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Old 26th March 2015, 22:08   #1
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Default Pics: The Dutch National Army Museum

It appears there are quite a few members who have a keen interest in military stuff. During a recent visit to my home country the Netherlands, I visited the brand spanking new Dutch National Military Museum. The Dutch armed forces have three main branches, the army, the airforce and the navy. The Dutch navy still maintains its own museum in its main home port Den Helder. Havenít been there for many years, but it is excellent, Including a real Walrus Submarine that you can enter.

So for some reason they still decided to call it the Dutch National Military museum, even though very little navy stuff is on display. The museum collection comes from two museums I used to visit quite frequently. There was the so-called Arsenal, in essence an army museum in Delft. And there was an airforce museum at Soesterberg.

I knew both museums quite well. We lived only 20minute bicycle ride away from the one in Delft and all of my kids loved it. The airforce museum was located at what used to be an active Dutch Airforce base. I have been visiting since I was about 14 years of age. In those days I was very much interested in all aviation including military aviation.

Soesterberg was about 3-4 hours on the bicycle for me and my mates. So we often peddled over there to visit the museum or do a bit of plane spotting. In the seventies this was a very active Airforce base. It also hosted from 1954 to 1994 the American 32nd Tactical Fighter squadron. Lots of plane movement every single day of the week, a plane spotter paradise! In those days I took on two jobs outside school hours, a paper round six mornings a week and on Saturday I worked in a toy/hobby shop. All to pay for my hobbies, of which photography was one. Got myself my first SLR with TTL (Through the Lens Light metering), a Praktica LTL3. The rest is history as they say.

The original airforce museum was situated in two old hangars and was a very informal affair. You could just wander all over the place, underneath the airplanes. All planes had their cockpits open and stairs next to it, so you could peek into it. Couple of times per year they organised open cockpit days and you were allowed to actually climb into all the cockpits!

In those days Soesterberg was also the yearly host to the Dutch open Airforce days. Big happenings, hundreds of thousands of visitors. Me and my mates used to camp outside the base for the whole weekend and we would shoot roll after roll of film. No SD cards in those days. All black and white photography which I used to develop and print in my own little darkroom in the loft of my parents home.

When I read about this new military museum I was somewhat apprehensive. I really liked the old museums and new ones are not necessarily an improvement. For instance, Amsterdam used to have a magnificent Maritime museum. I used to visit it at least once a year. It took them something like five years to renovate and I visited about a year ago and it is utter rubbish. The famous Amsterdam Rijksmuseum went through a massive 15 year renovation and some parts I like, others I donít.

All in all, I must admit that the new Dutch Military Museum is actually very well put together. There are still a few things I miss, but thatís progress for you, and of course Iím a bit of an old grumpy man these days as well, lets not forget.

Whereas the Dutch navy relied/relies heavily on home grown / designed / built products the army and the airforce use quite a variety of international weapon suppliers. As you will see there are some Dutch home grown bits of kit in here as well. You will see several pieces of kit that have been used by the Indian armed forces as well.

So without further ado, here we go:

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The building is completely new and is massive. Its all still very new, the trees still need to grow, as does the grass, so it does look a bit bare from the outside. Coincidentally, when I drove to the museum I was sort of cursing the weather as being your typical very dull Dutch weather. What I had not realised is that it also happened to be the day where there was a near complete eclipse of the sun. So, yes, a Dutch very overcast day, but behind the clouds there was also an eclipse happening whilst I was trying to take pictures inside the museum. Without a tripod a might add, as those are not allowed. A ridiculous rule if you ask me.

Outside the museum there are playgrounds for the kids, picnic areas and the whole former Airforce base has been turned into a nature monument. So you can go for long walks or ride your bicycle across what used to be the main runway. Its 1 meter of concrete so nobody is going to get rid of that any time soon.

Once you have gone in through reception and paid 10 Euro for adults, 5 Euro for kids you will enter the museum. You are free to roam around to your hearts content, or you follow a route, that will guide you more or less in chronological order through Dutch military history.

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This is about the oldest display in the museum. Well, technically it is brand new but it depicts something old, probably 50-12BC, a Batavian Knight. Probably from the better to do class as he is wearing some pretty fancy clothes for those days.

