BY STELLAN BOJERUD
In 1815-16 a Cavalry Regiment was sent from the Netherlands to Java. During the following years the
Cavalry was reorganized on several occasions. During the 1920s there were six unmotorised Squadrons
but following the world-depression two Squadrons were dissolved in 1933.
During the 1930s the K.N.I.L. Cavalry made trials with different types of armoured vehicles and in 1936
twelve Alvis-Straussler AC3D armoured cars were bought from Great Britain arriving December 1937 –
January 1938. These vehicles were distributed in platoons of three to 1st Cav Sqn in Weltevreden
(Jakarta), 6th Cav Sqn in Malang, 2nd Cav Sqn in Bandung avd 4th Cav Sqn in Magelang.
In 1940-41 all horse-mounted Cav Sqns except 5th Sqn in Bandung were reorganized and motorized. In
connection hiereto the Sqns were also renumbered 1st – 5th, plus Life Guards Cav Sqn (Cav LW). The
latter was called Life Guards since it had ceremonial duties to the Emperor of Solo at Soerakarta. The
squadron held one troop in Jogjakarta and one in Soerakarta.
In the same period the White Scoutcar M3A1 and Ford jeep were bought from USA. In 1941 some 40 White
Scoutcars and 400 Jeeps reached Java.
Each Sqn formed an HQ, one Armoured-Car Platoon, two Reconnaissance Platoons and one Heavy
Machinegun Platoon. The HQ had one White Scoutcar and the Armoured Car Platoon had three Alvis-
Straussler and one White Scoutcar. The two Recce Platoons each had 11 Jeeps and the MG Platoon had
four White Scoutcars.
There were only 12 Alvis-Strausslers available so in the Life Guards Cav Sqn these were replaced by White
Scoutcars. A 6th Cav Sqn was organized in Malang and equipped with Overvalwagens.
1st to 4th Cav Sqns each had three Officers and 120 other ranks. They each had three Alvis-Straussler, six
White Scoutcars and 22 Jeeps. The armament was 18 Heavy Machineguns (HMGs) 12,7 mm M/1930 Colt-
Browning, 14 HMGs 7,7 mm M/1923 Vickers and 19 Light Machineguns (LMGs) 6,5 mm M/1915 Madsen.
The 5th Cav Sqn remained horse-mounted with three Officers, 108 other ranks, 109 horses, four trucks and
nine LMGs 6,5 mm M/1915 Madsen. Personel above the rank of Sergeant-major and drivers were issued
with 9 mm pistols m/1911 Luger. Sergeants in 1939 received 9 mm Submachine-guns M/1938 Schmeisser
(German MP 28 II). The troopers had 6,5 mm M/1895 carbines type Mannlicher.
Cav 1 Meester-Cornelis (Jakarta), Major Wessel
Cav 2 Bandoeng, Capt Romswinckel
Cav 3 Malang, Capt de Iongh
Cav 4 Magelang, Capt de Boer
Cav 5 Bandoeng (horse-mounted), Capt Raden Tenggono Soerjobroto
Cav 6 Malang, unknown c.o.
Cav LW Soerakarta – Djocjakarta, Capt Lips
Depot Salatiga, LCl Fokkema
For administrative reasons only there was also 1st Cavalry Regiment Headquarters (1 RC) in Weltevreden
controlling 1st, 2nd and 5th Squadrons, but this HQ was not operational as such in 1942.
There was also an independent Reconnaisance Squadron or "Verkennende en beveiligende Afdeling" (1Lt
Hellenberg Hubar) with three White Scoutcars and jeeps serving with the Tank Battalion (Mobiele Eenheid)..
Ad-hoc formations 1942
In 1940 following the German occupation of the Netherlands the British Government confiscated 49 tanks
ordered by K.N.I.L. Instead K.N.I.L. was compensated with 49 Marmon-Herrington MK III Armoured Cars
from South Africa.
These were delivered without armament. Bandoeng Arsenal fitted them out with each two 7,7 mm air-cooled
HMGs M/1936 Colt-Browning originally intended for aircraft use.
With these cars a Training Unit (Oefn/Pau M.H.) was formed in Bandoeng with two Platoons. One was
manned by the Cavalry (Cpt van Lier) and one by the Infantry (Cpt van Dongen).
The Cavalry Unit was expanded to a Squadron named Afdeeling Ritman (Cpt Ritman) with 17 M.H.
Armoured Cars. There were two cars in the Sqn HQ and three Platoons of each five cars. In addition hereto
the Sqn also had six Jeeps and six motorcycles.
The Infantry Unit became Afdeeling van Dongen and was probably organized to the same pattern. Probably
a Platoon of this Unit (1Lt Punter) was detached and operated separated from the Sqn.
A Reconnaisance Platoon of three M.H. cars was also formed replacing Afdeeling Hellenberg Hubar with the
There have also been identified one Platoon with six cars at Tjepoe (Middle Java) and one with three cars
at Tjaroeban (East Java). Details are not known, but all 49 M.H. cars have been identified being in service
in March 1942.
Allied Armoured Units on Java
On Java there was British B-Squadron 3rd King´s Own Hussars with 16 Light Tanks.
There was also an ad-hoc formed Australian Brigade called “Blackforce”, named after the CO Brig
Blackburn, VC. This Brigade consisted of 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion (LCl Lyneham), 2/2 Pioneers Battalion
(LCl Williams) and an improvised Guards Battalion (Maj Champion de Crespigny) plus a few supporting
units including 2nd Bn 131 st US Field Arty (less one Bty, Texas National Guard, LCl Tharp).
Brigadier Blackburn managed to find a number of armoured vehicles in Tandjoeng Priok harbour including
Humber Mk II ACs and Brengun-Carriers and used these to mechanize his units.