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The Only Dutch Tank - A WOII story

renault dutch tank water grebbe ft-17 sinking

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WoTDaFoCh #21 Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:49 PM

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View PostEPIC_JackTheRipper, on 01 May 2013 - 04:46 PM, said:

Big thanks to WG Moderator here - post was restored, but moderated. Thx :)

Agreed...good decision

Cobra6 #22 Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:56 PM

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View PostRedez, on 01 May 2013 - 03:00 PM, said:

They're actually thinking of buying back some of the Leopards/parts (2A6/7) they've sold to various countries at the moment.. /facepalm

So stupid of them

That move in itself was the most retarded thing they have done EVER. A country that simply disbands it's entire tank force, selling all of them. EVERY country (that has a decent economy) has tanks....

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IPaul72 #23 Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:00 PM

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Hello all
Thanks to the OP for the very interesting and good read, We should have more post like this but be sure to place them in the off topic section when doing so.
This topic was a very educational for me at least thank you  :great:  
KInd Regards
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Lokik #24 Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:08 PM

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Thanks for the interesting story and pictures!

Ronineter #25 Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:27 PM

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Why didn't you mention the DAF M39?

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slow216mac #26 Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:35 PM

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Eh...
The Dutch thought water would be an obstacle?
Considering how long the Dutch has been a trading nation, plying the seas...
Water is quite often a help, not a hindrance.

German tourists visited a lot of countries. A lot of them were 'legit' and some were spies.
We had them here in Norway, too.

Sometimes, though, they miscalculated the importance of what they saw.
(The Germans didn't consider Akershus fortress a serious threat with cannons from 1890, and a torpedo battery nearly as old. The cannons took out the command centre of the Heavy cruiser Blücher - with one shot - and leaving it adrift, for the torpedo battery to finish off. That slowed the invasion by hours, allowing the Royal family and the Government to escape, and also take the Gold reserves out of the country.)

German paras.
The problem with paratroopers is generally that they're limited in how heavy weapons and how much ammo they can bring, so they quickly run out of ammo if they get into any serious firefights.
Mobility after jumping is also a problem. The parachutes used back then isn't very maneuverable, so if they drift off target, they have to 'slog it out'. A couple of kilometers could mean that they had to walk for an hour or more to get to their target, and by then they may have lost their most important advantage; surprise.
There's been a lot of experimenting with recoilless rifles and fold-away bicycles to alleviate these problems...

What kind of air-force did you have back then?
Here in Norway we mostly had Gloster Gladiators, and a couple of Savoia Marchetti medium bombers.
The Gladiators fought well and shot down several German planes, with no serious damage to the Gladiators.
The Italian 'Klippfisk bombers'(we got them to cover Italian debt from sale of 'Klippfisk' - dried and salted cod), was never in the air uring the invasion. And the Germans never bothered to fly them afterwards.
(it's really a miracle that they managed to fly all the way from Italy to Norway, with all the breakdowns)

The DAF M39 may have been a decent fighter, but only 3 of them were actually employed during the invasion, against paratroopers.
Had they been used against regular troops, my guess is that they would have suffered far worse than the venerable FT-17 did in France and Poland...
(10mm armor, even if sloped, isn't much of a deterrent to a .50" or a 20mm cannon)

Tomah4wk #27 Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:02 PM

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View Postslow216mac, on 01 May 2013 - 06:35 PM, said:

Eh...
The Dutch thought water would be an obstacle?
Considering how long the Dutch has been a trading nation, plying the seas...
Water is quite often a help, not a hindrance.

German tourists visited a lot of countries. A lot of them were 'legit' and some were spies.
We had them here in Norway, too.

Sometimes, though, they miscalculated the importance of what they saw.
(The Germans didn't consider Akershus fortress a serious threat with cannons from 1890, and a torpedo battery nearly as old. The cannons took out the command centre of the Heavy cruiser Blücher - with one shot - and leaving it adrift, for the torpedo battery to finish off. That slowed the invasion by hours, allowing the Royal family and the Government to escape, and also take the Gold reserves out of the country.)

German paras.
The problem with paratroopers is generally that they're limited in how heavy weapons and how much ammo they can bring, so they quickly run out of ammo if they get into any serious firefights.
Mobility after jumping is also a problem. The parachutes used back then isn't very maneuverable, so if they drift off target, they have to 'slog it out'. A couple of kilometers could mean that they had to walk for an hour or more to get to their target, and by then they may have lost their most important advantage; surprise.
There's been a lot of experimenting with recoilless rifles and fold-away bicycles to alleviate these problems...

What kind of air-force did you have back then?
Here in Norway we mostly had Gloster Gladiators, and a couple of Savoia Marchetti medium bombers.
The Gladiators fought well and shot down several German planes, with no serious damage to the Gladiators.
The Italian 'Klippfisk bombers'(we got them to cover Italian debt from sale of 'Klippfisk' - dried and salted cod), was never in the air uring the invasion. And the Germans never bothered to fly them afterwards.
(it's really a miracle that they managed to fly all the way from Italy to Norway, with all the breakdowns)

The DAF M39 may have been a decent fighter, but only 3 of them were actually employed during the invasion, against paratroopers.
Had they been used against regular troops, my guess is that they would have suffered far worse than the venerable FT-17 did in France and Poland...
(10mm armor, even if sloped, isn't much of a deterrent to a .50" or a 20mm cannon)

Interesting story you got there :)

The Dutch Airforce started modernizing and had high-tech Fokker D planes (only 22 or so), however most of them were destroyed when the Germans raided them from the air (they were still on the ground).

http://en.wikipedia....ki/Fokker_D.XXI

Cobra6 #28 Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:36 AM

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View Postslow216mac, on 01 May 2013 - 06:35 PM, said:


What kind of air-force did you have back then?



Not much either unfortunately, a couple of planes that hardly stalled anything. They scored some minor successes but were quickly outnumbered and rooted out.

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OmaiGodman #29 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:17 AM

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You left out the little detail that Germany bombed Rotterdam during daytime, while there was a market going on. They deliberately did this to cause as many civilian casualties as possible, to scare the Netherlands into surrendering (and it worked, obviously).

As for them thinking the water would hinder the Germans - it would have. Think about it, when were the allied advances halted? When they came across a few rivers they couldn't cross because the bridges were out. Water is nice if you can get a ship through it, but ships are slow, big and an easy target.

Cobra6 #30 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:30 AM

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View PostOmaiGodman, on 02 May 2013 - 08:17 AM, said:

Water is nice if you can get a ship through it, but ships are slow, big and an easy target.

Not to mention very few (transport)ships can manoeuvre/move in water 1 meter deep..... That's too deep for tanks but not deep enough for ships.

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Edited by Cobra6, 02 May 2013 - 08:30 AM.


anonym_kL7qtn3e52MB #31 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:48 AM

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To ze rescue (For the Dutch Airforce)


Our airforce was the branch with the best performance (not sure if you can call it that)
We (the Dutch) were up against a 7:1 force (Our 125 planes against 910 Luftwaffe planes)
We decimated the 22. Luftlande-Division (Air Landing Division) (or whatever the name of the unit was).

The Luftwaffe lost 525 planes
RDA lost 88



P.S. Our "Water works" are still an active defense program (atleast during the 90's when I served,....silly buggers).

Edited by Costarring, 02 May 2013 - 08:58 AM.


OmaiGodman #32 Posted 02 May 2013 - 09:41 AM

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About the argument of whether we (the Dutch) should have tanks or not, I'm a bit divided on this. On one side you can argue that any defence force that takes itself serious has tanks. On the other hand, look around the Netherlands. There's Germany on one side, Belgium om the other side, and to the left there's the UK. South of Belgium, of course, is France.

What do we need tanks for? To defend ourselves against Belgium maybe? If the UK, Germany or France suddenly decided to turn Hitler and invade us, the few tanks we had wouldn't have made much of a difference either. We're a small country surrounded by a lot of countries that are a lot bigger and have a much bigger army. There's hardly no defending against them and if any other threat came from outside Europe, they'd have to go through those countries first.

So yeah, in that aspect it's pretty useless to have tanks in a country like the Netherlands.

