Battalion (LOGBAT)
The Netherlands Marine Corps has 3 operational Marine Battalions. Two of those (1MARNSBAT and 2MARNSBAT) are stationed in the Netherlands. The 3rd Marine Battalion (3MARNSBAT) has two active company stationed in the Caribbean. 31 Coy on Curaçao and 32 Coy on Aruba. These units are under direct command of the Navy Commander of the Caribbean
1MARNSBAT is the main contribution of the Netherlands Marine Corps to the United Kingdom/Netherlands Landing Force (UK/NL LF). 2MARNSBAT is the core of the Dutch contribution to the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (Land) (AMF(L)), a fast intervention force of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). 2MARNSBAT regularly participates in United Nations missions or other international operations.
Ampibious Combat Support Battallion
The Amphibious Combat Support Battalion (AMFGEVSTBAT) exists to provide (combat) support to the Marine Battalions, by using heavy weapons or trained specialists.
AMFGEVSTBAT contains 2 120mm Mortar Companies (MRCIE1 & 2) and an Air Defense Platoon (TLPEL). Together, they called MJEB (Marine Joint Effect Battery)
AMFGEVSTBAT also contains Special Forces (SF) units of the Dutch Marine Corps. These units are:
- MSO (Maritime Special Operations) company consisting of the former Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon (AMFVERKPEL) (combat divers, also known as 7th Troop NL SBS), Unit Interventie Mariniers (UIM - CT unit) and Mountain Leader Reconnaissance Platoon (MLVERKPEL) (mountain and cold weather specialists). Together with Korps Commandotroepen of the Dutch Army, they form the combined Special Operations Forces (NL SOF).
Finally the AMFGEVSTBAT contains 2 companies, the 1st and 2nd Boat Company, that contain all amphibious landing craft as well as the Amphibious Beach Unit that supports landings from the beach.
To operate successfully, the Marine Battalions need logistical support
. This basically means providing transportation, supplies, food, housing, and mental and medical care. When the GOEM was created, the Logistical Battalion (LOGBAT) was created with it for this reason and its personnel consists of both marines and navy personnel, forming a navy-marinecorps team. The commanding officer of LOGBAT usually is a navy commander of the logistics branch. LOGBAT has 3 tasks:
- Maintaining the units of the MTC;
- Provide housing for the MTC;
- Provide the MTC with the possibility to train and better themselves, to perform their tasks.
LOGBAT contains 3 companies to perform a variety of tasks.
- The Logistical Company (LOGCIE),
- the Medical Company (GNKCIE), and
- the Transport Company (TCIE).
LOGCIE is responsible for maintaining supplies, distributing supplies among combat units, providing communication possibilities, and handling administration. It is divided in 5 platoons:
- Supply Platoon (BEVOPEL);
- Maintenance Platoon (ONDERHPEL);
- Clothing and Food Platoon (KLEVOPEL);
- Administration Platoon (ADMINPEL);
- Communications Platoon (VBDPEL).
GNKCIE is responsible for providing medical, dental and mental care to MTC units. The company contains basic medical units (BME), an infirmary, a Field Dressing Station (FDS), and an environmental health / workplace safety section. The FDS is a role 2 mobile field hospital similar to the United States Military combat support hospital. It is able to provide full surgical capabilities and is set up in a small amount of time.
TCIE's task is to provide and maintain the mobility required by any MTC units. It contains 3 platoons:
- Transportation Platoon;
- Workshop Platoon;
- Support Echelon Platoon.
Recruitment and Training
The Dutch Marine Corps is the oldest armed force of the Netherlands, and it is one of the two elite forces (the other being the Army's Korps Commandotroepen
). In order to become a marine in the Netherlands, recruits must go to the extremes, defying their own boundaries. Not everyone can become a marine, as both physical and mental demands are high.
There are two career possibilities to become a marine: enlisted marine, and marine officer, depending on the educational background.
Only men are allowed to serve as marines but many female navy personnel are attached to marine corps units as cooks, administrators, nurses or medical officers.
Before prospective commissioned marine officers can start their initial training, the candidates must undergo a selection test battery that lasts 3 days, the POST (Praktische Officier Selectie Test
- practical officer selection test).
The purpose of the POST is for the Navy and Marine Corps to assess whether the candidates have the physical and mental potential that are required to successfully complete training to become a marine officer. The total training to become a marine officer in the Netherlands takes about 20 months, of which 8 months is spent at the Naval Academy for leadership training, and 12 months for the POTOM (Praktische Opleiding tot Officier der Mariniers - Marine Officer Training Programme), which is, in itself, quite a rigorous training programme.
