Overvalwagens!
Ford Jeeps
The Dutch government officials in the USA were well aware of the latest military developments and were among the first foreigners to
acquire Jeeps. By August 41 300 Ford GP's (also known as reconnaissance cars or Blitzbuggies) were on hand in the Dutch East Indies,
while an order had been placed for a further 400 (with total needs set for 1000 jeeps - US Mission Report). The K.N.I.L. cars were used by
the Cavalry squadrons, replacing motorcycle combinations, and other units. According to an overview of most wanted equipment by
K.N.I.L. from December 1941 K.N.I.L. operated at that moment a grand total of 700 Ford GP's (with a "great stack of spares")! Delivery of
a further 300 cars had been approved by the US government, but this had not taken place yet. The Dutch authorities meanwhile sought to
acquire a further 600, preferably produced by Ford again. In a later stage of the war the Dutch government received 136 Jeeps through
the Lend-lease program. These cars, we assume, were all Ford GPW's as these were abundant in the West Indies by the end of WW2.
Six amphibious Ford GPA's were also delivered.   
This picture from Jeep Genesis/The Rifkind Report shows two Ford GP's with the US
Cavalry exercising in the desert. Similar units operated Bantam's and Willys MA's. The first
4x4 1/4 ton jeep type car was produced by Bantam in 1940. When the US Army indicated
they wanted huge numbers of this type of vehicle, competition surged and Bantam, Willys
and Ford each were ordered to produce 1500 cars for further testing. Ford meanwhile was
able to produce several batches of their model (Ford GP) for export, including China,
Great Britain and the Dutch East Indies. The competition was of course won by Willys, who
produced the best model. Ford became co-producer of the Willys jeep (known as Ford
GPW) by early 1942.
This picture shows a K.N.I.L. Cavalry Squadron ready to roll, late 1941 (from Stabelan
Magazine). By now the Cavalry Squadron seems well equipped with plenty of jeeps (two
platoons of 11 Ford GP's, plus additional vehicles). Note the armoured car platoon on the right,
counting three Alvis-Straussler AC3D armoured cars, one light car (Staff and/or radio car) and
just four White Scout Cars (organically a Cavalry Squadron was supposed to have six Whites
by then).
Another view of a K.N.I.L. Cavalry
squadron's reconnaissance platoons,
during manouvres in late 1941.
Most Ford GP's carry 3 men. Windscreens
always seem to be down and the troopers
have goggles.
K.N.I.L. cavalry was equipped with a
special cavalry version of the Dutch
Hembrug carbine.
In 1941 K.N.I.L. handed over a batch of Ford
GP jeeps to the Dutch Navy. Here a number of
the jeeps can be seen at Soerabaja Naval
Base in Eastern Java. Most jeeps probably
ended up serving with the Navy Battalion, a
composite Dutch Marines and local European
conscripts battalion (picture from
Mariniersmuseum publication).
A close up of some of the Navy's jeeps.
Note hinged windscreen on second vehicle  
(Hoogendoorn, De Jeep in Nederland) The
drivers are wearing the typical Dutch navy's
tropical sun hats, brims up. According to
A.R. Schmitz the Dutch added some extra's
to the GP's, like electirc windscreen wipers
and indicators (on the mudguards).
A surviving Ford GP seen here on patrol with Dutch
forces on Java during the Indonesian
Independence War (1945-49). Reportedly, several
vehicles survived the Japanese occupation on Java
and Borneo. Although there is no explicit
information, there are several indications that the
Japanese Army transferred a number of the K.N.I.L.
Ford GP's to other theaters of war in the Pacific
during WW2 (picture Mr Westerhof).
The picture shown was recently posted
on the Overvalwagen Forum by Hans
Heesakkers.
It's a Ford GP jeep as found by the
Dutch Army on Java in 1946.
It was pressed into served as a Red
Cross or Medic vehicle.
This Ford GP is also a survivor from
the deliveries to K.N.I.L. in 1941.
Ford GP's on Curacao, Dutch West Indies,
during WW2 (picture Dutch Beeldbank).
The first jeep seems to be fitted with a
water cooled medium machine gun on a
high mount, the second one seems to be
towing a limbered K.N.I.L. 37mm Anti-tank
gun. According to Dutch government
documents 10 Ford GP's had been ordered
for shipment to Aruba and Curacao, mid
1941.
This great picture was
provided by John Bom and
shows a similar Ford GP armed
with a Vickers machine gun on
Curacao during WW2. The
picture can be found in the
booklet De Schutters van
Habaai. Note one of the troops
is equipped with a Johnson
semi-automatic rifle.
Tony Smith from
Australia send me
these pictures he took
in New Zeeland of a
nicely restored
ex-K.N.I.L. Ford GP.
The jeep is owned by
mr Geesink of
Christchurch, New
Zeeland.
After the fall of the Dutch East Indies in
March 1942 the arming of the Dutch forces
in the West Indies continued. Initially,
during 1942, they could just pick what they
needed from the huge surpluses of
equipment ordered for the East Indies. But
after 1942 new orders had to be applied for
through lend-lease. A large number Ford
GPW's appeared in Surinam, this one
carrying a mortar team (picture from Dutch
Beeldbank)  
A number of Ford GPW's
at Surinam's main
barracks in the capital,
Paramaribo (picture:
Beeldbank). The Ford
GPW was nothing more
than the Willy's MB,
produced by Ford. There
were detail differences.
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