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National Territorial Command
Nationaal Territoriaal Commando (NTC)

Part I | Part II | Part III | Operational Role | National Reserve Corps


Unit Location Peace Strength War Strength
Staff and Staff Company
National Territorial Command
Gouda 56/48/26/138 (268) 113/88/219/102 (522)
North Holland Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Amsterdam 25/100/279/215 (619) 139/308/1820/215 (2482)
South Holland Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Den Haag 18/73/152/178 (421) 211/565/3487/178 (4441)
Utrecht Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Utrecht 24/103/192/260 (579) 89/227/1097/252 (1665)
Zeeland Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Middelburg 5/14/12/32 (63) 78/135/792/31 (1036)
Gelderland Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Arnhem 63/309/473/705 (1550) 158/483/2237/668 (3546)
Overijssel Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Deventer 21/82/144/136 (383) 98/195/1079/133 (1505)
North Brabant Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Vught 62/284/669/649 (1664) 230/506/2408/633 (3777)
Limburg Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command Maastricht 12/47/43/115 (217) 101/230/1273/111 (1715)
Friesland Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command –   46/86/458/3 (593)
Groningen Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command –   54/95/512/20 (681)
Drenthe Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command –   63/107/512/125 (807)
Northern Regional Military Command [a] Assen 17/69/127/151 (364) –  


a. On mobilisation Northern Regional Military Command, encompassing the Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe provinces in peacetime, would become Drenthe Provincial Military Command/Garrison Command.1

Part I | Part II | Part III | Operational Role | National Reserve Corps

460 Gnggp812 Tgp103 Pelvm102 Pelvm101 Pelvm304 Infbrig305 Cotrbat327 Infbevbat323 Infbevbat302 Infbrig

Unit Main Equipment Location Peace Strength War Strength
323 Security Infantry Battalion [a]   44/126/680/2 (852)
327 Security Infantry Battalion [b]   38/113/720/2 (873)
302 Infantry Brigade   225/673/3414/12 (4324)
304 Infantry Brigade   225/673/3414/12 (4324)
305 Commando Battalion [c]   20/53/370 (443)
101 Quadruple Anti-Aircraft Machinegun Platoon [d] M55 Quad 1/17/69 (87)
102 Quadruple Anti-Aircraft Machinegun Platoon [d] M55 Quad 1/17/69 (87)
103 Quadruple Anti-Aircraft Machinegun Platoon [d] M55 Quad  1/17/69 (87)
460 Engineer Combat Group   199/496/2917/8 (3620)
812 Transport Group   Gouda 19/47/322/69 (457) 255/615/3517/75 (4462)

a. On NATO Simple Alert under operational control of Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe (CINCENT) and earmarked to secure Headquarters Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT),2 which had its wartime location in a hill in the Eifel.3 Filled by mobilisable personnel that had fulfilled their active-duty period in 11 Armoured Infantry Battalion up to eight and a half years prior to mobilisation.4
b. Earmarked to secure Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.2 Filled by mobilisable personnel that had fulfilled their active-duty period in 41 Armoured Infantry Battalion up to eight and a half years prior to mobilisation.4
c. The operational role of 305 Commando Battalion was to provide military assistance, in particular in keeping open the lines of communications (LOCs); to locate, bind and neutralise enemy reconnaissance and sabotage units; and to serve as a mobile general reserve for National Territorial Commander. Missions might include direct action (DA) against enemy airborne or seaborne elements and securing, destroying or retaking vital objects. On mobilisation the battalion would be deployed in the west of the country, as the most important objects were located there; initially it would disperse over several locations to enable a quick first response. The battalion was filled by Commando Corps cadre and mobilisable personnel that had fulfilled their active-duty period in 104 Observation and Reconnaissance Company up to eight and a half years prior to mobilisation. The 'classic' commando role was partly covered by their training with 104 Company and partly by a four-week refresher training prior to their assignment to the battalion.4 5 
d Filled by personnel from the general pool of mobilisable reserves (vrij-indeelbaar bestand) that had fulfilled their active-duty period in relevant functions up to eight and a half years prior to mobilisation,4 after a refresher/instruction training as their had been no active-duty units of this type since 1978. These three platoons formed the entire anti-aircraft capability available to National Territorial Commander. In wartime their initial mission would be to protect the west-east supply lines in the IJssel-Maas area and to counter any enemy airborne operations there. They might also be placed under command of the infantry brigades or other territorial subcommands, as needed.6   

