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Royal Military Constabulary
Koninklijke Marechaussee (KMAR)

Part I | Part II | Force Profile and Operational Roles

437 MareskBSBKMARSt KMAR436 MareskSt 2 Div KMARSt 2 Div KMAR2 Div KMARAanvdet Distr KMAR NHDistr KMAR NHDistr KMAR ZHAanvdet Distr KMAR ZHDistr KMAR UTAanvdet Distr KMAR UTAanvdet Distr KMAR LBDistr KMAR LBAanvdet Distr KMAR NBDistr KMAR NBDistr KMAR ZLDAanvdet Distr KMAR ZLD1 Div KMAR

Unit Location Peace Strength War Strength
Staff
Royal Military Constabulary
Den Haag 23/39/21/20 (103)
22/39/21/20 (102)
 
1 Division Royal Military Constabulary
Staff
Division Royal Military Constabulary
Breda 4/15/10/9 (38) 6/14/13/7 (40)
Royal Military Constabulary District Zeeland [a] [b] Vlissingen 1/38/47/3 (89) 1/47/86/3 (137)
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 3/3/9 (15)
Royal Military Constabulary District North Brabant [a] [b] [c] Den Bosch 3/104/117/6 (230) 3/132/354/6 (495)
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 3/7/79 (89)
Royal Military Constabulary District Limburg [a] [b] Maastricht 5/130/176/6 (317) 5/132/586/6 (729) 
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] [d] 2/6/68 (76)
436 Military Constabulary Squadron [e] 6/29/200 (235)
   
2 Division Royal Military Constabulary
Staff
Division Royal Military Constabulary
Den Haag 4/17/7/8 (36) 6/14/10/6 (36)
Royal Military Constabulary District North Holland [a] [b] [f] Amsterdam 8/183/261/4 (456) 8/198/417/4 (627)
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 4/19/33 (56)
Royal Military Constabulary District South Holland [a] [b] [g] Den Haag 6/206/423/3 (638) 6/207/693/3 (909)
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 4/23/63 (90)
Royal Military Constabulary District Utrecht [a] [b] Utrecht 3/71/151/4 (229) 3/76/200/4 (283) 
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 2/8/7 (17)
437 Military Constabulary Squadron [h] 6/29/200 (235)
Special Security Assignments Brigade [i] Utrecht 2/15/19 (36) 2/15/19 (36)

Notes

a. Filled (out) by personnel from the general pool of mobilisable reserves (vrij-indeelbaar bestand) that had fulfilled their active-duty period in relevant functions up to twelve and a half years prior to mobilisation.1
b. The Military Constabulary Districts were made up of (nominal) brigades, which were named after the towns or villages where they were based, e.g. Brigade Vlissingen, Brigade Amsterdam, Brigade Amersfoort, et cetera.2 
c. Included Armoured Car Platoon 1.5 (Pantserwagenpeloton 1.5 (Pawpel 1.5)) based in Breda, equipped with 4 x M113A1 armoured personnel carrier (painted blue, with white searchlight and mount for M2 hmg .50 inch or FN MAG gpmg 7.62 mm. One M113A1 modified for mounting a hydraulically operated dozer blade, and one mountable battering ram available).3 
d. In June 1985 wartime strength was -/8/177 (185); the abovementioned strength was adopted in September 1985.
e. Filled by mobilisable personnel from 102 Military Constabulary Squadron (GRIM) after their fourteen to sixteen-month RIM period in that unit had expired, up to eight and a half years prior to mobilisation.1 13
f. Included Armoured Car Platoon 2.5 (Pantserwagenpeloton 2.5 (Pawpel 2.5)) based in Amsterdam. Equipment: see note c.3 
g. Included Armoured Car Platoon 2.6 (Pantserwagenpeloton 2.6 (Pawpel 2.6)) based in Den Haag. Equipment: see note c.3 This platoon was permanently operational and the first armoured car platoon available for a mission.4 
h. GRIM squadron, largely filled by mobilisable subunits that had fulfilled their active-duty period in 41 Military Constabulary Squadron between four and twenty months prior to mobilisation. From 1988 the squadron lost its GRIM status and would be filled by mobilisable personnel from 201 Military Constabulary Squadron (GRIM).1 13
i. Under administrative command of 2 Division, during operations under direct command of the Commander of the Royal Military Constabulary. Special Forces unit designed to fill the operational gap between the civilian police and the Marine Corps Special Assistance Unit. Formed in 1975 and closely modeled on the West German GSG 9 elite police tactical unit. Training included mastering a variety of weapons, close protection, unarmed combat, forced entry, close quarters combat, operating with armoured vehicles, knowledge of subversive organisations, and long range/precision shooting. In wartime the Brigade Speciale Beveiligingsopdrachten (BSB) would be tasked with securing the emergency seats of the government and/or foreign diplomatic representatives in the Netherlands, and countering subversive actions undermining the role of the Netherlands as the Communications Zone for Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT). In peacetime the BSB primarily handled personal protection missions for both civilian and military VIPs. Other tasks included securing the Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank) and political and NATO conferences. In addition the BSB was available to provide rapid and forceful assistance (harde bijstand) to civilian authorities and police, independently or in cooperation with other elements of the KMAR or the Armed Forces. Such operations would engage serious disturbances of the public order or serious/heavy crime. These peacetime tasks remained part of the Brigade's mission in wartime, but the aforementioned wartime tasks would no doubt take precedence.5