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Moving on towards 1510-1540 AC, another knight and you will notice that more and more armour comes into play for men and animal.

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This is the sort of artillery they operated in those days

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The museum has a vast collection of guns, pistols, machine guns, swords, daggers, knifes etc. They are all displayed in these sort of glas display boxes. Bit difficult to get a good photograph. Tripods are not allowed and flash is useless

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Moving on again to around the WW1 era, Couple of dogs pulling a machinegun. Most of the kit on display, as you will see, is from WW1 onwards, right into current times.

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Here is where my real interest begins. I love these old radial engines. Magnificent piece of engineering.

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Lots of large bore guns in various shapes and formats on display. This one caught my eye because of the detailing and it also very clearly shows the grooved inside barrel. The grooves ensure the bullet leaves the gun spinning which provides for more and better accuracy in its trajectory.

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WW1 saw lots of these wooden wheels, from guns, to carts, first aid cars, transportation etc.

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An early Gatling gun. Modern variants are still in use today with the army, airforce and even the navy. They throw out an immense rate of fire.

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When someone mentions 'machine-gun' this is the image I would have. Big barrel, big sight, big ammunition belt. These were mounted on your typical WW1 planes as well. Aimed right through the propellor, which had little steel plates to protect the propellor blades from being shot. Was a little while before somebody managed to synchronise (mechanically) the machine gun with the propellor so it would only shot in between the propellor blade rather then at the blades!

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You can mount your machine gun on just about anything and we did!

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Here comes the first bit of Dutch homegrown aviation. One of the first Fokkers. Anthony Fokker was a Dutch aviation pioneer and manufacturer. Initially he worked from Germany but moved back to the Netherlands after WW1

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Another Fokker, almost comically looking I think.

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Comically appearances aside, here is the business end of the Fokker. Some detail on how a tradiotional bomb is carried by an airplane. Today the same mechanism is still applied

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And now for something completely different. A water plane. This is a Dornier. It is the so called K variant. Its a Dornier design that was specifically altered to suit the Dutch requirements for operating in our colonies. K stands for the Dutch "Kolonie". The Dutch army did the redesign themselves and this K type was made in the Netherlands under license from Dornier. Least said about the Dutch colonies the better. Not one of our proudest periods. But we did have some nice water planes to go with the colonies!

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And yet something completely different again; one of the first tanks we had. A French tank, this is a proper Renault!

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I you bring the kids, be prepared to spend consirable time in the museum shop where they sell anything from models, books, badges, T-shirts etc. Hell, I'll admit, even without the kids I spend time there too!
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Old 26th March 2015, 22:56   #2
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Moving on to the WW2 period. Whereas the Netherlands remained neutral in WW1 and basically closed its borders for everyone and was left in peace, WW2 saw us being attacked by the Germans. Took all but five days for the Germans to overrun the Netherlands. Massive civilian casualties due to very heavy bombing on some of our major towns. If you ever visit Rotterdam, you will notice there are just about only modern buildings. Most of Rotterdam was completely levelled by the Germans, during those initial five days. Huge civilian loss of life.

The Germans occupied the Netherlands for 5 years, from 1940 to 1945. I'm from 1959 so before my time. But both my parents lived through the war as young adults and students. Towards the end of the war the Germans tried to move all Dutch students and able young men towards Germany to work in various war factories. My father, a student at the time, went underground and was hidden by a family for several years. That's how he met my mother. She was the daughter of the family who hid my father from the Germans. My father's dad (my granddad) was killed in the early hours of the war during one of the first bombings by the Germans of The Hague. My Granddad owned and operated a small pharmacy and it suffered a direct hit which killed him.

My dad used to tell me many 'war stories' when I was a little boy. About the German offense, the people he knew that got killed, going underground, the Dutch resistance etc. Quite amazing. Perhaps even more amazing, he never had a problem with Germans later on in life. His German was excellent, he loved German literature, Professionally speaking he dealt with a lot of Germans, he loved to go and visit Germany and when I look at our family albums a lot of our family holidays were spend in Germany as well.

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In the foreground some earlier period planes, but at the rear, suspended as if flying, one of the few bombers that the Dutch Airforce operated. Again, for use in our colonies mainly.

