Could the Netherlands pull off A Falklands?

Follow up to this thread

Let’s say President Hugo Chavez decides that islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire are part of Venezuela’s sovereign territory, and decides to liberate/invade them.

Further let’s state Holland’s NATO partners decide not to interfere with the issue, (The EU partners still resenting the Dutch success at the 2010 world cup. The United States too depended on the Venezuelan oil supplies)

lets further state that the Netherlands decide it wants the Islands back!

What would the Dutch chances of recapturing the islands 1982 Falklands style?
could it be done?
How could it be done?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_the_Netherlands
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Venezuela

I’d like to think Canada would help Denmark out, but only after they concede Hans Island to us.

Well, world demand for oil is down. Would a boycott of oil be possible? Last time I looked the dutch had high-quality subs. Sink a single tanker (or announce you might) and Lloyds would jack up insurance rates to a point nobody would sail for embargoed ports.

You would deliberately target civilians?

Didn’t Chavez nationalize the oil industry, so that would make the tankers legitimate targets…right?

Why not? It worked in WW2 and *not *targeting civilians has yet to work for anyone.

Well, no aircraft carriers, so they’d have to invade without air support. I don’t think they have troop transports either, so they can’t land anyone. They do have sufficient escort if they did have troop transports.

Basically, they can’t do it. Only four nations have the ability to project power long distances in this day and age: US, Britain, France, and Russia. China and India will have that capability in a decade or so.

That’s one of the things I comment on a lot about our NATO allies: they have no ability to do anything other than(inadequately) defend their own territory. If a 9/11 happened in Toronto and say, the North Koreans were behind it, what could they do? Not a darn thing.

NATO is a one-sided alliance these days.

Sint Maarten has an air strip.

Are you sure about the troop transports? They have a Marine Corps so I find that hard to believe.

A couple of points that may be interesting:

Bonaire (by far the smallest of the 3 islands) already has almost 5 times the population of the Falkands (which has about 3000 ATM). Total population of all three: about 260,000 people. You can’t just walk in there and claim it. I would also imagine that the chances of NATO/UN completely ignoring an invasion like that would be minimal.

I dunno about the Antilles’ population, but assuming they’re not too happy about this, they could provide all kinds of intel and support for any sort of Dutch military action, making things a lot harder for Venezuela. Other than that, I’m ignorant about stategic and tactical issues.

Given your scenario, no I don’t think so.

1- Navy: The Dutch don’t have any naval advantage over Venezuela. 6 vs 7 frigates. 4 vs 2 Diesel submarines. I don’t know about their comparative training or readiness. But sailing into a roughly equivalent force is not my idea of fun.
Advantage: Even

2- Air Force: The Dutch have no naval aviation, aside from helicopters. Which means the Venezuela’s small air force would have total control of the skies. Not a pleasant scenario for the Dutch.
Advantage: Venezuela

3- Ground Forces: The Dutch have a small sea lift capability. So they would only be able to assault the island with around 1200 or so marines. Presumably Venezuela will have attacked with sufficient force to overwhelm the 600 or so marines already based in the Caribbean. 1200 men seems quite insufficient to storm a defended Aruba. If the Dutch could seize an airfield early on then they may be able to start some air transport from the Netherlands, if you hand wave away the Venezuelan Air Force.

But even then you would assume that a significant portion of the 60,000+ strong Venezuelan army will have moved to the islands. And the Dutch only have a total force of 21,000. Sure they are a fully professional army and the Venezuelans have a fair number of conscripts. And the Dutch do have much better equipment. But the Venezuelans will have the advantage of already being there. I’m not sure how the Dutch would get their main battle tank, the Leopard, into the battle. So even with their older equipment the Venezuelans would have an advantage in heavy equipment.
Advantage: **Venezuela **

In the end I don’t think that the probable qualitative advantages of the Dutch could overcome the Venezuelans numerical advantages on the ground. Especially given the complete control of the air that Venezuela will enjoy. Without an Aircraft Carrier I don’t see how the Dutch can wiln this.

I think the Dutch, if they did try an invasion, would count on the Venezuelans not being willing to fight. It could work. Poorly trained conscripts often flee before trained professionals, even when the professionals are more lightly armed. If the Dutch did meet significant resistance, they’d have to abort the invasion pretty quickly and get out of dodge.

I’d also agree that NATO would respond forcefully. the US and Argentina during the Falklands were not hostile towards each other. The US and Venezuela are, plus there are a lot of other Latin American countries that would love to see Chavez get humiliated. I think the US, given Obama’s proclivities, would spend a few months negotiating, meanwhile building up a multinational force, mainly of Americans, Canadians, Dutch, and Latin American nations, and then go in and take the islands.

I’d assume that the Dutch would be able to press some passenger liners into service as troop transports, just as the British did during the Falklands.

Absolutely not. The British invasion of the Falklands was possible only because they had a substantial, powerful navy with aircraft carriers.

The Netherlands hasn’t the capability to project substantial power overseas.

A somewhat more interesting question is whether the Caribbean qualifies as the “North Atlantic,” which would mean the NATO collective defense clause would come into play. That did not apply with the Falklands, which are most definitely not in the North Atlantic.

Unless the Venezuelans go whole hog and also occupy St Maarten, the Dutch would have a base of operations within 600 miles of Venezuela, and the Juliana international airport would make for an excellent air field.
It’s a long haul for the F-16, but with extended tanks or mid-air refuelling not impossible to seriously affect or even dominate Venezuelan air operations.

Dutch Marines train extensively for amphibious assaults. The question is if 2 battalions can succesfully engage whatever portion of Venezuelan ground forces are present by the time this reaction force arrives. They are supposed to be able to engage anywhere in the world within 48 hours, but I doubt they can actually do so in force.

I flat don’t believe the Dutch would respond militarily, however. They’d try to talk it out. I don’t believe the political will exists to do anything other. Also, given that the islands are in a gradual process leading to evential minimalisation of the ties to the Netherlands anyway, it might not even be that unwelcome…

I don’t think the Netherlands would choose a military response as a first option, and I agree they’d try to talk it out diplomatically, but if that doesn’t work there are a few options:

  1. The islands do not want the Dutch to intervene. My guess is that this is actually unlikely to happen; unless Venezuela would promise to leave soon. This would probably be seen as insulting by some, but I would guess most of the government would not mind having the problem taken “out of their hands”.

  2. The islands DO want a military intervention. This is where it gets interesting. There is just no way the Dutch government could ignore that wish. If they tried to ignore it, that would probably lead to an immediate crisis of government - the opposition wouldn’t stand for it and I doubt the coalition parties would be able to maintain control.

I doubt we’d be able to take the islands back on our own, though. If only to maintain some semblance of international concensus, we’d have to find some partners in this fight. Very maybe we’d get Suriname to work with us on this, though I doubt it - and their army is tiny. But we may be able to use their airbases etc

Would the U.S. offer to help the Dutch? On one hand we are dependent on their oil, on the other hand I’m sure we’d want to knock Chavez down a peg or two.

They could pull it off - and they do, in a zany tale involving the resurrection of Maurice of Nassau, a lost Rembrandt painting haunted by an evil spirit, two thousand tons of the best herb in Amsterdam, and a hooker with a heart of gold, with a plan so crazy it just might work!

Coming July 2010.

I don’t think your model is the Falklands, more Kuwait.

Watch what happens when we can’t get Philips electronics, Tulips, and possibly IKEA stuff.
Just watch :smiley:

To be serious, Colombia would probably team up with Holland. Then I wouldn’t count on Venezuela being able to last.