Royal Netherlands Marine Corps in 2303AD
The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps is the leading fighting element of the Dutch armed forces. It has fought with and against its British brethren, and has a uniquely close relationship with them. Their combined battle honour of Gibraltar goes to show this. Nowadays the Royal Netherlands Marines have taken to the stars and are fighting the Kafer threat in deep space together with their longstanding British allies.
“… The Kafer ship ‘ Strike From Above’ had sustained a near miss with a nuclear tipped Longbow missile from HMS Rodney. The radiation burst was supposed to have left most crew dead or incapacitated. It was, after all, strong enough to take the drive offline and it wasted so much of the sensors and weapon systems that the ship was all but a drifting hulk. After the Battle of Beowulf was over the 'Slime' wanted to take the mostly intact ship to get a better gist of Triumphant Destiny’s intentions…”
“… So that’s how we rode in; on our boarding shuttles from HMS Rodney. It was the last we would see of that ship. She was towed away from QAS only weeks later. Just after we left her Rodney went off after the Bloody Claw. We were left with a mere frigate as support and as a fallback position…”
“The first bit of intel’ we got was that Kafers can handle a fair bit of radiation! The entire 2nd Platoon of W-Coy went in through a hole they burnt just behind the ‘ neck’ of the ship. This was near where the bridge was supposed to be. They met a waiting enemy that threw them back and was actually attacking out of the ship.
Only the coolness of some of the men in the second bit of the boarding party saved the day. They figured that such an enthusiastic enemy would be trampling just behind the entry hole to get out. So they tossed in some of the special WP grenades that also work in a vacuum. This bought enough manoeuvre space for the Red Dutchmen to get a foothold inside and break further into the ship. Now the lessons from the Henry Kaiser could finally be put to practice. Our normal lasers do not work very well against Kafers, they’re so thick skinned that only repeated hits have some effect. They are however very vulnerable to burns. And combined with a vacuum are also easily taken out by penetrating weapons. That meant we used lots of fire- and shrapnel grenades against them and fired from static positions, letting them come to us and once local counterattack had petered out we moved up and let them come again.”
“I went in at the tail of the ship with 3rd Platoon. We came through their rear weapons command and advanced through what seemed to be stores for embarked troops. We mostly set up a position with our grapeshot shotguns and tempted the crew and embarked troops to have a go. When they did we shot them up and burned their follow on troops. Advancing after the enemy stopped coming it was slow but relatively fair going. Half the platoon went through some zig-zagging thoroughfare and the other half went through each and every bulkhead and chamber we passed. They took care of lots of nasty surprises for us. We met the remnants of the second in a shuttle bay. Once we cleared all rooms and checked behind all bulkheads we called RSN intelligence from our shuttle. They didn’t seem pleased with their new toy; it had some stains on it…”
“We lost almost the entire first entry group and a lot of damage was done to the inside of the ship; but we did take it. The Marines had learned about Kafers faster than Kafers had learned about Marines. During the fighting in Strike From Above we again had learned quickly while the enemy had only howled and stormed. The thinking soldiers had won again...”
“ …I don’t know what the slime did with the ship, a few weeks afterwards they flew it into Queen Alice’s Star...”
Sgt Maj Gert Starink; 2i/c 3rd troop W-Infcie "Whisky Three-One Echo"
The first marines in Dutch history were independent companies raised by the Frysian and Zeeland Admiralties to fight from their ships in 1627. On 10 December 1665, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the remaining companies were combined into a regimental unit with the now famous title Korps Mariniers. It won possibly its most famous battle honour in 1667 at Chatham when the Dutch burned a large part of the Royal Navy at anchor in the Thames. It is perhaps the only existing unit to have gained a battle honour on British soil.
In 1704 the corps combined with its British counterparts to storm the stronghold of Gibraltar, a signal victory for both corps and the start of a long and fruitful association. The RNLMC also played a role in Dutch colonial operations, particularly in what is now Indonesia during the 19th Century.
The fortunes of the corps were naturally intimately linked to the fortunes of the Dutch navy and the Dutch state itself and it has been reformed or moved abroad on several occasions during French occupation of the Netherlands during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Eras as well as during German occupation from 1940. A marine unit in Rotterdam provided some of the most effective defense against the Germans but the state was soon overwhelmed. Some marines went onto fight with British units against the Germans, whilst in 1943 the US formed a marine brigade for action in the Pacific. It was this brigade that would later see much action in Indonesia after WW2 in that nation’s bid for freedom.
During the Cold War the RNLMC forged its first modern links with the Royal Marines as they were assigned to the same mission on NATO’s Northern Flank. Part of the RNLMC would come under operational control of the RM’s 3 Commando Brigade and common operating standards and fraternal links were forged.