Part I | Part II  | Force Profile and Operational Roles

Det KMAR Oost-BerlijnDet KMAR WarschauDet KMAR MoskouBBE-KCtrrecherche KMARCtrvkpost KMAR [CVKMAR]OCKMARDistr KMAR KLu BRDH MareskDistr KMAR NDistr KMAR GLDAanvdet Distr KMAR GLDDistr KMAR OV201 MareskAanvdet Distr KMAR NAanvdet Distr KMAR OVSt 3 Div KMAR3 Div KMAR

Unit Location Peace Strength War Strength
3 Division Royal Military Constabulary
Staff
3
Division Royal Military Constabulary
Arnhem 4/17/11/8 (40) 6/15/14/6 (41)
Royal Military Constabulary District Gelderland [a] [b] [c] Arnhem 5/210/309/6 (530) 5/216/613/6 (840)
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 3/12/52 (67)
Royal Military Constabulary District Overijssel [a] [b] Oldenzaal 3/77/96/5 (181) 3/83/326/5 (417)
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 3/6/40 (49)
Royal Military Constabulary District North [a] [b] [d] Groningen 2/75/79/5 (161) 2/78/335/5 (420) 
Replacement Holding Detachment [a] 3/9/34 (46)
201 Military Constabulary Squadron [a] 6/29/200 (235)
   
Royal Military Constabulary
District Royal Air Force FRG [a] [e]
Greven
(Westfalen, GE)
2/31/25 (58) 2/38/67 (107)
   
Royal Military Constabulary Central Traffic Control [f] Driebergen -/4/5 (9) -/4/5 (9)
Royal Military Constabulary
Central Criminal Investigation Department
Den Haag 4/23/3/7 (37) 4/23/3/7 (37)
 
H Military Constabulary Squadron [a] [g] 2/27/73 (102)
   
Royal Military Constabulary Detachment Moscow [h] Moscow -/1/2 (3)
Royal Military Constabulary Detachment Warsaw [h] Warsaw -/1/- (1)
Royal Military Constabulary Detachment East Berlin [h] East Berlin -/1/- (1)
   
Royal Military Constabulary Training Centre [i] Apeldoorn 22/139/39/38 (238)
   
Armed Forces Special Assistance Unit [j] Utrecht 4/11/35 (50)
   
Royal Military Constabulary Peace Strength: 101/1397/1801/132 (3431)
Royal Military Constabulary War Strength: 129/1500/4753/88 (6470)

