WW1 Dutch Armor WW2 Dutch Armored Cars

Ehrhardt Potkachel

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1918-1940)
Armored Car – 1 Built

The First World War was the first war in history in which armored vehicles were used in significant numbers, by all sides. The Netherlands, as a neutral country, only observed from the sideline. However, in 1914, one Belgian armored car was interned when it crossed the Dutch border, becoming the first armored vehicle on Dutch soil. Before it was given back to Belgium in 1919, the Dutch interned another vehicle during the German retreat at the end of 1918. This time, it was a semi-armored Ehrhardt self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. This vehicle would eventually be converted into a true armored car which became known as the Ehrhardt Potkachel.

Early photo of the Ehrhardt. Source: Van Holkema & Warendorf Publishing.
An Ehrhardt Kraftwagen-Flugabwehrkanone, as it would have fallen in Dutch hands. This specific vehicle belonged to Bavarian Flak Unit 72. The unit in which the Dutch vehicle formerly served is unknown. Source: Flickr user Wooway1

The acquisition

During the First World War, the German forces made extensive use of semi-armored SPAAGs, anti-aircraft guns on truck chassis with an armored bonnet. Several reasons have been put forward to explain how this specific Ehrhardt BAK model 1913 ended up in the Netherlands. Some sources claim that the vehicle was bought from Germany several years after the war. Another source claims it was already in the Netherlands before the war. However, the current consensus, and the actual story, is that the vehicle was left behind by German troops in 1918. After the armistice was signed, German troops wanted to return to Germany as quickly as possible. For some units, the fastest way was to go through the Dutch province of Limburg. They got permission to do so from the Dutch Army, but only if they handed over their weapons and equipment. This way, the Dutch received a lot of German weapons, including the Ehrhardt.

Sometime between 15th and 23rd November 1918, it was interned at the bridge near Maaseik by the 2e Compagnie Wielrijders (English: 2nd Cyclist Company). It was sent further inland by train in early December.

It was not the first SPAAG the Dutch got their hands on. During the war, in August 1916, the Army had managed to acquire three flatbed Thornycroft trucks from Britain, armed with Vickers 13-pounder 9-cwt (76.2 mm) guns, designated 8tl in Dutch service. All of them were operated by the Motorized Anti-Aircraft Battery. It is unconfirmed that the Ehrhardt was operated by this unit as it was put into storage after it was handed over by German troops.

The Ehrhardt being used as a SPAAG by Dutch troops during an exercise in 1924. The original 77 mm gun has been replaced by a standard 57 mm gun, designated 6tl in Dutch service. For close defense, a machine gun has been placed on the back of the vehicle. Source: Dutch National Archives

The Ehrhardt put to use

Somewhere between 1920-1923, the gun was replaced by a 57 mm gun, designated 6tl in Dutch service and one of the standard anti-aircraft guns. The vehicle would make its public appearance during the army maneuvers in the autumn of 1924. These maneuvers were the first in the Netherlands that included armored cars, or at least vehicles that were supposed to represent armored cars. Among them were the Ehrhardt, as well as a mock-up armored car based on a GMC chassis. Neither foreign observers nor the domestic newspapers were impressed by the vehicles and the maneuvers in general. One newspaper reported: “The army maneuver is imitating a war from 0 A.D. with one, say one prehistoric armored car, which already broke down on the first day of fighting”. Despite this, the use of these vehicles was very successful from a tactical view, and both the GMC and Ehrhardt were used during the following years.

It is not decisively known when the armored superstructure was added, but reports from newspapers, as well as photographs, suggest that the vehicle was not fully armored before 1927.

The only other training armored car, the GMC, was dismantled in 1931. In 1929, plans were made to acquire foreign armored vehicles but this came to nothing. In 1931, three GMC armored cars were made but these were assigned to the Second Company Police Troops in Amsterdam. Five Carden-Loyd tankettes arrived in 1931, but these were withheld from combined exercises. Three new Morris armored cars were only to be built in 1932 and ready at the end of the year. It is the author’s belief that, in this turmoil of events, the decision was made to armor the Ehrhardt, possibly in the second half of 1931 or more likely the first half of 1932. What is certain is that the Ehrhardt was not available for the army exercises of 1932, and neither were any other armored or mocked-up vehicles. When the vehicle was armored, it also received a different gun. Although the consensus is that this gun was of 37 mm caliber, maybe even the former gun of the GMC that was dismantled at the end of 1931, there are also claims that it was a 50 mm gun.

HIH Siderius

The armored superstructure was designed and built by the factory of HIH Siderius. This is a somewhat mysterious and controversial company. Between the truce of November 1918 and the final peace treaty of Versailles in June 1919, German weapon industries brought many documents, drawings, and part of their inventories to safety, as they rightfully feared Allied commissions would want this to be destroyed. One of the main destinations was the Netherlands, as it had played no part in the war.

As such, a lot of equipment and resources from the Rheinische Metallwaaren und Maschinenfabrik (Ehrhardt) were moved to the Netherlands and taken over by HIH Siderius. Some of the personnel also moved to the Netherlands and were employed by HIH, explaining why the Ehrhardt was upgraded by them. Furthermore, HIH reportedly worked on another armored car design during the early 1930s, based on a 6×4 Daimler chassis. Unfortunately, design plans are unknown. Due to the modifications, the vehicle is also referred to as Ehrhardt-Siderius in some publications.

A moving Ehrhardt being observed by Dutch officers. The text on its side is not readable in this particular photograph but reads Ehrhardt in other photographs. Source: Giesbers Media

The design

The Ehrhardt mostly retained the layout of the original vehicle. The engine compartment remained the same. The gun stayed in the approximate position as well, maintaining the original balance in the design, but it was now limited to a small firing arc and unable to fire at airplanes. The added boilerplates that acted as armor were 6 mm thick on the sides and rear, except on the front where it was 12 mm thick. Five firing ports were made as well, with one facing to the front, one to each side, and two to the rear. Behind the driver’s position, a small round cupola was added from which the commander had an all-round vision.

