Tagarchief: Airborne

Do you know what a SLOC is?

Well it stands for Sea Lines of Communications (SLOC) and it’s more important than you may think. in this age of digital worldwide web, we (and our governments) seem to have forgotten how we get our stuff and all the things we need to live from A to B. Yes you may order your things on Internet, through Ebay, Amazon or some fancy Chinese webstores. But the next thing will be to ship it from A(sia) to B (or Europe:) ofcourse most of these goods come to Europe through our Dutch Main port of Rotterdam. Yes im proud of that.

Well just see and observe this visualization of the world’s shipping routes

“Just remember what DutchForce21 is all about. A maritime focus to (Dutch) armed forces, just because this is the reality.”

About 11 billion tons of stuff gets carried around the world every year by large ships. Clothes, flat-screen TVs, grain, cars, oil — transporting these goods from port to port is what makes the global economy go ‘round.

And now there’s a great way to visualize this entire process, through this stunning interactive map from the UCL Energy Institute

Some previous articles:


Nederlandse toevoeging:

Iedereen die dit fimpje ziet, begrijpt hopelijk direct waarom Dutchforce21 de krijgsmacht een maritieme focus wil geven! En ook waarom dit op een expeditionaire manier zal moeten… en dus de JSF totaal ongeschikt is!!

Lees de serie:




Para-Commando Battalion 101th Regiment Stoottroepen Prince Bernard

This blog is a translated and rewritten piece. Because the current situation of the downing of the MH17 flight of Malaysian Airlines and the killing of 193  shows a big weakness of the European Union, and especially the Dutch government, to react.  For days now, almost 298 people lay dead in a very hot place while the Pro-Russian separatists (or do I need to say terrorists?) still refusing to cooperate and even sabotage a good and honest study of the site to explore what happened. These circumstances highlight the necessity to have a (real) quick reaction alert capability for the (Dutch) government. I write this blog with all due respect to the casualties and the families and friends of those who died. But I think it’s necessary to point out that the Dutch government needs a capability like this now and in the future. I also think the current units won’t be able to do this. Not on a short notice and not as an independent nation. We will need US transport, Intel and could maybe deliver some Air-mobile or Marines in support of a US lead operation. In my opinion it could be possible to form and regroup our Light Infantry into a more efficient grouping. We also can buy more air transport capable aircraft and improve European Cooperation for Quick Reaction response units.

Dutch Armed forces need a dedicated paratrooper capability
Of course the activation of such a capability should be done in cooperation and informing Ukrainian and allied nations like US, Germany, Poland (because such a unit should be deployed through their airspaces). Now we see separatists removing bodies and wreckage, we see them looting suitcases and even bodies. We hear of journalists who see it, as eyewitnesses, but the specialists aren’t able to visit the crash site because the separatists won’t allow it. They even took the black boxes away from the crash site now in the hands of one of the separatist groups. The total crash site is useless to ever know what happened really. The reason could be the Russians and separatist want to remove al real proof of what happened. So this is why the Dutch Armed forces need a real fast and quick response unit. The best way is to make it a real paratrooper battalion. I named it the 101th Para commando Battalion.


The Belgian way
In the first blog I wrote about good examples currently operational. The Dutch can look and learn from the French, British and even Belgian examples. I wrote that currently even the Belgian armed forces have existing capability today because they have both the transport aircraft (C130 Hercules[i]) and the right specialized and highly qualified and experienced units: the former Belgian Para Commando Brigade has been disbanded and was reformed into a Light Brigade. It has one “normal” 12 light infantry battalion (mechanized Piranha IFV equipped) but also two Para trooper trained battalions at its disposal: the 2nd Commando battalion (French speaking)  and the 3th battalion parachutists (Dutch speaking)  and an special paratrooper reconnaissance unit.