Notes
   
a. Filled (out) by personnel from the general pool of mobilisable reserves (vrij-indeelbaar bestand) that had fulfilled their active-duty period in relevant functions up to twelve and a half years prior to mobilisation.1
b. The Military Constabulary Districts were made up of so-called Brigades, which were named after the towns or villages where they were based, e.g. Brigade Ermelo, Brigade Coevorden, Brigade Haaksbergen, et cetera.2 
c. Included Armoured Car Platoon 3.5 (Pantserwagenpeloton 3.5 (Pawpel 3.5)) based in Deelen, equipped with 4 x M113A1 armoured personnel carrier (painted blue, with white searchlight and mount for M2 hmg .50 inch or FN MAG gpmg 7.62 mm. One M113A1 modified for mounting a hydraulically operated dozer blade, and one mountable battering ram available).3 
d. Comprised the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe.6
e. Peacetime organisation: under Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force in wartime. FRG: Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).
f. Main task was integrating military traffic into civilian traffic as seamlessly as possible. Central Traffic Control provided traffic information for Armed Forces clients and maintained current, extensive and detailed information about the traffic infrastructure in the Netherlands. Integrated with the State Police General Traffic Service (Algemene Verkeersdienst Rijkspolitie) in Driebergen.7
g. In the 1950s H Squadron may have had a role similar to G Squadron, being responsible for the evacuation of government members and their families. A radio scheme from 1979 suggests that the squadron comprised a squadron staff and two platoons, each platoon comprising a command group and four constabulary groups. The squadron commander had 1 x DAF YA-126 one-tonne truck, the two platoon commanders each had 1 x M38A1 "Nekaf" Jeep. The eight constabulary group commanders had manpack radios, which suggests they would go on foot, and that by 1979 the squadron had a security or policing role rather than an evacuation role.8
h. Embassy detachments.
i. Comprised core (kern), Royal Military Constabulary School (School Koninklijke Marechaussee), Royal Military Constabulary Vocational Training School (Schoolopleiding Beroeps Koninklijke Marechaussee, SOB) and Royal Military Constabulary Conscript Training School (Schoolopleiding Dienstplichtigen Koninklijke Marechaussee, SOD).
j. Under administrative command of the Commander of the Royal Military Constabulary. One of three high-readiness Special Assistance Units (Bijzondere Bijstandseenheden, BBE) available to the Minister of Justice for counterterrorism operations in peacetime. The Bijzondere Bijstandseenheid Krijgsmacht (BBE-K) was a specialised sniper/precision shooter and observation unit, composed of hand-picked Royal Army and Royal Navy volunteers in the rank of corporal or higher. BBE-K was not a permanent unit: members continued to serve in their various regular units, but each precision shooter had to re-qualify every half year. Besides various specialised exercises the unit would train two days per month, amounting to thirty-thee days per year on average. Firing exercises mainly involved shooting distances from fifty up to four hundred meters. BBE-K was able to assemble and deploy for an operation within six hours. It was organised similar to the Alert Platoon of the Marine Corps Special Assistance Unit and the Special Security Assignments Brigade: an eight-men command group (4/1/3 (8)) and six seven-men teams (together -/40/32 (42). In the field the latter would operate in fire teams of at least two precision shooters and one observer. Weapons used: Heckler & Koch HK33-SG1 (sniper) assault rifles 5.56 mm and FN 30-11 sniper rifles 7.62 mm, both with scopes. The standard infantry FN FAL battle rifle 7.62 mm, with scope, may still have been in use as well. BBE-K was deployed several times during the 1970s in response to hostage-taking actions by South Moluccan terrorists, notably in December 1975 and May-June 1977 when passenger trains were seized at Wijster and De Punt respectively. At De Punt BBE-K, reinforced with four machine gunners of the Royal Army, was instrumental in ending the hostage situation by providing suppressing fire, enabling the close combat-specialised BBE-M to approach and enter the train. In this operation BBE-K fired some 4,000 rounds into the coaches.9

