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Roundel of the ML-KNIL

The Military Aviation of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger, ML-KNIL) was the name used by the air arm of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) from 1939 until 1950. It was an entirely separate organization from the Dutch Air Force.

The unit was founded in 1915 as the "Test Flight Service" (Proefvliegafdeling-KNIL, PVA-KNIL). In 1921 it became the "Aviation Service" (Luchtvaartafdeling-KNIL, LA-KNIL), before finally receiving the designation of ML-KNIL on 30 March 1939. In 1950, following Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence, its bases and facilities were handed over to the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU).

World War II[edit | edit source]

Air Vice-Marshal Conway Pulford greeting pilots of the ML-KNIL in Singapore, January 1942.

On 1 January 1942 the Dutch forces joined the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command, but at the onset of the Japanese assault the ML-KNIL was not up to full combat strength. Of the aircraft that had been ordered, only a small number had been delivered, and many were obsolete models. There were five groups, three of bombers and two of fighters, each of three to four squadrons.[1] A sixth depot group provided support, transport and training. Reconnaissance aircraft were placed directly under command of the Army to give support to ground troops. Despite stubborn resistance the Japanese occupied the Dutch colonies, though numbers of aircraft found their way to northern Australia in order to continue the fight.

Following the fall of the NEI three joint Australian-NEI squadrons were formed. The first of these, No. 18 (NEI) Squadron RAAF, was formed in April 1942 as a medium bomber squadron equipped with B-25 Mitchell aircraft. The second joint Australian-NEI squadron, No. 119 (NEI) Squadron RAAF, was also to be a medium bomber squadron. No. 119 NEI Squadron was only active between September and December 1943 when it was disbanded to form No. 120 (NEI) Squadron RAAF which was a fighter squadron. Both No. 18 and No. 120 Squadrons saw action against the Japanese during World War II and against Indonesian nationalists during the Indonesian National Revolution before being disbanded in 1950.

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

1915-1918[edit | edit source]

  • Deperdussin-Léon de Brouckère Monoplane (never flown)
  • Farman F.22
  • Léon de Brouckère No.1 & No.2 (type reconnaissance & trainer, Farman copies)
  • Glenn L. Martin Model TT
  • Glenn L. Martin Model TA
  • Glenn L. Martin Model TE
  • Glenn L. Martin Model R

1919-1935[edit | edit source]

A pilot with his Fokker C.V, 1937.

1936-1950[edit | edit source]

ML-KNIL Martin 166 bombers over Malaya in January 1942.

ML-KNIL Brewster F2A Buffalo fighters

Commanders[edit | edit source]

  • 1915 Captain C.E. Visscher
  • 1917 Captain C.L. Vogelesang
  • 1919 Captain C. van Houten
  • 1921 Captain J.A. Roukes
  • 1924 Captain P.F. Hoeksema de Groot
  • 1927 Major J. Beumer
  • 1928 Lieutenant-Colonel J.H. Wesseling
  • 1932 Major G.A. Ilgen
  • 1934 Major-General L.H. van Oyen[2]
  • 1945 Major-General E.T. Kengen
  • 1946 Colonel P.J. de Broekert
  • 1948 Major-General C.W. van der Eem

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Broshot, James A. (1999-2000). "Dutch Air Force Order of Battle in the Dutch East Indies, 30 November 1941". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. http://www.dutcheastindies.webs.com/Dutch_OOB.html. 
  2. Klemen, L. "Air Force Lieutenant-General Ludolph H. van Oyen". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. http://www.dutcheastindies.webs.com/vanoyen.html. 

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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