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Mali is a good example of such an operation with quick deployment over relatively great distances. If there need to be a quick response the paratrooper unit is the only one  really suited for the job. A paratrooper unit is especially well suited and equipped for operations like:

  • Conducting evacuation operations of European nationals (NEO non-combatant evacuation operation)
  • Securing high value area/site for political / national reasons
  • Provide support to the Special Forces (KCT
  • Provide support to other maneuver units of the land component
  • Defend the national territory (strategic reserve> anywhere very quickly deployable)
  • Fight terrorism
  • Participate in operations of the reactionforces of the European Union (EU Battle Group)
  • Provide troops for the NATO Response Force (NRF: NATO Response Force)
  • Participate in peacekeeping operations



Securing high value sites over long distance
An operation like I suggest in Eastern Ukraine is something in between a evacuation operation from a foreign country and a support mission of Special Operation forces. Because we can predict the reaction of the Ukrainian government, and somehow the Russian government.. they won’t fight the Dutch soldiers, but what will the un (badly) controlled militia groups of the separatists do? Will they give in their arms, or leave the place peacefully?


What the Dutch Government now shows is total passive behaviour, yes we can call on President Putin to support a quick solution,. We can be need and friendly but we now show to the world the Dutch government will not (and cannot) protect its citizens and do a lot more than seeking support for a solution. Instead of taking the initiative in our own hands.

Why we need paratroopers
If we look at the potential tasks and uses of  why the Dutch Armed forces should need a paratrooper unit I referred to the French initial operations in Mali. I ended with a list of possible tasks for the 101th Para-Commando Battalion. Having a paratrooper option within the toolbox gives a government a possibility to act:

  • with great persistence,
  • show of force,
  • speed,
  • at low cost,


  • large logistical footprints,
  • Host Nation Support.

This will also give the Dutch people a feeling of safety. Knowing that you will be repatriated as soon as possible by trusted and capable forces. And I expect this to be more necessary in future. Because the number of conflicts will grow. Also within the Mediterranean area.

Current situation 
Currently the Dutch Armed forces have certain paratrooper capable units. But hey are fragmentally present within different components. Special Forces from both Navy and Army use this capacity. Also included are some of the Airmobile and Marine Battalions. On average one company within each battalion is paratrooper trained. The big problem here, in my opinion, is that this capability is neglected. It is something they do once in a while besides their normal way of operation. They aren’t specialized paratroopers. Dutchforce21 wants to change this with a new concept of more specialized light infantry units. In fact, the units are less complex and more specialized with two specializations either primary Amphibious or airmobile (helicopter). Within the new concept of organization there will be a small unit within the other Light infantry battalions that will stay paratrooper deployable: the scout platoon will be serving the operational deployment of the manoeuvre units.

  • 2x Marines Battalion: Priority> Amphibious + Cross Training airmobile / helicopter operations (secondary role)
  • 2x Marines Battalion: Priority> Airmobile + Cross Training amphibious operations (secondary role)

The 5th battalion in the current organization an airmobile battalion is to be transformed into a fully Para-Commando Battalion The reorganized battalion carries the  name: Para-Commando Battalion 101th Regiment Stoottroepen[ii] Prince Bernard.


  • Cooperation with Belgian paratroopers Light brigade
  • Fulfilling the most appropriate role for Rapid Reaction Elements that can be deployed at very short notice;
  • Centralization of paratroopers capacity of the light infantry. The current organization where both Marines and Air Mobile airdrop operations “there” to do will be redirected towards a specialization for the Para commando battalion. (With the other battalions remains only Para capacity exist for the reconnaissance platoons.
  • Specialization in the area of ​​evacuation operations. This unit provides the ability to act over long distances. With great speed (Think of Mali, evacuate nationals from crisis etc
  • Training can be accommodated by the Belgian specialists or other European partners, we don’t need to build a totally new educational organization for it.
  • Possible to form an European system of cooperation to share responsibility to keep the Rapid Reaction role (on short notice) together. I mean, with such a system we can share responsibility for NEO operations of European nationals. For example Each country can take a “watch” for a certain period of time (let’s say a month). This means that this country will need to intervene if necessary, besides the first watch, another country could have some reserve units available. Countries can also share the transport aircraft fleets like they already do within the European Air Transport Command based in Eindhoven.

DutchForce21 has a modular approach in mind also for organizing and equipping military units. The Rapid Reaction Element and the Rapid Reaction Battlegroup form the baseline within the concept to base the number of units which the Dutch Government should have available within the active unit generation system, remember behind every deployable ready unit there will be units with different status[iii].The armed forces should at least have the capacity to offer the following basic elements:

Rapid Reaction Element
1x Rapid Reaction Element available within 48 hours (This is a unit of a company+ size or a equivalent supplemented with relevant subunits. Transported by air or naval vessel.