Force Profile and Operational Roles


The Royal Military Constabulary (Koninklijke Marechaussee, KMAR) was the Netherlands gendarmerie force, performing both military and civilian police duties in peace and wartime. In wartime the KMAR would operate under the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, in peacetime it fell under the Ministry of Defence. Civilian police duties mostly involved scaled-up or specialised assistance to local civilian police (Gemeentepolitie), State Police (Rijkspolitie) or civilian authorities. This included anti-terrorism activities and operations. In peacetime some 400-500 conscripts served in the KMAR; about 10-15 percent, a ratio comparable to that of the Marine Corps. Apart from the three (nominal) divisions and units listed above there were KMAR units assigned to 1 (NL) Corps (101 Military Constabulary Battalion), National Territorial Command (490 Central Prisoner of War Camp), National Logistic Command (203 Military Constabulary Squadron), to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (860 Military Constabulary Detachment and G Military Constabulary Squadron) and to NATO (893 and 894 Military Constabulary Platoon for Headquarters AFCENT). A small detachment comprising four sub-officers served in the Netherlands Antilles under Naval Command Netherlands Antilles.10
   
The tasks assigned to the KMAR in 1985 may be summarised as follows:
11
  • Guarding and securing the Royal Family
  • Military Police (MP) tasks within the Netherlands armed forces
  • Military Police tasks for foreign (i.e. allied) armed forces and international military headquarters
  • Police tasks concerning Ministry of Defence sites and installations and restricted areas marked as vital for national defence through State Security Law (Wet Bescherming Staatsgeheimen)
  • Border police duties
  • Assisting the civilian police to maintain public order by request of civilian authorities
  • Tasks assigned through special laws and decisions
  • Security tasks for the Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank)
In the following years the Royal Military Constabulary gradually transformed from "a military organisation with police duties" to "a police organisation with military status". In 1998 it was officially elevated to the status of armed service alongside the Royal Navy, the Royal Army and the Royal Air Force.12 <