The use of boilerplate, or the peculiar shape of the vehicle, maybe both, quickly led to the vehicle being nicknamed the ‘Potkachel’, Dutch for ‘Pot Stove’. Officially, the vehicle had no nickname and was just referred to as Ehrhardt, although after the armor was added by HIH Siderius, it was sometimes called Ehrhardt-Siderius. The vehicle had steel wheels, solid tires, and four-wheel drive. The official registration number was M-27011.

The engine could only be started with the help of a rigid starting handle. Once running, the vehicle was so difficult to drive that only three people in the army were capable of doing it. This was the main reason why the vehicle was rarely driven although it was often present during the annual war games.

Photo taken on August 20th, 1934, during the annual wargames. The cloth indicates whether the vehicle belonged to the red or blue forces. Source: Dutch National Military Archives.
This photograph was probably taken at the storage depot of the Artillery Corps in the city of Arnhem. The Ehrhardt seems to be camouflaged. Source: Armamentaria part IV, 1969

Operational use

During exercises in September 1933, the Ehrhardt was used, together with three new Morris armored cars that had been delivered in October 1932. Disaster struck when the Ehrhardt accidentally went off the road into a ditch, landing on its side. It got worse when a passing civilian driver saw the scene a few hours later and started yelling, calling the driver a fool, and lamenting what had happened to ‘little Ehrhardt’ (Dutch: Ehrhardtje). It quickly turned out that the civilian pedestrian was actually a volunteer at the corps and one of the people that regularly drove the vehicle. It is not known who drove the vehicle at the time.

The vehicle nearly saw its first operational use during the Jordan Riots in 1934. Driven by a high unemployment rate and lowered social benefits, big riots flared up in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam police force asked the military to help and they sent multiple armored cars. The Ehrhardt should also have been among them, but when the vehicle drove away from its storage unit, the steering rod broke, meaning the armored car was out of service for some time.

This photograph was taken in 1939 during the early days of the general mobilization of the army. It would stay at the depot in Oegstgeest during the fighting in May 1940. Source: Dutch National Military Archives.


By 1938, new armored cars bought from Sweden had been accepted into the Dutch inventory, and plans were made to take the Ehrhardt out of service in that year, but these plans never came to fruition. In May 1940, the vehicle was found by the invading German troops, together with the unused Wilton-Fijenoord armored car, in a storage depot of the Artillery Corps in the city of Arnhem. It was taken away by the Germans and disappeared during the war, just like all the other outdated Dutch armored vehicles, without leaving a trace. The logical explanation is that they were all quickly scrapped and the armor recycled.

In May 1940, the vehicle was found by the invading German troops, together with the unused Wilton-Fijenoord armored car, in a storage depot of the Artillery Corps in the city of Arnhem. It was taken away by the Germans and disappeared during the war. Source: eBay listing


The Ehrhardt Potkachel has an odd place in the Dutch inter-war army. It was not their first armored car, nor their first SPAAG. It was not a particularly good vehicle either, yet it became the armored car with the longest service history in the pre-World War II Dutch army. It was a training vehicle at best, and not designed to ever see actual combat. This meant, combined with the fact that it was hopelessly outdated, that the vehicle remained in storage during the invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. Any attempt to use the vehicle would likely have failed. Yet the fact that it was still around at this time is a testament to the strength and workmanship of the original chassis design by Ehrhardt, especially when it is considered that the vehicle was outfitted with an armored superstructure the chassis was not designed to bear.

The odd silhouette of the Ehrhardt Potkachel, showing the frontal part of the armor, inherited from the original Ehrhardt Self Propelled AA gun, and the elevated rear armored compartment with the oddly-placed rear gun. Illustration by Andrei “Octo10” Kirushkin, funded by our Patreon campaign.

Ehrhardt specifications

Total weight, battle-ready 8,300 kg (18,300 lbs)
Crew 4 (driver, commander, 2 gunners)
Propulsion 80 hp engine
Speed 50 km/h (31.1 mph)
Armament 37 mm gun, 1-2 6.5 mm Lewis M.20 machine guns
Armor 6-12 mm (0.24-0.47 inches)
For information about abbreviations check the Lexical Index


C.M. Schulten, J. Theil. Nederlandse pantservoertuigen, Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1979.
Haagsche Courant, 13 September, 1933.
Arnhemsche Courant, 25 September 1924.
Hoefer, Armamentaria 3, Stichting Het Nederlandse Leger- en Wapenmuseum, 1969.
Militaire Spectator, jaargang 97, 1928.
Die deutsche radpanzer im ersten Weltkrieg, H. Kaufhold-Roll, p.44.
100 jaar na WO1: Duitse troepen huiswaarts via Limburg, 1Limburg, Frank Ruber, 11-11-2018.
Ons Leger, Nr. 1/2, 1972. De eerste pantserwagens van de Koninklijke Landmacht, Drs. G.D. Cornelissen de Beer.

WW2 Dutch Armored Cars

GMC Improvised Armored Cars

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1931-1934)
Armored Car – 3 Built

In the early 1920s, the Netherlands did not feel a need to acquire any armored vehicles. Nevertheless, the army had plans to buy one Renault FT tank and was already operating one armored car, based on an Ehrhardt Kraftwagen-Flugabwehrkanone taken from the Germans in 1918. These vehicles only served the purpose of familiarizing the army with the use of armored vehicles. For the same purpose, an improvised vehicle, made to look like an armored car, was built in 1924 in a local army workshop.

The turreted vehicle during exercises on the Veluwe in 1925. Note how it is covered in a smokescreen. Source: Dutch National Archives.


The improvised vehicle was constructed by the Regiment Vestingartillerie [Eng: Regiment Fortress Artillery], based in the city of Naarden. A GMC flatbed lorry was taken and a pivot-mounted 37 mm gun was installed in the back. The cabin and gun were enveloped in tin and wood, made to look like armor. The gun stood out above the roof and a wooden dome-shaped turret was placed around it. The spoked wheels were also covered with steel plating.

