NATIONAL MILITARY MUSEUM - SOESTERBERG

Copyright Ruud Leeuw Photos © R.Leeuw

 

"During the 1970s (my schooldays and often in schooltime..), I became interested in military aircraft. I lived on cycling-distance of Soesterberg AB and often went there."
This is the sentence I started my webpage "Remembered - Soesterberg AB" with, dedicated to its closure on 12Nov08, ending 95 years of aviation activities at the birthplace of the Dutch Air Force.
A week ago, on the weekend 13+14Dec2014, the brand new National Military Museum was opened commemmorating Dutch military development. The NMM is situated in a park, a large part of former Vliegbasis Soesterberg.

Saturday 20Dec14 I had a look for myself at the NMM, though I had only the time to browse 80% of the exhibits (the hardware on display mainly) of the museum and nothing much of the park.
Always leave something to return for I say..

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
The NMM is housed in a stark, rectangular building, with walls of glass sharing the outside environment of the former air base, and a roof which acts as a sunroof, thus protecting the inside from overheating on sunny days, but the roof is also of a construction suitable for dangling heavy aircraft from!
The museum combines two previous seperate museums: Militair Luchtvaart Museum (Kamp van Zeist, and previous to that at Soesterberg AB) and the Royal Dutch Army Museum (in Delft).

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Landscaping is still in progress. A taxiway and other ramps have been destroyed and the entire park ('Park Vliegbasis
Soesterberg') will be open through 8 entries for cycling and hiking on designated paths. http://parkvbs.nl/

Considering access to the area comprising Vliegbasis Soesterberg was severely resticted for almost 100 years, it must be a thrilling experience to explore Park Vliegbasis Soesterberg far and wide.
At one time, in the 1970s, I worked at the air base, but most of it was restricted even for military staff. For my part in the RTV Utrecht documentary (links on my Vlb Soesterberg Remembered) I walked on the runway and while no longer in use there is a sense of 'do not belong here' in the back of the mind.

Park Vliegbasis Soesterberg was handed over by the Ministry of Defence to the Province of Utrecht. It concerned an area of some 450 hectares (aprox 1.100 acres) but of which 45 hectares (110 acres) surrounding the museum will remain under ownership of MoD (but will be allowed to be converted to park).
Since 2005 the MoD transferred 53 areas in the Netherlands for non-military use, mainly to serve as some form of 'nature reserve'. The motto was 'Sold due to peace'.

The Park Vliegbasis Soesterberg has initiated nine art productions for the collection 'The Base'.
Two of them were accommodated in the air traffic tower and an existing underground accommodation. In aircraft shelter no.610 the dark and ominous 'Secret Operation 610' was produced by RAAAF and Studio Havermans.
Hope to see it soon.



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Well, there we are, inside. Which for me started with an argument and spoiled things somewhat for me!
I carry a modest camera bag, its dimensions suitable for air travel carry-on, but was refused here for entry and I had to put it into a locker. So I was required to stuff my pockets with wallet & phone and take my photos with a single lens. During the walk I needed to return for some medications and when I went outside had to return again to the lockers to change lenses... Not pleased at all.
Do you see how much space there is in between the display items? My entire visit suffered a blemish that did not go away. Also note that mobile phones are useless in large areas of the museum, so make arrangements where to rejoin.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
My interest is aviation history and vintage transports such as this DC-3 in particular. This DC-3 was previously
on display at the MLM as 'X-5', a fake registration. See also my 2006 visit to the MLM.
Some history of the DC-3: Douglas C-47A, c/n 20118; its previous identites include: 43-15652 (USAF),
315652/T-AN (Royal Norwegian AF), 315652/BW-N, 315652/BW-T, 68-688 (Royal Danish AF) and K-688 (RDanAF). So this T-443 must be fake again, but its significance..?

This new registration T-443 is cause for confusion. That serial belongs to a different DC-3: c/n 13344.
T-443 is also an AURI serial (Angkatan Udara Republik Indonesia, the predecessor of the Indonesian Airforce).
This was shortly after Indonesia became independent and while it is ex NEIAF & KLM East Indies, it is doubtful whether c/n 13344 actually ever flew with that tailnumber and the Dutch roundel, like it has been depicted here.
And why T-443, for what remarkable historic event?
Perhaps 'DT-943' would have been a better option, because that was 13344's NEIAF serial at some point, when it was still owned by the Dutch goverment, and perhaps it even flew with those roundels?
Thanks to Aad van der Voet (OldWings.nl) for providing me with these details.