  • Whether a company of the Para commando battalion (4 companies total available)
  • Whether a company of the designated Marine / Airmobile Light Infantry Battalion (total of 16 companies available
  • Whether a company of a Mechanized Infantry Battalion designated (a total of 16 companies of available.
  • A combination of the above units according to operational necessity, availability.

Rapid Reaction Battlegroup
Such a Battlegroup must be available within 5 days. The increased size of such a battlegroup means there will be need of much larger logistical support. DutchForce21 concept will make it possible to operate such a unit independently but also depends on EU/NATO support in certain areas. Like Air transport for example.

  • This is a unit of a full Infantry battalion supplemented with relevant subunits.
  • Built around one of the 9 Maneuver Battalions of the CLAS
  • Transported by Amphibious transports and / or possibly through the air.
  • This unit is headed by a Joint Force Commander and has integrated command and control, land, air and logistical components.

Orbat of the Paracommando battaljon
101st Regiment Stoottroepen (PARA) This pdf is a possible variant of the orbat which I have in mind for the time being under DutchForce21. It is of course possible to simplify this and make it identical to the Belgian Para-Commando’s, for example but in that case we also would need two battalions to meet the four stroke which for me is a basic requirement!

This battaljon will be capable to generate independent performed operations from the platoon level to Company Group or as a full  Battle Group (full battalion).The battalion consists of a total of 771 men divided among:

  • Command, control and ISTAR Company with 187man. This company groups all C3I2, ISTAR, Combat Support in depth;
  • 4x Paratroopers Companies each 105 men divided over a company staff, and 3 Para PL and a CS pl.;
  • Combat Support Services (CSS) Company with 164 men divided over a company staff, Logistics-, Transport-, Repair Services- and a  Medical Platoon etc.

This battalion is intended to be independently operational deployed for at least 15 days. For longer duration additional units must be added.  The support units will be large enough to support the operations of independently deployed paratrooper companies (they are the first choice for the Rapid Reaction Element).

Combat power and capability
This battalion has the following combat power.

  • 16x Sniper rifles (8 in recce PL, rest divided between Para Cie);
  • 2x SR-UAV sections Recce PL
  • 8x 4 × 4 with LSV with (Lahat with 8km)
  • 9x 81mm Mortar with JFC support sections
  • 4x Jumper Missile System range 50km)
  • Combat engineers PL, with engineers, EOD and sappers etc.
  • 24x Spike MR (range 2.5 km) Para Cie / CSPL
  • 24x ABM weapon eg 25of 40mm GL. Para Cie / CSPL
  • 16x 60mm Mortar Para Cie / CSPL
  • 24x JFires / LTDS systems (Rattler)
  • SHORAD system with 3 × 2 SWP. (Stinger / Red Sky combi)
  • 12x Para Platoons = 36 GWGP (gun groups) = 72 sections

There are summarized above, a number of things that are new and have not yet been incorporated within the current organization. Not everything is necessary to deliver operational units, but it would be ideal. I will explain some of the “new” weapons and their capabilities in short:

  • SR-UAV (Short Range UAV that are remote controlled drones, in a lightweight design.
  • LSV with Lahat (Light Strike Vehicle) with Lahat launcher (these are the simple lightweight cell vehicles only fitted with Lahat launcher with four fire-made missiles. Illustrating below the LSV equipped to HAULING. No deployable weapons. Gill / Spike MR Then a RAM MK3 dual quad launchers and a detail shot of a single quad launcher.’s Lancher + 4 Lahat missiles weigh only 75kg.

LAHAt Launcher 2quad LSV_Gill_ArmyRecognition_Netherlands_01

  • Jumper Missile This system is still in the development stage so it will not yet be available. Nor is natural to consider that the functionality can be picked up by other means. However, such a system with range of 50km seems a necessity.
  • Grenade launchers with ABM (Air Burst Munitions) available in 25mm and 40mm. The latter is used in the Netherlands. Known to occur with smart ABM ammunition.
  • J-Fires LTDS (Joint Fires Laser Target Designation Systems ) These systems are now even in extremely lightweight version: handheld.
  • Shorad System To give this unit a lightweight integrated air defense capability has been sought to be as light as possible but sophisticated system. Firing from the shoulder Stingers are of course the most lightweight option, but it is useful if there is a fire control and radar + sensor system can be. linked Such as the RedSkyII IMI .