These links were fully tested with the outbreak of WW3 and the two marine forces operated together to help stop the Soviet invasion of Norway. Later they were involved in the NATO strike through the North Cape into Russia which was opposed by Soviet and Finnish forces. Later when France invaded Dutch territory south of the Rhine and smashed what remained of the Dutch Army the RNLMC redeployed home and operated as commandos and guerrillas against the French.
The RNLMC were one of the leading lights of the post-War reconstruction of the Netherlands. A small but highly motivated force they were often dispatched against unruly elements operation on Netherlands soil, and in the newly acquired Rhineland territories of the so-called 'Dead Zone'. This reliable and steadfast force helped the restoration of Dutch central authority. Colonels of the era are still renowned in the history of the Corps.
The following centuries were relatively quiet ones for the Netherlands, however the Corps was kept busy on the numerous small military tasks that always arise. Links were once again forged with the British Royal Marines who were expanding at the same time. This link enabled the RNLMC to quickly regain many of the higher level skills that had been lost after the Twilight. The Corps developed its own 'commando' arm, the AGGP, to work directly with the British. This was during the mid 2100's at the same time as the period of tension on Earth caused by the Alpha Centauri War.
Today the RNLMC continue their partnership with the British, and in support of the substantial Dutch diaspora in the ESA colonies of the French Arm. There are nearly one and half thousand marines in the fight against the Kafers, whilst at home the RNLMC continue to provide visible support to the Dutch government's foreign policies.
The RNLMC is organised into a Corps HQ of austere Brigade size, controlling the 3 light role marine battalions, and a number of independent units that routinely come under the command of British Royal Marine Commando formations. The RLMC also has its own training establishment and a number of special reconnaissance, combat support and logistics elements that can be assigned either to GOEM or the AGGP’s.
HKKM - Hoofdkwartier Korps Mariniers - (HQ Marine Corps)
MOC - Mariniers Opleidingscentrum - (Marine training & education centre)
GOEM - Groep Operationele Eenheden Mariniers - (RNLMC Bde)
3 MARNSBAT (OPCOM CZMCARIB)
1 AGGP Amphibische Gevechtsgroep (1 RNLMC Cdo OPCOM 4 Cdo Bde (UK))
2 AGGP Amphibische Gevechtsgroep (2 RNLMC Cdo OPCOM 3 Cdo Bde (UK))
W INFCOY (RNLMC
LOGBAT (Logistics Battalion)
BBE (Counter Terrorist unit)
Hoofdkwartier Korps Mariniers
The commandant of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps is a lieutenant general. He and his staff (the HKKM) have all over command of the corps. Though he uses subordinate commands for day-to-day operations. The commandant has no combat units under his direct command; this is facilitated by the GOEM.
The HKKM is the controlling administrative headquarters of the RNLMC and is located at the Westplein in the restored historic centre of Rotterdam. It answers directly to the Admiralty of the RNLN. In effect the RNLMC is an arm of service within the RNLN and has the same status as the RNLN's surface, submarine and air services. The HKKM is commanded by its chief of staff, a Major-General of Marines and is responsible for high level administration, policy and procurement. It commands both the GOEM and the MOC.
The MOC is responsible for the training and education of individual RNLMC personnel from their first day as a recruit through to the end of their service. It is based in the Van Ghent barracks in Rotterdam and does most of its training in the nearby Bieschbos marshes. The MOC is commanded by a Brigadier. The MOC is also responsible for arranging bilateral training opportunities for the RNLMC with allies. It has very close links with the RM Commando Training Centre in Lympstone for example.
The MOC at the Van Ghent barracks has dependances at the Van Braam Houckgeest barracks in Doorn and at the Joost Dourlein barracks at the island of Texel. Most specialist continuation training is given in Doorn. At Texel the Joost Dourlein barracks houses the amphibian school where all dedicated beach training and boating schools are housed.
The corporals school and sergeants school are based in Rotterdam. This doesn’t mean all training takes place there. All corporals take a course at the Sportsinstructors school in Doorn where they become assistant sports instructors.
Some specialist courses are not given by the marines. For example RNLMC engineers go to the Army’s OCG (Opleidingscentrum Genie, engineer training centre) and mortar crews go to the Army’s artillery school. Royal Netherlands Marine Corps medical personnel are trained by the fleet.
Groep Operationele Eenheden Mariniers
The GOEM is responsible for the day to day command and control of the RNLMCs operational elements. It is based at Van Braam Houckgeest barracks in Doorn and is commanded by a Brigadier. The Mission of the GOEM has historically been to “train, supply and maintain manoeuvre units to be used by the authorities in support of national and allied interests.” Thus the GOEM is not a manoeuvre unit as such and the Marines feel this is a major gap in their capabilities. The GOEM has maintained the capability to deploy a small tactical command post but this is by no means as capable or robust as a fully manned and equipped Brigade HQ.
