DUTCH PARTICIPATION IN THE KOREAN WAR
Arriving from fighting in Malaysia and commonly known as the “Netherlands Battalion,” the advance party of the Dutch contingent arrived in Korea on 24 October 1950, but the remainder of the unit’s men did not arrive until early December 1950.
I. THE WAR
Duration of the Conflict: June 25th 1950— July 27th 1953 at 22OO hours. Participants : United Nations Military Forces versus North Korea and the People’s Republic of China with political and material support of the Soviet Union.
Cause : Unprovoked attack by North-Korean military forces on the Republic Of Korea (South Korea)
United Nations Forces: Army(A), Navy(N) and/or Air force(AF)
- Australia (A,N,AF)
- Belgium (A)
- Canada (A,N,AF)
- Colombia (A,N)
- Ethiopia (A)
- France (A,N)
- Greece (A)
- Luxembourg (A)
- New Zealand (A,N)
- Philippines (A)
- Thailand (A,N)
- Turkey (A)
- United States of America (A,N,AF)
- United Kingdom (A,N,AF)
- Union of South Africa (AF)
Medical Support: Denmark, India, Italy, Norway, Sweden, UK, USA.
II. ROYAL NETHERLANDS NAVY
During the conflict the following naval forces were employed:
- Hr.Ms. destroyer “ Evertsen” 07-07-1950 / 18-04- 1951
- Hr.Ms. destroyer “Van Galen” till 21-01-1952
- Hr.Ms. destroyer “Piet Heim” till 18-01-1953
- Hr.Ms. Frigate “ Johan Maurits van Nassau) till 05—11—1953
- Hr.Ms. Frigate “Dubois “ till 10-09—1954
- Hr.Ms. Frigate “van Zijll “ till 24—01—1955
The first four vessels were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation of the Republic of Korea as part of the US 7th Fleet.
Hr.Ms “Evertsen” and “Van Galen” were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation of the Republic of Korea for a second time as part of “Task Force 95 “.
A total of 1360 men of the navy served in the Korean waters.
Two of them died when serving.
Activities of the Dutch naval forces:
- escorting aircraft carriers
- anti-infiltration patrols
- destroying enemy costal guns, transport and bunkers
- supporting ground troops with artillery fire
Hr.Ms. “Piet Heim” became a member of the “Train-Busters Club” after destroying an enemy train.
1950 Chinnamp’o, Inchon
1951 Wonsan, Inchon, Sak-to, Chingpo Sangjin, Chongsin and Hungnam
1952 Sak-do, Cho-do, Sangjin, Wonsan Taechong, P’yong-Do
1953 Sak-to, Taejong and P’yong Do
III. THE NETHERLANDS DETACHMENT UNITED NATIONS (NDVN)
The NDVN was established on October 15th 1950 by Royal Degree number 27, dated 27-09—1950.
Out of a total number of 16.225 volunteers only 3.418 men were accepted and sent to Korea. Because 516 men volunteered twice and 38 men three times a total of 3.972 men served in Korea. 2.980 of those participated in the actual war, as the units that arrived after the armistice (July 27th 1953) did not participate in any fighting.
The 3.972 men mentioned before formed 26 detachments, who left for Korea on different dates.
The 1st Detachment (636 men) left the Netherlands on October 26th; the 26th (and last) Detachment (143 men) left on July 1954. The last units returned to the Netherlands at the end of 1954.
116 men; 115 are buried at the Tanggok UN War cemetery near Pusan (Korea) 1 man could not be recovered after being KIA
Missing in Action 3
POW 1 (died in prison camp.)
One seriously wounded man died right after arriving in the Netherlands, one had died in an accident in Korea and one died on the way back and was buried in Singapore.
381 men were wounded in action, 26 during training, 5 and 56 men in accidents.
A total of 91 men are permanently disabled.
The NDVN was always considerably below official battalion strength and therefore the 8th Army allotted a number of Korean soldiers of the Korean Augmentation to US Army (KATUSA)to the NDVN. Of this group 20 men were KIA.
In memory of these Korean soldiers a remembrance plaque in both the Korean and the Dutch language is attached on the Korean War Memorial in the “Oranje barrack at Schaarsbergen near Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Twenty members of the other Korean support units CTC/KSC, assigned to the NDVN, were also KIA.
The total losses of the NDVN and assigned units amounts to 163 men. By this the NDVN suffered the heaviest loses of any battalion in the Dutch Army ever.
After arriving in Korea the NDVN was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment “Rock of the Maine”. This was one of the regiments of the 2nd (Indianhead) US Infantry Division.
The most important combat activities of the NDVN were :
- 1951 Hoengseong, Wonju, Hill 325, Hwachon reservoir, Inje, Taeusan, Mundung-ni, Iron Triangle
- 1952 Silver Star Hill, Star Hill, Sagimak, Chungmoksil. Koje-do, Old Baldy, Arsenal, Iron Triangle(2nd time)
- 1953 Samichon valley, Nudea, Iron Triangle(3rd time), Chunmoksil, Hill 340.
The NDVN was awarded Presidential Unit Citations 4 times:
1. To the 1st Detachment NDVN the Distinguished Unit Citation of the President of the United States stating “ Hoengseong— Wonju” for the period 12 / 15th Feb. 1951
2. To the 1st and the 2nd Detachment NDVN, as part of the 2nd Div, a similar award, stating “Soyang gang” for the period 16/22 May 1951
3. To the 1st up to and including the 16th Detachment NDVN, the Presidential Unit Citation of the President of the Republic of Korea, stating “ November 1950 /April 8 1953.
4. To the 1st up to and including the 19th Detachment NDVN, as part of the 2nd US Infantry Division , a similar award, for the period Nov 22nd 1950 - October 26th 1953.
All Dutch military personnel that served in Korea was awarded:
1. by the Dutch government: the Cross for Justice and Freedom with clasp “Korea”
2. by the United Nations : U.N. Service Medal with clasp “Korea”
3 by the Korean government the “ Korean War Medal” (Army personnel only).
KATUSA troops, as mentioned before, also were awarded the Cross for Justice and Freedom.
For gallantry in battle the following decorations have been awarded to members of the N.D.V.N.
Military Order of William : 3 (of which 2 posthumous)
Bronze Lion : 5
Bronze Cross : 19 Cross of Merit 4
American awards : 120
Korean Awards : 43
IV THE TRADITION
A. Van Heutsz Regiment
The tradition of the NDVN, the first unit of a new regiment, formed the 1st June 1950 and named the “ Van Heutsz” Regiment, is kept alive by that Regiment. Van Heutsz was the most famous general in the Dutch East Indies at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century) The regiment is billeted in the Oranje barracks at Schaarsbergen near Arnhem.
Colors of the Regiment carry the words: Korea 1950-1954
Since the new formed regiment did not have her colors in 1950 yet, a Dutch flag was used in Korea as the “battle- flag “ of the NDVN. This flag now has an official status and is shown on every parade etc of the regiment. American and Korean battle streamers, representing the Unit Citations, are attached to this flag.
The “battle- flag” has its own color guard, armed with the M-1 Garand rifle (as used in Korea by the NDVN ) The Color Guard wears the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division “Indianhead” patch on its right sleeve.
On the barrack grounds Is also situated the official monument for the Dutch soldiers and the KATUSA soldiers killed in action during the Korean War