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Most people, even if they know next to nothing about aviation, will recognise this one, the P51 Mustang. Beautiful fighter.

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Here we have a scene depicting a German V1 Flying bomb with a Dutch Spitfire flying close formation with it. I doubt it is a true to life scene, because the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans during the V1 period. Maybe there was a Dutch squadron stationed in the UK? I know that lots of Dutch military men and women went over to the UK and joined the Allies.

What is true is that the fighter pilots tried to intercept the V1 by flying very close to it, get their wing under the V1 wing and flip it over so it would crash. Apparently when the Germans found out about this technique they installed some sort of proximity switches under the wing tips so they would explode and at least take the fighter down.

What is also true is that a lot of the V1 aimed at Britain were launched from the Netherlands. Anybody visiting The hague can still go and see the so called Bosjes, these days a very nice park in between the Hague and Scheveningen (right on the sea front.

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The museum has various of these life size displays. They depict a particular scene of Dutch military history. This is a couple of Dutch soldiers overlooking the city of Delft as it is being bombed and overrun by the Germans. There are light and sound effects and you can listen to an audio tape as if you are listening in on the conversation between the soldiers as the battle unfolds before there eyes.

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Here another display I could easily spend several hours at. Various types of aviation engines, mostly cut open so you can see how they work, lots of diagrams etc.

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Moving on to the first jet fighter of the Dutch airforce, the Gloster Meteor. It was probably the first jet fighter for many airforces around the world. This is early days of military jet aviation. Early models had no ejection seat and we lost more than 40 of these planes in a relative short period of time. You go to a military aviation museum, anywhere in the western world, its likely to have a Gloster Meteor.

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Its successor was the F84 Thunderstreak as seen here. Much more reliable, a proper jet, note the retracted massive airbrakes on the side in the fuselage,just behind the wing.

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Here another Dutch home grown product: DAF, producer of cars and trucks. Its founder, van Doorn was also the pioneer behind the CVT. DAF trucks have come in many shapes and forms throughout the year in civilian and military versions.

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I am not sure why, but as a young lad I was hugely fascinated by these mobile rocket launchers. I had a very nice Dinkey or Corgi Toy model mobile rocket launcher as well.
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Old 26th March 2015, 23:57   #3
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Here is arguable one of the pretties fighter jets ever; the Hawker Hunter. It succeeded the F84. There are still a few Hunters flying in the world and I have seen them fly at various airshows in Europe in the 70-s. They were still operational with some airforces then.

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An interesting way of displaying the museum's hardware. At the far end the F84, the Hunter and in the front a F104 Starfigher

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The F104 was a remarkable jet, very fast. Look at those tiny wings! It did suffer a high accident rate with all airforces and it picked up the unfortunate nickname of the "widow maker". It, or rather its manufacturer was involved in a scandal with the then Dutch Prince Bernard, husband of then Queen Juliana. He accepted a bribe from Lockheed. Which shows that the Americans really have no clue about how European monarchies work. The queen, although technically the head of state and the head of government, has no say in anything. We are a parliamentary democracy. But in those days the prince was also the head of the armed forces, but had as little to say over the armed forces as his wife had over the rest of the Netherlands. They are ceremonial functions. But a bribe is a bribe and Bernard had to resign from his position as head of the armed forces and wasn't allowed to wear his military uniforms anymore

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Here is another little jet used by many airforces the world over, in different capacities. The F5 (Freedom Fighter) Little twin engine jet. It was used as a trainer, but also served as a line fighter. The Americans used them in their so called aggressor squadrons where they simulate dogfights. The F5's pretended to be the enemy.

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Just about every airforce and quite a few civilian airlines will at some point in time have operated one of these. The good old Dakota DC3 / C47 Skytrain.

Even today in use, not sure about military use, but certainly civilian use. I have flown on quite a few of these around the world early on in my career. In fact the very first flight I ever made was on a Dakota. My dad took me for my 12 birthday on a what was known as a sky tour of Amsterdam. In those days, Schiphol, now Amsterdam airport was a small airport. Home base to KLM and Martinair. Martinair flew its Dakota's across the Amsterdam skies during the weekends. About an hour's flight. I can still remember that day, my mum kept telling me I was so exited I couldn't sleep for days before and after the event. The rest is history as they say, but it took until 2010 for me to get my pilot license!