The emergence of a trend in which the Dutch government wants its political and military abilities to mirror its commercial and economic status makes the need for expeditionary forces more stringent. The renewal of ties with the UK as its major ally can already be seen in the close relations between both nations Naval and Marine forces and the close link between the Air Assault Brigade and the British Air Assault forces. This might be reflected in the near future when the RNLMC get a manoeuvre Brigade HQ of their own. For now battalions and AGGP’s (and of course W-INFCIE) are attached to British Commando or Netherlands Army Brigades.
Marine first class oldest category Blauw was aiming his plasma gun over a broken down wall. The scene around him reminded him of what Rotterdam must have looked like in the post-apocalyptic age. Blauw had flown into the colonial capital Nouvelle Amman just days earlier. His company was picked up from Beowulf by the huge interface capable French Assault transport IFS Argens. The entire 4 Commando Brigade was now busy on the completely bombed out planet trying to restore the most basic functions of a society. The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps’ first Amphibious Combat Group was attached to the brigade as 1 (NL) Commando RNLMC.
One of the nastiest jobs was chasing the marauders around and keep them from looting relief goods from the citizens that survived the blockade and Kafer orbital bombardment. The marauders were no match for the marines, but they were elusive. That’s why Blauw was now lugging his plasma gun through the wreckage of a village to a block off position. His job was to get to the outskirts of the town and kill marauder vehicles should they try to flee the combined Dutch-British force attacking them.
Finally, there were the fields surrounding the town. That meant he was almost in position. The corporal was shouting at some civilians that were raking some of the fields to get out. Together with his buddy Blauw found a good firing position just below the top of a small knoll. From there he had an unobstructed field of fire to engage any marauders racing out of the town. He got on the radio informing the section commander that he was in position. The corporal in the meantime lined the rest of his section up so that they could engage enemy coming up the rear and also fire on anyone trying to get to Blauw’s knoll.
There they were: a heavily modified utility hover accompanied by a four-by-four sporting a machine gun. His buddy calling out the range Blauw brought his gun to bear. Meanwhile the machinegunner was letting go of some bursts at the four-by-four to make sure the weapon on it wouldn’t become a problem. With two shots of plasma up its rear the hovercraft went rolling and tumbling spewing men and loot. Two more shots sent the car arse-over-teakettle. One fireteam was already advancing up to the two smoking wrecks to finish off the job and arrest any survivors.
Now that he was up again Blauw could see one of 401 Assault Squadron’s big ACV’s coming through the devastated main street. It was going to collect the loot and return it to the towns populace. On board would also be a medical team and some rations to top up the town’s reserves. The marines were there after all to assist the civvies in getting things going again.
The AGGP’s are organised in a very similar way to British RM Commandos and are integrated directly into 3 and 4 Cdo Bde’s as part of the UK/NL Landing Force.
One Engineer, one mortar and two logistics companies support the two AGGP’s. The Long Range Recce Coy, with its No. 7 SBS Section, Mountain Leader Platoon and the ‘Amphibisch Verkennings Peloton’ (Amphibious Recce Platoon, practically an additional SBS Section) is also part of this force. Thus it accounts for almost half of the RNLMC’s combat strength.
The AGGP has four companies, A, B, C and D each with three rifle and one AT platoons. It has an HQ and Support company with medical, logistic and supply platoons and a combat support company with a recce, a mortar an AD and an AE platoon. The CW platoon falls under HQ company, to maintain central command and control of these weapons, which are the strongest punch the AGGP has. When deployed the Amphibische Gevechtsgroepen form up with support units from their assigned engineer, mortar and logistic (CSS) units from the CSBAT and LOGBAT.
The AGGP’s are closely linked to the Royal Marines with whom they form the UK/NL Landing Force and interoperability is continuously stressed in training. This means that the marines that are part of these two units, and of course their support units; spend a lot of time on exercises and courses in the UK and abroad and together with their parent Commando Brigades. Usually the Dutch units are attached one at a time, so when 3 Cdo Bde is on an exercise and workup period, it doesn’t have an AGGP attached, but 4 Co Bde has and vice versa. The 1st AGGP is attached to 4 Commando Brigade and the 2nd AGGP to 3 Commando Brigade.
1st AGGP is now deployed on BCB with 4 Commando Brigade in a peace support and humanitarian operation after the lifting of the siege of this planet. The breakdown of society on BCB has made this a very challenging operation with numerous contacts against marauder groups. The second AGGP is working up with 3 Cdo Bde to take over or be ready for new operations when time comes to relieve 4 Cdo Bde.