DUTCH MILITARY SERIALS EXPLAINED
And here is an interesting website for research of Dutch (Netherlands East Indies - NEI) WW2 aircraft such as L-12, B-25, Do-24 and Brewster Buffalo (plus other types of aircraft), by Jos Heyman:
www.adf-serials.com.au/research/nei.htm

 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
A 2011 revisit to the MLM saw this Lockheed 12-26 Electra Junior (c/n 1306) L2-38 in restoration (MLM 2006) and here it is seen 'flying out' again. (History: L2-38, PJ-AKD, BX238, T-2, SE-BXR, OH-ETA, LB-BFS, OY-AOV).
It might have been nicer to have it at a more convenient angle to the dining public or people below, though.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
North American B-25J M-464 (C/N 108-37333).
Former identities: 44-31258, N5-264 (Netherlands), N5-264 (Australia), M-464 (Netherlands), M-464 (Indonesia).



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Farman HF-20 - the one on loan from NAM has been returned and this is a newly built one (Thks info, Roger Soupart)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Fokker D.VII '266' (c/n 2523). Ex/ 436/18, N6268, N4729V - on loan from FHT (From: Ogden's Aviation Museums)
Roger Soupart informed me that this Fokker D.VII was bought from the FHT and thus is now owned by the NMM.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
deHavilland DH.82A Tiger Moth A-10 (c/n 86587). Ex/ PG690, A-10, PH-UFC (From: Ogden's Aviation Museums)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Koolhoven FK.51 (replica) 429

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
The Tiger Moth in pursuit of the Koolhoven FK.51



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc (replica), MJ881 / 3W-B
Eddie Tao recommended this (Dutch) website for Spitfires in the Nether;ands (Holland):
www.strijdbewijs.nl/birds/spitfire/dutch1.htm

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
North American P-51K Mustang 'H-307' (c/n 111-30258).
Ex/ 44-12125, composite with parts from a P-51D (from: Ogden's)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Looming in the back: Dornier-24 (Do-24T-3, c/n 5342).
Former identities: EC-DAF, 65-6 (Spain), N99225, HR.5-1 - on loan from RAF Museum. (Source: Ogden's)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Brewster B.339C Buffalo 'B-3107' (fake markings)
Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg


A few aircraft I found distinctly missing from the ones on display: DHC-2 Beaver, DH-89 Dominie,
Fokker G.1A, Noorduyn UT-8 Harvard, Grumman Tracker plus a number of jet fighters.
I missed the Fokker D.XXI, which I was told (thanks Roger!) lurks in a somewhat dimly lit area on the 1st floor.

 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Curtiss P-6 Hawk C.319, carries titles 'Wolff' and 'Menangkat'. Also 'Aviolanda' (Aviolanda-built?)
Information WIKIPEDIA and www.avianet.eu/ (Dutch).

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Supermarine Spitfire H-1 (CBAF-IX-907), ex/ MJ143, flying alongside a V-1, perhaps illustrating
that manoeuvre where with nudging it with the wingtip could steer it off course to a
less harmful point of impact. (en.wikipedia.org - V-1_flying_bomb and variants)

This V1 is not the one that was on loan from the RAF Museum to the MLM, but the V1 from the collection of the
army museum; it was rebuilt and some components (e.g. the wings) newly manaufactured.

Eddy Tao suggested the following website www.adf-serials.com.au/nz-serials/nzspitfire.htm for
details on all Spitfires related to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Gloster Meteor F.4 I-69, (ex/ VZ409)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak P-226 in pursuit of Hawker Hunter P.1067 N-144.
When my interest in military aviation started the Hawker Hunter had already been phased out, but Thunderstreaks
and Thunderflashes still operated (from Eindhoven AB, I recall).

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
The Lockheed Starfighter in a daring manoeuvre, chasing the Canadair NF-5A Freedom Fighter.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
NF-5A K-3020

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
When I started my photography at Soesterberg AB, the Convair F-102A Dagger had been replaced by the
McDonnell F-4 Phantom II (photos on my Soesterberg AB Remembered page). Which was replaced by the F-15.