Part I | Part II | Part III | Operational Role | National Reserve Corps

StKMKPOMS MngtEOCKLCo HHONSite VrzSite TaSite Eyg301 Vzgco302 Vzgco303 VzgcoSite CvdnSite Bru402 Krtopslverstrgp

Unit Location Peace Strength War Strength
301 Service Support Command [a] Teuge 12/98/2/446 (558) 7/43/6/153 (209)
302 Service Support Command [a] Breda 15/139/2/575 (731) 11/64/5/303 (383)
303 Service Support Command [a] Gouda 9/96/2/360 (467) 6/32/5/162 (205)
Refresher Training Command [b] Ossendrecht 12/28/64/22 (126)
Royal Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Command [c] Culemborg 6/39/8/10 (63) 4/33/8/10 (55)
402 Map Storage and Distribution Group [d] De Bilt -/3/4/3 (10) -/3/6/3 (12)
POMS Management [e]
Staff Coevorden -/-/-/65 (65) ?
Site Brunssum  Brunssum ? ?
Site Coevorden Coevorden ? ?
Site Eygelshoven Eygelshoven ? ?
Site Ter Apel Ter Apel ? ?
Site Vriezenveen Vriezenveen ? ?
Royal Military Band Den Haag 3/68/24/1 (96) 3/68/24/1 (96)
National Territorial Command Peace Strength: 379/1647/2545/5465 (10036)13
National Territorial Command War Strength: 2423/6071/31184/3211 (42889)13

a. The three service support commands were responsible for control and management, including first and second echelon maintenance, of materiel stored in mobilisation complexes and other facilities. Each of the three commands operated five to six control and management regions.7
b. On average Refresher Training Command called up fifty-four companies each year, which amounted to ± eight thousand reservists. In general refresher training lasted three to four weeks for combat units and about two weeks for some of the support units. Restrictions in budget, equipment and the availability of professional cadre meant that field training, conducted up to battalion level, was often limited and dependent on improvisation. There was not enough capacity to call up every mobilisable unit every six years as was originally intended, so choices had to be made. The emphasis was on mobilisable staffs and staff companies, which often joined command post exercises (CPX) of 1 (NL) Corps formations.8
c. In the late 1980s the Royal Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Command (EOCKL) each year disposed of some 10,000 shells, 250 missiles, 30,000 bullets, 200 bombs and five V1 rockets remaining from World War II.9 In wartime EOCKL was expected to be confronted with explosives deployed by enemy special forces teams (Spetsnaz) aiming to sabotage the Lines of Communications or to eliminate key civilian or military leaders. In the early 1980s exercises proved that EOCKL's wartime organisation was much too small for this role, but budgetary constraints meant that no substantial improvements were made.10
d. Under functional command of Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Stored and distributed military maps for the armed forces, the central organisation of the Ministry of Defence, and NATO partners. Distribution to 1 (NL) Corps was handled by 401 Map Distribution Platoon.11
e. The five Pre-positioned Organizational Materiel Storage (POMS) sites on Netherlands territory contained the materiel of one and one third US Army armored division (Division Set) as part of the POMCUS concept (Preposition of Materiel Configured in Unit Sets); see NATO Commands, Northern Army Group. Peacetime management was executed by a Dutch civilian staff, which appears to have been unusual within the POMCUS concept. Dutch management and personnel at the sites were responsible for storage, maintenance and user-readiness of materiel; all in all ± fourteen hundred Dutch civilian personnel were employed. In addition there were ± twenty US Army personnel at each site, probably from US Army Combat Equipment Group Europe (CEGE) under whose administrative control the sites fell. It would appear that the sites held materiel of 1 (US) Cavalry Division and 5 (US) Infantry Division (Mechanized).12 13