Whiskey Infantry Company
The ‘Whiskey Infantry Company’ is the only Dutch unit trained and equipped for warfare in space. Although the Netherlands lack a full-fledged military presence in space they do have a lot of commercial interests and more importantly people and assets there. The Dutch controlling interest in the “Stellar Colonial Company” trading conglomerate is especially important for the Dutch economy giving it access to colonial trade.
To have a credible deterrent and means of intervention the Dutch and British governments used the longstanding ties between their Navies and Marine corps.’ The Dutch gained access to the British SOHEC course and brigade assets of 6 Commando Brigade. This gave the Dutch a means to train and equip a deep space intervention unit. The British could use the Dutch for cross posting and could utilise the unit – to be permanently tied to 6 Cdo Bde when mutual interests were concerned. In times of crisis this would ease the shortage of highly specialised ‘Red’ personnel.
Whiskey company is closely tied to, but not an integral part, of the Red Brigade unlike the AGGP’s. It does however take part in most exercises and workup periods and is often used to beef up undermanned taskforces especially given the routine deployment of a British ‘Red’ RM Cdo to the Chinese Arm. Cross postings happen mostly in support establishments and in SOHEC.
Another bonus in this arrangement for the British is that the Dutch partly fund the incredibly expensive SOHEC course and establishment. In exchange for this the RNLMC trains some more men than it actually needs for Whiskey Company. Most men from the junior NCO ranks up in No. 7 SBS troop and the confusingly named amphibious recce platoon of the CS Battalion have done SOHEC. The KCT (Korps Commandotroepen, Dutch Army special forces) is also starting to send some men through SOHEC. Since the Whiskey Company project took off and started to receive lots of political and public attention, the Army became very interested to send some of its men through the ‘Red’ course.
Whiskey Company is organised a bit differently from a standard British ‘Red’ company. When on operations it has the same three 20 man troops and five man HQ, but is has two more troops that stay behind when the company deploys. One of these troops performs on the job training tasks, holds battle casualty replacements, serves as remedial posting for injured personnel and runs workup exercises to rotate as a line troop. The other troop acts as a rear echelon for the company fulfilling tasks undertaken by HQ Coy elements in larger units like the British Red Commando’s.
Apart from W-INFCOY there are a number of Red trained RNLMC NCO’s that serve on the SOHEC staff and on cross postings in 6 Commando Brigade and – mostly SNCO’s - to ASLAN. Like the British, the Dutch make sure their marines regularly rotate through the different units of their corps. This also goes for Whisky Company. But off course the more glamorous the job the less willing a marine will be to let go.
Whiskey company takes its name and its motto from the first W-Coy, which was a dedicated cold weather and mountain warfare unit attached to the old 45 Cdo Gp. Since the new W-Coy is a specialist unit attached to a larger UK unit the name and tradition were revived. The units motto “ Altus et Frigidus” means ‘ High and Cold’ and is still considered to be fitting for the deep space work the unit performs. Some people mockingly say that it means Haughty and Cool, referring to the sometimes arrogant and blasé attitude Red marines have.
Marine Infantry Battalions
The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Infantry battalions are not part of the UK/NL Marine force. They are the amphibious ‘direct left’ of the Netherlands armed forces. The first and second battalions share the standby forces burden with a battalion of the Army’s Air Assault Brigade. The third battalion is the national stand-by force in the ‘West’. All battalions can be combined with GOEM support units and so form a small brigade. This ability is hampered by the lack of a real manoeuvre brigade headquarters and a shortage of logistic and signal units. Until now this ability hasn’t been used in anger; during exercises it has proven more effective to reinforce the Air Assault brigade with Marine components.
A marine battalion has a three rifle companies, a Staff and staff-support company and a combat support company. In the CS company are a mortar platoon, an air defense platoon and an AE platoon. Staff and Staff-support Company includes units like the supply and medical platoons. The Marines would like to lose their status as a supplier of attachable units and be able to form a brigade of their own.
Organisationally the 1st and 2nd MARNSBAT have the same establishment. They can both form amphibious battlegroups when teamed up with units from the GOEM’s CSBAT and LOGBAT as well as being capable of conventional light and airmobile infantry operations. The Boatgroup and the Assault Company support them in this role. Though the Assault company works more often with the AGGP’s. The battalions are trained for worldwide operations in any climate and all weather. They are capable of performing the full spectrum of operations, though in a fully-fledged war they suffer from being a lightly equipped unit. They have relatively few anti-armour weapons for example.
