Overvalwagens!
KNIL Artillery in 1942                                                            
BY STELLAN BOJERUD

The first Artillery units were sent out from the Netherlands in 1815 and arrived on Java 1816. In 1830 there
were 3 Field Gun Batteries, 4 Mountain Gun Batteries, 4 Fortress Companies and 1 Workshop Company.
The Artillery was reorganized on several occasions and reached a maximum in 1922 with:

2 Field Artillery Battalions (horse-drawn)
2 Field Artillery Battalions (motorized)
1 Mountain Artillerty Battalion (horses)
2 Howitzer Batteries (motorized)

A major reorganization was made in 1927 when one Field Artillery Battalion was reorganized as Mountain
Artillery Battalion and one merged with the Howitzer Batteries to a Howitzer Battalion. Hereafter there were:

1st Field Artillery Battalion (A I Vd, motorized) at Malang
1st Mountain Artillery Battalion (A I Bg, horses) at Tjimahi
2nd Mountain Artillery Battalion (A II Bg, horses) at Salatiga
1st Howitzer Artillery Battalion (A I Hw, motorized) at Weltevreden

In 1911-17 a number of 75 mm guns L/30 were bought from Krupp in Germany. They were designed M/1911
and intended for horse-traction. There were approx 70 such guns of two versions. The first version were
field guns equipped with telescopic sights. The second version had a simpler model of sights and intented
as Mobile Defence Artillery (Mobiele stellingartillerie).
Motorisation was introduced during the 1920-ies. In 1933-34 some of the Krupp guns – probably 24 – were
modernized with hard rubber tyres. They could be towed by trucks with a maximal speed of 30 km/h. In 1938-
39 the 12 guns serving with 1st Field Arty Bn (A I Vd) were modernized with pneumatic air tyres allowing
motor-traction with 60 km/h.
After two decades of trials a new type of mountain guns a Swedish design from Bofors was accepted in
1922. Series delivery was made in 1924-25. Total number of this 75 mm gun L/19 M/1922 was 28. They
were distributed with 12 guns to each Mountain Artillery Battalion and 4 guns in the Depot Mobiele Artillerie
(DMA) in Tjimahi. In 1940-41 many guns (probably 20 or more) were modernized for motor-traction with
pneumatic air tyres.
KNIL also bought from Bofors the 105 mm howitzers L/22 M/1924. They were delivered in 1924-25 and
issued to the 1st Howitzer Artillery Battalion  (12 pieces) and 2 to the DMA. They had hard rubber tyres and
were suited for motor-traction with a maximal speed of 30 km/h.
In 1941 the dissolved 2nd Field Artillery Battalion (A II Vd) was reinstated in Tjimahi and equipped with 75
mm M/1911-33 guns. By this time all Battalions had been motorized.
16 howitzers M/1940 ordered in Bofors before the war were placed under embargo by the Swedish
Government and never reached Java.

Deployment 1941
1st Arty Regt (1 RA) at Weltevreden, Col Koppen
2nd Field Arty Bn (A II Vd) at Tjimahi, Lcl Claassen
1st Mountain Arty Bn (A I Bg) at Tjimahi *), Cpt Hanssen
1st Howitzer Arty Bn (A I Hw) at Weltevreden, Maj Schmitz
*) 3rd Bty in Batoedjadar Artillery Firing Range.

2nd Arty Regt (2 RA)  at Soerabaja, Col van Dijk
1st Field Arty Bn (A I Vd), at Malang, Maj Stenger
2nd Mountain Arty Bn (A II Bg), at Salatiga,  Cpt Hendrikz *)
*) Acting. Bn CO Lcl Reerink became Arty CO of Groep Bandoeng.

Ad-hoc formations 1941-42
A Semi-mobile Defence Arty Bn with 12 – 75 mm guns M/1911 was mobilized by 1st Field Arty Bn and
deployed on Madoera Island. Details are not known.
Upon mobilization in December 1941 a 7th Mountain Bty was organized with the 4 training guns (iron wheels)
from DMA in Tjimahi.
In Semarang a Bty “van Praag” was formed by elements of 2nd Mountain Arty Bn and equipped with 3 - 75
mm M/1911 guns. CO: 1Lt van Praag.
In Tjilatjap a Bty ”Dekker” was formed by elements of DMA and equipped with 3 - 75 mm M/1911 guns. CO:
Cpt Dekker.
A Bty was formed in Malang in December 1941 by 1st Field Arty Bn for taking part in the Timor-Dilly
expedition and equipped with 4 – 75 mm M/1911-33 guns. CO: 1Lt Winter.