When the vehicle was put into service, it was quickly found that the added weight was far too much and the lorry could not drive faster than 24 km/h (~15 mph). Due to the use of tin, the vehicle received the nickname Blikken Pantserwagen, (Eng: ‘tin armored car’). In 1927, the vehicle was slightly adjusted and the structure was reinforced to resolve the weight problem, after which it was put into service with the Korps Rijdende Artillerie (Eng: Mobile Artillery Corps, abbr. ‘KRA’).

Somewhere during this time, it was repainted and also received a new registration number, M27012, and tactical number 702. The vehicle was used in exercises, for the first time in 1924 and for the last time in 1931 when the superstructure and gun were dismantled by the KRA. The lorry was then used to transport newly acquired Carden-Loyd tankettes.

Picture showing the first vehicle after it got adjusted and was put into service with the KRA. Note the wooden turret and the (either red or blue) cloth strung around the headlights. It indicates to which army it belongs during war games. Source: Dutch National Archives.
On the morning of 31st July 1924, the GMC collided with a tram in the city of Naarden. Luckily no one was hurt and there was not much damage, nevertheless, it took one and a half hour to clean everything up. The armored car was pulled away by a Fordson tractor. Source: Gooi en Vecht Historisch

A Different Design

Five years after this mock-up vehicle was built, the army wanted to acquire real armored cars and 12,000 guilders were made available, worth US$114,120 in 2016 money. Negotiations with multiple foreign manufacturers, including Citroën and Škoda, failed, so First Lieutenant A.L.W. Seyffardt decided to design an armored car himself. After his design, three vehicles were built by the Korps Motordienst [Eng: Motor Service Corps], located in the city of Haarlem. The armor was taken from various gunshields and they were quickly nicknamed Kippenhok, [Eng: ‘Chicken Coop’].

The vehicles were built in 1931. Some features were a sheet iron roof, two oil lamps inside, and front and side armor with vision slits covered by armored glass. Three machine gunports were made, one in each side and one in the front. They could all be covered by an armored plate if necessary. The spoked wheels were covered by steel plates and had solid tires. Each vehicle received a black-green-yellow camouflage scheme.

A GMC Kippenhok during the Jordaan Riots in July 1934. Source: Dutch Military Archives.

The armament consisted of three 6.5 mm Lewis M.20 machine guns. The cars also featured double-steering with a driver in the front and in the back. A carbide searchlight could manually be raised from within the car and provide light when necessary. The front armor plate could be folded down completely, giving both the commander and front driver a vulnerable position but a clear view in return. The crew consisted of seven people, one commander, two drivers, three machine gunners, and one signaller. Despite being built in 1931, the vehicles were still based upon an outdated chassis and, in that sense, already obsolete when they were built. However, they formed the inspiration for the more modern Morris armored cars, of which three were built in 1933.

Two deployed vehicles are visible in this image. The commander and driver positions are clearly visible. Source: Dutch National Archives.
Two vehicles in the Marnixstreet on 6th July 1934. The front vehicle carries the registration G23328, the one in the rear is likely G23316. Source: Gemeentearchief Amsterdam

Jordaan Riots, 1934

After completion, the three vehicles were assigned to the Second Company Police troops stationed in Amsterdam. In early 1932, they were secretly transported to the Oranje Nassau Kazerne in Amsterdam. With these troops, the vehicles would see their only operational use when, in July 1934, riots broke out in the Jordaan city district. Due to the economic crisis started by the Wall Street Crash in 1929, there was a high unemployment rate across the country. Many unemployed people lived in the city of Amsterdam, and when news came that the social benefits would be lowered by ten percent, riots broke out. The police responded by asking the military for help and also tried to deploy its own armored cars.

Image of one armored car during the Jordaan Riots in July 1934, Willemstraat Amsterdam. Source: Dutch National Archives.

However, when the obsolete armored cars were deployed on 6th July, one of the cars suffered an immediate breakdown. The other two could be deployed but it was feared that the front axles would break due to the heavy overload. For this reason, the vehicles were only deployed together. When the newer Morris armored cars arrived, the GMC’s were pulled back from action. They were taken out of service and scrapped the very same year.

Although the riots became known as the ‘Jordaan Riots’, disturbances also took place in other city districts and in other places throughout the country, but these were not as violent. In the Jordaan, streets were broken up and barricaded. The riots were violently suppressed by the police and military. According to the police, five people were killed, while 56 people were heavily wounded, among them eight policemen and one member of the military police.

This photograph was taken from a balcony by Wolf Suschitzky (1912-2016) on the Prinsengracht. The vehicle, G23328, is in battle-mode, meaning all hatches are closed. Source: Gemeentearchief Amsterdam
Source: Gemeentearchief Amsterdam
Source: Gemeentearchief Amsterdam


The GMC mock-up was the first vehicle built in the Netherlands that functioned as a proper training armored vehicle in the country, while the unrelated series of three GMC vehicles were the first armored vehicles to be designed and build in the Netherlands. Although they performed badly, and were outdated the minute they were taken into service, they provided some little use during the 1934 Jordaan Riots but were quickly scrapped after their bad performance hindered their deployment significantly. The design directly influenced a newer model, three of which were built on Morris chassis for the Army.

The turreted mock-up armored car as it would have appeared during exercises between 1924 and 1931. It is important to stress that this vehicle had no armor at all. Illustration by Jaroslaw ‘Jarja’ Janas, funded by our Patreon campaign.

Specifications (1931 Model)

Total weight 3500 kg (7716 lbs)
Crew 7 (commander, 2 drivers, 3 machine gunners, signaller/searchlight operator
Top speed 25 km/h (15.5 mph)
Armament 3x 6.5 mm Lewis M.20 machine guns

Links & Resources

J. Giesbers, A. Giesbers, R. Tas. Holland paraat! Volume 2, Giesbers Media, 2016.
C.M. Schulten, J. Theil. Nederlandse pantservoertuigen, Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1979.
H.G.J. Kaal. Het hoofd van de stad: Amsterdam en zijn burgemeester tijdens het interbellum, Aksant, 2008.