But before the candidates can even begin with the POST, they will have to be assessed on physical strength and endurance. Using special static devices, the candidate's static muscle power performance is examined. And using a specialized hometrainer, the physical endurance and heartbeat rate of the candidate is monitored. With every minute, the resistance of the pedals increase, and the candidate is required to maintain a cycle rate of between 70 and 80 RPM. If the test results for this test are positive, the candidate can do the POST. The POST consists of various tests, such as military PT, a leadership test, swimming test, roadwork (in combat gear), obstacle course, climbing tower, a 2-hour cross-country running circuit ("Brienenoord") and a formal presentation. If all goes well, i.e. if any of the candidates "survive" the 2 hectic days, they will receive comment on their overall performance, and a positive or negative advice (this advice is required for further application).
After the POST, candidates will be scheduled for a psychological and medical examination, and the Aanname Advies Commissie (Admission Advisory Commission). This is a board of officers that will interview each prospective (marine) officer who wants to work in the Navy or Marine Corps. This interview will lead to the decision whether or not the candidate can start initial training.
Initial training: Naval Academy
If all is positive, the aspirant commissioned officer commences the basic military leadership training at the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Marine
(KIM - Royal Netherlands Naval Academy) in Den Helder
. The training lasts 31 weeks
(roughly 8 months), in which military leadership and personal development is taught. In the last few weeks, the adelborsten
(naval cadets) receive an extensive physical training programme for the POTOM (Praktische Opleiding tot Officier der Mariniers
- Marine Officer Training Programme), which lasts another 12 months
The POTOM is at the Van Ghentkazerne
. It lasts 12 months, and it consists of 3 training blocks:
- Basic marine skills (10 weeks / 3 months)
- The basic individual skills and drills that every Dutch marine must master (marksmanship, bivouac, field training, teamwork, navigation with map and compass, etc.)
- Leading a squad of marines (8 weeks / 2 months)
- Further training: leading a squad of 8 marines. Training at night, and this second block will be assessed with a corporal's exam (completing this means that the cadet is now trained to lead a squad).
- Leading a platoon of marines (28 weeks / 7 months)
- Further training: leading a platoon of 30 marines. This is where everything becomes much more difficult. The aspirant officers must be able to work under stress, maintain an overview of his tasks and those of his platoon, and he must be able motivate his men for the best possible performance, as the training missions become more and more complex. At the end of this long training block, the aspirant marine officer will be assessed with a lieutenant's exam.
(The mentioned amount of weeks/months also includes the time in which recruits are allowed to go on leave)
If successfully completed his 2-year officer's training, he will receive his "marine beret", and he will assigned as a Second Lieutenant to a marine platoon in one of the two infantry battalions of Mariniers Training Commando (MTC) in Doorn.
Before enlisted personnel can undergo initial training, the candidates must undergo a selection test battery similar to that for aspirant officers, but which only lasts one day. It is called MAST (Marinier Algemeen Selectie Test
- enlisted marine selection test)
The purpose of the MAST is for the Navy and Marine Corps to examine whether the candidates have the physical and mental features that are required to become a marine. The total training to become an enlisted marine in the Netherlands takes about 30 weeks (or 8 months
) and it is the second most rigorous initial training programme for enlisted personnel in the Dutch armed forces (after the ECO, the basic commando training of the Netherlands Army
's Korps Commandotroepen
, which is the most rigorous).
The MAST lasts 1 day, and consists of various tests, such as military PT, indoor obstacle course, roadwork and a 35-minute endurance (running) test. Like prospective marine officers, all candidates of the MAST will have to be assessed on physical strength and endurance. Using special static devices, the candidate's static muscle power performance is examined. And using a specialized hometrainer, the physical endurance and heartbeat rate of the candidate is monitored. With every minute, the resistance of the pedals increase, and the candidate is required to maintain a cycle rate of between 70 and 80 RPM. If the test results for this test are positive, the candidate can do the MAST.
After the MAST, candidates will have to undergo an interview with a public relations worker of the Navy. He or she will interview the candidate about (for example) motivation and prospects. After the interview, a psychological and medical examination is scheduled. If all is positive, the candidate can undergo initial training.
Initial training to become a marine in the Netherlands lasts about 30 weeks (8 months - almost equivalent to that of the British Royal Marine Commandos
). It is given at the Van Ghentkazerne
in Rotterdam, the same place where prospective marine officers receive their POTOM training. It is a rigorous and very demanding training, and not everyone will make it through the 30 weeks. If successfully completed, the recruits receive their "marine beret", and will be assigned to one of the marine platoons in one of the two infantry battalions of Mariniers Training Commando (MTC) in Doorn.
