THE INDEPENDENT RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRONS
In order to replace the forces already stationed in the Dutch East Indies gradually, a number of independent infantry-brigades were trained in the Netherlands. In the set-up of these brigades an independent reconnaissance squadron was included. This squadron consisted of a staff platoon and a support platoon, 3 reconnaissance platoons and a mortar platoon. A reconnaissance platoon existed of a reconnaissance section and an armed foot section, whilst the mortar platoon existed of three sections of 2 x 8 mortars each. Due to the handover of sovereignty, when it was decided that all forces were to be returned to the Netherlands, only three independent infantry-brigades departed for the Dutch Indies.The 41ste, 42nd and the 43rd Independent Reconnaissance Squadrons formed part of these brigades.
2. The 41st Independent Reconnaissance Squadron
by H.H.Prinsen, reserve 1e lieutenant, retired.
The conscripted recruits were called up on 19th January and 3rd March 1948 in the " Prins Willem III " barracks in Amersfoort. Major G. van Schaik was appointed squadron commander. On completion of training, the squadron left for the Dutch Indies from Rotterdam by the M.V. "Zuiderkruis" on 8th October 1948. On the voyage out, the squadron commander fell ill, and unfortunately, on arrival in the Dutch Indies, had to be admitted into the Military Hospital in Batavia where he was declared unfit for service in the tropics. On 1ste November 1948 the M.V. "Zuiderkruis" arrived in Tandjong Priok harbour. The squadron disembarked on 2nd November and was moved by lorries to Batavia's railway station. From here followed a journey by train to Bandoeng where it arrived at 14.00 pm. Immediately on arrival, the squadron was split up per platoon and added to:
1st Platoon-reconnaissance section, Lieutenant B.H. Klap;
1e Squadron 1st Regiment Huzaren van Boreel, Major Van Stokkum; 2nd Platoon Reconnaissance section, Lieutenant V.M.F.B.P.Bouwdijk-Bastiaanse; 2nd Platoon tirailleur section, Lieutenant L.H.Ypes;
2nd Squadron 1st Regiment Huzaren van Boreel, major Simons;
3rd Platoon reconnaissance section, Lieutenant J. in 't Veldt; 3rd Platoon tirailleur section, Lieutenant M.C.van Trigt; Reserve Squadron 1st Regiment Huzaren van Boreel, Cavalry Captain Koch;
Mortar Platoon, Lieutenant H.H.Prinsen; Mortar Platoon 1st Regiment Huzaren van Boreel, Cavalry Captain Laurillard. The platoons were transported by road to their destinations. The staff-platoon stayed in Bandoeng for a short while and was then split up and divided over the platoons and squadrons of 1st Reconnaissance Regiment. All equipement had been sent from Holland in advance and taken delivery of by the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment. In reality, it soon became clear that the equipement had been "taken into custody"! Very reluctantly only what was required most urgently was released to the 41st IRS. The Commander of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment intended to use the initial period for an extended training, in particular for infantry patrol work! The 2nd Platoon (Lieutenant Bouwdijk Bastiaanse/Ypes) and the Mortar Platoon became actively almost immediately. The reason for this was partly to suppress the unrest from the side of TNI ans DI (Daril Islam), etc., in the areas concerned (Tjitjalengka-Garoet). Gradually the platoons were given more independent tasks, i.e. the manning of certain posts and the responsibility for the protection of parts of certain areas. Mention must be made of the fact that much of the equipement required for these tasks remained withheld. These two platoons had to do much active patrolling, sometimes over very long distances with various succes and fairly frequent exchanges of fire with TNI, DI and other groups and/or bands. In addition the 2nd Platoon took part in the convoy duties of the 2nd Squadron of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment. In particular, in this region the activities of the TNI Siliwangi Division in the areas Nagrek, Tjitjalenka and Madjalaja derserve mention. With effect from 29th March 1949 the 3rd Platoon (Lieutenant In 't Veld/ Van Tricht), the mortar Platoon (Lieutenant Prinsen) and part of the Staff were brought under the command of the sub squadron commander, 1st Lieutenant G.Melis, and added to the 3rd Squadron of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment (Major Diemont). This detachment under Lieutenant Melis was made responsible for the posts Patjet, Lamadjang, Tjiparaj, Bandjaran , Pameungpeuk, Ardja Sari, Bodjong and as from 7th July 1949 for the new post Koentji. Roughly the foot of the mountain area south of Bandoeng, with a TNI-pocket of the Siliwangi Division. 20th August 1949 is the date the 41ste became independent tactically. The squadron was joined together finally under the command of cavalry captain J.J. de Kat Angelino. The greater part of the former terrain of the 2nd Squadron 1st Reconnaissance Regiment became the action ground, that is, the Northwest and Southwest of Garoet, roughly bordered by respectively the Nagrek pas-Gunung Masigit-Gunung Tjikuray and in the East by the line North out of Garoet. Detachments were posted in Leles, Trogong, Panundjuk, Kadugora, Tjipanas and Bodjong Batoe. As an independent unit the squadron joined the 3rd Infantry Brigade commanded by Colonel H.M.G.J. Lenz, with headquarters in Garoet. With this independency and its own responsibility having been fully armed and equiped with their own communication equipment, supplies and intelligence, a very keen unit was formed. It was both prepared and ideally suited to carry out various orders excellently,noted Colonel Lenz after a time. This was also necessary because the 41st Independent Reconnaissance Squadron's orders were: " to free the area between Nagrek and Garoet from DI and later TNI, to restore peace and order". All this emplied very intensive patrolling and continued pressure resulting in a great many enemy losses.