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There is a lot to see and do at this museum. If you want to take a little rest there are two excellent cafe's. Great coffee, teas and great Dutch pastries!

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I really don't know much about the army, but I do know both of these are Sherman tanks. The Dutch army got Sherman tanks after the WW2. The tank full of holes is an American (allied) tank that made it all the way from the beaches in France to the Netherlands to be blasted to pieces. Finding yourself in a war most be a horrific experience. Sitting in a tank, whilst you know there are rounds out there that can penetrate must be a particularly chilling experience.

I recently watched the movie Fury, about Brad Pitt as a Sherman tank commander. Not sure how realistic it was, but whatever it was or is, it must be a frightening experience to say the least.

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Now we are moving on to even some more recent hardware. The F16 and the F15

First the F16; it was really the very first line fighter completely kitted out with FlyByWire, a tilted ejection seat which allowed the pilot to pull even higher G-manoevres, a truly amazing 360 degree in all directions transparent canopy and many other firsts. We travelled all over Europe to see the F16 perform at various airshows and then the Dutch military bought it too! I was very much into model making as well, (Airfix) and I most have built and painted at least half a dozen of different F16 variants. From the original white/blue/red Lockheed demo plane to the Dutch versions.

Most of the F16s were assembled in the Netherlands in the Fokker Factories at Schiphol. I seem to recall the also made some of the (tail?) assemblies.

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Some F16 details, note the air brakes fully deployed and the brake parachute.

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Although not specific to the F16, just about every plane has at least one, the pitot tube. This is where the airspeed gets measured. Its been known to freeze and all pitot tube come with heating. Planes have crashed as pilots forgot to switch the heating on, got an erroneous air speed reading, responded incorrectly and crashed .

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The F15 belonged to the American 32nd Tactical Fighter squadron. The squadron was based at the Soesterberg airbase from 1954 to 1994. During that time it flew F84, F86, F100, Delta Daggers, F4 Phantom and lastly the F15. The squadron donated this one to the museum upon leaving.

The 32nd was unique in its operational command structure. It was the only American squadron that reported, operationally, into its host country, i.e. the Dutch military.

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Close up of the F15 exhaust nozzles. Even by today's standard the F15 is still an impressive fighter. It is also big compared to all the other fighter on display.

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The 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, nickname The Wolfhounds!
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Old 27th March 2015, 00:04   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Attachment 1354043

Here is arguable one of the pretties fighter jets ever; the Hawker Hunter. It succeeded the F84. There are still a few Hunters flying in the world and I have seen them fly at various airshows in Europe in the 70-s. They were still operational with some airforces then.
!
Interesting to hear about the war effort Jeroen!

My great-grandfather was a doctor in the British Army. A fair few anecdotes exist.

And my grandfather used to work for the Navy. He once operated the radar and assorted electronic surveillance onboard THE HMS Achilles- Later the HMNZS Achilles- and then- the HMIS Delhi.

Actually- Multiple names of the same ship- LOL. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMNZS_Achilles_(70))

Ah- Those were the days!

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Old 27th March 2015, 00:50   #5
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Pics: The Dutch National Army Museum-p3200154.jpg

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I really don't know that much about tanks and stuff like that. But they are impressive, get low and close and you get some great pictures. The Dutch army has operated many different tanks over the years, from the Sherman to Centurion and Leopards and a whole bunch more.

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The Dutch have always participated in most UN missions, so we have a lot of white UN hardware as well.

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With planes comes the need to shoot down the other guys planes! So lots of ground to air hardware on display too.

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I have shown mainly the various museum exhibits. But there is much much more, there is a well stocked library/information centre. There are various cinemaas with all sorts of historic films and this huge video wall which gives a historic overview of the Dutch armed forces.

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Then there are various displays, simulators and all sort of other stuff where you can actually touch and feel some of the guns for instance

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All three branches, army, airforce and navy have flown (different) helicopters at some point in time. I have worked in the offshore industry, so I am quite used to commute by chopper to and from work. I even have a few hours flying time on a helicopter as a student pilot. It is very different from flying a plane. Most armed forces will put you through a fixed wing course first, before starting your training on a helicopter.