All Dutch marines will be trained to operate in any condition, both geologically and climatologically. Therefore, Dutch marines regularly train in arctic, jungle, desert and urban conditions every year. Throughout their service, the marines embark on various training missions throughout the world. Dutch marines train in the northern regions of Norway
for artic warfare, in the deserts of Egypt
for desert warfare, the jungles of Suriname
for jungle warfare, and specific locations in the Netherlands
for urban warfare. Amphibious training is given during their initial training, in Texel
. Furthermore, they also receive amphibious training in warm climatological circumstances (in Curaçao
), and cold (in Norway
Marines (mostly enlisted, and some officers) have the ability to specialise after a year (or 2) of experience. The marines will receive a basic training for the specialisation that they have chosen, and an advanced course. Upon completion, they will be promoted to Corporal
. (This also goes for marines who want to become commando
Some of the 'hottest' specialisations:
- Drill Instructor;
- Weapons Instructor;
- Mortar specialist (120 mm mortar);
- Radio specialist;
- Paratrooper (parachutist;
- Mountain Leader (assigned to the MLVERKPEL - training in United Kingdom with British MLs (stringent selection));
- Frogman (combat diver) (assigned to the 7th NL SBS - training in Texel, Netherlands (stringent selection));
- Unit Interventie Mariniers (assigned to the UIM - training at MTC in Doorn, Netherlands (stringent selection));
- Commando (assigned to Korps Commandotroepen. Recruiting requires a positive recommendation from the commanding officer. Training takes place at KCT's garrison in Roosendaal).
- 89 Patria XA-188 - Armoured personnel carriers and ambulances
- 5 L9525 LCU Mk2 - Landing craft utility
- 12 LCVP Mk5c - Landing craft vehicle personnel
- Landing Craft Rubber (Motorized)
UK/NL landing force
Since 1973, units of the Netherlands Marine Corps have formed part of the British 3 Commando Brigade during exercises and real conflict situations. Together, these form the UK/NL Landing Force. Either the First or the Second Marine Battalion can be assigned as the Dutch contribution to this force.
The cooperation between the Korps Mariniers and the Royal Marines has led to extensive integration in the areas of operations, logistics and materials. Within NATO this is seen as a prime example of what can be achieved in military integration.
The RNLMC and Royal Marines have a long history of cooperation. During combined actions by the British and Dutch navies during the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), amphibious operations were carried out, the most notable being the Siege of Gibraltar in 1704. During this action, a successful attack was carried out against the fortress of Gibraltar by an 1800-strong brigade of Dutch and British Marines under the command of Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt. Both corps share this battle honour.
The nickname of the Dutch Marines among their Royal Marine counterparts is "Cloggies."
- Beknopte geschiedenis Korps Mariniers
- Klein, Edwin,'The Dutch Marines and the Indonesian Problem', Marine Corps Gazette, Aug 1946.
- Dorren, C.J.O., De geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche Korps Mariniers van 1665-1945, 's Gravenhage, 1948.
- Coox, Alvin D., 'The Dutch Invasion of England: 1667', Military Affairs, Vol. 13 No. 4, Winter 1949, pp. 223-233.
- Dorren, C.J.O., 'Een historische terugblik op de ontsluiting van Japan na de maritieme strafexpedities tegen Kagoshima en Simonoseki (1863-1864)', Marineblad, 1950.
- Edwards, H. W., 'Netherlands Korps Mariniers', Marine Corps Gazette, Sep 1953.
- Dorren, C.J.O., Onze marineiersbrigade (1945-1949). Een veelbewogen episode in de korpsgeschiedenis, 's Gravenhage, 1955.
- Strandberg. Carl, 'Netherlands Marines', Marine Corps Gazette, Dec 1961.
- Bosscher, Ph. M., 'De gezantschapswacht te Peking', Marineblad, Vol. 75, 1965, pp.1145-1198.
- Middelhoff, A.J.M., 'De geschiedenis van het 1ste Bataljon Marinetroepen', Marineblad, Vol. 79, 1969, pp. 627-642
- de Korver, Michael, 'Royal Netherlands Marines belong to the world's second oldest marine corps', Marine Corps Gazette, Feb 1979.
- Scharfen, 'Het Korps Mariniers' (interview), Marine Corps Gazette, Oct 1987.
- Schoonoord, D.C.L., De Mariniersbrigade 1943-1949 Wording en inzet in Indonesië, Instituut voor Maritieme Historie, The Hague, 1988.
- van Holst-Pellekaan, R.E., de Regst, I.C. and Bastiaans, I.F.J, Patrouilleren voor de Papoea's: de Koninklijke Marine in Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea 1945-1960, Amsterdam, 1989.