Hawker Hurricane II
Several marks Hurricanes are mentioned as possibility for the Hurricanes used by ML-KNIL. G. Casius mentions Hurricanes IIA, but P.C. Boer mentions Hurricanes IIB. Both state the aircraft were equipped with eight machine guns, so this eliminates the Mk. IIC and Mk.IID versions.
According to Max Schep the outward machine guns were removed to improve the manoeuvrability of the aircraft. The Hurricanes were delivered wit additional wing mounted fuel tanks, but these weren't probably not mounted during assembly in the Dutch East Indies.
Regarding the Japanese war thread the Dutch government was looking for new fighters in 1940 and 1941 to set up five new Fighter squadrons. August 11, 1941 a order was signed for the delivery of 100 Hurricanes Mk.II, to be built by the Canadian Car and Foundry Co. Ltd. at Fort Williams.
Because of the possible purchase of 72 Bell P-39's, the number of Hurricanes was decreased temporarily to 72 aircraft. January 5, 1942 delivery would start with a first batch of fifteen aircraft a month. The definite contract was signed November 29, 1941, and delivery would start in May 1942. Because of the surprisingly rapid Japanese progress this delivery was cancelled because the Dutch East Indies capitulated on March 8, 1942.
The ML-KNIL used several Hurricanes Mk. II though, these were originally meant for RAF Singapore.
Arrival at Java
A total of 29 Hurricanes arrived February 4, 1942 with HMS Athene in Batavia. The aircraft were assembled by RAF personnel of the 266 Fighter Wing. Unfortunately these men were inexperienced with this, so the work progressed slowly. ABDAIR, advised by Generaal-majoor Van Oyen, decide to add a Dutch assembly team, consisting of about ninety men of the technical services of ML and KNILM! They men worked around the clock for five days and the last fighters were ready on February 15.
The aircraft were transported across the road to Kemajoran and prepared to fly. RAF personnel made the test flights. The Hurricanes were flown by RAF and ML pilots to Tjililitan and handed over to operational units. Soon seventeen aircraft were passed to Palembang (Sumatra) to reinforce 266 Squadron RAF; twelve Hurricanes were handed over to ML-KNIL, ordered by ABDAIR. They were added to 2 Vl.G.-IV, equipped with Curtiss Wright Interceptors.
The wings are removed and a cover over the nose.
[Enclosed photo from BeeldBank NIMH. Click on photo for ordering information]
2 Vl.G.-IV, was banned from their home base Soerabakja, because of the fast Japanese approach. The squadron arrived February 13, 1942 at air base Andir, with the six remaining Interceptors. February 16 they departed with the Hurricanes to Kalidjati for a training program. Because of bad weather and the war the runway was in poor condition. Pilot Bruinier damaged his Hurricane during landing. During the training pilot Hermans suffered an engine failure on February 17. and he made a crash landing. So two Hurricanes were lost during the first few days.
Because the installed radio could be used with the Dutch frequencies, problems with the oxygen supply and lack of the English tooling needed for maintenance, the Hurricanes were hardly to be used operational.
For support thirty or fourty RAF specialist were added to the technical services. The technical officer advised to remove the tropical filters, so the machines were about 10 miles per hour faster.
Operational use Kalidjati
The British Hurricane squadrons were irritated because the Dutch hadn't used their Hurricanes operational yet. For the temporary Commander Air Forces, Captain-observer Leyden, this was a reason for ordering Standing Patrols.
February 25, 1942 the Japanese attacked Kalidjati. At the first alarm eight Hurricanes took off and flew a patrols for about two hours at a height of 6000 m, when lack of fuel necessitated the aircraft to land. Two aircraft had just landed and a third, with pilot Jacobs, was just approaching, when the Japanese attacked the air base and bombed it.
Jakobs took off again, but was shot down soon and made a belly landing. His Hurricane was total loss. The two aircraft just landed, were damaged by bullets and shells. The other Hurricanes were incorporated in a dog fight, but had to withdraw because of the fuel situation. Two aircraft moved to Tjikampek, where, special for the Hurricanes, stock with 100 octane fuel was available. The others landed on Kalidjati. Hamming run into a bomb hole, damaging his aircraft.
When both pilots had returned from Tjikampek, Kalidjati was attacked and bombed again. Hamming's aircraft was now shot to pieces and the runways were severely damaged.
Action from Ngoro
February 26 it was decided to send most of the ML personnel on West-Java to the East of Java to support the 17 Pursuit Squadron RAF. The six Hurricanes departed also and flew via Madioen to Ngoro. Also the ground crew was moved to the East of Java. February 27 a seventh, repaired Hurricane arrived. Kalidjati was lost just a week later on March 1.
The left and cannibalized (to repair the seventh Hurricane) Hurricane was captured by the Japanese.
For servicing the needed ammunition, oxygen and hydraulics arrived on February 27 and 28. Just in time, because March 1 from Ngoro a massive allied attack of the Japanese invaders was done. The Dutch Hurricanes joined this attack.
The wooden propeller of the aircraft of Elt.Vl.Wn. Bruinier was damaged during this attack. He managed to make a safe landing at Madioen.
Sgt.maj.Vl. Boonstoppel also made a safe landing at Madioen. A third Hurricane (serial Z5664 ?) made an emergency landing in a rice field near Bodjonegoro.
At the front line again
After the safe return of the other Hurricanes at Ngoro, a Lockheed 12 arrived with the radio crystals needed/ The Lockheed had been attacked by some returning P-40's, but these stopped when they noticed the flags of the Lockheed.
During the debriefing Ngoro was attacked by two Japanese Navy O's and "strafed". Because Ngoro was in fact a hiding field, very lightly FLAK was available.
When the attack was finished all USAAC- and ML- aircraft were heavily damaged or destroyed except for two Hurricanes. The Lockheed 12, which lacked camouflage and wasn't hidden yet, was also destroyed.
Because of the attacks 17 Pursuit Squadron was withdrawn from Ngoro. The two Hurricanes left also for Bandoeng. Pilot Vdg.Vl.Wnr. Wink, who has flown only Brewster Buffaloes thus far, was flying one of the aircraft. He had received a cockpit instruction of five minutes.
The rest of the Ml crew left Ngoro by car.
When they had left Ngoro was attacked for a second time.
Wink, encountering problems with the fuel system, made an intermediate landing at Wirasaba. While taxiing his aircraft suddenly stood on its nose, damaging the wooden propeller. A new prop was unavailable, so he was stuck at Wirasaba.
Because this airfield was to be evacuated, the Hurricane and two Glenn Martins were set to fire.
Pilot Lt.Vl. Marinus wasn't lucky either. Due to fuel problems he had to make an emergency landing at air base Surakarta, which wasn't finished yet. No 100 octane fuel was available only car fuel. His aircraft was filled with this fuel and on March 2, Marinus tried to take off from a dry rice field. The runway had been destroyed already because of the Japanese approach. His aircraft crashed in take off and was total loss.
The last Hurricane
Pilot Sgt.maj.Vl. Boonstoppel, who has landed earlier with his Hurricane at air base Madioen, arrived at Andir. He heard by phone that Ngoro was evacuated and was sent to Pameumpeuk for refuelling. As only 90 octane fuel was available, he went on to Maospati. This air base was being evacuated also, so he returned to Andir.
It was intended that he joined an attack on Japanese units near Eretan Wetan. In the morning he discovered that ground crew has removed his propeller in order to repair the aircraft of pilot Wink (mentioned above) The prop was mounted again, but to late. The last Hurricane was captured by the Japanese on March 8.