There was also a more advanced type of Overvalwagen (picture) commonly known as the type B or "Braat" after a
metalworks in Surabaya, Eastern Java that had part in its production. The Braats were also built in the second half
of 1940, this time for the Dutch East Indies Army (K.N.I.L.) itself, and they are definitely the more intriguing version.
They were designed by K.N.I.L. Engineer Captain Luyke Roskott and were based on a Chevrolet Cab Over Engine
(COE) truck chassis. Braats came in different versions (depending on armament, but basically the same vehicle):
-Armoured personnel carrier, with an air-cooled Vickers 7.7mm Medium Machine gun, 15 or 16 were used by the
armoured infantry company of the only Dutch East Indies tank battalion (Mobiele Eenheid) at Bandung, Java;
-Scout/Cavalry version, with several light machine guns. 9 or 12 were used by the 6th Cavalry squadron in the
Surabaya area in 1941-42;
-AA or airport defence version, with one water-cooled Browning .50 AA MG and 4 Vickers's: a real mobile and
armoured gun platform. Several used throughout the Indies during WW2 as well as the Indonesian Independence
-A Marine version was converted by the Dutch Navy and some were armed with the old-fashioned jack of all trades
Navy 3,7cm cannon, that was designed in the 1870's! Not much of a gun, but it did look menacing, fitted with a
shield and all. Water-cooled Vickers Medium machine guns were fitted as well.
After WW2 several Braats were converted by the Dutch Indies railroads into railway draisines that were used
during the Indonesian Independence War (1945-1950). Some survive in Indonesian army museums.
Besides these armament versions there were also differences in hull design. Two main series can be recognised,
which I have called first and second series (see below). There were also minor differences in some of the first
series vehicles, notably regarding the forward gun position (not shown). Braats delivered to Menado, Northern
Celebes/Sulawesi had square sides, not diagonal ones.
Impressive column of Braat Overvalwagens of the APC or
Cavalry/Scout version. The first 12 vehicles were produced by
the end of 1940 on a 1940 Chevrolet 4x2 Cab Over Engine
truck. The vehicles were driven across Java as a propaganda
A close-up view. Note the driver's visor, the air cooled medium
machine gun, the (closed) protected headlights as well as the
forward air intake. The tyres were "semi-terrain" tyres, improving
the driving conditions of the Overvalwagens on bad roads.
Off-road capabilities were limited, especially in the rainy season.
Another shot of the same vehicles. Licence plate D-numbers denote
"Preanger-residentie", which is the area around present day Bandung.
All K.N.I.L. motorized and cavalry troops wore leather leggings instead of puttees.
Front armour of the Braats was a fine 20mm, while the sides and rear had 2x6mm
double plating, bottom plate 6mm. Maximum speed 90 km/hr. The vehicle's weight,
depending on armament and crew was up to 6 metric tons.
This picture shows the crew in a more martial pose. The 6,5mm
Steyr/Mannlicher/Hembrug carbines and Madsen Light machine guns
("Karabijn-mitrallieurs") are at the ready.
Just like in the Stadswacht Overvalwagen design, the Braats also boasted front
and rear-wheel armour plates, that would bring them safely home.
Up to 12 men could be carried in the back.
This dramatic picture (taken by a Japanese trooper) shows a Braat Overvalwagen
that ended up in a ditch. The crew can be seen surrendering (one K.N.I.L.-trooper
has his arms still up in the air). The commander's hatch is open. Driver and gunner
sat in a semi-enclosed compartment and were relatively well-protected against small
arms. The crew in the back was extremely vulnerable to enemy fire from higher
angles and hand grenades. Reportedly, some Braat's were fitted with a
This Braat has been captured by the Imperial
Japanese Army and has been adorned with
Japanese flags to avoid friendly fire. Most Braats
survived the short fighting on Java and were taken
over by the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Marine version of the Braat. The vehicle is similar to the K.N.I.L.
ones, except for the armament. This Marine Braat is equipped with a
slow-firing 3,7cm naval gun behind a shield. The machinegun in the front
position of the Overvalwagen is a water-cooled Vickers 6,5 mm medium
machine gun. The Marines formed part of the Dutch Navy battalion in
Eastern Java. Braats and one Overvalwagen of a different type were
used. Two or three Braat's were equipped with the 3,7 cm gun.
One of the gun trucks would briefly fire its gun in anger at a Japanese
column during the fighting around Soerabaja in March 1942.
This picture is interesting. It is from De Grote Patrouille (a
history of the 5th Battalion Regiment Jagers) during the
Indonesian Independence War, and shows a Braat
Overvalwagen in Samarinda (Borneo/Kalimantan) around
1947, fitted with what seems to be a small octagonal turret.