Allied Artillery Units
Only 2nd Bn of 131st US Field Artillery (Texas National Guard, LCL Tharp) reached Java in time before the
Japanese invasion. D and F Btys were sent to W Java (Buitenzorg) and E Bty retained in Soerabaya. The
Bn had 12 – 75 mm Field guns.

A number of 50 old US 75 mm Field guns M/1917 (based on a British design, the 18pdr) reached Java
without telescopic sights (were aboard another ship!). These guns were sent to DMA Tjimahi, while some
were deployed at Soerabaja, Wijnkoopsbaai and Semarang as coastal artillery.

Mobile Artillery outside Java
A number of semi-mobile Arty Btns were instated in the Indies and motorized ad hoc.
SUMATRA
It is known that at lest 4 – 75 mm L/35 Krupp M/1902 guns (obsolete) were used as mobile artillery on
Sumatra.
BORNEO
There were two Btys each of 3 – 75 mm L/30 Krupp M/1911 guns in Balikpapan commanded by SMI Lamers
and SMI van de Ploeg respectively.
On Tarakan Island there was one Bty of 3 – 75 mm L/30 Krupp M/1911 guns commanded by 1Lt Verdam
and one Bty of 2 – 70 mm L/14 Mountain guns (obsolete) commanded by a Sergeant.
In Samarinda there was one semi-mobile Bty with 3 – 75 mm L/30 Krupp M/1911 guns commanded by AOOI
van Brussel.
CELEBES
There were two semi-mobile Btys with each 2 – 75 mm L/35 Krupp M/1902 guns. One in Minahassa and one
in Makassar (1Lt Smits Sibinga).
AMBON
On Ambon Island there were two mobile Btys each with 4 – 75 mm L/30 Krupp M/1911 guns commanded by
1Lt Jager Gerlings avd SMI Wijma respectively. Another 3 such guns were available but there were not
enough trained personel.
TIMOR
One Bty was sent to Dilly from 1st Field Arty Bn (see above).
In Koepang there was Australian 2/1 Heavy Bty with 2-150 mm howitzers commanded by Maj Mc Wilson.

KNIL Anti-Aircraft Artillery                
In 1931 the first Anti-Aircraft (AA) Training Unit was organized in Soerabaja and an order for four 105 mm
AA guns L/44 M/1931 was placed in Bofors, Sweden. These guns arrived in Soerabaja 1932 and the first –
and then only - AA Bty became operational in 1933.
The same year 12,7 mm AAMGs M/1930 Colt-Browning began beeing distributed to the AA Unit in
Soerabaja. Totally 140 such AAMGs were bought from Fabrique Nationale in Belgium.
In 1936 a number of 80 mm L/50 M/1936 AA guns were ordered from Bofors. They were delivered in 1937
and the number of guns were probably 28. Fire direction equipment was ordered from Hazemayer in the
Netherlands, but was not delivered before the Germans invaded the Netherlands. Therefore the 80 mm AA
Guns – although an effective weapon at this time – could not be used as AA in a proper way.
After trials on Java an order for 40 mm L/60 M/1936 automatic AA-guns was 1938 placed in Bofors. The
guns were delivered 1938-39. 40 such guns reached Java.
The same year a number of 20 mm L/70 M/1938 automatic AA-guns were bought from Rheinmetall-Borsig in
Germany. 30 such guns were delivered in 1938-39.

In 1938 the AA of KNIL was reorganized into three Battalions:
1st AA Btn (A I Ld)        Batavia
2nd AA Btn (A II Ld)      Soerabaja
3rd AA Btn (A III Ld)      Bandoeng

Upon mobilization in December 1941 1st and 2nd AA Btns came under command of a common HQ for
Coast- and AA Artillery in Batavia and Soerabaja respectively. 3rd AA Btn was responsible for AA defence of
Bandoeng (GHQ and Arms Factory etc) and Andir AFB.