Operational Role 14

National Territorial Command was charged with the preparation and execution of the following tasks:
  • Territorial security of the Netherlands. In peacetime this was restricted to securing Royal Army property and installations. On mobilisation National Territorial Command would mobilise two infantry brigades, three security infantry battalions, one commando battalion and forty-six security infantry companies, in addition to eight active-duty security infantry companies and one hundred and forty-three platoons of the National Reserve Corps (NATRES) that would be available on short notice to safeguard the mobilisation and to carry out subsequent security-related missions. Twenty provisional security platoons would also be available on short notice to secure the mobilisation process. National Territorial Commander retained overall responsibility but local implementation was generally delegated to the Provincial Military Commanders/Garrison Commanders who were initially responsible for mobilisation preparations, security missions, and the recruitment and training of NATRES units under their command. (See Part I and II)
  • Mobilisation of the Royal Army (ordered by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army). Given the fact that nearly seventy percent of the Royal Army's wartime personnel strength was mobilisable this task was as complicated as it was vital for the Dutch contribution to NATO's Central Front. National Territorial Command handled or facilitated mobilisation-related matters such as the assignment of personnel through its intricate unit filling and reserve system; logistical support, including the maintenance and security of fifty-one mobilisation complexes, some ten other storage complexes, and the materiel therein; and refresher training courses conducted under the auspices of Refresher Training Command. (See Part III)
  • Logistical support for the Royal Army and for NATO reinforcements in the Netherlands (Host Nation Support). After France left the NATO integrated military structure in 1966 the Communications Zone of Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) had in effect been reduced to the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, which made Host Nation Support and keeping open the Lines of Communications in these countries vital for the sustainment of the Central Front. National Territorial Command maintained five US Army Pre-positioned Organizational Materiel Storage (POMS) sites in the Netherlands. (See Part II and III)
  • Road transport and military traffic control within the Netherlands, also for NATO reinforcements (Host Nation Support). (See Part II) 
  • Coordination of civil-military activities; including preparations for and implementation of Martial Law (Staat van Beleg) insofar not exercised by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; coordination between civil and military authorities at national, provincial and local levels; cooperation with (semi-)governmental agencies and institutions such as the National Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen), the national postal, telegraph, and telephone service (PTT), Rijkswaterstaat, electricity companies, et cetera; requisitioning of civilian vehicles by pre-arranged agreements; providing military assistance to civilian communities, and refugee settlement.
  • Explosive ordnance disposal. (See Part III)
  • Other administrative tasks relating to billeting, training areas and firing ranges<

National Reserve Corps

The National Reserve Corps (Korps Nationale Reserve), or National Reserve (NATRES) for short, was a home guard force composed of part-time volunteer reservists, all of whom had seen military service but did not occupy functions in regular mobilisable units.16 Prior to, during and after mobilisation NATRES units would guard important objects and secure relatively small areas in their locality. Potentially the most crucial part of their mission was safeguarding the mobilisation itself, for apart from the eight active-duty security infantry companies they were, in the first delicate stages, the only security force available. The volunteer reservists would be called up in the warning phase preceding actual mobilisation (likely: NATO Military Vigilance), and with their personal equipment and weapons kept at home they were able to deploy to their designated locations within a few hours. In the first stages there were more than three hundred objects that would need to be secured immediately: mobilisation complexes, mobilisation bureaus, command posts, ammunition storage complexes, telecommunication centres, rail yards, wharfs, and vulnerable points in the roads and railroads required for the deployment of 1 (NL) Corps to West Germany.
Training was limited, mostly due to budgetary constraints, but also because of inefficiencies in the training programme. Though morale and efforts were generally high, NATRES officers in 1986 concluded that operational readiness was, all in all, questionable. Volunteer reservists were obliged to participate in training and field exercises between fifty and one hundred hours per year. In addition there was a mandatory five-day exercise every four years. Twice a year there was a (non-mandatory) twenty-five-hour exercise, and company staffs were expected to exercise at least that often. During these and other exercises NATRES units generally performed well in relatively simple security missions. The platoons were supposed to be able to handle more complex missions such as company-level operations and area security, but operational plans primarily assigned them to static guard and object-security duties, with area security and mobile-reserve missions mostly left to the regulars of the (mobilisable) security infantry companies.17
Because of the voluntary nature of NATRES, units were often understrength. The personnel strengths given on this website are merely authorised strengths. In 1981 there was a general shortage of 15.4 percent, but the lack of reserve officers was much more serious: 34 percent. In 1984 this shortage had risen to no less than 41 percent: after a successful recruitment campaign twenty-two new platoons and nineteen company staffs were formed between 1983 and 1988, but finding able platoon and (deputy) company commanders remained problematic. The National Reserve Corps was allowed to grow, but mainly because it was a low cost/no cost way to beef up territorial security, which was deemed necessary because of the (perceived) threat of enemy interdiction and sabotage actions (e.g. Spetsnaz). In 1988 the overall strength of NATRES was about 4.500 men.18 <