Orree #33 Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:34 PM

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I further cleaned up the thread and removed off-topic posts and those of a prohibited nature.  Per the forum rules, please be sure to stay on-topic and steer clear of political, historical and social subjects that are of a controversial nature.  

slow216mac #34 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:14 PM

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Crossing water that's a meter deep isn't really all that difficult, if you're confident that you won't be observed.
Load up a few trucks with rowboats. Drive to the edge of the water, unload boats, load them up with soldiers, hand out oars.
(During summer, they may just swim or wade across if it's not too far)

The only reason I can think of that the Germans didn't use the water approach is that they thought it would be faster and more efficient to send paras instead.

The picture of the FT-17 with the trench-crossing wood-construction.
A larger but simpler version was deployed already during WWI.
Large bundles of wood called Fascines that was transported on top of the British Mark. IV
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascine

Tanks in modern Netherland.
The main reason to have tanks after WWII was the cold war and the fear of an all-out invasion by the Soviet Red Army.
Of course, if that happened, a handful of tanks in Netherland wouldn't have been able to do anything really.
They'd need to cooperate tightly with units all across western Europe.
Frankly, I don't think NATO forces in Europe were ever that well synchronised.
(The US tanks in Germany would probably have done the best, as they all had one command chain and a substantial force. The rest is anyone's guess)

These days, I can't see that the Netherlands need a full battalion of tanks. There's no real danger of a tank invasion.
Lets face it, a determined enemy is more likely to blow up the dikes first, to take out any military resources in the low lands, and tie up the rest with rescue missions.
Tanks doesn't work very well in water...

Conscription...
I was conscripted myself, 15month stint in the RNoAF. Learned a lot, and wouldn't want to have been without it.
but a conscript army is costly. Very costly. There's also issues as to what can be done with conscripts.*

Instead most countries are turning to a smaller 'core' army with volunteers that sign up for 3 years or more, and use conscripts only for the 'fill slot with meatsack' positions.
When a soldier stays in the force for longer, it's economical to give him better training. As there's fewer of them, you can buy better equipment for all.

* None of the Norwegian soldiers sent on UN peacekeeping operations, NATO missions, top secret missions in Afghanistan or wherever is a conscript. They're all volunteers. Norwegian Law actually forbids sending conscripts there.

anonym_kL7qtn3e52MB #35 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:20 PM

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View Postslow216mac, on 02 May 2013 - 08:14 PM, said:

Crossing water that's a meter deep isn't really all that difficult, if you're confident that you won't be observed.
Load up a few trucks with rowboats. Drive to the edge of the water, unload boats, load them up with soldiers, hand out oars.
(During summer, they may just swim or wade across if it's not too far)

The only reason I can think of that the Germans didn't use the water approach is that they thought it would be faster and more efficient to send paras instead.

The picture of the FT-17 with the trench-crossing wood-construction.
A larger but simpler version was deployed already during WWI.
Large bundles of wood called Fascines that was transported on top of the British Mark. IV
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascine

Tanks in modern Netherland.
The main reason to have tanks after WWII was the cold war and the fear of an all-out invasion by the Soviet Red Army.
Of course, if that happened, a handful of tanks in Netherland wouldn't have been able to do anything really.
They'd need to cooperate tightly with units all across western Europe.
Frankly, I don't think NATO forces in Europe were ever that well synchronised.
(The US tanks in Germany would probably have done the best, as they all had one command chain and a substantial force. The rest is anyone's guess)

These days, I can't see that the Netherlands need a full battalion of tanks. There's no real danger of a tank invasion.
Lets face it, a determined enemy is more likely to blow up the dikes first, to take out any military resources in the low lands, and tie up the rest with rescue missions.
Tanks doesn't work very well in water...

Conscription...
I was conscripted myself, 15month stint in the RNoAF. Learned a lot, and wouldn't want to have been without it.
but a conscript army is costly. Very costly. There's also issues as to what can be done with conscripts.*

Instead most countries are turning to a smaller 'core' army with volunteers that sign up for 3 years or more, and use conscripts only for the 'fill slot with meatsack' positions.
When a soldier stays in the force for longer, it's economical to give him better training. As there's fewer of them, you can buy better equipment for all.