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1. NIMH 205A/10, Aflossing van mobilisabele eenheden en -aanvullingen d.d. 27 mei 1980. Ibid., d.d. 11 november 1983. Ibid., d.d. 17 juni 1985.
2. I have at present no further information about the KMAR brigades in 1985. District organisation may have been as described in NL-HaNA archiefinventaris 2.13.175, 11-12, in which the last organisational change dates from 1979.
3. Timmer, Politiegeweld, 469-470. De Vries, De Koninklijke, 15, 18-19, 28. Van der Zee, In spoedeisende gevallen, 255-256. Website Vereniging Onderofficieren Regiment Technische Troepen, Vergane glorie deel 4 by P. Smits. Additional information kindly provided by Michael van der Zee, author of the aforementioned article (email 30.03.2019), and by Peter Nijmeijer who served with G Squadron from 1974 to 1985. Because of the modifications the vehicle was designated M113A1 KMAR. De Vries, op. cit., 15. The battering ram was officially designated "pushing rod" (doordrukstang). Ibid, 18.
4. Information kindly provided by Michael van der Zee (see footnote 3).
5. NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 154, Oprichting BSB KMar orgtnr: 25.1074.01 d.d. 22 september 1977. Roozenbeek et al., Een krachtig instrument, 149-150, 155. Timmer, op. cit., 349-350. Timmermans, De Brigade, 9-26. Velthuis, Koninklijke marechaussee, 530. During the sometimes violent social unrest of the late 1970s and early 1980s the BSB was engaged in civilian (riot) police operations several times. Roozenbeek et al., op. cit., 150-153, 155, 158. Timmermans, op. cit., 17, 20-26. In 1977 the Brigade was deployed several times against threats of the Rote Armee Fraktion, securing NATO officials, the Canadian ambassador, the West German consul-general and a meeting of European ans Israeli socialist leaders in Amsterdam. NL-HaNA, op. cit., Organigram BSB d.d. 19 april 1977 (brief). Timmermans, op. cit., 19.
6. NL-HaNA archiefinventaris 2.13.175, 11.
7. Sassen, Koninklijke marechaussee, 574-575. Van Zuijdam, Het Wapen, 499. In 1983 there were about 2,500 military convoys on the Dutch roads, about 1,000 NATO Transports and some 6900 ammunition transports; all in all some 100,000 military vehicles, individual movements not included. Sassen, op. cit., 574. No doubt these numbers were higher than in other years because of the massive Autumn Forge 83 NATO exercises; see also Johannisse et al., De Koninklijke, 570-578.
8. Possible role in the 1950s: Ruys, De DAF YP-408, noot 7. Radio scheme: NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 158, Radioschema's Koninklijke Marechaussee (oorlogstijd) d.d. 23 april 1979. 
9. NIMH 430, inv. nr. 63 (Slagorde KL stand 29 augustus 1989), otas Bijzondere Bijstandseenheid Krijgsmacht per 14 september 1989 (bijgevoegd). Van der Spek, Een wapen, Hoofdstuk 2 t/m 4. See also Roozenbeek et. al., op. cit., 144, 146-148. For the action at De Punt see further: HTK 2014-2015, kamerstuknr. 34000 VI ondernr. 19, Bijlage 2014D42636 (Onderzoeksrapport De Punt 1977). An animated reconstruction of the operation, released with this 2014 report, can be viewed here. One of three Special Assistance Units: the other two were the aforementioned Marine Corps Special Assistance Unit and the State Police Special Assistance Unit (Bijzondere Bijstandseenheid Rijkspolitie, BBE-RP). HTK, op. cit., 41-42. Van der Spek, op. cit., 10, 13, 46, 59. BBE-RP was also a sniper/precision shooter unit, which contrary to the BBE-K preferred to operate by individual precision shooters rather than by fire teams. Ibid., 64. BBE-K members from Royal Army and Royal Navy: Royal Air Force personnel was excluded because of the permanent readiness that air force units were required to maintain. Ibid., 22. Some 4,000 rounds fired at De Punt in 1977: according to the assault plan the precision shooters and machine gunners that fired at the train had a total of 9,240 rounds at their disposal. In total the unit had 9,960 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition. HKT, op.cit., 81. Some publications, for example Van der Spek, op. cit., 91, mention a number of 15,000 rounds fired which, given the aforementioned numbers, cannot be true. A BBE-K officer later estimated that "at least 4,000 bullets" were fired into the train. Roozenbeek et al., op. cit., 148. 
10. Isby and Kamps, Armies, 345Sorrell, Je maintiendrai, 28.
11. Koninklijk Besluit van 6 februari 1954 (Stb. no. 45), houdende vaststelling van de taken van de Koninklijke Marechaussee. Gewijzigd laatstelijk  bij K.B. van 16 maart 1983, Stb. 125. Included in Militaire Spectator nr. 11, 1984, 482. Assistance to maintain public order: see Van der Zee, op. cit., and Verboom, Bijstand, 511-514.
12. Van Putten and Van der Zee, De Koninklijke, 403-409.
13. RIM was the Dutch acronym for Direct Influx into Mobilisable Units (Rechtstreekse Instroming in Mobilisabele Eenheden). GRIM was a variant of this system, meaning "Largely RIM" (Grotendeels Rechtstreekse Instroming in Mobilisabele Eenheden). For a survey of the Royal Army's unit filling and reserve system see Gijsbers, Blik in de smidse, 2222-2231; Selles, Personele vulling; Berghuijs, Opleiding, 14-23. In English: Isby and Kamps, Armies, 341-343; Sorrell, Je Maintiendrai, 94-96; Van Vuren, The Royal Netherlands Army TodayMilitary Review April 1982, 23-28.