A record number of "patrolling hours" per man in the 3rd Infantry Brigade was reached in September 1949. In addition, joint actions were carried out with other units of the Brigade, in or outside the Brigade territory. Also some moderately dangerous attacks on their own posts were repulsed e.g. at Leles, Daradjat and Trogong. Apart from battle patrols, intelligence gathering patrols were carried out. Because of the large spread of smallpox amongst the civil population in these areas, the Red-Cross teams were
accompanied by patrols. For the benefit the evacuated population "foodsupplies"transports took place. Also convoy protection was supplied twice daily between Garoet and Tasikmalaja v.v. wich often lead to exchanges of fire.
For a short period also the main commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, Squadron units often escorted Colonel Lenz.
A completely different situation existed after the
hand-over of sovereignty. DI and TNI tried to avoid fire contact. The DI was even seen to make some friendly gestures "Fraternisation" with
compulsory, resulting in the start of a training session
of twenty TNI-servicemen in Trogong on 9th January 1950.
However, convoy-escort duty was still provided when KNIL detachments were moved from Tasikmalaja to Soekaboemi following the hand-over of Sovereignty. In the afternoon of 23rd January 1950 a reinforced battalion was directed to Bandoeng to lend assistance to the maintaining of order and peace during and after the withdrawal of the revolting armed troops under the well-known Captain Raymond Westerling, and to petrol in the town to reassure the civil population.*) This detachment remained stationed in Bandoeng until the repatriation of the Squadron to the Netherlands. Following the further hand-over of territories on 26the January, most of the Squadron was transferred to the Pengalengan district. A detachment stayed behind to lend convoy and other protection duties. One day after their departure most of the servants that were left behind were killed on the aloon-aloon in Trogong by the Indonesians. The guard duties proved the final and lightest tasks to be carried out by the Squadron in the Dutch Indies. Some difficulties were experienced now and again, though, from the side of the TNI, who had settled themselves in the maintime at the foot of the mountains South of Bandoeng. The 41ste Independent Reconnaissance Squadron managed to limit itself to some robust and not to misconstrued shows of strength which provided sufficient to prevent (serious) irregularities. The latter was not the case with the platoon posted in Bandoeng. During a confrontation one night between the crew of an armoured 3/4 ton vehicle and a number of TNI soldiers, the TNI suffered a number of killed and wounded. The soldiers manning the TNI post fell back and whilst doing so met an advance party of the TNI Battalion manning the Trade Fair Building. This resulted in a mutual exchange of fire in the dark. Althought the correct number of victims was never published, this incident caused the stay of the 41st to be shortened considerably. Both TNI and the Civil Republican Government insisted on the 41st Squadron's leaving
the Indies at the earliest possible moment! Pending their departure for the Netherlands the whole Squadron was concentrated and billeted in the barracks at the Papandjanlaan in Bandoeng. On 31st May 1950 about 70% of the squadron sailed for the Netherlands per M.V. "General J.H. McRae" under the command of Lieutenant B.H.Klap. The remainder left the harbour of Tandjong Priok on the 6th June 1950 under the
command of Lieutenant H.H.Prinsen per M.V. "Kota Inten". These vessels reached Rotterdam harbour on 23rd June and 6th Juli respectivily.
*) The revolt was carried out by the APRA
(Ankatan Perang Ratoe Adil = Forces of the honorable king) Former KNIL Captain Westerling had managed to raise a small force of a few hundred followers on his return from Celebes. He had recruited this small army from various local village militias trained by himself such as Laskar Ra'jat, ex TNI-soldiers and some other anti Republican fractions. Their aim was to force Soekarno, who wanted a centrally led Republican state, to agree to a federation of a number of Indonesian states with a certain degree of autonomy. Also West-Java (Pasoedan) was alloted this autonomy.
Rumours to this effect had already been calculating since the beginning of 1949, more solid and real indications had not been lacking either. The APRA attacks were aimed at Batavia and Bandoeng. The attack on Batavia did not materialise and therefore the APRA troops had to leave Bandoeng without gaining their end. ---------------------------
personalia, regular-reservists, of the 41st Independent
Reconnaissance Squadron, the last rank between ( )
Major G. van Schaik: E.C. (Lt-Colonel), ¥
Cavalry Captain J.J. de Kat Angelino: E.C. (Cavalry Captain)
1e lLt. C.W.G. Melis: Acting E.C. (res.Lieutenant), ¥
2nd Lt. H.H. Prinsen: Acting E.C./P.C. (res.Lieutenant),¥
2nd Lt. O.A. van Lennep: P.C. (res.Lieutenant),¥
2nd Lt. mr. B.H. Klap: P.C. (res.Lieutenant)
2nd Lt. V.F.M.C. Bouwdijk Bastiaanse: P.C. (Majoor),¥
2nd Lt. H. Ypes: P.C. (res.Lieutenant),¥
2nd Lt. J. in 't Veld; P.C. (res.Cavalry Captain), ¥
2nd Lt. mr.M.C. van Trigt: P.C. (res.Lieutenant)
2nd Lt. M.M.J. Beaujean: (res.Lieutenant), ¥
2nd Lt. Jhr. F.E.M. v.d. Poll: (Lt. Colonel)
2nd Lt. P.H. Hoevenaars: (Lt. Colonel)
2nd Lt. H.R. Korpershoek: (res.Lieutenant)
¥ = deceased
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