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Naval Command Netherlands 1
Commandement der Zeemacht in Nederland (CZMNED)

Part I: The Fleet (Sea) 

Dolfijn-class submarinesPotvis-class submarinesAlkmaar-class minehuntersDokkum-class minesweepersTromp-class frigatesZwaardvis-class submarinesHr.Ms. Onbevreesd headquarters and support shipFast combat support shipsBuyskes-class survey shipsHr.Ms. Mercuur torpedo tenderStaffVan Speijk-class frigatesHr.Ms. Tydeman survey shipKortenaer-class frigatesBalder-class patrol craftGroup of Escort ForcesNaval SquadronMine Countermeasures Flottilla 2StaffNetherlands Task Group 3Naval Command NetherlandsStaffFrigate SquadronMine Countermeasures Flottilla 1Mine ServiceSubmarine ServiceStaffMine Countermeasures Flottilla 3
Unit Location Peace Strength War Strength
Staff Naval Command Netherlands [a] Den Helder 47/54/34/8 (143)
29/54/36/8 (127)
Submarine Service Den Helder ?
Group of Escort Forces [b] (Afloat) ?
Mine Service Den Helder ?

a. Headed by Naval Commander Netherlands (Commandant der Zeemacht in Nederland, CZMNED). Since November 1984 CZMNED had his war headquarters in the new Maritime Headquarters Netherlands (Maritiem Hoofdkwartier Nederland, MHKNED) in Julianadorp (Den Helder). CZMNED held the NATO command of Commander, Benelux Channel Command (COMBENECHAN, also known as Commander, Benelux Subarea Channel); thus MHKNED was also HQ COMBENECHAN. In addition, in wartime CZMNED would have operational command over ships and units of the Belgian Navy as Admiral Benelux (Admiraal Benelux, ABNL).2
b. Commander, Group of Escort Forces (Commandant Groep Escorteschepen, CGES) was also Commander of the Squadron (Commandant Eskader, CESK), in wartime Commander, First Netherlands Task Group (COMNLTG1), see below.3

The Fleet (Sea)

The organisational chart above shows the sea-going part of the Fleet: the Royal Navy's submarines, frigates and mine-countermeasure vessels. Together with the Marine Corps, the Fleet formed the 'business end' of the Royal Navy
For logistical and administrative purposes the Fleet was subdivided into five type-oriented groups of operational units, the first three of which are displayed above the dotted line:
  • The Submarine Service (Onderzeedienst, OZD) with all submarines and the torpedo tender;
  • The Group of Escort Forces (Groep Escorteschepen, GES) comprising all frigates and the two fast combat support ships;
  • The Mine Service (Mijnendienst, MD) with all mine countermeasures vessels: minehunters and minesweepers. Also part of this group were the three patrol craft and the three hydrographical survey ships.
This grouping was known as the "type-organisation", which was designed to maintain and make available the Royal Navy's means to conduct naval operations. For any such operations, be it in peace or war, the Royal Navy would employ the "task organisation" concept. From the type-organisation Naval Commander Netherlands would form temporary organisations tailored to specific missions: task groups (TG). Task groups could be subdivided into task units (TU) and task elements (TE), as needed. This two-stage organisation closely followed NATO doctrine. The Fleet had the NATO designation Task Force 429, call sign TG 429.4  
In peacetime Naval Command Netherlands operated with four task groups, as shown in the chart below the dotted line:
  • The Squadron (Eskader, ESK), in NATO context known as Netherlands Task Group (NLTG); NATO call sign TG 429.5. In peacetime the Squadron was basically the Netherlands' standing naval force, in principle permanently at sea. The Squadron handled the last phase of working up crews and ships to NATO operational readiness requirements and would take part in several NATO and multinational naval exercises. Each year the Squadron would undertake three sea journeys (winter, spring, autumn), of which at least one longer than six weeks. The Squadron would at minimum comprise one Tromp-class frigate (flagship), four Kortenaer or Van Speijk-class frigates with helicopters embarked, and one fast combat support ship.5 In wartime the Squadron would become the First Netherlands Task Group (NLTG1), for which the Royal Navy used the Dutch designation Eerste Escortegroep (First Escort Group).6  
  • The Frigate Squadron (Fregattensquadron, FREGRON), NATO call sign TG 429.4. The Frigate Squadron handled the first phases of working up ships and crews to exercise-readiness, which phase was concluded with a four-week naval exercise under the auspices of the Royal (UK) Navy's Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) based at Portland, United Kingdom. After this, the ships would go to the Squadron. The Frigate Squadron usually comprised between one and three ships, which could also include fast combat support ships and submarines. The squadron would work up about six ships per year and on average contribute to the operational readiness of seven to ten other ships, including frigates of the Belgian Navy. To prepare for his wartime role the Commander of the Frigate Squadron (CFREGRON) would, in addition, each year lead a group of frigates during various NATO or multinational naval exercises.7 In wartime the Frigate Squadron would most likely become the Second Netherlands Task Group (NLTG2), in Dutch: Tweede Escortegroep (Second Escort Group).8  
  • Mine Countermeasures Flotilla 1 (Mijnenbestrijdingsflottielje 1, MBFLOT1), NATO call sign TG 429.1. Mine countermeasures (MCM) flotillas would, as needed, be subdivided into task units: per flotilla probably up to three MCM squadrons (Mijnenbestrijdingssquadron, MBRON) and up to six task elements: MCM divisions (Mijnenbestrijdingsdivisie, MBDIV). It appears an MCM squadron usually comprised four to six vessels, an MCM division two vessels. The flotilla operated from Den Helder, mainly with Alkmaar-class minehunters.9
  • Mine Countermeasures Flotilla 3 (Mijnenbestrijdingsflottielje 3, MBFLOT3), NATO call sign TG 429.3. Operated from Vlissingen, mainly with Dokkum-class minesweepers.10 
The Fleet, or Task Force 429, was unlikely to ever operate as a single force in wartime, as its subordinate task groups, including those to be formed on mobilisation (NLTG3/TG 429.6 and MBFLOT2/TG 429.2) were earmarked to operate under different NATO commanders.  
The ships of the Group of Escort Forces were in principle permanently in service. Kortenaer-class frigates would be taken in for a five-month maintenance period every three years. The other ships of the Group would each spend four months in maintenance every two years. The impression is that the mine countermeasure vessels were similarly permanently in service. The submarines would be in maintenance for six months every two and a half years
The Submarines were not part of a task group though they could of course operate in support of one. They probably operated individually most of the time. In peacetime the submarines fell under operational control of Naval Commander Netherlands, with operational command delegated to the Commander of the Submarine Service (Commandant Onderzeedienst, COZD). The mission of the Submarine Service was threefold:
  • Prepare for war operations by taking part in national and NATO exercises;
  • Provide the opportunity for surface units, aircraft and other submarines, predominantly from the Royal Navy and the Royal (UK) Navy, to realistically exercise anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations;
  • Execute secret national or NATO reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence missions.12   
The Submarine Service worked closely with its British counterpart and frequently operated from Faslane (Naval Base Clyde) in Scotland, under operational command of the British Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM).13