* None of the Norwegian soldiers sent on UN peacekeeping operations, NATO missions, top secret missions in Afghanistan or wherever is a conscript. They're all volunteers. Norwegian Law actually forbids sending conscripts there.


No, the problem for the Germans was the line of pillboxes along that water, not the water itself  ;).
They solved the problem by para-dropping behind them (no weapons at the rear of the pillbox) and blowing up the armoured doors.
Some of those pillboxes held out for a day. But once the Germans had their AT guns behind those lines, it was over.

B.t.w. this is how the Dutch government tried to save on the defensebudget, by not developing or buying armoured cars and tanks

You can still find hundreds of these little pillboxes at the "waterlinies" across the Netherlands. Most of them are "only" damaged at the entrance, the rear.

Posted Image

Posted Image



P.S. depends on how you fill in the terms of service. I had a nice salary back in the days.
They could easily cut costs by providing (making it mandatory) housing and food, keep that part of the salary.
They get militairy medical service instead of high cost private medical service (saves on the insurance costs).

What I'm trying to say is that how it was back then would be too generous for these days.

Edited by Costarring, 02 May 2013 - 08:31 PM.


slow216mac #36 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:33 PM

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They didn't have defenses at the back?

Pillboxes that can't protect themselves from all angles, or help protect the next in line is such a moronic design that I have trouble imagining it!

Now, I wonder why the Germans had such well-protected entrances to all the fortifications they built here in Norway...

OmaiGodman #37 Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:36 PM

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They were probably one one side of the water and designed to allow shooting at whatever came from across the water.

anonym_kL7qtn3e52MB #38 Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:06 AM

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View Postslow216mac, on 02 May 2013 - 08:33 PM, said:

They didn't have defenses at the back?

Pillboxes that can't protect themselves from all angles, or help protect the next in line is such a moronic design that I have trouble imagining it!

Now, I wonder why the Germans had such well-protected entrances to all the fortifications they built here in Norway...


I actually wonder why the Germans even tried to build the "Atlantic Wall" at all.
They didn't learn anything from their own lessons...

Those little pillboxes (in the Netherlands) are one thing, but they also captured huge fortresses in Belgium  <----possibly one of the hardest missions for Germans during the first part of the war.

P.S. Omaigodman, absolutely right. No one expected a para attack when those pillboxes were built. So they thought they only needed weapons "at the front".

Edited by Costarring, 03 May 2013 - 08:09 AM.


slow216mac #39 Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:39 PM

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one tactic that was used extensively during WWI was to rush an obstacle with thousands of soldiers in the hope that some would survive to do damage. (And no, it never seemed as it the top brass learned. Never really understood the tanks when they got them, either)

Anyway, with a sufficiently large number of soldiers in a surprise attack, it should be possible for some soldiers to break through past the pillboxes. (it would be carnage, but again the brass were well used to that from WWI, and THEY weren't fighting... )
And the moment a soldier gets past the firing angle of te nearest pillbox, he CAN'T BE TARGETTED without soldiers from the pillbox leaving their protection behind!

Every German fortification built during the war has well-protected entrances...

The Atlantic wall...
Did wast amounts of damage to allied troops during D-Day. Especially on those beaches where they didn't have tanks.
Those fortifications that were destroyed was either taken out with shelling from battleships, aerial bombardment or by bloody fights by Commandos.
There's 4 reasons that the D-Day landings succeeded and that is:
1. The allied were able to land more men and tanks quickly than the German high command could imagine.
2. Thorough sabotage and bombardment of key infrastructure to stop immediate reinforcments.
3. The confusion caused in German High Command by more than one or two simultaneous invasion points.
4. Hitler's refusal to believe that it was anything more than a large diversion, and that the real invasion would happen in Norway.
(There were 250.000 German troops stationed in Norway in June 1944... Many of them were veterans from other campaigns. Imagine that 100.000 of those had been stationed in France instead?)

anonym_kL7qtn3e52MB #40 Posted 04 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

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Wasn't the general idea of German high command that the invasion would take place at Calais/Dunkirk?





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