Deployment in february 1942.
1st AA Btn (A I Ld) at Batavia, Maj Soeria Santoso
Priok East CA Bty        4-80 mm and 4-20 mm
Priok Harbour CA Bty  4-40 mm
Priok Naval Airbase     2-40 mm
Tjililitan Airbase           4-40 mm
Kemajoran Airbase      3-12,7 mm AAMG
There were also six platoons of each 3-12,7 mm AAMGs defending the CA installations, but exact locations
are not known. After the Japanese landings the 80 mm guns were destroyed and the 40 mm and 20 mm
guns were brought to Bandoeng.

2nd AA Btn (A II Ld) at Soerabaja
Fort Menari                2-40 mm
Fort Tjowek                2-40 mm
Fort Piring                  2-40 mm
Fort Moedong            2-40 mm, 2-20 mm, 2-12,7 mm MG
Batoe Porong             4-80 mm
Kampong Dawir          4-80 mm
Perak Airbase            4-105 mm, 4-40 mm
Monokrembang AFB  2-20 mm

3rd AA Btn (A III Ld) at Bandoeng
Bandoeng                   8-80 mm, 4-40 mm
Andir Airbase              4-80 mm, 2-20 mm, 12-12,7mm (the latter detached from APLA 1)
In Tjimahi there were 6th Heavy AA Regt HQ and two Btys from 35th Light AA Regt, which in abscense of
guns were used as an ad-hoc Infantry Btn with approx 1 000 men.

British AA units on Java, 1942:
in the Batavia area:
48th Light AA Regt HQ
239th Heavy AA Bty       8-94 mm (guns 77th HAA Regt)
49th Light AA Bty         10-40 mm Kalidjati Airbase
242nd Light AA Bty      10-40 mm Batavia
British AA units in the Soerabaja area:
77th Heavy AA Regt HQ
240th Heavy AA Bty       8-94 mm
241st Heavy AA Bty       8-94 mm
48th Light AA Bty          12-40 mm (guns 21st LAA Regt)

British AA units in the Malang area:
21st Light AA Regt HQ
B-Trp 69th Light AA Bty   4-40 mm
B-Trp 79th Light AA Bty   4-40 mm

British AA units in Madioen:
69th Light AA Bty (less B-Troop) 8-40 mm

KNIL AA Detachments
From the AA Btns a number of Detachments were sent out for protecting airbases and CA installations on
other islands. Locally ad-hoc AA units were also organized in a few places. These were as follows.
SUMATRA
Sabang Airfield                4-7,62 mm M/1941 Colt-Browning
Palembang CA                 2-40 mm
Palembang II Airbase       2-40 mm
Pakan Baroe Airbase       9-12,7 mm        
On 30 Jan 1942 three British AA Btys arrived. One 94mm without ammunition and two 40mm with totally six
Bofors guns. These units were distributed on Palembang I and Palembang II Airbases.
At a certain moment early 1942 two AAMG Platoons (6 AAMGs) were drawn from Pakan Baroe Airbase and
used elsewhere on Sumatra, but it is not known where.
BORNEO
Singkawan II Airbase         2-20 mm
Kotawaringing Airfield        2-7,7 mm AAMGs Lewis
Oelin Airfield                      1-7,7 mm Lewis (twin mount)
Samarinda II Airbase         2-40 mm, 4-20 mm, 4-12,7 mm
Balikpapan                        2-40 mm, 9 12,7 mm
Tarakan                             4-40 mm, 4-20 mm, 12-12,7 mm
CELEBES
Kendari II Airbase               2-40 mm, 3-12,7 mm AAMGs
AMBON
Laha Airbase                     2-40 mm         
Halong Naval Airbase        2-40 mm
CA Bty protection               12-12,7 mm AA MGs
In Infantry Btn MG Coy        4-7,7 mm unknown type
TIMOR
There were no KNIL AA units on Timor, but early 1942 British 79th Light AA Bty (less B-Troop) arrived with 8-
40 mm Bofors guns.

July 2004


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