Embleem voor de Vechtwagenmuts
Emblem for the Tank Beret
On the 15th of December 1937 the Koninklijk Nederlandsch-Indisch Leger (Royal Netherlands East-Indies Army) raised the Proefafdeling Vechtwagens (Experimental Detachment Tanks) at Bandoeng. It is equipped with:
Two Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tanks Model 1936 with production serial numbers VAE 1139 & 1140 and with K.N.I.L. registrations D7145 & D7152 which are later changed in D9800 & D9801. They are ordered by Order No. TD 3507 of the 21st of December 1936 and delivered on the 9th of November 1937.
Two Vickers-Carden-Loyd Amphibious Tanks Model A4E12 with production serial numbers VAE 1973 & 1974 and with K.N.I.L. registrations D7189 & D7211 which are later changed in D9802 & D9803. They are ordered by Order No. TD 3508 likely on the 21st of December 1936 and delivered on the 9th of November 1937.
The Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tank Model 1936 performed well and two new orders are placed for:
73 Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tanks Model 1936. They are ordered by Order No. 51344 of the 8th of March 1939 and delivery starts with the first four tanks ready for trials on the 15th of July 1939 and four on the 15th of each month thereafter.
45 Vickers-Carden-Loyd Command Tanks. They are ordered by Order No. 51651 of the 26th of June 1939 and delivery starts with the first tank ready for trials in April 1940 and two each week thereafter.
Of these orders 20 Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tanks Model 1936 and zero Vickers-Carden-Loyd Command Tanks will reach Nederlands-Indië (Dutch East-Indies).
In 1939 the Experimental Detachment Tanks is transformed into the Bataljon Vechtwagens (Battalion Tanks) while awaiting the arrival of the new tanks. The Battalion Tanks still acts as a training establishment in the meantime.
In 1940 it is planned to create five, later six Mechanized Brigades each with one Battalion Tanks and a Tank Platoon attached to a Squadron of Motorized Cavalry.
In total each Mechanized Brigade would receive 90 tanks.
To fulfill the need 628 tanks are ordered at Marmon-Herrington. The order consisted of 234 tanks of the Models CTLS-4TAC & CTLS-4TAY, 194 tanks of the Model CTMS-1TBI and 200 tanks of the Model MTLS-1GI4.
On the 1st of January 1942 165 tanks of the Models CTLS-4TAC & CTLS-4TAY and 140 tanks of the Model CTMS-1TBI had to be delivered. Another 60 tanks of the Models CTLS-4TAC & CTLS-4TAY, 54 tanks of the Model CTMS-1TBI and 100 tanks of the Model MTLS-1GI4 had to follow on the 1st of July 1942, completing the order with another 100 tanks of the Model MTLS-1GI4 on the 1st of January 1943.
Only seven tanks of the Model CTLS-4TAY will reach the Dutch East-Indies. A ship loaded with Marmon-Herrington tanks of an unknown model is sunk by the Empire of Japan in 1942.
At the end of 1941 the Battalion Tanks consists of 35 officers and over 500 non-commissioned officers and troops recruited from the Infantry. They are located in Bandoeng in the barracks of the XV Infanterie Bataljon (XV Infantry Battalion). The tanks are stored in the barracks of the Motordienst van de Genie (Motor Service of the Engineers). Due to their use and the unavailability of spare parts from Great Britain only 20 Vickers-Carden-Loyd tanks of above orders are still in in service. The seven Marmon-Herrington Model CTLS-4TAY tanks will arrive last minute.
The training grounds are at Bandoeng, Magelang and Malang. The latter two newly raised in 1941 for the to be created Mechanized Brigades.
Shortly before the beginning of hostilities with the Empire of Japan the Mobiele Eenheid (Mobile Unit) is formed with the Battalion Tanks and put under the command of Kapitein (Captain) G. J. Wulfhorst. The Mobile Unit is stationed at Bandoeng. The Mobile Unit is placed under the Groep Bandoeng (Bandoeng Group) and acts as a general reserve.
In terms of tanks the Mobile Unit consists of one company of 24 tanks under the command of Kapitein (Captain) Backhuijs, including a command group of three Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tank Model 1936 and three Platoons of seven tanks each. The 1st Platoon consists of the Marmon-Herrington Model CTLS-4TAY tanks. As these just arrived the crews are not yet familiar with them. The other two platoons consist of the Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tank Model 1936. All tanks are equipped with machine guns only.
The remaining tanks not making part of the Mobile Unit at that time, at least three, are still used for training. Known present in this training role are one Vickers-Carden-Loyd Amphibious Tanks Model A4E12 and one Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tanks Model 1936 delivered in 1937.
The personnel attached to the Battalion Tanks is wearing the black Vechtwagenmuts (Tank Beret) as part of their Uitgaans (Walking-Out)-, including indoor service, and Parade Uniform since 1939. The black Tank Beret, when worn, is pulled down to the left.
The Black Beret is equipped with a brass or silver Embleem voor de Vechtwagenmuts (Emblem for the Tank Beret). Brass examples are issued by the K.N.I.L., silver examples are privately purchased locally.
The Emblem for the Tank Beret consist of a Vickers-Carden-Loyd Light Tank Model 1936 surrounded by a laurel wreath. The emblem is being attached to the Tank Beret by means of two eyelets on the back.
The Emblem for the Tank Beret has no extra backing when attached on the Tank Beret.
This example of the Embleem voor de Vechtwagenmuts (Emblem for the Tank Beret) is a silver example, privately purchased. It is not marked.