NATO Standing Naval Forces

The Royal Navy was a regular participant in NATO's two permanent multinational, integrated naval squadrons: Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT) and Standing Naval Force Channel (STANAVFORCHAN). These were the Immediate Reaction Forces of Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) and Commander-in-Chief Channel (CINCHAN) respectively, meant to provide a quick military response to emerging crises as well as providing a permanent display of allied solidarity, vigilance and military integration (see also NATO Commands, Multinational Forces). The standard contribution of the Royal Navy was one frigate from the Group of Escort Ships to STANAVFORLANT, and two mine countermeasure vessels, one from each Mine Countermeasures Flotilla, to STANAVFORCHAN.14

1. Organisation: NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 8434, Doelstellingen, taken en organisatie commandement der zeemacht in Nederland d.d. 13 november 1979, Bijlage (organisatieschema). NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9352, Indeling eenheden in diensten en groepen (etc.) d.d. 15 januari 1981. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, NDPP Concept krijgsmachtdeelplan Koninklijke Marine 1984-1993 d.d. maart 1983, Hoofdstuk III. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9896, Voorstel bemanningslijst groep escorteschepen d.d. 16 januari 1984, Bijlage 1, Bijlage 3. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9657, concept Verzameling van Verordeningen voor de Koninklijke Marine 195B (VVKM 195B) inzake de opdracht, taken en organisatie van de zeestrijdkrachten d.d. 3 mei 1984, 1/2-4 t/m 1/2-7, 3-3, 3-4. HTK 1983-1984, kamerstuknr. 18169 ondernr. 2 (Defensienota 1984-1993), 87. Jaarboek KM 1987, 177.
2. Maritime Headquarters Netherlands: NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, op. cit., 28. Jaarboek KM 1984, 129, 154. Jaarboek KM 1985, 92. In peacetime CZMNED was headquartered in the "commandementsgebouw", also known as "Het Paleis" ("The Palace") in Den Helder. Jaarboek KM 1986, 76. Website Beelbank NIMH, commandementsgebouw CZMNED. Before 1984 CZMNED had his war headquarters in Koudekerke on the island of Walcheren, Zeeland. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, loc. cit. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9352, Typechefschap d.d. 17 april 1980. Admiral Benelux: NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, op. cit., 27, 29, 35. Parrein, De evolutie en toekomst, Deel 1.
3. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9352, Indeling eenheden in diensten en groepen (etc.) d.d. 15 januari 1981, 5, 7, 10. NL-HaNA 2.12.56, inv. nr. 6040, Voorstel wijziging BL 5101/STAFEKD d.d. 23 juni 1982, Bijlage A. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9896, op. cit., Bijlage 1. NL-HaNA 2.12.56, inv. nr. 9575, BL 5101 STAFEKD d.d. 12 maart 1984.
4. This means that Naval Commander Netherlands was, in addition to the nomenclature listed in note a, also known as Commander, Task Force 429 (CTF 429). To further muddy the waters, this NATO designation was apparently changed into Admiral Netherlands Fleet in 1984. NL-HaNA 2.12.56, inv. nr. 2119, Aanvullingsblad voor de Koninklijke Marine nr. 5 op Task Organization Call Sign Book ACP 112(B) d.d. 19 juli 1984. A summary may be in order: Naval Commander Netherlands (Commandant der Zeemacht in Nederland, CZMNED) = Commander, Task Force 429 (CTF 429) = Admiral Netherlands Fleet = Admiral Benelux (Admiraal Benelux, ABNL) = Commander, Benelux Channel Command (COMBENECHAN). 
5. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, op. cit., 64, 84. HTK 1983-1984, op. cit., 90. Composition of the Squadron: for example, during its 1985 winter journey to the Mediterranean Sea, the Squadron was composed of Tromp-class frigate F 801 Hr.Ms. Tromp (flag ship); Kortenaer-class frigates F 808 Hr.Ms. Callenburgh, F 809 Hr.Ms Van Kinsbergen and F 811 Hr.Ms. Piet Heyn; Van Speijk-class frigates F 803 Hr.Ms. Van Galen and F 814 Hr.Ms. Isaac Sweers; fast combat support ship A 832 Hr.Ms. Zuiderkruis; and four embarked Lynx helicopters. During 1985 the Squadron took part in three NATO exercises and two multinational exercises. Jaarboek KM 1985, 95-96.
6. It will be noted that the Squadron was known under a somewhat bewildering number of designations: Eskader (Dutch, peacetime), Eerste Escortegroep (Dutch, wartime), Netherlands Task Group (NATO, peacetime), First Netherlands Task Group (NATO, wartime), Task Group 429.5 (NATO, peace and wartime). Jane's Fighting Ships 1985-86 adds to the variety with the designation Anti-Submarine Warfare Group I. Moore, op. cit., 348.    
7. Jaarboek KM 1984, 23, 167-168. Jaarboek KM 1985, 101-102. Jaarboek KM 1986, 85-87.
8. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9352, Indeling eenheden in diensten en groepen (etc.) d.d. 15 januari 1981, 7. Ibid., Commentaar op S 155.406/145939 d.d. 2 februari 1981. NL-HaNA 2.13.114, inv. nr. 9352, Reorganisatie groep escorteschepen d.d. 14 april 1983, Bijlage A. 
9. In 1984 MBLOT1 was composed of MBRON11 with seven Alkmaar-class minehunters, and MDIV141 with Dokkum-class minehunter M 842 Hr.Ms. Veere (decommissioned on 19 October 1984) and Dokkum-class diving tender M 820 Hr.Ms. Woerden. Jaarboek KM 1984, 196, 211. Jaarboek KM 1985 does not report subdivisions of the flotilla. Throughout 1985 MBFLOT1 operated with all operational Alkmaar-class minehunters, comprising between six and eight minehunters; also assigned for the larger part of the year was the Dokkum-class diving tender M 820 Hr.Ms. Woerden. Jaarboek KM 1985, 123-124.
10. In 1985 MBFLOT3 was composed of MBRON31 with Alkmaar-class minehunters M 852 Hr.Ms. Dordrecht and M 855 Hr.Ms. Scheveningen; MBRON32 with Dokkum-class minesweepers M 809 Hr.Ms. Naaldwijk, M 810 Hr.Ms. Abcoude, M 812 Hr.Ms. Drachten, M 813 Hr.Ms. Ommen, M 823 Hr.Ms. Naarden and M 830 Hr.Ms. Sittard; MBDIV341 with Dokkum-class diving tender M 806 Hr.Ms. Roermond.      
11. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, op. cit., 62. Jaarboek KM 1984, 325-330 (In dienst zijnde eenheden in 1984).
12. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, op. cit., 66. See Jaime Karremann, In het diepste geheim. Spionage-operaties van Nederlandse onderzeeboten van 1968 tot 1991 (Amsterdam: Marineschepen.nl, 2017). English edition: In Deepest Secrecy: Dutch Submarine Espionage Operations from 1968 to 1991).
13. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, loc. cit. 
14. NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 535, op. cit., 61, 64-65, 71. Participants in STANAVFORLANT in 1985: Kortenaer-class frigates F 823 Hr.Ms. Philips van Almonde (up to January), F 825 Hr.Ms. Jan van Brakel (January-June), F 826 Hr.Ms. Pieter Florisz (June-end of November). Jaarboek KM 1985, 21, 109-111. Participants in STANAVFORCHAN in 1985: Dokkum-class minesweepers M 813 Hr.Ms. Ommen and M 830 Hr.Ms. Sittard (up to June), Alkmaar-class minehunters M 851 Hr.Ms. Delfzijl (May-November), and M 853 Hr.Ms. Haarlem (November-December). During September the Alkmaar-class minehunter M 856 Hr.Ms. Maassluis and the Dokkum-class minesweepers M 809 Hr.Ms. Naaldwijk and M 823 Hr.Ms. Naarden were added to STANAVFORCHAN for the NATO exercise Ocean Safari '85. Jaarboek KM 1985, 21-22, 124-126, 129-130.