RedSkyII system with StingerELM-2026B



[i] The Belgian Air Component operates 11 C130 Hercules aircraft, which will be replaced by 7 A400M military transports from Airbus.

[ii] The Famous Dutch Regiment Stoottroepen is originally formed around the Dutch Second Worldwar Resistance groups.

[iii] Take an example of the US  Army Force Generation system If you need at least one unit ready for deployment, You will also need one or two units training for readiness, one unit will be reset. And one unit will actualy be on deployment. So the basic number will be 4 (Four). This system is applicable on both larger and smaller formations, on Naval ships and fighter aircraft/flights.

101e Paracommandobataljon Regiment Stoottroepen Prins Bernard

Het vorige blog eindigde met een opsomming van mogelijke taken voor het 101e Paracommandobataljon. Zoals uit het voorbeeld van Mali blijkt is de inzet van parachutisten heel erg nuttig bij operaties waarbij snel en op korte termijn resultaten geboekt moeten worden of doelen veiliggesteld:

  • Deelnemen aan vredeshandhavingsoperaties
  • Het nationale grondgebied verdedigen (strategische reserve > overal heel snel inzetbaar)
  • Terrorisme bestrijden
  • Deelnemen aan operaties van de reactiemacht van de Europese Unie (EU Battle Group)
  • Troepen leveren voor de snelle reactiemacht van de NAVO (NRF: NATO Response Force)
  • Evacuatieoperaties uitvoeren van Europese onderdanen (NEO: non-combattant evacuation operation)
  • Steun leveren aan de special forces (KCT
  • Steun leveren aan andere manoeuvre eenheden van de landcomponent

Een nog bredere inzet mogelijk!
Maar het DutchForce21 staat voor een veelzijdige krijgsmacht met een zo breed mogelijke toolbox. Zoals bekend heeft DutchForce21 een maritieme oriëntatie. Het veiligstellen van Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) en de eerder genoemde Chokepoints zijn een andere belangrijke reden voor het inrichten van een paracommandobataljon.


DutchForce21 gaat er namelijk van uit dat de krijgsmacht ingezet moet kunnen worden om belangen van Nederland wereldwijd te behartigen. Een vrije doorvaart van koopvaardijschepen is dan ook van het grootste belang. Crisis en rampen van wat voor soort en omvang dan ook kunnen effect hebben op de toevoer van grondstoffen en brandstoffen. Bij het minste of geringste kunnen toevoer van onderdelen, grondstoffen en brandstoffen naar ons land – en via ons land heel Europa – stoken. En dit betekend een regelrechte maatschappelijke en economische ramp. Daar hoeft helemaal niet zo gek veel voor te gebeuren…


Marineschepen zijn dan het uitgerekende  instrument om scheepvaartroutes te beveiligen. De effectiviteit van schepen kan echter nog groter worden als er mogelijkheden zijn om bijvoorbeeld vanaf steunpunten vanaf het land (bij gebrek aan vliegdekschepen) operaties uit te voeren met maritieme patrouillevliegtuigen en helikopters. Ook de jachtvliegtuigen van het luchtcomponent zijn zoals gezegd operationeel inzetbaar van kleine (minimaal) voorbereide Forward Operating Bases.

In het kort een visuele weergave van hoe dit er uit kan zien:

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De Parachutisten zijn benodigd om een gebied (tijdelijk) in te nemen het te beveiligen in afwachting van de transport, gevechts- en Maritieme Patrouillevliegtuigen. Terug naar de Nederlandse realiteit!

Lees verder

Goed voorbeeld doet goed volgen: Paracommando’s

Als we aan de Belgische strijdkrachten denken dan denken we vrijwel automatisch aan de Belgische Para commando’s.


Deze roemruchte eenheden zijn in vele operationele missies ingezet en hebben een geduchte reputatie opgebouwd. In Nederland hebben we niet een vergelijkbare capaciteit. Zowel mariniers als luchtmobiele brigade hebben gedeeltelijk parachuteerbare eenheden en mogelijkheden voor vervoer dmv helikopters maar een gespecialiseerde eenheid zoals de Paracommando’s heeft de Nederlandse krijgsmacht niet. Zoals eerder geschreven in de blog over de Landstrijdkrachten Heeft DutchForce21 een paracommando bataljon in de sterkte opgenomen. In dit blog zal ik proberen te verduidelijken waarom ik denk dat dit een goede en nuttige versterking is van de toolbox.