Helicopters are uncomfortable, they vibrate, they are very noisy. And look at something like the rotor. How complicated is that? And it spins around at hundreds of RPM. Although theoretically a helicopter can be controlled very well when the engine quits to make a safe emergency landing, I am always worried something else will fall off. Trust me there are lots of bits that can fall off these things.

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A nice overview of one of the main halls. Gives you some idea on the size of this museum and how well and spacious everything is laid out before we move outside.

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The old airforce museum always had a few of its large planes sitting outside and the new museum does too. Here you see another Dutch product. The Fokker F27 Troopship. As a civilian plane it was one of the most succesfull turbo props ever. Still many around and flying. The troopship is the military variant.

One of these troopships used to perform a truly amazing demonstration flight during the Airforce Open days. They used to throw this thing around as if it was a jet fighter. But the most impressive part was their low altitude pass. And when I say low it was really low. It was on the deck with the propellors only inches away from the runway! You don't see manoeuvres like that any more as it is considered to dangerous, but in those days they were allowed and they were very happy to show of their skills.

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The Dutch navy operated several aircraft mainly over the north sea for submarine detection and search and rescue missions. This is the Brequet Atlantic. It is French, was very innovative in its day, but very unreliable. I believe more than half the planes crashed and we did away with the remaining one. The bottom photograph shows the launcher at the rear of the aircraft. The could launch all sort of probes or flashes etc whilst patrolling.

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We replaced the wonky French Brequet Atlantic with the solid American Lockheed Neptune P2. It might have involved some bribes, but at least these things did not crash. Note that this plane has two (turbine driven) propellors but also two jet engines. The two jet engines were used for take off and to get to cruising altitude quickly. There the jet engines would be shut down and the plane would happily patrol for many hours on its far more economic two turbine props.

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Another plane from the 32nd TFS. The F106 Delta Dart. One of the earlier Supersonic fighters (approx late 50s early 60s).

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A beautifully restored F86 Sabre

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So here is where I don't understand what the curators are doing. This is a Dutch F86 Sabre. It was in very good condition, inside the old museum. I never saw the American F86 before. So somehow, the decided to let the Dutch F86 go to waste and restore the American one.

Truth be told, their total collection is so vast they can't put everything on display. they have two more hangars full of stuff that is being restored and then some stuff spills over in the open air, like this F86

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Another bit of sad looking plane. A F100 Super Sabre.

I've come to the end of my story. I recently bought a very simple wide angle lens for my camera and the last two shots I took that day, was out on the ramp with the wide angle of the Delta Dart.

Hope you enjoyed this story!

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Old 27th March 2015, 08:03   #6
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Lovely photographs and interesting writeup.
When I lived in Aus I visited the war memorial/meuseum in Canberra, it was very interesting and moving.
I hope we get to see something in similar in India someday.
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Old 27th March 2015, 14:25   #7
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Moving the thread to the Commercial Vehicle forum as this is where we usually discuss these big, bad boys .

Awesome report, rating 5 stars!
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Old 27th March 2015, 16:09   #8
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further. We request you to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

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Old 27th March 2015, 16:17   #9
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Excellent write up and pictures. A subject of my keen interest just happened to get more enriched after reading this thread!

Vijf!
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Old 27th March 2015, 18:00   #10
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Nice thread, with excellent narration and photographs. Anything related to defence awes me. Whenever I travel, I try my best to see such museums, castles and forts!

As mentioned by others truly deserves 5*
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Old 27th March 2015, 18:10   #11
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Hi Jeroen,

Brilliant write-up. I just browsed the link for the Dutch National Military Museum and ended up with this https://www.nmm.nl/ontdek/gebouw-arsenaal/

The video which shows the inside / outside parts of the various articles on display is awesome.

Though I am not much of a fan when it comes to museums, mainly due to my laziness to walk the long distances with innumerable stops in between , I must do a visit to this one since its more of technology and something that interests me. It's a 45 min drive for me from where I live in Amstelveen. Will plan it for the summer, and hence will be able to enjoy the weather as well.

I must plan a visit a visit to Den Helder as well for the Navy museum. I had planned once initially, but couldn't make it.

