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1913 - Foundation Dutch Army Aviation Department
On 16 April 1913 Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands signed
Koninklijk Besluit nummer 29 (Royal Decision number 29) that
a Luchtvaartafdeling (LVA - Aviation department) was to be founded
within the Koninklijke Landmacht (Royal Army) on first of July 1913.
Captain H. Walaardt Sacré would be the commander of the LVA, its four pilots
and an sergeant-major-administrator. The LVA started with one car and one
rented aircraft de Brik, which was an improved Farman biplane
design by Marinus van Meel. Soon afterwards the aircraft was bought and
became the first military owned aircraft in the Netherlands. The LVA
was based at Soesterberg near Utrecht, the Vliegkamp Soesterberg
airfield consisted of an area of heath as runway and a couple of wooden sheds.
On 30 May 1914 Proefvliegafdeling Militaire Luchtvaart (Trail
aviation department Military Aviation) was founded as part of the
Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger (KNIL - Royal Dutch Indian Army) based in
the Dutch Indies. (independent Indonesia of today used to be part of the Dutch empire)
1914-1918 - First World War
When on 14 August 1914 the first World War began consisted
the LVA of 10 officers and 31 other personnel. The fleet consisted
of nine aircraft, seven Farman biplanes and two Van Meels biplanes.
Although the Netherlands was neutral during the war, after mobilisation
of the Army the LVA flew many sorties patrolling the country borders.
The aircraft production was effected by the war, and two aircraft on order
could not be delivered. However a total of 107 forein airplanes were captured
after they made emergency landings in the Netherlands.
1918-1939 - LVA between wars
At the end of World War One, the LVA consisted of 110 aircraft
and 300 personnel. The department was reduced to a 'peace organisation'
heavily reduced in number and limited to the reconnaissance mission.
However in 1930s the fear of war increased because of Hitler, German re-arming
and general restless feel in Europe. The government dediced the rise the
defense budget starting in 1935. The LVA fleet of reconnaissance aircraft
was soon strengthened by Fokker G-I and D-XXI fighter/escorts, Fokker T-V bombers
and the American Douglas DB-8A-3N light bomber/recce airplane.
On 1 July 1939 the LVA was renamed Wapen der Militaire Luchtvaart
(Weapon of Military Aviation) and transformed into an aviation brigade, which consisted
of three aviation regiments. Earlier on 30 March 1939 the aviation department of the
KNIL was converted into an independent air arm designated ML/KNIL (ML standing for
Militaire Luchtvaart or Military Aviation)
1939-1945 - Second World War
At the start of World War Two on 1 September 1939, only 125 combat-ready aircraft
were available to the Netherlands. Although the Netherlands was hoping to remain
neutral, it was attack by Germany on 10 mei 1940. Germany deployed about 1000
aircraft of the Luftwaffe and gained air superiority on the first day. The Luftwaffe
lost about 350 aircraft, the Netherlands 94. When on 14 May 1940 Germany heavily
bombed the major Dutch city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands surrendered.
However the fight was not over, like the government and royal family, many Dutch
young man succeeded in fleeing to the United Kingdom. In June 1940 the first Dutch
squadron was formed, 320 Squadrons Royal Naval Air Service was formed and its fleet
consisted of Fokker T-VIIIW, then the Lockheed Hudson, and finally the North American B-25 Mitchell.
When the Casteltown based RAF 167 Squadron with several Dutch pilots was transferred to
airfield Woodvale near Liverpook, it was renamed 322 (Dutch) Squadron RAF. Equipped
with Spitfires, the squadrons was deployed for air defense of the British airspace,
especially against V-1 rockets. The squadron also carried out ground attacks
supporting allied troops in their advance, following the landings in Normandy.
On 26 juli 1944 the Netherlands government based in Londen founded the
Directoraat der Nederlandse Luchtstrijdkrachten (DNLSK - Dutch Air Force Command).
It consisted of the Militaire Luchtvaart and the ML/KNIL
as well as the Marineluchtvaartdienst (MLD - Naval Aviation Serivce).
The DNLSK gained command over the Dutch personnel in the RAF and signed agreements with the
British Air Ministry for the training, organisation and equipment of the Dutch air forces.
...continue to 1945-1989
Koninklijke Luchtmacht: Taak en Organisatie: Historie
Van Meels biplane at Soesterberg
Fokker T-V bomber
Douglas DB-8A-3N bomber/recce