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WW2 Dutch Armored Cars

C.P.I.M. Improvised Armored Car

Kingdom of the Netherlands/Royal Dutch Shell (1929)
Armored Car – 2 Built

In 1929, Venezuelan revolutionaries performed a successful surprise attack on a Dutch fortress on Curaçao in order to capture the fortress’ arsenal. The goal was to use these weapons to overthrow Caudillo Juan Vicente Gómez in Venezuela. The Dutch governor and the military commander of the island were both taken prisoner. During the chaos, the director of the oil refinery on the island ordered the construction of two armored cars which would be used to defend the refinery against a potential attack by the revolutionaries.

One of two armored cars, note the crude fitting of the metal sheets.

Short history of Curaçao

Curaçao is a 144 km2 island which is part of the Lesser Antilles and located above the coast of Venezuela. In 1499, the island was discovered by a Spanish expedition which enslaved most of the native Caquetio people, who were later sent to the island of Hispaniola. Together with the small neighboring islands of Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao (the ABC islands) was considered ‘useless’ by the Spanish, as there were not many natural resources, such as gold deposits. Furthermore, the soil was not suited for agricultural exploitation, but cattle thrived on the island. In 1634, only around 30 Spaniards remained on the island, when it was successfully invaded by the Dutch West-Indische Compagnie (West India Company, WIC for short).
The island was quickly fortified to defend it against a potential Spanish attack.

The Spaniards indeed tried on one occasion to recapture the island, but due to the wind heading in the wrong direction, they could not land, and a renewed attempt was never made. As such, the island remained in Dutch possession. In the meantime, the population grew steadily, plantations were built, and the island became an important trading post due to its deep natural harbors and close proximity to the Venezuelan coast. Slave trade began in 1665 and, in 1674, Curaçao became a free-trade zone, increasing its position in the international trade network. However, during the 18th century, French and English colonial possessions in the Caribbean, became more and more powerful, decreasing Curaçao’s role in trade with revenue dropping and, in 1791, the WIC had to file for bankruptcy.

The island became an official Dutch colony and property of the Netherlands. In 1800, due to the French occupation of the Netherlands, Curaçao was invaded by the British. They were expelled from the island by the local inhabitants in 1803, but returned in 1807 and kept control of Curaçao until it was returned to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1816. The economy mostly depended on trade (the slave trade was abolished in 1863), agriculture, and fishing. After 1816, the island was defended by a garrison of nearly 370 men with the primary task of defending against a surprise attack and the secondary task of preventing domestic unrest, but their number dropped over time.

A map of Curaçao, including its surrounding area, roughly 70 km from the main coast of Venezuela. Source: hubpages

Oil Reserves

The economic situation would make a drastic turn after 1914 when oil deposits were discovered. Within a year, the Curaçaose Petroleum Industrie Maatschappij (Curaçao Petroleum Industry Company), CPIM for short, a subsidiary company of Royal Dutch Shell, settled on the island. After a century of standstill, there was a sudden increase in employment opportunities, which attracted many workers from the Caribbean, as well as people from Venezuela. The sudden increase of the working class also meant an increase in unrest, mainly in the capital Willemstad. The civilian police corp could not cope with the problems and two slums on the island were no-go areas for any law enforcement.

To deal with these problems, the Dutch government decided in 1927 to replace this police corp and the garrison, which had been gradually scaled down to around 80 men, with 150 men from the Korps Politietroepen, a military police unit from the Netherlands. So, unlike the previous garrison, this unit had as a priority the maintenance of order, and only secondary to defend the island against an attack. The unit arrived during 1928-1929. Nevertheless, the two slums on the island, Rio Canario and Suffisant, were still no-go areas for the police.

Rafael Simón Urbina (right) and Gustavo Machado Morales (left). Source: Maritiem Digitaal

Venezuelan Revolutionary Rafael Simón Urbina

It was in those two slums that the Venezuelan revolutionaries, Rafael Simón Urbina, Gustavo Machado Morales and Miguel Otero Silva, managed to gather a great following among the Venezuelan workers. Although they united to overthrow Caudillo (a military president-dictator) Juan Vicente Gómez in Venezuela, they had different motives. Some, including Urbina, where part of a group of patriots who wanted to liberate Venezuela from Gómez, the others, including Machado, were communists and wanted to establish a communist regime.
After causing too much unrest on Curaçao, Urbina was expelled from the island in 1928, but he managed to return in 1929 under a different name and with a Mexican nationality, which had been given to him by the Mexican consul in Panama. The group of revolutionaries led by Machado had already made extensive plans for an attack on the fort to capture the fortress’ arsenal when Urbina returned on June 1. For unclear reasons, he was directly appointed the leader of the group.

The Attack

On Saturday night, June 8, between 21:15 and 21:30, two trucks with 45 men drove at full speed into the fort. Because the fort also functioned as a police station, the gates were always opened. One group of revolutionaries, armed with two automatic pistols and machetes took the guards by surprise, killed the officer and wounded two other policemen. Simultaneously, another group entered the messroom, where they fatally wounded a Sergeant. A third group, led by Urbina, went to the dormitory, while a fourth group went to the arsenal. At the moment of the attack, the fort was manned by 26 policemen and 9 soldiers. Three soldiers were killed and six other people were wounded. The alarmed Commander in Chief of the military police, Captain A.F. Borren, was taken prisoner when he arrived at the fort.

The loot consisted of 197 rifles, 4 machine guns, 1 binocular, 38 pistols, 75 klewangs (bladed weapons of Indonesian origin), 7,000 cartridges, some machetes, leather clothing, and a reasonable amount of money. After the fort was secured and sealed off from the city by the revolutionaries, Urbina came in contact with the governor of the island, L.A. Fruytier. Threatened by Urbina that the petrol depot would be set on fire, the governor agreed for a free retreat. Just after midnight, 154 revolutionaries (other sources state up to 250) boarded the American freighter S.S. Maracaibo, taking the governor, commander, and several policemen as hostages with them, as well as their loot.

