Military History

Suriname was under Dutch rule until it became fully independent in ...Book source: (1) Het Militair Kordon van Suriname, MAJ-Infantry K. Koopmans, TRIS (Troepenmacht in Suriname) (2) Map: Kordonpad volgens de kaart van J.C. Heneman van 1784 verbeterd en gewijzigd door Jonkhr C.X. van Sijpesteijn in 1849 (3) Bouwkunst in Suriname, Ir J.L. Volders, Kersten, 1973. No ISBN

Subject: [Mil.History] The Military Cordon 1778

Article: GovGen Jan Nepveu decided in 1774 to change the dispersed location of military posts into a military cordon or a line of military posts to enclose and protect an area where plantations were located. This military cordon (defensive system) was completed in 1778. Manning of the military cordon: 5 captains 19 lieutenants 44 sergeants 69 corporals 24 orderlies, medics 5 bakers 955 enlisted men The military cordon was divided into two parts: (A) Eastern part occupied by 1st Battalion Militia (B) Western part occupied by 2nd Battalion Militia It stretched eastward from the Jodensavannah (Suriname River) to Imotapi (Boven Commewijne River), then it runs north-west to the military post L’Esperance, then north east across the Perica to military post Willemsbrug and finally north to the coast of Suriname. The total length of the military cordon is approximately 94 km.

Obstacles were used to slow down and prevent any infiltrations by the Maroons such as planting of shrubs with thorns (Mamantin Maca). These hedges were 4 to 5 feet tall. One also used broken bottles and glass. The broken glass was spread in front of the hedge. All Maroons walked barefeet. Two soldiers inspected at all time the hedges for holes. In case of an alarm all posts were reinforced. Every post had a military drummer for reveille and retreat. They were also used to sound the alarm and the sound of the drums was in a pre-arranged code. Each post had also a horse for messengers to deliver urgent messages from post to post. Each horse traveled only for half an hour. Thus, this way each post had a ‘fresh’ horse.

Military life of those stationed on the military cordon was filled with relative freedom and adventure. The first stretch starting from Jodensavannah changes from a savannah terrain to jungle which can become very dense. Thus the cordon path is now difficult to find. At certain length of the path there are ditches on the left and right. The path was about 10 m wide. The mud and sand from the ditches was used to build the path.

As soon as you cross the Casewinica creek the terrain becomes swampy and again dense jungle vegetation. The path narrows to a 5 meter width. During the rainy season this area is under water and one has to walk through about 30 cm high water.

After you cross the Commewijne River the path runs parallel to the river. The terrain is now extremely difficult to traverse due to jungle and swamp vegetation. After the plantation l’Esperance was deserted no one has traveled in this area of the cordon path.

TRIS (Troepenmacht in Suriname) has kept the military cordon open but [after 1975] (independence) no effort has been made to keep it open and the original military cordon is difficult to find as all is again overgrown by the jungle.

An inspection of maps of the military cordon (path) shows that there were: 20 pikets (guard houses) captains posts officers posts sergeants posts Each post was given a name such as: Gelderland, Utrecht, Holland, Friesland, Buuren, Frederiksdorp, Overijsel, Zeeland, Groningen, Drenthe, Marquette, Gouverneurslust, Mauritsburg, Stabroek, Amsterdam, ‘s Hage, Nepheusburg, Leyden, Haarlem, Voorburg, Verwachting, Wolffenbussel, Brunswijk, ‘t Loo, Maastricht, Willemsburg, Oranjewoud, Breda, Dieren, Soestdijk, Oranje.


Book source: De Militaire Geschiedenis, Maj-Arts J.Karbaat, TRIS

Subject: [Mil. History] The Dutch Army for Suriname (1795-1868)

Article: In 1795 during the ‘Bataafse’ Republic the army for Suriname was organized as follows: 2 to 3 battalions infantry (militia). Each battalion was made up of 393-396 officers and men. Organic to the battalion was 1 company of ‘grenadiers’ and 4 rifle companies. In addition there were 2 companies artillery. 1799-1802 Suriname became a British protectorate. When Suriname was returned to Dutch control in 1802 a new army for Suriname was formed. The plan was to activate: 4 West-Indies ‘jagers’ battalions. Each battalion had 8 companies. They became the 5th to 8th battalion of the Dutch Army. At the same time 4 companies artillery and one company engineers was formed. In the same year (1802) the 5th battalion and 50% of the 8th battalion was sent to Suriname. In 1803 “Lands Vrijkorps” was merged with the two battalions to bring them up to strength. In 1804 the British again took control over Suriname and the Dutch battalions were withdrawn to Holland. On Nov 20, 1815 (Treaty of Paris) Suriname returned to the King of Holland. That same year 2 battalions ‘jagers’ [10th and 11th] and 1 battalion artillery were activated in the Netherlands for duty in Suriname. They were held in reserve in Holland to block Napoleon’s army. Then, they left for Suriname shortly thereafter and stayed in country until 1819. Units stationed in Suriname: 8 companies of 10th battalion 4 companies 11th battalion 2 companies artillery battalion In 1819 the 10th and 11th battalion were renumbered to the 27th and 28th battalion. In 1821, the 27th battalion was augmented with elements of the 28th battalion and the 28th was deactivated. The 27th battalion had now 9 companies (7 in Suriname and 2 in Holland). The artillery battalion became a field artillery battalion and one company would be assigend to Suriname while the 2nd company remained in Holland. In 1832 a further reduction of forces took place. The 27th battalion force structure was reduced to 3 companies stationed in Suriname and 2 in Holland. In 1846 the 27th battalion had only 4 companies and all were stationed in Suriname with 34 officers and 668 enlisted men. They remained at this force strength level until 1868.

