Military of Monaco

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A member of the armed forces of Monaco on guard duty at the Prince's Palace

The Principality of Monaco, the world's second-smallest sovereign state, after the Vatican City State, has a very limited military capability, and depends almost entirely upon its larger neighbour, France, for defence.[1][2] Altogether, there are 255 soldiers serving in Monaco's military (excluding civilian employees, who total 35), making its military the third-smallest in the world (after Antigua and Barbuda and Iceland).[3][4]

Chief Commander[edit]

The armed forces of Monaco, known collectively as La Force Publique,[5] are under the joint command of a chief commander (Le Commandant Supérieur de la Force Publique), who holds the rank of Colonel.[5] The current holder of the post is Colonel Tony Varo.[5]

Under the chief commander, each of the two principal military corps is headed by a Chef de Corps,[5] who holds the rank of Commandant (Major) or Lieutenant Colonel, according to personal seniority. The military band is commanded by a Chef de l'Orchestre, with the rank of Commandant (Major).[5]

Border patrol and patrol boats[edit]

Some military roles are assigned to the civil police, such as border patrol and border defence, which are the responsibility of a special police unit officially named the "Maritime and Heliport Police Division," and which operates on land and sea using patrol boats and high-speed surveillance boats.[6] Patrol boats, which currently[when?] number four (see below), are also operated by both the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers (fire-fighters) and the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (prince’s bodyguards).

Military branches[edit]

Two full-time militarised armed corps exist under the operational direction of the chief commander, and the political control of the Department of the Interior. One is the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco, and the other is the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince. Both units are part of both military and civil defence plans, and are key to the "ORMOS Red Plan" which makes provision for the evacuation of Monaco in case of natural disaster, or civil emergency.

Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers[edit]

Fire appliance of the Monégasque firefighters

Describing itself as a military force,[7] the Corps consists of 10 officers, 26 non-commissioned officers and 99 other ranks (with 25 civilian employees), providing fire, hazardous materials, rescue, and emergency medical services.[8] The officers' ranks (in descending order of seniority) are: Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commandant, Captain, Lieutenant, and Sub-Lieutenant. There are a further nine ranks of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel. Officers generally have served in the French military's fire service. Based at two barracks (one in La Condamine and one in Fontvieille), the Corps is equipped with fire engines, rescue vehicles and a range of specialist vehicles, including a fire boat and sealed tracked vehicles for entering Monaco's railway tunnels during an emergency.

Beyond fire-fighting duties, the Corps has an extensive civil defence brief. Its personnel are trained in the use of firearms, and the Corps has a central armoury. Personnel are trained to handle chemical incidents, and have specialist chemical incident vehicles and equipment. They are also equipped with ambulances and personnel have paramedic training.

An enlisted soldier (left) and a commissioned officer (right) of the Prince's Carabiniers.

Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince[edit]

Literally translated "Company of Carabiniers of the Prince", the English-language version of the official Government website translates the name as "The Palace Guards".[9] The force was established in 1817 by Prince Honoré, administrator on behalf of his father, Prince Honoré IV. Originally an infantry unit, in 1904 they replaced the previous (now disbanded) "Guard Company" as the official Palace Guard of the royal family.[9]

The Company is of a similar size to the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers. At the summer of 2020 the Government reported the total strength of the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince as 124, consisting of 3 officers, 24 non-commissioned officers, and 97 enlisted men (with another 14 civilian employees).[9] Each officer has trained and served with the French military. Its primary duty is the defence of the prince and the Prince's Palace in the Monaco-Ville (old town) quartier of Monaco. By extension, it also has a role in guarding members of the judiciary, who administer justice in the name of the prince.

There are a number of specialist units within the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince, which include a motorcycle section (for rapid-response and motorcycle outriding); a bodyguard and protection unit; a diving unit with military, rescue and scientific capabilities; and a military first-aid unit that provides first aid and ambulance cover at public and sporting events.[10]

The ceremonial "changing of the guard" at 11:55 am each day attracts large numbers of tourists. The ceremony is more than just a tourist spectacle, as this small military force is the front line of defence of the Monegasque princely family.

L'Orchestre Militaire[edit]

Despite its title of "military orchestra", this section, which is attached to the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince, provides a full range of military music, including an orchestra, a ceremonial marching band, and state trumpeters, under the command of a Chef de l'Orchestre, with the rank of Commandant (Major).[5] The band was established in 1978 and consists of 24 soldiers.[9]

Rank and insignia[edit]

A Monegasque soldier posing with two Dutch Olympic swimmers (Nel van Vliet and Hannie Termeulen) at the 1947 European Aquatics Championships

The rank structure of the armed forces of Monaco is based largely upon the rank structure of the French army.

Enlisted soldiers and non-commissioned officers rise through a series of eight ranks:

Equivalent
NATO code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Monaco Monaco
(Edit)
Monaco-army-OR-9.svg Monaco-army-OR-8.svg Monaco-army-OR-7.svg Monaco-army-OR-6.svg Monaco-army-OR-5.svg No equivalent Monaco-army-OR-4.svg None.svg Monaco-army-OR-1.svg
Adjudant-Chef Adjudant Maréchal des Logis Major Maréchal des Logis Chef Maréchal des Logis Brigadier Carabinier de Première Classe Carabinier de Deuxième Classe

Commissioned officers rise through a series of six ranks (in English translation): Sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain, Commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel, Colonel. As can be seen, in the French/Monegasque system the title 'Commandant' replaces the title 'Major' as used in the British/Commonwealth/American system.

Equivalent
NATO code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and student officer
Monaco Monaco
(Edit)
No equivalent
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Monaco-army-OF-(D).svg
Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Commandant Capitaine Lieutenant Sous Lieutenant Assistant

Department of the Interior[edit]

The minister of the Department of the Interior is appointed by the prince of Monaco for one five-year term, and is mainly responsible for both policing and military activity within Monaco.[11]

Ministers of the Department of the Interior (conseiller de gouvernement pour l’Intérieur):

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matt Rosenberg. "17 Small Countries of Less Than 200 Square Miles". About. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Military in Monaco, Monaco Defense – Allo' Expat Monaco". Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  3. ^ Les moyens. gouv.mc
  4. ^ Carabiniers du Prince (Compagnie des). gouv.mc
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Annuaire Officiel - Force Publique". Government of Monaco. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  6. ^ See Public Safety Pages Archived 14 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine of the Monaco Government's official website.
  7. ^ See the official website of the Corps des Sapeaurs-Pompiers Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine title pages.
  8. ^ See these pages Archived 25 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine for personnel strength and rank structure.
  9. ^ a b c d "The Palace Guards". Government of Monaco. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  10. ^ A list of specialist units may be found on the official website of the Government Archived 24 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine in the Dept of the Interior section.
  11. ^ "Google Translate". Retrieved 23 December 2014.

External links[edit]