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Re: Another perception

December 15 2010 at 8:48 PM
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Arnout  (no login)

Response to Another perception


Not entirely, true.

The Helfrich Memoirs off course are one-sided and served a certain purpose. I think nobody disagrees with that, now some 60 years later. Certainly, he was vain but not to the extent that he would jeopardize the fleet.

First of, Helfrich was not sub-ordinate to Ten Poorten, who worked for the GG and thus for Ministry of Colonies. No RNN commander ever has or could be. If fact he was only nominally subordinate to the GG. The RNN was detached to the NEI but was organizationally part to the Minister of the Navy in The Hague/London. In the Netherlands, the navy is the senior service, which the army and airforce never have liked.

Second, during ABDA Helfrich had initially no function within that organization. He was in that sense free to come and go in the presence of the GG. The RNN was organically under Hart, the land forces under Ten Poorten. Later Hart was forced to turn over ABDAFLOAT to Helfrich.

Inter department strive and friction is very common. The ABDA air arm was in control of Helfrich's airplanes. He had no control over them when he needed them most. Its all well to have glen martins and fighters overhead, but they werent trained to work with the fleet and probably could see the difference between a cruiser and a scow. The communication lines were so bad that all messages from the navy would have to be relayed to Bandung and then to the airplanes, and then back to Bandung to Surabaya using land lines.

Van Oyen on the other hand later was subordinate to Helfrich. Helfrich was the Commander in Chief East, which included the Navy and the KNIL remnants. In line with the time, position and the status of Helfrich, the two KNIL generals seem to be complaining about their boss.

In my view both these generals, being colonial air force, were no different than their navy cousins, in trying to shift the blame also.

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  • another perception - Peter Boer on Dec 16, 2010, 10:49 AM
  • Another perception - Peter Boer on Dec 16, 2010, 11:10 AM
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