The capacity of the 1st and 2nd Marine battalions to undertake independent operations worldwide is valuable to the Netherlands although much training concentrates on littoral operations in northern Europe, defense of RNLN facilities is also a key function of the MARNSBAT’s. The AGGP’s and the UK/NL force are not always available for situations that do not concern UK interests. Another point is that the UK/NL force needs to standby for the larger contingencies and are also more and more busy off world. This last development made the battalions even more important for the Netherlands government.
When deployed the regular Marine battalions suffer from a lack of combat support units. Both battalions have to share the 2nd Engineer Company and have no mortar company since the second mortar company is now slotted for 2 AGGP that is working up for deployment with 3 Commando Brigade Group. The priority in the training and deployment of support units is on the AGGP’s; the high tempo of operations these units have makes it difficult to form complete battlegroups for the battalions. This limitation has led to increasing training with support elements of the Air Assault Brigade.
To reduce the ‘wear’ on the support units the battalions only form up as battlegroups for battalion size exercises and operations, not for lower level training. The Dutch use the same method of embarking marine units as the British, embarking at the last possible moment to minimise skill fade.
The third marine battalion is not part of the GOEM, but is stationed in the Caribbean where it falls under the auspices of the CZMCARIB, Commander Naval Forces Caribbean. It has companies on Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, with the HQ on Curaçao at the Naval base Parera and the 33 and Support Company Savaneta Marine Barracks on Aruba.
Its tasks are mainly territorial defense of Dutch dependencies in the Caribbean and paramilitary counter narcotics and support of the coastguard. The third marine battalion is the Netherlands Quick Reaction Force for the Caribbean and Latin American areas. It is also responsible for the training of RNLMC and Dutch armed forces personnel in Jungle operations, for this it maintains the Brunswijk jungle training range in the former Dutch protectorate Surinam, now part of Guyana. For this it has ties with British and French units in Guyana and Belize performing comparable duties.
The marines and the rotational army battalion also train the local militia and maintain a large base at Parera together with the Koninklijke Marine. The associated naval airfield is operated by the Marine Luchtvaartdienst (MLD, the Dutch Fleet Air Arm) and has facilities to handle large amounts of reinforcements in case of a regional emergency. The Parera base therefore has a small detachment of Royal Marines to facilitate the arrival of RM contingency units. Apart from being the Caribbean stand by force, the third battalion maintains its capability for worldwide operations with an emphasis on the tropics.
The Logistics battalion has the ‘C’ echelons for all five manoeuvre units of the corps. The Logistics have one company assigned to each of the AGGP’s and battalions. The logistic companies are designed to supply the fighting units on expeditionary operations with everything they might need ‘from socks to beans and bullets’. For transport and distribution of goods the logistics companies have transport hovers. The companies assigned to the AGGP’s can join up with the Commando Logistics Regiment’s to form the Combat Service Support Echelon of a Commando Brigade.
The 2nd Logistic Company has a section specialised to support W INFCIE when it – or parts of it - operate independently. The logistic battalion also holds the medical company, which can send detachments to support the integral medical units of the forward units. Since the companies of the Combat Support battalion only deploy when combined with other units they don’t have a logistics company assigned.
A lot of marines choose a function in ‘supply’ to have a bit of a calmer time for a few years and some even end up there because of injuries. Because of this the logistics battalion has the image of being sedate and ‘fluffy’. But since each company is intimately linked to a combat battalion or AGGP, logistics marines go on exercises and deployment just as often as marines in teeth units. Logistic marines in the RNLMC are marines, not green hatted army personnel, so they have to meet the same standards even if they do not train for combat duties fitness levels are high and all personnel have done and combat functions. Even if some marines end their careers in logistics.
The Combat Support battalion has all units that are used to ‘beef up’ the AGGP’s and Marine battalions. It holds combat support arms and reconnaissance units.
The reconnaissance units are the Mountain Leaders, the amphibious recce platoon and the No. 7 Section SBS that together form the LAVCIE (Lange Afstand Verkennings Compagnie), or Long Range Recce Company and are the Marines’ main reconnaissance element. The Mountain Leader platoon usually serves as a pool from which men who passed the UK Mountain Leader Course are attached to line companies and platoons to navigate, lead and train the marines in mountains and cold weather climates. The ML platoon can also be concentrated and then it forms a long-range recce and direct action unit.
The amphibious recce platoon is a beach reconnaissance unit, but can also perform sabotage and direct action operations from the sea or by air. No. 7 (NL) Section SBS was part of the amphibious recce platoon, but when the platoon grew to accommodate the growing requests for its services HQ RNLMC decided to split the unit into a dedicated recce/strike direct action unit for direct support of the marine infantry and a strategic Special Forces unit that can be seconded to higher headquarters. On the one hand this led to a lot of cross faces from the men in the old platoon whom felt that all frogmen were equally capable of both types of operations and that naming only one of them SBS would lead to a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. On the other hand all realised that the corps having its own special operations capability recognised as such increased its already significant prestige even more. Still the amphibious recce platoon have started to quietly and informally calling themselves ‘No. 8 section’. Younger marines with higher aspirations are enthusiastically taking this habit up.
The Mortar companies of the RNLMC are fully capable fire support units. Each has three fire sections and a FAC/FOO platoon. Each company also has a MRAD platoon. Since the mortars and the air defense systems are heavy pieces of equipment the mortar companies are fully mechanised. The fire control platoons are capable of calling on full spectrum of fire support, from its own mortars, heavy artillery, CAS, NGFS and some who’ve been attached to British off world are trained in calling orbital bombardments.
The mortars used are self-propelled165mm breech loaded binary propellant fired pieces. They are automatically loaded, the autoloader being capable of choosing between different kinds of round. The mortars are digitally laid on target. The only manual work involved is setting up the piece and loading the magazines.
It was decided to have the mortar companies carry the MRAD systems to keep the AGGP’s and battalions proper as light as possible and only get the heavy equipment when it was needed.
The two companies used to be divided so that one company was used for support of the battalions and one for the AGGP’s. However, the way 4 Commando Brigade has its units spread around BCB made it necessary to provide it with an extra battery of artillery, which the RNLMC was happy to provide. This means that the battalions now have to do without dedicated fire support.
The engineer companies provide all-round engineering support for the battalions and the AGGP’s, the first engineer company is assigned to support the AGGP’s, and the second supports the marine battalions. Engineering requires some heavy equipment dozers, diggers and lots of specialised machinery. The Marines decided to give their engineers some IFV’s for this. Both to carry and mount some of their heavier tools, but also to give them an assault engineer capability.
They have these vehicles, because when the marines requested some earthmoving equipment for their engineers the Army lobby in the defense ministry stopped this initiative, stating that when the marines needed that kind of capability the Army had it and marines knew whom to call. The marines then made it clear they wanted proper protection for their engineers who now had to use shovels instead of powered blades (forgetting to mention that their infantry had no IFV’s, just boots) and bought some IFV’s. When these were delivered the marines promptly welded some dozer blades on to them.
As advertised the corps can attach a full commando group with its own engineering, fire support and logistics to one British commando brigades at a time. However, since there is only one Engineer Company available for the AGGP’s this means that the engineers can only send a detachment. Otherwise they wouldn’t have time to train, rest, workup and sustain themselves. The engineers are the most deployed units in the corps. The first engineer company, the one attached to the AGGP’s is conducting an experiment using CW’s adapted for engineering work.
The BBE is the main counterterrorism unit of the Netherlands government. Its duties are limited to Dutch soil, but this includes the North Sea, part of the Caribbean and ships flying the Dutch pennant everywhere. In this sense the BBE combines two functions that in the UK are split between the SBS, SAS and Commachio group. The active hunting of terrorists abroad is the job of the KCT, which is also the main Special Forces unit of the Netherlands Armed Forces.
The BBE is treated as a specialisation that any Marine should be able to do. It’s training and exercises are aimed at CQB and CRC drills that normal units use but at a higher level. The main attraction, and therefore selection for BBE work is the intel part and the nice kit. Marines that just want to look the bee’s knee’s in the Gucci kit are quickly rooted out.
To carry men and supplies from ship to shore and to provide some limited mobility with their ACV ‘s the RNLMC has the Boatgroup. This is a battalion-sized unit that represents the amphibious capacity to land large units on foreign shores and sustain them operationally from the sea. The Boatgroup holds a company of large LCAC’s; two companies of medium ACV’s, one of which is specialised in cold weather operations, the other has an emphasis on tropical and inshore work. One company of armoured ACV’s has recently replaced an LCAC company. The last ‘floating’ company is a small craft company with WIG craft, speedboats and such.
The Boatgroup can plan and control landing operations with its Amphibious Support company. This company can form Beach control parties, has BARV’s to manoeuvre landing craft and vehicles around on the beach. It also forms a planning and control cell in the landing force HQ. The Boatgroup as a whole and its support company especially have close relations with the amphibious recce platoon. The Boatgroup is routinely deployed as part of the ships company on UK/NL Landing Force amphibious shipping.
Although it operates some of the same types as the Boatgroup, the Assault company has a completely different role. Its task is to provide mobility, armour and additional firepower to infantry and other units. It can make a battalion or AGGP from a light infantry unit into a mechanised battlegroup. To do this the Assault company has three platoons of 8 armoured ACV’s each, one platoon of medium ACV’s and one platoon with seagoing WIG craft with jump jets for Special Operations forces and deep reconnaissance.