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Dangling from the ceiling Sud-Est Allouette III H-20 (of which still a few are operational), the Bölkow BO-105
helicopter (B-37) and the Hiller H-23C Raven O-36. The Sikorsky S-58 is seen on groundlevel, below left.
But where is the Agusta-Bell 204B?


 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Interpretive area.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
In its opening weekend, 13+14Dec2014, it reported 10.000 visitors. It had a free entrance that weekend.
Note that the F.27 Troopship has been put in camouflage, compare it to 2006, when C-10 was displayed in
the colours in which it demonstrated at many air shows.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
The Breguet 1150 Atlantic ELINT 'V-250' (c/n 60, ex/ 61+20) and the Lockheed SP-2H Neptune 201 (726-7241).
Wonder where the PBY-5A Catalina 16-212 is or went to?

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Convair F-102A Delta Dagger '61032' (ex/ 56-1052, 61052 Greece AF). Plenty of space to park some more!

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Republic F-86F Sabre '52-5385'; ex/ 52-5180, 5307 (Portugal) - on loan from NASM (USA)
This area in front of the museum will hopefully see more aircraft on display in the future,
as the museum owns a lot more airframes.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
For a split second we enjoyed a little bit of sunshine

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
A walk towards the 'hangars', perhaps more aircaft in store there and open for a visit in the future?
This website www.planespotting.nl has an excellent round up on what was on display at MLM.
Meanwhile, we have a look at these airframes, still their 'transport configuration'.

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
In the distance a few 'hardened shelters'; some of them have been given quite a different use, now part of the
'Park Vliegbasis Soesterberg'. They offer art displays but one is also in use for housing... sheep!

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
North American F-86 Sabre, Q-283 (ex/ 54-1283)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Lockheed F-104G D-8245 'Dusty II'

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg



 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
I wonder what is in Hangar 8 or Building 45...?
It seems that these buildings will be opened during
the Easter holidays; check NMM website in due course.

A report in Scramble magazine (no.428, jan.2015) by
Pieter Plomp listed the following aircraft as stored
in building 9 (funny, not listed on the signpost),
some stored in parts and/or in crates).

Fokker G.1A 330 (replica)
S-11 E-22
AT-16ND (B-175)
AT-16ND 099/K
U-6A S-6
L-18C R-87
Auster AOP.3 MZ236
Dominie Mk.3 V-3
Beech 18 G-10 (PH-UDT, not ex military)
PBY-5A 16-212
US-2N 160/V
SP-2H 218 (cockpit)
TF-104G D-5803
Meteor T.7 I-19
Meteor F.8 I-189/7E-5
Hunter F.4 N-122
Hunter T.7 N-305
F-16B J-263
F-16B J-265
F-84F P-230
F-84G K-171/DU-24
RF-84F TP-19 (ex Greece)
F-86K Q-305 (mm53-8305)
NF-5B K-4011
F-4E 67-0275/CR
F-100D 54-1871/FW-871 (ex France)
S-14 L-11
CM.170 MT-51 (ex France)
T-33A M-5
T-33A M-50
T-37B 65-10825/EN
Alouette III A-465
Alouette II H-4 (ex Belgium)
AB.204B 225/K
SH-14D 283
Bo.105 (G-AZTI) (half cabin, not ex military)

outside (except the two photographed)
MiG-21PFM 47 red (ex Soviet)

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Soesterberg AB was where I spent my enlisted time, 1975-1977, working as an assistent photographer.
Those days are too far gone for me to remember the use for that building, but perhaps meaningful to others.


 

Nationaal Militair Museum, Soesterberg
Map of Park Soesterberg and the 'Nationaal Militair Museum'. From the museum I saw no clear information on
how to explore this park further, but landscaping was still much in progress and the weather did not call for much walking anyway. For summer 2015 to do.

My main source of reference for this page,
Bob Ogdens monumantal AVIATION MUSEUMS AND COLLECTIONS
OF MAINLAND EUROPE - 2ND EDITION (2009)
Bob Ogden's Aviation Museum Europe

SEE ALSO MY PAGE, MY MEMORIES 'SOESTERBERG AB REMEMBERED'

EXTERNAL LINKS:
PARK VLIEGBASIS SOESTERBERG
NATIONAAL MILITAIR MUSEUM
NL.WIKIPEDIA.ORG - Militaire_Luchtvaart_Museum

 

 

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Created: 21-Dec-2014