During the early morning of June 9, the revolutionaries unboarded at La Vela del Coro (the capital of Falcón State and the oldest city in the northwest of Venezuela), using the ships’ lifeboats. The Maracaibo was allowed to return to Willemstad with the former hostages, who were humiliated up to the bone when they arrived during the afternoon. If it was up to Urbina, they would have been killed, but Machado prevented that from happening. In the meantime, Urbina’s followers who had stayed on the island were still in large control of Willemstad. The remaining 90 policemen, assisted by civilian volunteers started to recapture the city. Reinforcements were sent during the following days in the form of 40 KNIL soldiers from Suriname, later followed by more marines and KNIL soldiers. The voluntary civilian support would be formed into the Vrijwilligers Korps Curaçao (VKC), 143 men strong.

One of the barricades made by employees of the CPIM. Source: Royal Tropical Institute

Illustration of the C.P.I.M. Improvised Armored Car by Yuvnashva Sharma, funded by our Patreon Campaign

Defense of the C.P.I.M.

Going back to the night of the attack, when the director of the CPIM heard about the attack on the Waterfort, he realized that the refinery was a potential target as well. He immediately arranged defenses in the form of sandbags, iron plates, and similar kinds of obstacles behind which the employees could take defensive positions. He also ordered the construction of armored cars. They were made by adding steel plates to postal trucks, which were largely available at the company. A small attack did indeed occur on that same night, which was successfully dealt with, but the armored cars were not finished yet. A second attack never came, so when the armored cars were ready the next morning, there was no need for them anymore.

One of two armored vehicles near a CPIM building. Note how the mudguards are visible through the gap and the crude way how the armor is cut. Source: Royal Tropical Institute

The second vehicle, the main differences from the other are the installation of the front armor plate, the protection of the headlights and the removal of the canvas roof. Source: Curacao in Ansichten, derived from

The Armored Cars

In several newspapers and the like, there are mentions of several postal trucks being converted (specific model unknown). Based on photo evidence, there indeed appears to be at least two vehicles converted. It is clearly visible that the vehicles were very hastily assembled, in fact, they were completed in one night. Firstly, steel plating was added over the engine compartment which then folded over the mudguards down to roughly 10 centimeters above ground, protecting most of the wheels, shod with pneumatic tires. Another trapezoid shaped piece folded down over the front, in which two holes were made for the headlights. Another rectangular plate was added below to protect the lower part of the chassis and the front of the wheels. An opening was left so that the front of the mudguards were still visible.

The front of the driver’s compartment was protected by one large sheet of metal with one large horizontal vision slit. The sides of the vehicle were covered in one large plate on each side which was slightly curved at the front. A total of eight shooting holes, four on each side, were also made. Unfortunately, there are no photos of the back of the vehicle, but it can be safely assumed that the doors were in the back. The roof was not armored, as the canvas roof of the original truck was retained.

The postal trucks of the CPIM, two of which would be temporarily converted into armored cars. Source: Royal Tropical Institute


How long the vehicles remained active is unknown, but given their improvised state, they were probably dismantled soon after the threat of an attack was gone. The vehicles were the first armored vehicles ever built in the Dutch colonies, which is made more impressive by the fact that they were built by a private company and not ordered or used by the Dutch government.

The aftermath of the embarrassing attack on the fort was mainly felt by the governor, Fruytier, who got fired in November, and the commander-in-chief, Borren, who was sentenced to one day of prison. However, it was also acknowledged that it could also have been prevented if there was a larger Dutch military presence, which led to an increase in this regard in the area. Only during World War II would armored vehicles serve on the island again, in the form of the Marmon-Herrington CTLS tank, meant to defend the large oil refinery which was a vital oil supplier in the American war effort.

This was the third attempt by Urbina to overthrow Caudillo Gómez, but like the previous two times, he failed. After the Dutch hostages were freed to return to Curaçao, they immediately sent a message to the Venezuelan government in Caracas with information about the number of revolutionaries and their weapons, which allowed the government troops to respond and sent a force to defeat Urbina and his revolutionaries. Both Urbina and Machado managed to escape. Urbina would again try to overthrow the Venezuelan authorities in 1931 and would be involved in several other plots and coups until his assassination in 1950 after a failed kidnapping.


In de West de Nederlandse Krijgsmacht in het Caribisch gebied, Anita van Dissel, Petra Groen, Van Wijnen, 2010.
De rijke geschiedenis van Curaçao Indianen, de WIC en invasies, Jack Schellekens, Carib Publishing, 2012.
“De overval op Willemstad.”. Haarlem’s Dagblad. 09-08-1929. Consulted at Delpher.
“De blamage van Curacao. Hoe Willemstad in staat van verdediging werd gebracht.”. Haagsche courant. 11-07-1929. Consulted at Delpher.
“De verdediging van de C.P.I.M.”. Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant. 10-07-1929. Consulted at Delpher and Overvalwagen forum

WW2 Dutch Armored Cars

Morris ‘Koekblikje’ Armored Car

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1932-1940)
Armored Car – 3 Built

During the early 1930s, the Dutch army had two armored cars in service. The first was an Ehrhardt Plattformwagen, confiscated from retreating German troops in 1918 with an improvised armored superstructure. The other vehicle was based on a GMC chassis and was purely meant for training purposes, as such it did not have real armor and was made of tin and wood. However, the GMC was dismantled in 1931, leaving the army with only one armored vehicle to train with. Although three new armored cars were built, these were to be assigned to the Amsterdam police force, leaving the army with still only one vehicle. That is why the Minister of Defence ordered in January 1932 the construction of three new armored cars. These cars were to be used for police duties or training and army exercises, and were not meant or even suitable for war.

All three armored cars during a parade at the ‘Molenheide’ near the city of Nijmegen. Source: Delpher

These three vehicles were to be built by Artillerie Inrichtingen (Hembrug), a state-owned company producing artillery, small arms, ammunition, and similar army equipment. As a base, the Morris Commercial 6×4 truck was used, five of which were already in service with the Motorartillerie (mechanized Artillery), based in the city of Naarden. The new armored cars were designed by Captain J. Wijnman, a retired artillery officer, and were influenced by the design of the GMC armored cars from 1931.

A Morris Commercial 6×4 truck with registration number G-61137, in service with the motorist in the city of Naarden. Source:


On 11th February, the Minister announced to several military authorities that the cars were to be given the names Buffel (Buffalo), Bison, and Wisent and so, the armored cars became known as the ‘Buffel class’. Sometimes they are also referred to as the ‘Wijnman’ armored car, after their designer, but among the soldiers, it quickly gained the nickname ‘Koekblikje’ (small biscuit tin), completely in the Dutch habit of naming their armored cars after ordinary household items.