The assault company is a unit that operates in the entire spectrum of marine operations. Other than the Boatgroup that is classed a support unit, the Assault company is a combat unit. It can bring supplies forward to the infantry with its ACV’s, it can bring men into combat and give them direct fire support with its armed hovers and it can bring relief goods to locals.
The company has a headquarters and a maintenance platoon which has two more ACV’s. The platoons can deploy independently and have their own planning cells that can integrate with the staff of the unit that is to be supported.
Unlike the Dutch Army the RNLMC recruits solely from volunteers, and remains proud of this fact. It recruits only Dutch citizens or those that can claim Dutch citizenship through parentage or residency. As a result while the majority of marines are European Dutch nationals there is a large group who are foreign national, predominately colonials from foreign worlds with Dutch ancestry. The largest of these groups are Dutch-Wellonese, mostly from the city of Doorn, or from other Tiranean colonies, many of who have previous military experience.
The RNLMC have stringent entry requirements for physical fitness, character, academic ability and health. This exclusivity is constantly referred to in the press and recruiting activities and lead to the corps consistently oversubscribed with potential recruits, although is usually is slightly under strength as it refuses to lower its entry standards.
The initial tour of duty with the corps is six years, after which the marines can sign up for extra periods of at least one year at a time.
Basic training is undertaken by the Mariniers Opleidingscentrum (MOC) at Van Ghent Barracks in Rotterdam and last for one year with new intakes every four months. The training is naturally very strenuous and includes an exchange exercise with the RM CTC on bleak Dartmoor training area and in the Scottish islands. It also includes cooperation training with the Navy, Airforce and Army.
The RNLMC also trains its own officers at Van Ghent. Previously these have been trained either with their Navy counterparts but the corps has found this generally unsatisfactory and now runs its own training courses. Potential RNLMC officers must pass RNLN officer selection boards as well as RNLMC recruit selection.
The MOC is also responsible for the majority of courses taken by RNLMC. The exceptions are those run by the Army or by the British, such as the Mountain Leader course.
The RNLMC has cultivated an image as being the hardest and most professional part of the Dutch armed forces, willing to take on all comers from the birth of the Netherlands to the modern day. From Gibraltar, to Chatham, to fighting in Belgium in the Twilight War and now to action against the Kafers the RNLMC has fought when the rest of the Netherlands has not been able to. This perception has given the corps much of its identity, and causes a great deal of friction between marines and other ranks of the army, air force and navy.
The RNLMC also has a very close relationship with the British Royal Marines. Indeed many in the Netherlands defense ministry worry that the RNLMC is more British than Dutch at times, especially with its relationship with the army.
The RNLMC celebrates its birthday on 10 December each year at the Oostplein in Rotterdam in a service of remembrance.
The RNLMC is renowned for its Dark Blue, almost black beret, which contributed to their ‘black devils’ nickname given to it fighting both the Germans in Rotterdam in WW2 and the French in the southern Netherlands in WW3. Calling this a beret black to a marine’s face is a quick way into a fight however since black is the colour of army cavalry berets. On their beret the Marines wear a red patch with the crown and anchor in gold on it. The patch is officially worn on the left temple. The fashion however is to put it almost over the left ear facing sideways.
All marine units also have a lanyard associated with it. Men in 1 AGGP can be recognised by the orange lanyard they wear on their left shoulder, 2 AGGP wear a blue one. Whiskey company, of course, has a red lanyard. 1st Marine Battalion wears a yellow lanyard, the 2nd a green one and the 3rd has a white one. The combat support battalion wears a black lanyard; the assault company shares this, since it is a split off from the CS BAT, as does the BBE. The marines in the logistics battalion have a white with red lanyard. The Boatgroup have a light blue one.
Dress uniform for the Korps Mariniers is the so-called Baratea; a black dress uniform with a red stripe along the legs. All ranks wear a white peaked cap. The Baratea has remained unchanged for some 200 years. The material has changed from heavy wool to some lighter fibres.
The RNLMC uses 165mm autoloaded mortars. When the mortar is built into its vehicle it can fire from ammunition holds and propellant tanks in the vehicle. When the mortar is set up outside its vehicle, smaller attached magazines and tanks for the propellant are attached to the mortar.
The mortars are capable of carrying 60 rounds in their vehicles; the vehicles have a range of 720 km. The mortar’s maximum range with standard munition is 30km, with long range rounds it is 40km. Using MRSI fire (Multiple round simultaneous impact) a single mortar can land 6 rounds on a target in 1.2 seconds. In rapid-fire mode the mortars can launch 4 rounds in 10 seconds, prolonged fire is limited to 14 rounds per minute; in this last mode effective suppressive fire can be laid down using sub-munitions.
All the usual types of munitions can be carried, HE; HEAT; WP; (semi-) smart PGMM against soft, hard and scattered targets; sub munitions for area denial and AT; illumination; flares with visible and IR light; sensors with parachute and ground placed ones.
The mortars digital laying up capacity allows it to be managed for fire against moving targets by feeding target information from both MFC’s / FOO’s and from drones. Effective fire can be used against all types of moving targets up to 10km’s away with the target moving at speeds up to 50 km/h. The crew of a mortar consists of a sergeant, one driver and two loaders. The whole crew is carried on the same vehicle as the mortar itself. One mortar section has three mortars and four vehicles, one of which serves as FCS and command post.
Lieutenant Colonel Arjan van Beem: OiC 1 AGGP / 1 (NL) Cdo.
Arjan van Beem is off to war and loves it! He is only disappointed that he isn’t hunting Kafers but Marauders. That doesn’t stop him from doing a thorough job securing his AOR and hunting down any band of marauders he comes across. He hopes that once 4 Cdo Bde has completed its task on Joi it gets tasked to cover a sector on the main front. Van Beem is a warm personality with definite Alpha male traits. Under achievers are not accepted in is command, but instead of weeding them out he makes them train and train again until they get results. Not everyone appreciates this, but it does get things done.
Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Simon de Bruin; OiC W-Infcie.
With a doctorate in astromechanics in his pocket Simon de Bruin is very much the thinking soldier. He is nowadays more focused on the development of new techniques and tactics for his unit than on the soldiering bit of his job. Since his platoons very much run themselves he doesn’t see this a problem. His subordinates however, dread the day that the entire company is called on. Most of his people though –and some outside his unit- affectionately call him ‘the professor.’ He is dedicated to his men and his job. The question is: what part of his job? Several universities and military academies around the world have offer Doctor De Bruin senior R&D and teaching jobs and he might just be focusing more on his academic than on his military work.
Sgt Maj Gert Starink; 2i/c 3rd troop W-Infcie "Whisky Three-One"
Sergeant Major Starink is the proverbial grizzly NCO. Though with a high tech take on his job since he has completed several courses in electronic warfare, and has a masters in theoretical science. The incredible degree of specialization required by SNCO’s in the UK/NL ‘ Red’ units has led to a bit of rank inflation and an emphasis on theoretical background training not before seen in what is essentially an infantry unit. Gert sees it as his job to make sure his men are still tough fighters and to make sure that despite all distractions his men remain in shape.
Marine 1st Class (Oldest Category) Stefan Idsma:
The Oldest Category part of the rank is used to ‘park’ young marines that are really good at their jobs but too green to become (lance) corporals. In Idsma’s case, it has been used to reward a long serving marine who will never become a corporal for is dedicated service. He has to leave the service in a few years and has served in all kinds of specializations, but has failed everything requiring command skills. He wants to become a medic in an AGGP or the SBS because this means he can become a nurse when he is a civvie again. His OC however doesn’t want to let his most experienced man go. This has de-motivated Idsma to a degree that he wants to desert and join the Foreign Legion.
Initial Skills: Combat Rifleman - 4, Heavy Weapons - 2, Melee - 2, Hover Vehicle - 1, Stealth - 1, Tactics - 1 and First Aid-1 (Ground Vehicle - 1, Swim - 1 if not chosen as Background Skills)
Primary Skills: Combat Skills, Ground Vehicle, Hover Vehicle, Stealth, General Skills.
Related Skills: Boat handling.
Role playing characteristics for Red Dutch Personnel are as for UK RM personnel.
Royal Netherlands Marines are classed as Ground Military personnel. Marine units are composed of 10% green, 30% experienced, 40% veteran and 20% elite personnel. LAVCIE have a 0/20/40/40 mixture. 7 troop SBS troop has a 0/0/50/50 mixture.
Marines in the "Red" Whiskey Company have Ground Military as their initial career and then change career to Space Military. W-INFCIE has a 0/30/40/30 mixture. Dutch personnel that are part of British units are classed as British personnel and must pass all associated tasks to gain the necessary skills.
This article on the RNLMC leans heavily on Dan Hebditch’s work on the Royal Marines and the ‘Red’ Royal Marines –the last of which are his invention- such as it is put on the Etranger Mailing list and on the Etranger website. All British units to which the Dutch units described in this piece and which are not based on actual British or Dutch units or formations are attached have been ‘borrowed’ by me from the articles by Dan Hebditch. My thanks therefore go to Mr Hebditch for having started the Etranger site and list; and off course to James Boschma for showing me the ropes on the mailing list.
27 December, 2006
Copyright Kaye, 2006