 On January 28, about two hundred legionnaires of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP – 2e Régiment étranger de parachutistes) jumped north of Timbuktu, the ancient trading city in Mali and an important point controlled by Islamist insurgents.


Franse parachutisten van het Vreemdelingenlegioen sprongen boven Timbuktu om deze historische en belangrijke stad veilig te stellen. Tegelijkertijd zijn andere eenheden op het land ingezet om over land Timbuktu te bereiken en daarmee de verbindingsweg vrij te maken. De Fransen gebruikten voor het transport 2 hercullesen en 3 C-160 Transall toestellen.

Wie denkt dat para operaties dus alleen voorbehouden zijn aan Special Forces (bijv. KCT) of zelfs denkt dat para- operaties volledig achterhaald zijn hebben het compleet mis. Natuurlijk kent de geschiedenis ook para operaties die zijn mislukt iedereen kent vast de Slag om Arnhem. Dit wil niet zeggen dat de inzet en het in stand houden van gespecialiseerd paracommando eenheden een overbodige luxe is. Deze tak van sport zou overigens binnen de EU en NAVO zeer worden gewaardeerd en een belangrijke toevoeging van niche capaciteiten zijn. Diverse Europese landen hebben in hun drang naar bezuinigingen en kosten besparingen ook gesneden in het aantal capabele en beschikbare parachutisten eenheden. De Britten spannen hierin de kroon.

The name says it all: For more than 70 years the soldiers of Britain’s Parachute Regiment have been prepared to risk their all by dropping into the toughest of war zones. But now cost cutting means the Paras will no longer be trained to use their chutes, the Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The regiment, whose most famous sortie during the Second World War was immortalised in the film A Bridge Too Far, has been targeted by Ministry of Defence accountants keen to reduce budgets.

Until now, all recruits joining the 1,500-strong regiment have undergone intensive parachute training, including a requirement to complete eight jumps before being considered ready for battle. Soldiers have had to do at least two refresher jumps each year of their service to ensure that they remain fully trained for drops behind enemy lines.


Dit is overigens niet de eerste bezuinigingsmaatregel die deze capaciteit treft. Tot 1999 was er nog een Britse 5th Airborne brigade. Een volledig parachuteerbare eenheid (in feite vergelijkbaar met de Belgische Paracommando Brigade of de Franse 11e Brigade Parachutistes. Overigens, ook de Belgische capaciteit is verminderd van 3 volledig parachuteerbare bataljons tot twee.) Op zich is het verminderen van aantallen bataljons – tot een bepaalde ondergrens – niet heel erg. DutchForce21 begrijpt dat een land zuinig met het beschikbare budget om dient te gaan. Het beschikbaar hebben van bijvoorbeeld een 82e en 101e Airborne divisie is alleen maar weggelegd voor de Verenigde Staten.

Ook zullen grootschalige operaties waarbij eenheden groter dan een bataljon, naar verwachting, niet of nauwelijks meer voorkomen. Operaties met eenheden ter grote van een compagnie plus ondersteuning is zoals uit Mali blijkt heel erg goed mogelijk, en heel erg effectief.

764px-Waves_of_paratroops_land_in_Holland (Market Garden / NL)

Voorbeelden van mogelijke inzet
Zoals uit het voorbeeld van Mali blijkt is de inzet van parachutisten heel erg nuttig bij operaties waarbij snel en op korte termijn resultaten geboekt moeten worden of doelen veilig gesteld.

Deelnemen aan:

    • vredeshandhavingsoperaties;
    • Het nationale grondgebied verdedigen (tactische reserve);
    • Terrorisme bestrijden;
    • Deelnemen aan operaties van de reactiemacht van de Europese Unie (EU Battle Group);
    • Troepen leveren voor de snelle reactiemacht van de NAVO (NRF: NATO Response Force);
    • Evacuatieoperaties uitvoeren van Europese onderdanen (NEO: non-combattant evacuation operation);
    • Steun leveren aan de special forces (KCT);
    • Steun leveren aan andere manoeuvre eenheden van de landcomponent.

In het volgende deel zal ik de plannen voor het Nederlandse Paracommandobataljon behandelen.