Cheers.
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Old 27th March 2015, 18:33   #12
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Jeroen, thank you for all the effort you have made clicking so many photographs and then posting them. A treat for the eyes. The museum is clearly maintained in sparking condition. I wish our own IAF museum at Palam airport was half as well maintained. If you have photos on the creations of Anthony Fokker please post them. Fokker in my opinion was one of the all time greats amongst aeronautical designers.
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Old 27th March 2015, 18:38   #13
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Though I am not much of a fan when it comes to museums, mainly due to my laziness to walk the long distances with innumerable stops in between , I must do a visit to this one since its more of technology and something that interests me. It's a 45 min drive for me from where I live in Amstelveen. Will plan it for the summer, and hence will be able to enjoy the weather as well.
Thanks. Although I was born in Amsterdam I actually grew up in Amstelveen and only left when I was 23 and moved to the UK to live with my fiancee, soon to be wife in 1983.

The layout of this museum is excellent. Although there is a route, you can just wander around to your hearts content. I'm sure you will enjoy!

Jeroen

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Jeroen, thank you for all the effort you have made clicking so many photographs and then posting them. A treat for the eyes. The museum is clearly maintained in sparking condition. I wish our own IAF museum at Palam airport was half as well maintained. If you have photos on the creations of Anthony Fokker please post them. Fokker in my opinion was one of the all time greats amongst aeronautical designers.

Thanks, I have visited the IAF museum in Delhi though, very interesting, but admittedly very different from the Dutch museum

See http://www.india.jeroendorrestein.co...eum_Delhi.html

I might have posted these on Team-BHP in the past as well. Not sure?

Jeroen

Last edited by GTO : 28th March 2015 at 12:25. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:19   #14
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Default Re: Pics: The Dutch National Army Museum

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My dad used to tell me many 'war stories' when I was a little boy. About the German offense, the people he knew that got killed, going underground, the Dutch resistance etc. Quite amazing. Perhaps even more amazing, he never had a problem with Germans later on in life. His German was excellent, he loved German literature, Professionally speaking he dealt with a lot of Germans, he loved to go and visit Germany and when I look at our family albums a lot of our family holidays were spend in Germany as well.
Wonderful thread with nicely composed photos! My interest in WWII started with those "Commando" comics and I still read em when possible

Respect to your dad for that sentiment. As a kid, I have always thought how exciting wartime will be and have even wished for it. But older and wiser, I just cannot imagine the troubles the people would have gone through!

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Here we have a scene depicting a German V1 Flying bomb with a Dutch Spitfire flying close formation with it. I doubt it is a true to life scene, because the Netherlands were occupied by the Germans during the V1 period. Maybe there was a Dutch squadron stationed in the UK? I know that lots of Dutch military men and women went over to the UK and joined the Allies.
Did a small check on that and yes - Wikipedia tells me that "No. 322 (Dutch) Squadron of the Royal Air Force was a fighter squadron during the Second World War.

Formed with Dutch personnel already flying with the RAF, during the war it formed part of the Air Defence of Great Britain and formed part of the defences against V-1 flying bombs. In the last year of the war, it moved to the continent. After the war, it was disbanded as an RAF unit, but the 322e Jachtvliegtuig Afdeling of the Netherlands armed forces was formed from the squadron"

Interesting stuff - loved the Spitfires in the comics. And also, the Stukas!
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:25   #15
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Default Re: Pics: The Dutch National Army Museum

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W
Interesting stuff - loved the Spitfires in the comics. And also, the Stukas!
Thanks for that. To be honest, it was probably mentioned somewhere in the museum, but I was to busy clicking pictures.

The Spitfire is a lovely plane. To my earlier point on how many people, without interest in aviation, will recognise a P51 Mustang. Even more so for the Spifire. In the Netherlands Spitfires and also Lancasters enjoyed the same reputation, especially with the folks of my parents generation. During the war especially from 1944 onwards, they saw a steady steam of Spitfires and Lancasters going across the Netherlands to bomb Germany. The Americans had their P51 Mustangs and B17 Flying Fortresses but they flew much higher.

My mum, who knows next to nothing about plane, would till the day she died, recognise the sound of a Lancaster/Spitfire. Deep impressions!

Jeroen
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