Foreign built armoured cars
K.N.I.L.'s first experience with armoured cars dates from 1933, when the Netherlands East Indies had their first taste of
armoured cars. The MInistry of Colonies ordered two 6 wheel armoured cars to be built on Krupp 22H143 truck chassis at
a Rotterdam shipyard, Wilton-Fijenoord.
The cars had many interesting features, such as a driving position to the rear
and three machine guns (one front, one rear, one in the turret). Wheels were
protected in steel boxes. The radiator was below front and a single headlight
could disappear in the front armour. As an extra the vehicle carried 20
handgrenades and 20 teargas grenades. During riots the outer hull could give
electrical shocks to anyone touching it (Blijleven, Mars et Historia). Note the
front machine gun position. This was a left-hand-drive vehicle.
The two cars were tested on Java, but proved to cumbersome and
heavy for the small roads and wet fields of the island. There were
some problems with the air-cooled engine, while kerosine had to be
used instead of normal fuel.
This one was pictured with K.N.I.L. troops on Java during the trials
(picture from geheugenvannederland.nl website). Note the frail Krupp
wheels compared to the sturdy and wide hull.
The cars were duly sold back to Wilton-Fijenoord shipyard. In 1935 the two cars
were sold to Brazil, together with a pair of Ford/Wilton-Fijenoord Armoured
personnel carriers. The picture shows the two Krupp/W-F cars in service with the
Brazilian Special Police in Sao Paulo (read more on Dutch armoured cars in
Brazilian service). Similar cars may have been delivered by Krupp (that marketed
the armoured car as Polizeistreifenwagen (= in Dutch Overvalwagen!) or
Gepanzerte Radfahrzeug) to China. One more was built by W-F. It was
requisitioned by the Wehrmacht and ended its life defending the Reichskanzlei in
Berlin in 1945.
In 1936 the Dutch colonial authorities again decided to acquire
armoured cars for K.N.I.L. Many different types and models were
studied. The final competition was between the Austro-Daimler ADKZ,
Deutsche Werke Kiel G31P (later Kfz.231) and a 4x4 model designed
by Alvis-Straussler in the U.K. The latter (picture, from Legerkoerier
1940) was chosen and twelve cars were ordered, armed with a water
cooled .50 in a small turret and a 6,5mm Vickers to the left of the
driver. These cars were very advanced at the time, using four wheel
steering. Read all about these cars in this article by Jacques Jost:
Alvis-Straussler Armoured Cars in the Netherlands East Indies
The twelve cars at first formed four independent armoured car platoons of
three cars each, later amalgamated with other units into four Cavalry
Squadrons. The designer of these cars, Hungarian born Nicholas
Straussler (a British national since long), had teamed up with Alvis to
produce this model, better known as the AC3D. A further twelve cars of a
slightly different version were built for the Royal Air Force and 3 more
were delivered to Portugal.
|The development of the Alvis-Straussler AC3D
The shape and configuration of the AC3D were very similar to the contemporary German Sd.Kfz
222 Armoured cars (especially the rear end of the vehicle). Many authors have pointed at the
possible influence of the design of the latter on the Straussler car. What is sure, however, is
that the prototypes during the development phase of the vehicle never showed any influence by
the German car. Note the rounded hull shape in the prototype shown below right (pictures from
Wheels and Tracks). So far no one has ever claimed that Straussler was influenced in his
design of the AC3 and AC3D by the Krupp/W-F design as shown above. But do compare the
images above and some striking similarities appear: Check out the same single machine-gun
mounted turret: it's size and shape seem at least related. Then compare the diagonal hull sides,
both upper and lower ends. The machine-gun positions at the front, next to the driver, appear
similar in concept. Finally there are some details, like the disappearing single headlight, that
bear clear resemblance. Overall, the AC3D has the appearance of a smaller, lighter, 4x4
version of the Krupp/W-F, though front and rear ends are definitely different. This vehicle was
better suited to the conditions of the Netherlands East Indies. Did K.N.I.L. influence the design in
Early 1941 K.N.I.L. received 40 White Scout Car M3A1 from the USA, These were used to equip
the Cavalry Squadrons on Java (supplementing the AC3D's) and were armed with a water cooled
.50 Colt-Browning and two water cooled .30 Colt-Browning's on a skate mount. The vehicles were
similar to contemporary US Army vehicles. K.N.I.L. tried to obtain more of these Scout Cars, but a
real order was never placed. The US arms manufacturing industry ny then had other priorities
after that country entered WW2. Many Scout Cars survived the war and were later used during
the Indonesian Independence War (picture from Indisch Militair Tijdschrift).
