The second KNAG-Expedition.
During the time the Archbold-expedition and the MMNNG explored the inlands of Indonesia and tried to bring "civilization" to the cannibals living there, Europe was underway to a war where millions of people would die.
Closer to home the aggressions of Japan became more clear by the day. Big parts of China were anexated by Japan and Chinese cities were bombed by the Japanese Air Force. Under these threatening circumstances the Dutch and Indonesian governments placed more emphasis on rearmament than on the exploration of the inlands of New-Guinea.
The rearmament also included the MLD. In Soerabaja a conversion of the Wal to the new Do-24K-1 was in full swing. 14 of the ordered Do-24K's had arrived in the Dutch Indies. During the introduction of the Do-24K-1 in The Dutch East Indies in 1937 the plane was called the dreamplane by the new crews. The Do-24K-1 allowed the MLD to explore all the far corners of the vast Indonesian archipelos and that proved necessary regarding the Japanese expantions in the east. Since November 1938 GVT 3, the first Do-24K group, was stationed at Ambon for two months. The group was under the command of Luitenant ter zee 1e klasse N. Guilonard and was ordered to guard the eastern part of the archipelos. GVT 3 was equipped with the X-10, X-11 and X-12.
On Ambon at that time the responsible civil servant was to play a very important part in the coming years and was internationally to be known as the "Jungle Pimpernel". His name was Dr. Jean Victor de Bruijn. De Bruijn had just received orders to take over the post at the Wisselmeren from Stutterheim. Only two months at that post this man was obviously not able to cope with the solitude and primitive conditions.
Vic de Bruijn was still young with his 26 years and was even the youngest controller in the Dutch East Indies. Fascinated by the country with its white spots un the maps and the secret Papoea culture in the inlands, he was fully intended to make something of his stay there. De Bruijn had never flown before and on January 18th 1939 he got the chance to go with a group of high ranking officers who were going to make an inspection journey to the garrisons at Boven-Digoel, Manokwart and the Ajamaroe Lake. That day he flew with the X-12 to Dobo on the Aroe Islands, where he changed the next day to the X-10 under the command of Luitenant ter zee 2de klasse S.H. Rosier, with the destination the Wissel Lakes.
Thursday, January 19th 1939.
The X-10 approached New-Guinea. Vagely visible in the distance were the snow-covered mountains of the Carstenz mountains. There somewhere, at 1700 meter height, were the Wissel Lakes, the Paniai Lake, where the first and only Dutch control post was in the inlands.
Supplying the post was a major problem. De Bruijn knew that. The civil servant was the only passenger on board and realized that the empty space around him could have been used for at least three months supplies. A short-sightnes that he became al to familiar with in the future. For the time being for supplies he was reliant on bearers, who had to march from the coast, taking eight days for the trip and averaging 20 kg per person on arrival.
Commander Rosier and his crew were on their way to Aika near Kape Steenboom, the explorationpost of the NNGPM where Navy pilot Wissel landed on December 31st 1936 with the news about the three lakes he discovered (hence the name Wissel Lakes). The crew had mail with them for the geologists working at Aika. After landing near the mouth of the river a motorboat of the NNGPM approached. At the same time some Papoea's appear, standing up in their wooden canoe's, trying to get some tabaco from the crew.
The stay at Aika did not last long. After handing over the mail and exchanging the lastest news the engines were started and Rosier turned the aircraft into the wind, the engine noise rose and take-off was imminent. The cabin was not isolated and the noise of the engines was mixed with the clashing of the waves against the bottom of the fuselage. De Bruijn watched the waves rush past his window. The clashing against the fuselage stopped, they were airborne. Slightly later the X-10 made a turn and began to climb to a safe altitude to get over the southern part of the Nassau Mountains.
That same day de Bruijn had a chance to experience the quickness of the weatherchanges over New-Guinea flying through a darkgrey couldbase that totally took away the ground visibility. The machine was flung up and down with the turbulence. Rain clashed against the fuselage and as sudden as the entered the bad weather they were out of it. Under the aircraft a rugged mountain landscape unfolded, a never ending jungle. Just a few minutes later the clouds totally disappear and de Bruijn has a clear view at 3000 meter over the mountains, the canyons and the glistering rivers down below.
In the beaming sun the X-10 circled above the Panai Lake that looked riddled with small matchsticks, which actually were Papoea canoe's. In the southeastern corner of the lake were a few buildings that clearly were different from the rest of the buildings surrounding the lake, these had to be the outpost.
Rosier landed, creating an enormous wave that clashed over the cockpit and the fuselage, taking away all sight. When the speed decreased the visibility increased and a small mooring place came in sight with a fewDutch, Indonesiers and Papoea's standing on it. There was Strutterheim, who Vic de Bruijn was to replace. De Bruijn had arrived at the place where he was to gain fame during the war with Japan when he was known as the "Jungle Pimpernel".