It is unclear which one of the three this vehicle is. Source: Dieselpunk


The exterior of the vehicle was plain and box-like, hence why it was named ‘biscuit tin’. The armor thickness is unknown. The slightly sloped armor was perfect during riot control, as thrown objects like stones or furniture could not get stuck on the vehicle. Four machine gun ports were placed, one in each side of the crew compartment, providing space for up to four Lewis M.20 machine guns.
The crews received special helmets and tight-fitting clothes to ease operating inside the vehicle. Boilersuits were also provided to be used during maintenance. The driver sat to the front left of the vehicle and had a closable visor in front of him. A machine gunner was located to the right of the driver.

A hatch was installed in the roof which could be slid backward. As a result, one of the crew, probably the commander or searchlight operator had a clear view of the surroundings. A carbide searchlight could manually be raised from within the car and provide light when necessary. A second driver was located in the back. The exact amount of crewmembers is unclear but it ranged probably from four (two drivers, commander, gunner) to six (two extra gunners).
After the vehicles were completed in October 1932, they were added to the Korps Rijdende Artillerie, Corps Mechanised Artillery, KRA in short. They accompanied the five Carden-Loyd tankettes that were delivered to the KRA in 1931. They received the registration numbers M36313 Wisent, M36311 Bison, M36312 Buffel. On the right front of the vehicles, the number 60 was written, while on the left the tactical numbers (331, 332, 333) were written diagonally on a red-white-blue background, referring to the Dutch flag.

The Wisent, being cleaned by its crew during the mobilization in 1939 in the city of Voorthuizen. The registration plate has been removed. Source: Beeldbank WO2
The M36311 Bison during Army maneuvers in the 1930s. Source: Dutch National Archives

More in Rotterdam?

In 1932, the Rotterdam Carbine Brigade was equipped with two armored cars, P1 and P2. These could be two armored cars like the Morris as two photos are known which show one Morris type car, together with police forces in 1934. Although the registration plate is largely unreadable, the number 5 is visible, and a number not present on any of the Army Morris registration plates. It is also lacking any army markings.

A Morris armored car with the Rotterdam police. Source: Rotterdam Archives

The Morris cars in the Jordaan

During the Jordaan Riots in 1934, the Morris cars saw action and replaced the GMC armored cars. The GMC cars belonged to the second company police troops, based in Amsterdam. The head of the 4th Military Department, who was responsible for the military action during these riots, noted in his rapport about the riots that the GMC should be replaced by the three Morris cars, but that did not happen.
The cars performed well in the narrow streets. Thrown stones, furniture, and other kinds of objects didn’t harm the vehicles. The heaviest riots lasted from 4-9 July during which 56 people were wounded and five people were killed. Although the riots are named after one specific city district, the riots happened on a much larger scale, not only in other Amsterdam city districts but also in other cities, like Rotterdam.

The M36313 Wisent together with three soldiers in the Jordaan, Amsterdam. Source: Dutch National Archives

May 1940

After the riots, the armored cars remained in service with the KRA and played a big role during the annual wargames and other exercises until the country would be attacked by German forces. In May 1940, the Wisent, together with the Carden-Loyd tankette Panter, formed a platoon which was assigned to the 1st Regiment Huzaren (Hussars). This regiment was located close to Amersfoort. The platoon was commanded by 1st Lieutenant Reserve E.C. Everts and did not see any action on May 10. On May 11, the platoon was ordered to move to The Hague where it performed reconnaissance duties. The Buffel and Bison also formed a platoon, but were officially pulled back from duty just before war broke out.


None of three vehicles saw serious action, apart from reconnaissance duties, and they were all captured in their worn out state by the Germans. What happened after that is unknown, but it is most likely that all three vehicles were scrapped.

The Wisent at the K.R.A. in Arnhem, together with two out of five Carden-Loyd tankettes, registration numbers M37270 and M37272. The photo was taken between 1935-1940. Source: National Dutch Military Archives.
Illustration of the Morris ‘Koekblikje’ Armored Car by Yuvnashva Sharma, funded by our Patreon campaign.


Crew 4 – 6
Armament up to 4 Lewis M.20 6,5 mm machine guns
Total Production 3


J. Giesbers, A. Giesbers, R. Tas. Holland paraat! Volume 2, Giesbers Media, 2016.
C.M. Schulten, J. Theil. Nederlandse pantservoertuigen, Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1979.
Waffen Arsenal Band 146, Beutepanzer unterm Balkenkreuz, Werner Regenberg.
Hoefer, Armamentaria 3, Stichting Het Nederlandse Leger- en Wapenmuseum, 1969.

Tanks Encyclopedia Magazine, #3

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WW2 Dutch Armored Cars

Wilton-Fijenoord Armored Car

Kingdom of the Netherlands (1933-1945)
Armored Car – 3 Built

At the end of the 1920s, the Dutch military slowly began to realise the importance of armored vehicles and their off-road capabilities. A tactic was developed that lighter armed armored cars should be used together with infantry to give close support, but the Royal Army (Koninklijke Landmacht) didn’t take any big steps in acquiring new vehicles. Meanwhile, the K.N.I.L. (Royal Netherlands East Indies Army) was slightly less conservative in buying new vehicles. In August 1933, the Dock and shipyard company Wilton-Fijenoord Limited, based in Schiedam, signed a contract with the Ministry of Colonies (Ministerie van Koloniën) to deliver three armored cars to the K.N.I.L.. These cars were designed upon a Krupp chassis. Plans were made to deliver three more cars a year later. On 26th April 1934, the first example was shipped to the Dutch Indies by the steamship Kota Tjandi.