Interior view of the White Scout Car in K.N.I.L.
service, mid 1941. These cars came straight from
the US and were left-hand drives (from Orient
Magazine, August 1941). Neverthless, A.R.
Schmitz of the Netherlands discovered documents
in White's archives that reveal the Scout Cars'
instruments had Dutch language markings!
Japanese picture of two White
Scout Cars on Java,
abandoned by their K.N.I.L.
crews. The armament is
clearly visible. The locals
seem to be minding their own
White Scout Car on Aruba, Dutch West
Indies (picture from the Dutch Beeldbank).
The West Indies received 4 White Scout
Cars (Curacao 2 cars, Aruba probably
same) on top of the 40 sent to the East
Indies. Note crew wearing tin helmets.
Armament seems similar to the cars used on
We have little visual evidence of
the cars in Japanese and
Indonesian service. This is a rare
shot of an impressive column of
Whites in what we think is PETA
(Indonesian forces set up by the
A large number of White's fell back in Dutch hands after 1945. During 1945-1950 the White's appear
distributed haphazard among the Dutch forces. Here are some examples:
According to the Encyclopedia of Armoured Cars by Duncan
Crow and Robert J. Icks, the Marmon-Herrington Company
sold a mysterious scout car type to the Dutch East Indies.
They describe it as: "1938, T13-type scout car with rear of
hull cut off and re-plated, ring-mounted .30 cal. mg rear of
hull, .30 cal. mg pedestal-mounted on right outside, .50 cal.
mg on high pedestal behind right front mudguard, radio
equipped, (...)." There is no evidence of this vehicle being in
K.N.I.L. service as yet. The T13 (pictures) was one of the
forerunners of the White Scout Car. A re-plated T13 might
have looked very similar to the White Scout Cars but the
armament configuration (which was not uncommon on
pre-war US armoured cars - see also the guntrucks chapter)
would have been easily recognisable.
|Click here to read a short history of K.N.I.L. Cavalry by Stellan Bojerud
Prior to W.W.2 K.N.I.L. placed a large order for Vickers light tanks in the UK.
Only a small part of that order was completed before 1939, by which the
British Army confiscated 49 remaining Vickers light tanks. These served in the
UK as the "Dutchmen". The Dutch authorities negotiated with the British
government for compensation. This finally came in the form of 49 South
African Reconnaissance Cars MKIII, better known in the British forces (but
incorrectly) as Marmon-Herrington Armoured Cars. These cars arrived on
Java early February 1942, when war was already raging all over the Dutch
Many sources state that these armoured cars arrived without armament, i.e
machine guns and Boys anti-tank rifles. K.N.I.L. Arsenal (by now very
experienced) hurriedly managed to arm several cars with ex-aircraft Vickers air
cooled machine guns (the same as fitted in the Braat overvalwagens). One
machine gun was placed in the turret, the other one was fitted in a newly created
position to the left of the driver. For this the hull was converted and partly
re-plated. By doing this K.N.I.L. acquired a unique version of this armoured car!
This configuration was clearly inspired by similar applications in the
Alvis-Straussler and of course the Krupp/Wilton-Fijenoord (both pictures are form
the Dutch Beeldbank and show the cars during the Indonesian Independence
The South African Armoured cars were known to K.N.I.L. as "Zuid-Afrikaanse
pantserauto's". All were operational on Java by March 1st 1942, when the Imperial
Japanese Army invaded the island. Some were in combat, notably during the running
battles at Ciater Pass road. The "Zuidafrikaanse pantserauto's" were distributed as
follows: 3 cars with recce unit Mobiele Eenheid, Bandung; 2 cars north of Bandung;10
cars afd. Van Dongen (incl. platoon Heshusius), Bandung; 5 cars platoon Punter,
Bandung;17 cars afd. Ritman, Bandung; 3 cars at Tjaroeban, Eastern Java; 9 cars at
Tjepoe, Eastern Java. Total: 49 cars. This AWM-picture shows captured cars (not
modified by K.N.I.L.) used by the Japanese in Jakarta in 1945.
Indonesian forces used the Marmon-Herringtons after 1945. Here are some examples:
Many ended up serving with the Dutch again:
To conclude some shots of Japanese armoured units in 1945: