Netherlands Marine Corps - History

History

The corps was founded on 10 December 1665 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War by the unofficial leader of the Dutch Republic, Johan de Witt, and Admiral Michiel de Ruyter as the Regiment de Marine. Its leader was Willem Joseph 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 Spain's Infantería de Armada (1537), the Portuguese Marine Corps (1610), France's Troupes de marine (1622), and the English 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 honours on the Korps Mariniers' colors are:

Chatham
(1667)
Kijkduin
(1673)
Senneffe
(1674)
Spain
(1702–13)
West Indies
(1764 . 1772-77)
Dogger Bank
(1781)
Algiers
(1816)
Bali
(1846–49)
Aceh
(1873–76)
Rotterdam
(1940)
Java Sea
(1942)
East Java
(1942)
Java and Madura
(1946–49)
New Guinea
(1962)
Cambodia
1992-93

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 honour "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 On June 29, 1672, after serving in the naval Battle of Solebay (7 June), two-thirds of the Marines were withdrawn from the fleet and formed into a brigade in order to stiffen the inefficient and largely mercenary army in anticipation of an English invasion.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 Seneffe 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 English-Dutch 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 German paratroopers in the center of the city from rendezvousing 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 labeled 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 Western 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.

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