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Mobile Columns Corps
Korps Mobiele Colonnes (KMC)

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Force Profile and Operational Role | Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993

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Unit Location Peace Strength War Strength
Staff and Administration Company
Mobile Columns Corps
Laren NH 20/44/14/16 (94)
Service Support Company
Mobile Columns Corps
Laren NH 2/13/14/21 (50)
Materiel Mobilisation Preparations Detachment
Mobile Columns Corps [a]
Laren NH 1/12/-/22 (35)
Staff
Mobile Columns Corps [b]

24/20/57/2 (103)
 
2 Mobile Column (Fire Service)
Staff and Support Company
2 Mobile Column (Fire Service)
11/22/106/2 (141)
A Company 5/19/129 (153)
B Company 5/19/129 (153)
C Company 5/19/129 (153)
D Company 5/19/129 (153)
  31/98/622/2 (753)

Mobile Column (Fire Service)
Staff and Support Company
5 Mobile Column (Fire Service)
11/22/106/2 (141)
A Company 5/19/129 (153)
B Company 5/19/129 (153)
C Company 5/19/129 (153)
D Company 5/19/129 (153)
  31/98/622/2 (753)
   
10 Mobile Column (Fire Service) [c]
Staff and Support Company
10 Mobile Column (Fire Service)
11/22/106/2 (141)
A Company 5/19/129 (153)
B Company 5/19/129 (153)
C Company 5/19/129 (153)
D Company 5/19/129 (153)
  31/98/622/2 (753)
   
11 Mobile Column (Fire Service)
Staff and Support Company
11 Mobile Column (Fire Service)
11/22/106/2 (141)
A Company 5/19/129 (153)
B Company 5/19/129 (153)
C Company 5/19/129 (153)
D Company 5/19/129 (153)
  31/98/622/2 (753)

Notes

a. Transferred to the Mobilisation Preparations Division (Afdeling Mobilisatievoorbereiding) of Staff, National Territorial Command per 1 October 1985.1
b. Largely formed with personnel of the Staff and Administration Company.2
c. Disbanded between July and December 1985.



Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Force Profile and Operational Role | Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993


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61 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
61 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/23/110/2 (146)
A Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
B Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
C Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
Support Company 4/11/93 (108)
  51/94/767/2 (914)
   
62 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
62 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
63 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
63 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
64 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
64 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/23/110/2 (146)
A Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
B Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
C Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
Support Company 4/11/93 (108)
  51/94/767/2 (914)
   
65 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical) [a]
Staff and Support Company
65 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
66 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
66 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
67 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
67 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)

Note
   
a. Adopted a new integrated organisation (as 61 and 64 Mobile Column) between June and December 1985. See Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993



Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Force Profile and Operational Role | Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993

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68 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical) [a]
Staff and Support Company
68 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
69 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
69 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
70 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
70 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
71 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
71 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
72 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
72 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/22/108/2 (143)
A Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
B Rescue Company 6/24/203 (233)
C Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
D Medical Company 12/10/117 (139)
  47/90/748/2 (887)
   
73 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
Staff and Support Company
73 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/23/110/2 (146)
A Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
B Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
C Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
Support Company 4/11/93 (108)
  51/94/767/2 (914)
   
74 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical) [b]
Staff and Support Company
74 Mobile Column (Rescue/Medical)
11/23/110/2 (146)
A Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
B Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
C Rescue/Medical Company 12/20/188 (220)
Support Company 4/11/93 (108)
51/94/767/2 (914)

Notes

   
a. Adopted a new integrated organisation (as 61 and 64 Mobile Column) between June and December 1985. See Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993
b. Formed in Januari 1986.



Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Force Profile and Operational Role | Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993


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31 Ambulance Company 5/19/255 (279)
32 Ambulance Company 5/19/255 (279)
33 Ambulance Company [a] 5/19/255 (279)
34 Ambulance Company [a] 5/19/255 (279)
   
Replacement Depot [b]
Staff and Support Company
Replacement Depot [c]
16/62/163/15 (256)
A Company 7/28/183 (218)
B Company 21/40/199 (260)
C Company 8/33/226 (267)
D Company 15/21/209 (245)
67/184/980/15 (1246)
   
Emergency Drinking Water Pipeline Company [d] 7/35/298 (340)
   
Mobile Columns Corps Peace Strength (June 1985): 23/69/28/59 (179)
Mobile Columns Corps War Strength (June 1985): 855/1851/14114/51 (16871)

Notes
   
a. Formed in January 1986.
b. Would receive replacement personnel, give them limited training and send them to operational KMC units. Maximum capacity was 1,000 men. The Replacement Depot would also provide administrative and logistic support to Staff, Mobile Columns Corps (see Part I).3
c. Included six water purification platoons for which the company would provide administrative and logistic support until the platoons would be deployed.4
d. Would transport drinking water into one or more disaster zones with pipeline material provided by the Ministry of Welfare, Health and Cultural Affairs (Ministerie van Welzijn, Volksgezondheid en Cultuur).5

Force Profile and Operational Role 6

The Mobile Columns Corps (KMC) was a somewhat odd element within the Royal Army: a civil defence corps manned by military personnel and partly equipped with military materiel.7 Its wartime mission was disaster relief, which would mean operating in the aftermath of large-scale calamities like aerial bombardment and nuclear attack. Primary KMC capabilities comprised firefighting, rescuing people from damaged or destroyed buildings, first-line medical treatment of the wounded and their evacuation to hospital facilities, and emergency drinking water provision. The Corps was under administrative control of the Commander-in-Chief Land Forces, but in wartime it would come under operational authority of the national civil defence organisation (Bescherming Bevolking, BB) which fell under the Ministry of the Interior (Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken).8 KMC units would serve as mobile reserves for Commander, BB.
   
About twenty percent of KMC materiel was provided and maintained by the Royal Army, comprising personal gear and standard unit equipment for logistic self-support. The remaining eighty percent was provided and maintained by the Ministry of the Interior and comprised task-specific materiel such as firefighting apparatus, debris clearance equipment and medical equipment. All KMC materiel was stored in mobilisation complexes owned or hired by the Ministry of the Interior. Task-specific materiel included a number of mostly specialist vehicles, but to provide the Corps with organic transport no less than some 3,900 civilian vehicles would be requisitioned on mobilisation.9
   
Because the Corps was a non-combatant organisation, protected as such by the Geneva Convention, its units were preferably not to be co-located with regular military units in wartime. Vehicles and uniforms would be marked with either the international civil defence distinctive sign (a blue triangle on an orange circle) or the international red cross distinctive sign. Camouflage nets would not be issued. Armament was strictly limited to personal weapons: FN Browning Hi-Power pistol 9 mm and M1 Carbine .30 inch. Moreover it  appears that only part of KMC personnel was armed.10
   
Though personnel was to be drawn from the entire defence organisation, the large majority came from the Royal Army's general pool of mobilisable reserves (vrij-indeelbaar bestand). Conscript reservists selected for KMC would be called up for a two-week retraining course, usually at about the age of twenty-seven, before being assigned to their unit. Some reservists would be called up again after two years to participate in a unit refresher training. Each Mobile Column would be filled with new reservists every six years. <  

Reorganisations and Disbandment 1984-1993 11

Until 1971 there had been separate rescue and medical columns. As can be seen in Part II and III, in 1985 the Corps was in the process of further integrating its rescue and medical components to further improve operational coordination. This reorganisation had probably started in 1984. In advance of new legislation two other reorganisations had been set in motion as well: the gradual disbandment of the fire service columns (Part I) to enable the formation of new rescue/medical columns (Part III), and the formation of ambulance companies Part IV).
   
Durng the 1980s the Netherlands emergency response and disaster relief services were thoroughly reorganised. In March 1985 a new Fire Service Act (Brandweerwet) and a new Disaster Act (Rampenwet) came into effect, whilst a year later the national civil defence organisation Bescherming Bevolking (BB) was disbanded. These measures had been in preparation since the beginning of the decade. The consequences for the Mobile Columns Corps may be summarised as follows:
  • In 1980 there were still twelve mobile fire service columns. Though they were, on paper, impressive formations with 24 fire engines, 24 motor pumps, some 36 kilometres of fire hose material, a personnel strength of 753 men and a firefighting capacity of some 2.4 kilometres fire front each, their equipment had become obsolete, on average being about thirty years old in 1985, and there was no budget for replacement. As the fire service columns were gradually disbanded the number of rescue/medical columns would be gradually increased to nineteen, which number was later lowered to fifteen due to budgetary problems. The firefighting role would be taken over by civilian fire services, which were to be expanded. The last of the fire service columns were disbanded before 1987, the last firefighting exercise was held in 1983.
  • Twelve ambulance companies would be formed, with a total of 1300 medical evacuation vehicles, to replace the capacity of the disbanded BB. Later these companies were to be reorganised into fifteen medical evacuation companies which would be incorporated in the rescue/medical columns.  
  • On mobilisation KMC units would operate under command of local fire service authorities.
  • In addition to its wartime role, KMC units could also be mobilised in peacetime in case of an exceptional disaster.
Motivated by the end of the Cold War the government decided to disband the Mobile Columns Corps per 1 January 1993. <

_________________________________________________

1. Wattel, Materiële mobilisatievoorbereiding, 472, 477.
2. Schipper, Het personeel, 349.
3. NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 504, Wijziging otas aanvdep KMC d.d. 26 maart 1979.
4. Ibid. In 1979 the water purification platoons had been marked as non-operational because of the obsoleteness of their equipment; in 1980 the acquirement of new equipment was still in study. Welters, Drinkwatervoorziening, 367. The 1985 personnel strength of the Staff and Support Company is the same as in 1979 and water purification remained part of KMC tasks until 1993, so it seems likely that new equipment was acquired at some point. Mes, Korps Mobiele Colonnes, Bijlage 6.  
5. Mes, op. cit., Hoofdstuk II, 9-10. See also Hesdahl, Logistiek, 360 and Welters, op. cit., 367-368.
6. Schipper, op. cit. Koldenhof, De opleidingen. Hesdahl, op. cit. Van Vianen, Buiting en Van Delft, De mobilisatievoorbereiding. [These and other articles on KMC are included in the 1980 theme issue of Militaire Spectator which can be downloaded here.] Woerlee, Het Korps. Mes, op. cit.
7. In 1952 the initial plan had been to form disaster relief columns with civilian volunteers (Rijks Mobiele Colonnes), but there was not nearly enough interest, probably because those who were interested had joined the BB. Mes, op.cit., Hoofdstuk I, 1. Poelen, De wordingsgeschiedenis, 346. 
8.Bescherming Bevolking (Population Protection), in full: Organisatie Bescherming Bevolking (OBB), was manned by civilian volunteers. See for example HTK 1979-1980, kamerstuknr. 15817 ondernr. 1 (Taken van de Organisatie Bescherming Bevolking in vredes- en oorlogstijd) and T. van Merwijk, Civiele verdediging in het tijdperk van de wederopbouw (Zeist: Rijksdienst voor Archeologie, Cultuurlandschap en Monumenten, 2007). 
9. For pictures of KMC vehicles, see website Brandweermodellen Amsterdam en Schiphol, Mobiele Colonnes I and Mobiele Colonnes II
10. In 1979 the inventory of Staff, Mobile Columns Corps included 66 weapons (37 pistols and 29 carbines) on a strength of 103 men. NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 504, Reorganisatie Staf KMC d.d. 26 maart 1979. In the same year the Staff and Support Company of the Replacement Depot had 85 weapons (17 pistols and 68 carbines) on a strength of 256 men; these were only for officers, sub-officers and messengers. Ibid., Wijziging otas aanvdep KMC d.d. 26 maart 1979. Weapons were not only for self-defence but also to prevent small enemy elements such as paratroopers from interfering with aid operations. Mes, op. cit., 6. 
11. Mes, op.cit., Hoofdstuk II, Hoofdstuk IV, 19. Hanson, Het ontstaan, 378. Schipper, op. cit., 12. Woerlee, op.cit. Website Nationaal Brandweer Documentatie Centrum, Bescherming Bevolking. See also HTK 1984-1985, kamerstuknr. 18646 ondernr. 1 (Nota Civiele Verdediging 1984).