NEKAF Production Units
The vehicle with the longest service record in the Dutch military, serving in the Royal Army for more than 40 years from 1952 until 1996, is the M38A1 Jeep. During and shortly after World War II, the Dutch army used jeeps left behind by American forces. By the early 1950's however, the army was looking for a replacement, and in 1952 received a number of U.S.-built M38A1's under the Mutual Defence Assistance Program
The army had two principal options for purchase of additional vehicles: the M38A1 and the DAF YA 054 light terrain vehicle. The DAF was designed by the Dutch company of the same name, with the requirements of the Royal Army in mind, but may have lost the race simply because its price was a couple of hundred guilders higher than the M38A1's.
According to the contract with Kaiser-Willys, parts for the Dutch M38A1 Jeeps were to come from the U.S., but as an aid to the Dutch industry, the Jeeps would be assembled at the "Nederlandse Kaiser-Frazer" (NEKAF) factory in Rotterdam. The first of what became known as the "Nekaf Jeeps" was delivered on 28 May 1955.
The initial order was for 4000 Jeeps, plus a rolling prototype which served the purpose of establishing the conformity of all parts. Eventually some 24 percent of the parts would be delivered by local suppliers. Batteries and tires were supplied by Dutch firms Bataafse Accufabriek (now known as Varta), and Vredestein. This increased the price of a Nekaf to 12,670 Dutch guilders, which made it a very expensive vehicle at that time.
The Nekaf Jeep was basically an M38A1 with a few additions needed to comply to the Dutch traffic regulations of the time: extra reflectors screwed to the front fenders, low-intensity "city lights" added to the grille, and turn signals mounted to the left and right sides of the tub just behind the seats. The Nekaf was equipped with a canvas roof; provisions were made for mounting a hardtop but these were not used in the Dutch army.
At start of production, Kaiser-Frazer delivered about 55 Nekafs per week. An additional order for another 150 Jeeps for the Royal Army was placed in 1956, as well as an order for 156 Jeeps to be delivered to the Air Force. However, deliveries apparently went down to 27 per week by 1957, and production finally ceased when the factory was faced with a large penalty for failing to make deliveries at the rate stated in the contract. The 5676th and last Kaiser-Frazer-produced Nekaf was delivered to the army in 1958.
The Dordrecht firm Kemper & Van Twist Diesel took over production from 1958 to 1962, and held on to the "Nekaf" name. Kemper & Van Twist assembled about 2000 Jeeps.
When the Ministry of Defence (then called Ministry of War) decided to acquire the Nekaf, its life was expected to be twenty years; ten years in active duty and the remainder in storage. During the 1960's and beyond, changed priorities meant the Ministry spent a large part of its budget buying tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles for the mechanization of the Royal Army. There was no money left to replace the Nekaf, and therefore the Jeep remained in active service much longer than originally intended.
Alongside the standard issue Jeep used for general purposes, the Nekaf was used as a radio Jeep, ambulance, fire engine and snow plow. After 1959 it was used as a weapons carrier equipped with the 106mm M40 recoilless rifle (in Dutch, "Terugstootloze Vuurmond" or TLV.) With the use of American part sets, 355 Nekafs were converted to M38A1C TLV carriers. In order to be able to carry the extra weight of 217 kilograms, heavier springs were mounted. The windshield had separated window panes, a gun barrel support was mounted, and ammunition storage racks were added. From 1983 until 1989, forty M38A1Cs were equipped with cable-guided TOW missiles.
In the 1960's the army tried to replace some of the Nekafs, with a vehicle built in Germany by DKW, called the Munga. This was not a success; the Mungas were worn out before their planned 10 years' service had passed, and the Nekafs were back into use.
Starting in the late 1970's, the Nekafs began to be replaced by the Leyland Land Rover and the Mercedes diesel-powered G-series. After being taken out of active duty, most of the Jeeps were sold by the government, with the last Nekafs apparently being sold in the year 2000.
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