National Territorial Command: subcommands and major units, 1985


1. NIMH 430, inv. nr. 54 (Slagorde KL stand 1 juli 1985), Blad K. Hoffenaar en Schoenmaker, Met de blik, 299, 301.
2. NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 1248, Realisatie NTC d.d. 20 januari 1975. See also De Jong en Hoffenaar, Op herhaling, 87 and Hoffenaar en Schoenmaker, op. cit., 324, 326.
3. Felius, Einde Oefening, 210. In peacetime Headquarters AFCENT was located in Brunssum. Ibid. 
4. NIMH 205A/10, Aflossing van mobilisabele eenheden en -aanvullingen d.d. 27 mei 1980. Ibid., d.d. 11 november 1983.
5. NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 1371 (reorganisatie 305 Commandotroepenbataljon, 1975-1976). Felius, Einde Oefening, 208. Krijger en Elands, Commandotroepen, 72, 102. Line of communications: "A route, either land, water, and/or air, which connects an operating military force with a base of operations and along which supplies and military forces move." US Department of Defense Dictionary, 253. Direct action: "Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions by special operations forces to seize, destroy, capture, recover, or inflict damage on designated personnel or materiel.Ibid., 130.
6. NL-HaNA 2.13.110, inv. nr. 1383, Opname pelsvm in slo NTC d.d. 10 januari 1978. Ibid., Memo Realisatie Legerplannen nr 76B mobstellen 101 Pelvm d.d. 13 februari 1978.
7. VS 17-146, A-6-4. Hoffenaar en Schoenmaker, op. cit., 300. Van den Heuvel et al., De beheersregio. Wattel, Materiële mobilisatievoorbereiding
8. De Jong en Hoffenaar, op. cit., 98-102, 122-125. The August/September 1986 issue if the semi-official army magazine Legerkoerier includes a refresher training calendar for 1987 with planned training periods specified per unit. 
9. Sorrell, Je maintiendrai, 47.
10. Van Woensel, Vrij van explosieven, 191-193.
11. De Rooij, 402 Laat zich, 14-15. Under functional command (onder functioneel bevel): a separate command relationship giving a commander or functionary a task-specific authority over a unit not under his command. VS 2-7200, 24. 
12. Bremer, Nationaal Territoriaal Commandant, 16-17. Website POMS Nederland Medical. Website U.S. Army in Germany, Combat Equipment Group Europe. The US Army divisions are named in: website relikte.com, Die POMCUS-Depots in Nachbarschaft zu Niedersachsen (thanks to Jo van der Pluijm).
13. The ± 1400 civilian personnel of POMS Management have been included in the NTC peacetime strength only. The official order of battle (NIMH 430, inv. nr. 54) does not include personnel strengths for POMS Management.
14. Taken from Sorrell, op. cit., 45-47, with enhancements from NL-HaNA 2.12.56, inv. nr. 1952, VVKM 162 Oorlogsmemorandum der Koninklijke Marine 1981-1982, 3-6 and Bremer, op. cit., 14-17. See also Hoffenaar en Schoenmaker, Met de blik, 324-327. Intricate unit filling and reserve system: see Gijsbers, Blik in de smidse, 2222-2231; Selles, Personele vulling; Berghuijs, Opleiding, 14-23; in English: Isby and Kamps, Armies, 341-343; Sorrell, op. cit.94-96; Van Vuren, The Royal Netherlands Army TodayMilitary Review April 1982, 23-28. Host Nation Support: see Roozenbeek, In dienst, 200-202 and Sorrell, op. cit., 105-107.  
15. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 374, Natrespels d.d. 26 februari 1980. Ibid., inv. nr. 546, Planningsmemorandum verdere uitbreiding NATRES d.d. 10 juni 1983, 8-9. Hoffenaar en Schoenmakers, November Romeo, Hoofdstuk 3 t/m 6. Schoenmakers, 40 jaar, hoofdstuk 7. Sorrell, op. cit.96.
16. Applicants for NATRES that were (administratively) assigned to a mobilisable unit would, if possible, be exempted. Hoffenaar en Schoenmakers, November Romeo, 116.
17. However, the quality and operational readiness of the active-duty territorial security infantry companies, and the mobilisable companies filled with the reservists who had served in them, may have also been questionable. Throughout the Cold War many of the active-duty companies had a consistently bad reputation that was not entirely undeserved: medical, social and behavioural problems resulted in unrest and undermanned units. These problems appear to have at least in part been caused by personnel selection methods which gave these units a low priority, sending the higher-rated draftees to 1 (NL) Corps units. Bevaart et al., Vijftig jaar, 98-99, 118-120, 126; Engbersen en Oosting, Infanteriebeveiliger, 328. 
18. NATRES expansion: a new recruitment campaign in 1989 was to expand the Corps further, eventually to 191 platoons and 43 company staffs with a total organic strength of 277/936/6270 (7483). The end of the Cold War however aborted these plans. Schoenmakers, op.cit., 74. See also Unit Organisation and Equipment, The Territorial Security Infantry Company.