Skip to Content

KCT uniforms are worn out; Jelte Groen

Dutch commandos fear life-threatening situations due to defective materiel

Dutch commandos fear life-threatening situations during missions due to defective materiel.

Published: July 15, 2017, 6:10 am

    Weapons used by the elite troops are so outdated and worn that life-threatening situations can occur during missions, insider sources told RTL News.

    These include guns that explode, silencers dislodged from firearms, and radios that go out in the heat of combat situations. The defects, including the fact that nothing has been done for years, causes great frustrations within the Korps Commandotroepen (KCT).

    Experienced soldiers have turned their backs on their unit for that reason. For the those who remain, the point has been reached where they find it irresponsible to perform further missions. “The limit has been reached”, they say. “There may be life-threatening situations that endanger operations of the KCT.”

    The special forces of the Royal Netherlands Army, one of the three principal units (the others being the Maritime Special Operations Forces (NL MARSOF) of the Netherlands Marine Corps and the Brigade Speciale Beveiligingsopdrachten (BSB) of the Royal Marechaussee), is deployable anywhere in the world, including for counter-terrorism operations.

    The research was done by RTL News, investigating the dire situation at the KCT in recent months. Reporters Roland Strijker and Siebe Sietsma spoke with three members of the corps and sifted through internal mails, letters and reports. Their effort shows that there is indeed a crisis in the unit.

    In early June, executives of all four of the commando’s groups put together a letter of complaint, addressed to the chief of the KCT, Jelte Groen. In thirteen pages, the writers warned of the dangers they face due to defective materiel. A few examples include:

    The Glock 17, the handgun of choice, has been used so often that parts tear. They are not replaced and are no longer functioning.

    The pistol mitrailleur FN PDW 90, a noiseless weapon, is no longer available. Undercover operations can therefore no longer be carried out.

    The sniper weapons are worn out. Without the cover of snipers, other commandos run big risks.

    Radios are outdated and parts are out of order. Without mutual contact, the commandos can end in life-threatening situations.

    Earlier this year, RTL News revealed that a commando had been killed during an exercise on a shooting range that should not have been used. The KCT had often asked for its own proper shooting range, but it was denied

    And then there’s the clothing. Commandos go on secret missions regularly with worn trousers, full of holes. That leads to great annoyance as one explained to RTL News: “We’re sending our boys away in second-hand clothes. We are so ashamed. You’re literally in your underpants because your trousers are so worn out. This is the status of our unit, and we feel the same.”

    The troops told RTL News: “This is an emergency call for help. I think it’s bad enough to take this step [to write such a letter], but I see that my colleagues, my brothers, are at risk. What I do not want to experience is telling a family that their father won’t be coming home anymore.”

    Jelte Groen seems to agree with the complaints. He wrote an email in response to the letter: “In the last week I received a letter of complaint from some highly experienced sergeant majors. This letter drew attention to a number of concerns that are perfectly correct and I understand fully.”

    This is also apparent from a quarterly report earlier this year submitted by Groen. That document was intended to inform the Supreme General of the Army, Leo Beulen, of the state of preparedness of the commandos. Groen writes inter alia:

    “I’m still struggling with shortages and poor availability of materiel.”

    “The state of the (radio) AN / PRC 112G is worrying.”

    “The weapons (HK417) are worn to such an extent that it negatively affects the accuracy of the shot.”

    Groen is also concerned about the unity: “The numbers of the KCT are dwindling. This is mainly caused by a number of disgruntled soldiers that cause increased outflows of commando operators. If this trend continues, then I anticipate a serious decline in the operational capacity of the Corps.”

    The KCT is based at the Engelbrecht van Nassaukazerne in Roosendaal, their home garrison. The brass KCT beret emblem displays a Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife, hand grenade and a ribbon with the unit’s Nunc aut Nunquam (now or never) motto on it. A gothic typeface “W” is the background, the name Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands from 1898-1948.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    French academic proposes Muslim apartheid state in France

    A French academic has suggested creating a Muslim apartheid state within France in order to prevent a coming clash.

    ‘Cultural Exchange – also in Crimea’

    INTERVIEWFreeWestMedia spoke with Hans-Joachim Frey, German cultural manager and former Director at the Semperoper in Dresden, about the effects of the anti-Russian sanctions in the field of culture.

    Merkel’s coalition talks stalled as disagreements on migration persist

    With the deadline just hours away, German chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP put their negotiations on ice at 4:30 in the morning local time.

    Toulouse parents decide to call their baby Jihad

    A couple called their newborn Jihad this summer in Toulouse. In a context marked by terrorism, this choice was the subject of a report to the public prosecutor.

    Crimea: Promising Perspectives

    INTERVIEWVienna-based, well known business firm owner Kirstin Stanzel about the problems and chances of the economic perspectives between Europe and Russia.

    Prince Charles faces fury over letter charging US ‘Jewish lobby’

    Britain's future king has unleashed a storm after a letter he reportedly penned in 1986 was released, in which he said the US should "take on the Jewish lobby".

    AfD sues Kassel’s international art fair directors

    Documenta, Germany’s leading contemporary art festival which takes place every five years in the city of Kassel, was sued before the completion of an audit due in November by the AfD.

    Diseases eradicated generations ago brought into Germany by migrants

    A female anaesthetist working in German hospitals, told The Express that the German health service was being overwhelmed by the influx migrants with unknown diseases who refuse to be treated by female doctors.

    Austria’s Freedom Party swap cornflowers for edelweiss

    Members of Austria's Freedom Party on Thursday did not display their usual blue cornflowers which matches the party's colours. Leftists have maintained that the blue flower is associated with Nazism.

    Basques take to streets in pouring rain to protest against Madrid’s moves

    More than 50 000 people rallied in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao against Spain's direct rule of Catalonia. This Basque Country region had boasted its own separatist movement, ETA.

    Go to archive