Dutch Army museum
Dutch Army museum

Dutch Army Museum

The Dutch Army Museum is based in the arsenal of Delft and tells the story of the Dutch army throughout the ages. The museum collection includes some interesting exhibits relating to the communist adversaries during the Cold War. Most interesting is a T-55AM tank was partially cut open and used by the East German army to train officers and tank commanders.

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The Dutch Army Museum
Netherlands
Delft
Korte Geer 1
€7,50
Tue - Sun 12:00 - 17:00
www.legermuseum.nl
Good

The Dutch Army trough the ages

The Dutch Army museum is located in the old arsenal in the old city centre of Delft. Delft is an old Dutch city famous for the Delft Blue porcelain and the 17th century paintings of Johannes Vermeer. William of Orange the father of the Dutch nation is buried in the New Church in Delft. Combining the Dutch Army Museum with a visit to Delft makes a great day out for everybody. The Museum tells the story of the Dutch army with a large collection of documents, uniforms, weapons, dioramas, vehicles and much more. A whole section of the museum is dedicated to the Special Forces taking part in commando missions in Afghanistan. The sections about the Korean, Cold and Yugoslav Wars make it also a visit worth while for those interested in Soviet military history.

Dutch special forces driving a Mercedes Benz G280 in Afghanistan

Dutch Special Forces in Afghanistan

Section of the Berlin wall displayed outside the Dutch Army Museum

Piece of the Berlin Wall

North Korean solider and Chinese volunteer of the Korean War

Communist soldiers

T-55AM instruction tank

The T-55 was developed as an improved version of the T-54 capable of surviving a nuclear detonation. The T-55 is the most produced tank in history. More then 90.000 T-54/T-55 tanks were built by the Soviet Union and its satellite countries over 50 armies still use this tank today. The T-55AM tank displayed in the Dutch Army museum was build under license in Czechoslovakia in 1964. The AM is an upgraded version of the T-55 with several upgrades including increased ammunition, thicker turret armour, new radios and a new V-55 engine. The museum tank belonged to the NVA (East German army) and was used as instruction tank. Parts of the turret and main body of the tank were cut open for the training purpose. This part of the training would help tank commanders and engineers understanding the transmission, propulsion, electrical systems and other technical details of the T-55. This makes the tank also very interesting for museum visitors who can see a lot of details that normally remain hidden. Especially interesting is the position of the tank driver who has a very small space to sit in.

This was an instruction tank for training engineers and commanders

T-55AM

Side of the T-55 turret showing how thick the turret armour is

Turret

Helical grooves of the rifled barrel stabilizing the projectile

Gun barrel helical grooves

The T-55 is a very small tank with little room for the driver

Tank driver

Instruments and ammunition storage below the main gun of the T-55

Ammunition storage

Breech for loading the gun off the T-55 AM tank inside the turret

Breech for loading the gun

Dutch involvement in the Korean War

The Netherlands was one of the countries making up the United Nations forces during the Korean War. The UN effort was practically an American operation but some Dutch forces took part in the action. The Dutch government led by Social Democrat Willem Drees initially refused to send troops as it was feared that the Americans would bring the world to all out nuclear war. Only some ships of the Royal Navy were send to support the Americans. Heavy American pressure led to the decision to send ground troops to Korea August 1950. Volunteers were enlisted for the struggle against North Korean aggression. More then 16.000 volunteers enlisted, 3.500 where finally detached with the Dutch Detachment United Nations. The Dutch soldiers whore American uniforms and were part of the 38th US Infantry Regiment "Rock of the Marne" part of the 2nd “Indianhead” Infantry Division of the 8th Army. 123 Dutch soldiers died in Korea, taking part in battles at Hoengseong, Wonju and Inje. Three Dutch Soldiers received the Military William Order, the highest Dutch order for valour.

Various military items of the Dutch army during the Korean War

Korean War memorabilia

Original map of Korea used by the US Army during the Korean War

US Army map of Korea

Korean War uniforms

The Dutch Army Museum has a small section dedicated to the Korean War. Dutch, North Korean and Chinese volunteer uniforms in winter and summer cammo with original weapons are the most interesting exhibits. There is also an original relief map of Korea used by the general staff of the US army in Korea. Various memorabilia items like patches, medals and ribbons remind of the Dutch participation in the Korean War.

North Korean soldier in winter cammo with PPSh-41 submachine gun

Korean uniform

Infantry solider of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army in Korea

Chinese uniform

Dutch Korean War infantry soldier armed with a M1Garand rifle

Dutch uniform

Dutch UN soldier armed with a BAR rifle during the Korean War

Dutch winter uniform

Cold War exhibits

The Cold War exhibition of the Dutch Army Museum is substantial with many Dutch Tanks and other military hardware on display. The T-55 mentioned above is the only Warsaw pact vehicle of the collection there are also some uniforms from divided Berlin after World War II. These uniforms include an NVA (East German Army) officer and an NVA soldier with gas mask. There are also two Soviet infantry uniforms that date from the occupation of Berlin after the war in 1945. The museum also has a small part of the Berlin Wall displayed in the courtyard.

1984 uniform of a soldier of the NVA, the East German Army

NVA soldier

1985 uniform of an officer of the NVA, the East German Army

NVA officer

1948 uniform of Soviet infantry used in Berlin after World War II

Soviet infantry

1990 uniform of the Soviet infantry, carrying am AK-47 gun

Soviet infantry

Dragunov sniper rifle

The museum owns a large collection of special firearms with one Warsaw Pact model on display, the Dragunov sniper rifle. The Dragunov SVD is a semi automatic sniper rifle chambered developed in the Soviet Union during the late 1950s. The rifle designed by Yevgeny Dragunov won a design competition and was taken in full production by the Izhevsk Machine Building Plant in 1963. Since then it became the standard sniper rifle for the Warsaw Pact armed forces. The Dragunov was not meant for highly trained specialized sniper teams but for designated marksmen. In every platoon of Warsaw Pact troops there would be a Dragunov rifle marksman.

The Dragunov SVD was the standard Warsaw Pact forces sniper rifle

Dragunov SVD sniper rifle

War in Yugoslavia exhibits

The War in Yugoslavia is often seen as the end of the 20th century historic era that started in 1914 rather then the fall of the Berlin Wall. Old ethnic tensions between Muslims, Serbs and Croats exploded in 1991 after the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia dissolved. UN Peacekeepers were send in including many Dutch Soldiers who stood bye powerless when the Serbs killed more then 8,000 men, woman and children in 1995 in Srebrenica. The Yugoslav War is a dark chapter in the history of the Dutch army but important to remember. This is why the Army museum has dedicated a section to the Yugoslav War with various exhibits that relate do the involvement of the Dutch army.

DAF YP-408 armoured car used by Dutch forces in former Yugoslavia

Yugoslavian War section

Various items taken back by Dutch forces from former Yugoslavia

Exhibits from the Yugoslav War

Warning sign for mines found everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Attention mines!

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