Groepsfoto militairen van het KNIL by Stichting Surinaams Museum, via FlickrBook source: De Militaire Geschiedenis, Maj-Arts J. Karbaat, TRIS

Subject: [Mil.History] TRIS (Troepen Macht In Suriname) 1868-1975 (part 1)

Article: Since 1868 the TRIS (Troepen Macht in Suriname) was no longer [an integral] part of the Dutch Army. Expenses and budget was under the control of the Department of Colonies (Ministerie van Kolonien). The strength of the military in Suriname was fixed to 2 companies infantry and 2 companies artillery. The commanding officer was a major. The personnel strength was 18 officers and 618 enlisted men. The same regulations were used as in the Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL). In 1873 the two companies artillery were reduced to a detachment with 1 officer and 40 enlisted men. In 1902 the artillery detachment was deactivated. The TRIS organization in 1902 consisted of 1 major, 14 officers and 370 enlisted men. The officers belonged to the Dutch Army but after 1904 the officers came from the Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL). In 1907 a further troop reduction took place. There was only 1 company with 1 captain, 6 officers and 292 enlisted men. In 1915 a further troop reduction took place [down] to a total of 234 enlisted men. [This] strength figure remained constant until 1931. After 1931 the troop strength [got cut to] 4 officers, 1 medical officer (arts) and 200 enlisted men. –End of part 1–


Source: Chief of Military History and Center of Military History, Washington, DC

Subject: [Mil. History] WWII Units of US Army Stationed in Suriname

Article: 1000th Coast Artillery Battery, US Army Mine Planters (Jessup) US District Engineers, Paramaribo, Surinam Post Engineer Utilities Detachment, Paramaribo, Surinam 352d, 354th Station Hospital, Billiton, Moengo, Paranam Dispensary 249th, 282d, 283d, 284th MP Comapny266th MP Platoon Surinam Force unit, HQ &HQ and Svc Company & MP Platoon Force Unit #8012, HQ & HQ & Svc Company602d, 870th Postal Unit 22d Signal Corps Svc Company120th Raio Intelligence company & Detachment Antilles Dept Signal Svc Battalion

Effective 1 Jun 1943, by General Order no. 31, HQ Trinidad Sector and Base Command dated 23 May 1943. Four fixed defense companies and the coastal artillery battery were approved. Personnel and equipment came from the 1st BN, 33d Infantry. Personnel were to be assigned for a short duration in Suriname. These companies were de-activated 31 Dec 1943. The coastal battery was returned to the US on 4 Aug 1943.

Under authority of the War Department letter, dated 23 Aug 1943, 4 companies were formed at Camp O’Rielly, Puerto Rico and departed on 15 Sep 1943 from San Juan and arrived at Paramaribo on 22 Sep 1943. 249th MP Company assigned to Zanderij 282d MP Company to Billiton 283d MP Company to Moengo 284th MP Company to Paranam Under authority, War Dept letter, 23 Oct 1943. 266th MP Platoon was activated at Paramaribo with 2 officers and 64 men. By General Order 72, Antilles Department, 7 Jul 1944. MP companies at Billiton, Moengo and Paranam were transferred to Puerto Rico and replaced by Dutch forces. The 266th MP Platoon in Paramaribo and the 249th MP Company at Zanderij remained in Suriname. These were the Army Air Corps units stationed in Suriname during WWII. The Army Air Corps became later the USAF. Caribbean Wing, Air Transport Command, Station #15 92d Service Group 99th Service Group, HQ & HQ Squadron 1108th Army Air Force Base Unit 25th Bombardment Group 12th Airway Communication Squadron 155th Airway Communication Squadron 309th Service Squadron 9th Weather Squadron 897th Air Base Security Battalion 898th, 899th, 900th Air Base Security battalion 1483d, 1484th Supply & maintenance Aviation Company,Ordnance Department 1105th Service Group, Signal Corps.

Book source: Avonturen aan de Wilde Kust,

Met dank aan Albert Buys Helman, VACO, Paramaribo, 1982 ISBN 9991400087

Subject: [History] WWII: The Yanks in Suriname

Article: In 1941, American troops arrived in Suriname to occupy the Zanderij Landing strip and to defend Suriname against Germany. This deal was made between the Netherlands government in exile and the US government. The governor general and his advisors were not happy with this decision. The American forces were in Suriname for self interest as they needed to protect the bauxite mines and because Suriname was a convenient jumping off point to Africa (Dakar) for the US Army Air Corps. [There was no USAF yet]. The US forces also guarded the border with French Guiana which was governed by the Vichy government under German occupation. The US forces operated in Suriname on a grand scale and in a generous way according to eye-witnesses. Americans not only showed material never seen before in Suriname but also knew how to live in luxury despite of war conditions. Paramaribo became a R&R (rest & recuperation) center for officers and enlisted personnel. Thus there was an economic boom in such areas as services, local shops, crafts industry etc. Thus with the American forces in their midst Suriname survived WWII in a rather “… festive way”. The “greedy” Dutch were no comparison to the “generous” Yanks. In a short time circulation of hard dollars increased ten fold. The Americans paid steep wages in dollars. A substantial number of the American forces came from Puerto Rico. During this period Suriname was undergoing an “Americanization” transformation in their consumption of goods and services. The highest number of US forces in Suriname during WWII was 8000.

Source: (Met dank aan Albert Buys)






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