No armament is visible. The Samarinda garrison in 1942
had two Overvalwagens and it is likely this vehicle survived
the war in that place.
After 1945 the Dutch East Indies railroads (especially the workshops at
Manggarai in the capital) adapted several Braat Overvalwagens for use on
railroads. It was simply welded to a rail carriage. This vehicle is equipped
with a canvas cover to protect its crew from sun and hand grenades. This
vehicle can be found in a Jakarta military museum (Picture from Wheels
and Tracks magazine).
1949. Dutch troops protect a train in Western Java between
Garoet and Tjibatoe inside a Braat Overvalwagen on rails.
Bren guns are fitted now instead of the prewar arms. This type
of rail vehicle was nicknamed "schietwagens" (shooting
wagons). Picture from: Beeldbank/Dutch National Archives.
Column of first series Braat overvalwagens, probably
on Java. These seem not to have been fitted with the
terrain tyres (picture from Geeft Acht Magazine, 1941).
This picture from the NIOD website shows a first series
Braat with a fine group of gentlemen and officers.
There is no clue of who these might be, but possibly
these are the designers and producers of the vehicle?
Not all Braats were the same however. A small number had a different bonnet: the sides or
"cheeks" of the bonnet are bigger. We do not know as yet the reason for this. A possible
explanation might be that a different chassis was used. I will call this variant the Braat second
series for the moment.
This picture portrays a typical Anti-aircraft Braat after1945 (the Dutch forces fighting the
Indonesian Independence War painted Dutch flags on their armour as the enemy used many
similar vehicles). This vehicle type, the airfield defence version, was extremely heavily armed: one
.50 water-cooled Colt-Browning heavy machine gun and 4 Vickers 6,5 or 7,7 mm medium machine
This picture (for the month of May 2005) was part of a Japanese
paratrooper's photo-album recently auctioned on the internet. It shows a Braat
second series Overvalwagen, captured on the N.E.I. island of Timor. The
picture is proof of the fact that this second series (see the Army
Overvalwagens chapter on this site) was produced in 1941-42 period and not
after 1945 as has been suggested.
A large number of second series Braat on a field. The picture comes from an
article by a Marine officer and may depict Braats on delivery in Surabaya. Though
the quality is meagre, one can easily distinguish the armoured wheelcabs fitted
both rear and front (courtesy Mariniersmuseum Rotterdam).
This railway conversion is interesting: the Panser rel V16 (litterally:
rail armour) it is called in Bahasa Indonesia. Two Braats of the second
series have been connected back to back to form a huge 8-wheel
armoured railway draisine. Extra armour has been placed below the
vehicle and on top of the sides and a large cover has been placed on
top. Huge radiator grilles are added as well.
On the right side an antenna is visible.
This vehicle can be found in Bandung. Picture from Wheels and
Another picture of the same vehicle. Note the huge side door or hatch in
the centre of the draisine.
The rear ends of the vehicles must have been cut off before getting
welded together. The interesting question is: wodunnit? The Japanese
most likely, since they converted a lot of captured material into railway
patrolling vehicles, like Ford Jeeps etc.
|The Braat chassis mystery
The first batch of Braats were built on 4x2 Chevrolet Cab Over Engine chassis. No hard evidence of types and
model year exist at this point. There are indications that the model used may have been civilian "heavy duty"
1939 Chevrolet 4x2 VF (right-hand-drive) or 1940 Chevrolet 4x2 WE (rhd) imported through General Motors
Tandjong Priok. Similar vehicles have been spotted at GM's facilities (see picture below).
There are however persistent indications that at least some of the Overvalwagens were built on 4x4 chassis
(GMC, Ford/Marmon-Herrington and other makers come to mind then). If so, that would have made them ideal
armoured troop carriers and internal security vehicles. So far there is no definite proof of such 1941/42 4x4
After 1945, during the Indonesian Independence War, many armoured vehicles were recovered and possibly
some Braats were converted at that stage to 4x4 by changing the chassis.This may have fed the confusion on
the origin of the vehicles' chassis.
The picture below is from Bandjir, a publication on the VAC (N.E.I. Women's Drivers Corps) on Java in
1941-42. It shows the ladies in front of a 1939 or 1940 Chevrolet COE chassis/cab at GM facilities. The top
picture shows a similar (but left-hand-drive) Chevrolet 1939 VH on a French website (Trombinoscar).
Marc Koelich provide photo reports on both the Pansarrels: firstly the one in Jakarta, then the "double-Braat" in Bandung. Enjoy and
thank you Marc!
Lastly, Marc Koelich found a picture showing a train puffing
through Western-Java mountains.
In front of the engines there are several flatcars (used to
absorb explosions caused by mines and other explosive
devices) and no less than two rail-Braats!