Special Forces badges of the Netherlands East Indies Army (1946-1950) – KNIL Speciale Troepen KST schild

Short history of the Special Forces of the Netherlands East Indies Army

The Depot Speciale Troepen came into existense in 1946 on the island of Java. It was a commando unit similar to WW2 English units were the intructors had been trained. They wore the green commando beret and would exist of 3 companies. Parallel to this an Airborne unit, the 1st Para Company was established in 1947 wearing the famous red berets and para wing. In 1948 the Depot Speciale Troepen was transformed to the Korps Speciale Troepen which included also one Para-Commando unit called the 2nd Para Company, Green Berets with the para wing!

The two standard/official versions of the Speciale Troepen badge in metal and bullion

For “Operation Crow” a large scale airborne operation with combat jump the 1st Para Company and the 2nd Korps Speciale Troepen Para Company were combined in one Para Battle Group. In 1949 all of these units were included in the Regiment Speciale Troepen.

Regiment Speciale Troepen (Photo NIMH)

Badges in the 1946-1950 period

In the post 1945 period all Dutch forces in the East Indies designed badges for their units. At first unofficially but soon this custom became official. Most badges were made in metal and coloured with a thin layer of paint/enemal. If used the paint would often chip so to find perfect examples is hard.

Secondary versions were also made in cloth and sometimes even different versions and sizes in metal. The most well known maker was Cordesius & Zn in Batavia but other makers existed andoften used slightly different colours and not always had the same quality.

For the Speciale Troepen a badge was approved in December 1947. Two metal versions are known (both version with no maker markings). Several cloth versions exist but the most common version is a high quality version with bullion details, these were locally made.

Period bullion version

In 1949 there were three companies of Commando’s, approximately 450 men and two companies op Para’s approximately 350 men. So around 750 men were qualified to wear the Speciale Troepen badge.

Cloth version being worn on the trip to Europe on the English style Battle Dress

Also several copies of the cloth insignia exist were the best known version is from the 1980s and is easily recognizable as a fake.

On the trip from Indonesia to the Netherlands the soldiers would get English style battle dresses for use in Europe. On these battle dresses cloth badges would be worn, as can be seen in the first picture of this blog. After 1954 only the cloth jump qualification wings could be worn including those with action jumps. Soon the circle under the parachute would change to a small rectangle as on English jump wings.

Version of the badges being worn are hard to find. In the pictures (from internet) you can see them being worn but none in full view.

Person on the left also wears the badge.
Left commando with the KSTbadge, next to him a para with wings

Sources: https://www.militairespectator.nl/sites/default/files/bestanden/uitgaven/1997/1997-0149-01-0047.PDF

These 2 badges and the beret wing belonged to one person!

Hungarian River Police badge, WW2

The badge shown here is a very rare badge of the Hungarian River Police (folyam rendőrség) from the Horthy (1920-1945) period. So far research has not resulted in additional info but I did get one photo where the badge can be seen. It was worn on the left sleeve.

Officer of the Hungarian River Police (WW1 veteran) with the same badge.

Do you know more?

I am looking for additional info. If you know more please let me know so I can update the blog. What period was the badge used exactly? Was it for all ranks? What quantities of the River Police did exist?