The car at the ‘Korps Rijdende Artillerie’. Note the big unfolded headlight. Source: Holkema & Warendorf Publishing


The car was armed with three machine guns, probably the Lewis M.20 6.5 mm, of which two were mounted in the hull and one in a fully rotating turret. This turret could be turned by pedaling so the gunner could use both hands to handle the gun. Additionally, an anti-aircraft machine gun could be mounted on top of the turret. The machine guns in the hull had a traverse angle of 25 degrees to each side. The crew consisted of at least three people, two drivers/gunners, and one commander/gunner. If needed, the crew could be scaled up to five people, so the two hull-mounted guns could be manned by other men. As a novel feature, the exterior of the car could be electrified so enemies or rioters could not make contact with the car. A small hatch was installed in the bottom plate, through which lachrymatory gas grenades could be thrown.

The armor was resistant to 7.9 mm S.M.K. (Stahlmantelkern) bullets from 30 meters distance. The designers tried to avoid vertical placed armor plates and the use of high-quality steel led to a good trade-off between weight and protection. The total weight of the car was around 4.5 tons. Horizontal armor plates were also avoided to reduce the chance that thrown grenades could land and stay on top of the car. The crew could enter through three hatches and the drivers had closeable openings to see, but when they were closed, the drivers could see through small slits, covered by bulletproof glass. The commander also had a periscope to have a view of the complete surroundings.

The Wilton-Fijenoord, together with the improvised Ehrhardt armored car in Arnhem, captured by the German Army, May 1940. Source: eBay

The engine was a Krupp four-cylinder, air-cooled engine producing 60hp (44.7 kW) at 2500 rpm. The engine was horizontally opposed and equipped with special cooling rings along which air was blown by a compressor which could blow around 1000 liters of air per second. The fuel tank had a capacity of 60 liters so the car could drive a distance between 250 and 300 km.

Power was transmitted by a single disc clutch and an Aphon gear change with four forward gears and one reverse gear. The car was equipped with an extra gear change for better off-road capabilities. As a base, the Krupp L2H43 chassis was chosen. It had three axes and six-wheel-drive and had theoretically good off-road capabilities. Maximum speed was around 70 km/h (43.5 mph) on road and around 30 km/h (18.6 mph) off-road.

The car had one driver in the front and another in the back. The smallest turning circle was 4.4 meters. The four back wheels were equipped with hydraulic brakes. Both on the front and the back, spotlights were installed, which could be folded into the superstructure. Eight lamps were installed on the inside. The tires were made of solid rubber and bulletproof. In the two boxes above the back wheels on both sides of the car, tracks were stored, which could be applied on the two back wheels, resulting in better off-road performance, and essentially making it a half-track.

The car at the ‘Korps Rijdende Artillerie’. Note the storage areas above the back wheels. Source: Holkema & Warendorf Publishing


On 16th August 1933, the Ministry of Colonies signed a contract with Wilton-Fijenoord for the production of three armored cars. Wilton-Fijenoord would not develop the vehicle on their own as the design was made by the German firm Krupp from Essen. Unfortunately, the exact circumstances around this cooperation are not yet fully known. Two months after signing, on 18th November, three Krupp chassis, type L2H43, arrived at Wilton-Fijenoord in Schiedam. Production commenced and the first vehicle, without armament, was ready in April 1934 to be tested in the Dutch provinces of Limburg and Noord-Brabant. On 12th April 1934, the vehicle appeared in the city of Roosendaal, near the train station, where the crew and a military detachment, including two KNIL Captains, waited for several instructors from Krupp who would arrive in Roosendaal.

The first acceptance tests in the Netherlands. Source: Nationaal Instituut Militaire Historie

No major problems occured and the vehicle passed the trials successfully. Therefore, the first vehicle was prepared for shipment and left the Netherlands on 26th April aboard the Kota Tjandi. It arrived in the Dutch East Indies near the end of May, in the port of Tanjung Priok. It was carefully crated, so it could be transported by train to Bandung without too much attention, but the crate turned out to be too big to fit on the railway. It was therefore decided to move the vehicle by road, although it is a unclear wether it was towed or moved on its own power. A second vehicle arrived in the Indies on 21st June.

One of the two vehicles that were sent to the Dutch East Indies, here seen in a garage in Bandung. Source: Indisch Wetenschappelijk Instituut


The vehicles were trialed by a special commission, consisting of; Lieutenant-Colonel of the Engineers H.A.E. Vennik; Head Engineer of the State Railway Ir. F.Q. Den Hollander; Mechanic Engineer of the Air Department D.S. Gaastra; and Lieutenant of the Engineers with the car company E. van Ijseldijk. They came to their final conclusion in October 1934 that an armored car in itself would prove to be very useful, but there were some major technical difficulties with the Wilton-Fijenoord armored car: The engine could not use common gasoline, only special airplane gasoline could be used. This was far from desired as it would not only be more expensive, but lso cause all kinds of logistical troubles. This specific flaw was already discovered at the very beginning of the trials so while a solution was sought, the delivery of the third armored car was postponed and eventually cancelled as a solution was not found. Fortunately for the KNIL, they had stipulated in the contract that if the vehicles did not perform as they should, they could be returned to Wilton-Fijenoord and replaced by improved vehicles.

However, this fuel problem was not the only reason why the KNIL did not accept the vehicles. During one of the many test drives, a spring broke between the chassis and the wheels which was considered as a structural weakness and not an isolated accident. They describe this to the fact that the vehicle was built on a truck chassis and that the proportions between engine power, dimensions, and weight were overlooked during the design stage. The vehicle was initially thought to be smaller, the weight was meant to be less, but the engine was the same, which meant a loss in power to weight ratio and an overloaded chassis and that showed itself in acceleration and climbing capabilities. That the vehicle did not perform as it did during the first tests back in the Netherlands were due to the different terrain, climate, and gasoline.

One of the vehicles during testing in the Dutch East Indies. Source:

The fact that the vehicles did not perform well was a major setback for the KNIL. Earlier budget cuts were partially justified by the premise that armored cars were to be bought. The planned acquisition of three more cars in 1935 and potentially more in 1936 could not be continued. After the failed tests, the idea was coined that it maybe would be a good idea to start looking over the borders, consider solutions made by other countries, like the two-man tanks operated by Japan or even the British Vickers Amphibian tanks. These light tanks would even be cheaper than the Wilton Armored car which had a price of 25.500 guilders. Krupp started work on a replacement vehicle around 1935, namely the Gepanzerte Radfahrzeug, based on the improved L2H143 chassis, however, the vehicle was never bought by the KNIL and it remained a prototype.

Although the first adventure with armored vehicles turned into a failure, it did not stop the KNIL from trying to get new armored vehicles as the concept of armored vehicles was well-received. In 1935, with the gained experience, vehicles from several European manufactures were considered. This led to the order placed at Alvis-Straussler for twelve AC3D armored cars Around August 1936.

Better Luck Abroad

In February 1935, Wilton-Feijenoord found a potential buyer and desired the two vehicles to be returned as soon as possible. The first car left on 20th February with the ship Johan van Oldenbarneveldt. The other left on 2nd March with the Poeloeh roebiah. They were indeed sold to Brazil, together with a few Ford/Wilton-Fijenoord APCs. In Brazil,  they were assigned to the Special Police Force of São Paulo. The three machine guns were removed and replaced by a device which shot lachrymatory gas or apparently flames. They received a grey color.

The two vehicles in Brazil during a police parade, April 1936.

The third vehicle, with registration number H66436, was kept in the factory in running order. On the 20th and 21st March 1936, the ‘Amsterdamse Vrijwillige Burgerwacht’ (Voluntary Civil Guard of Amsterdam) organized an exercise and Wilton-Fijenoord decided to take part. With only two crewmembers, the car was not fully manned and when the car started its exercise, it was immediately stormed by civilians. This had to do with the ‘Jordaan riots’ of 1934 when also armored cars were used. Luckily for the crew, they could electrify the vehicle after which the civilians immediately backed off. When it drove back to Rotterdam after the successful exercise it was stormed again, so the car had to defend itself again. Back in Rotterdam, they had a collision with a civilian motor car, causing more commotion.

Destroyed Wilton-Fijenoord armored car in the internal patio of the Reichs Chancellery in Berlin. Note the destroyed Schupo-sonderwagen Daimler/21 DZVR armored police car behind it.

Although the Royal Army already showed interest in 1934, the decision was made not to buy it. Four years later though on 1st June 1938, it was sold to the Army as part of a tax deal, and assigned to the ‘Korps Rijdende Artillerie’ (‘Corps Mobile Artillery) but was unarmed. Negotiations with the company DAF about arming the vehicle stalled and the vehicle was not used in combat during the German attack in May 1940. It was captured by the German troops and assigned to the Ordnungspolizei. The Germans used it eventually in the defense of the Reichs Chancellery internal patio during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, where it got destroyed by Soviet forces.

Because the chassis was a design of the German Krupp company, they heavily got involved in the design process and after the Wilton-Fijenoord armored car was rejected by the KNIL, Krupp started to build an armored car on their own, called Gepanzerte Radfahrzeug as a replacement. Only one prototype of this vehicle was built and was eventually never sent to the Dutch Indies. Despite the rejection by the KNIL, all three armored cars saw remarkable service, both in Berlin and in Brazil.

Wilton-Fijenoord illustration
Illustration of the Wilton-Fijenoord by Tank Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet


Dimensions (L-W-H) 5.065 m x 2.2 m x 2.3 m ( 16.6 x x 7.2 x 9.8 ft)
Total weight 4500 kg / 9920.8 lbs
Crew 3 – 5
Propulsion Krupp 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, air-cooled engine with 60 hp (44.7 kW) at 2500 rpm
Top speed 70 km/h (43.5 mph) road / 30 km/h (18.6 mph) off-road
Operational range 250 km / 155.3 mi
Armament 3x 7.92 mm machine guns
Armor 3-10 mm (0.11-0.39 in)


Dr. C.M. Schulten & J. Theil, Nederlandse pantservoertuigen.
Magazine ‘Het Motorverkeer’, June 13 1934
‘Mars et historia’, number 25, 1991, C. Blijleven, page 77-81
KNIL Cavalerie 1814-1950: Geschiedenis van de cavalerie en pantsertroepen van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indische Leger, C.A. Heshusius, Sectie Krijgsgeschiedenis K.L., The Hague, 1978.
Indisch Militair Tijdschricht, 1st June 1934, p.581-584.
“Wilton werkt voor Duitsche oorlogsindustrie Opdrachten voor het leveren van pantser auto’s.”. “De tribune: soc. dem. weekblad”. Amsterdam, 17-11-1933. Consulted on Delpher, 17-01-2019.
Wilton-Fijenoord Nieuws, jrg.26 November, 1963, A. van Dijk, p.4.
“Pantserauto’s voor het Indische leger”. “De grondwet”. 13-04-1934. Consulted on Delpher,17-01-2019.
De eerste pantser-auto. Zeswielig monster op rupskettingen.”. “De Indische courant”. Soerabaia, 02-06-1934. Delpher.
“Geheime pantserauto. Ongemerkt vervoeren is niet makkelijk.”. “Bataviaasch nieuwsblad”. Batavia, 31-05-1934. Delpher.
“De tweede Pantserauto.”. “Bataviaasch nieuwsblad”. Batavia, 22-06-1934. Delpher.
“De Leger-Pantserauto’s. Officieel ongunstig beoordeeld.”. Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”. Batavia, 18-10-1934, p. 1. Delpher.
Onze pantserauto’s Hun bruikbaarheid.”. “Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”. Batavia, 13-07-1934, p. 1. Delpher.
“Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”, 18-10-1934.
“Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”, 13-07-1934
“De Pantser-Auto’s van het Leger.”. “Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”. Batavia, 05-01-1935. Delpher.
“De Pantserauto’s.”. “Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”. Batavia, 14-02-1935. Delpher.
“De tweede Pantser-auto.”. “Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”. Batavia, 02-03-1935. Delpher.
“Pantser-Auto’s voor Leger. Betere binnen Afzienbaren Tijd Verwacht.”. “Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië”. Batavia, 20-08-1935. Delpher.
Die gepanzerte Radfahzeuge des deutschen Heeres 1905-1945, Walter J. Spielberger, Hilary L.Doyle, Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 2002, p.121.