List of oldest military units and formations in continuous operation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While modern standing armies were first developed in the 15th century, the defining terminology for contemporary military units and formations, such as company, battalion, regiment etc. mostly arose in the early modern period, during the 16th and 17th centuries.[citation needed]

Only units that are still extant are included, while contemporary refoundings of older units are excluded.

Oldest active military units still in operation[edit]

Start of continuous operation Heraldry Name Founder Founding
location
Current
location
Notes Ref.
1248 King's Own Immemorial 1st Infantry Regiment Ferdinand III of Castile Crown of Castile SpainMadrid, Spain It was one of the first standing units in Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire, remaining in the order of battle of the Castilian and Spanish armies since its creation. At present the Regiment is the Unit responsible for providing the central seat of Spanish Army Headquarters security, services, and support needed for its functioning.[third-party source needed] [1][2][better source needed]
1479 1st Infantry Regiment King Louis XI of France  Kingdom of France France Sarrebourg, France Founded in 1479-1480 by King Louis XI as Bandes de Picardie. It became the Légion de Picardie in 1558 during the Italian War of 1551–1559 and then Régiment de Picardie on May 29, 1569. It was ultimately renamed 1er régiment d'infanterie de ligne in 1791 after the military reforms of Louis Le Bègue Duportail. It is now part of the Franco-German Brigade (French units of the brigade are part of 1st Division) and was recently deployed in Afghanistan, Mali, and the Central African Republic.[third-party source needed] [3]
1485 Badge of the Yeomen of the Guard Yeomen of the Guard King Henry VII  Kingdom of England United Kingdom
St. James's Palace, London, United Kingdom
The King's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard is a bodyguard of the British Monarch. The oldest British military corps still in existence, it was created by King Henry VII in 1485 after the Battle of Bosworth Field. The Yeomen today are purely ceremonial, and perform ceremonial and royal duties at State Opening of Parliament, The Most Noble Order of the Garter, Maundy Service, Royal Garden Parties, Investitures, Coronations, plus other events such as Royal Weddings and Royal Funerals, Epiphany, State Visits and Diplomatic Receptions. They are all based and administered from St James's Palace. [4]
1488
Royal Netherlands Navy Maximilian I Burgundian Netherlands  Kingdom of the Netherlands Maximilian I issues a Statute of Admiralty in 1488, laying the foundations for the current Royal Netherlands Navy. [5][6][7]
1509 9th Infantry Regiment “Soria” Ferdinand II of Aragon Kingdom of Naples, Crown of Aragon SpainFuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain Founded in 1509 as "Tercio of Napoli" or "Tercio de Zamudio". It is the second oldest regiment still used for overseas military operations. [8][9]
1521 Life Guards Gustav Vasa SwedenStockholm, Sweden SwedenKungsängen Founded in 1521 as the Royal bodyguards to Gustav Vasa [10]
1534 Tercio Viejo de Sicilia Charles I of Sicily Kingdom of SicilyKingdom of Sicily SpainSan Sebastián and Irun, Kingdom of Spain Founded in 1534 to control the possessions the Kings of Sicily who at that time resided abroad, the tercio participated in numerous battles including the battle of Lepanto. In recent years, its units have participated in international missions in Bosnia Herzegovina, Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. [11]
1537 Spanish Navy Marines Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor SpainSan Fernando, Cádiz, Spain Founded on 27 February 1537 when Old Sea Companies of Naples were permanently assigned to Mediterranean Galley Squadrons.[citation needed]
1537 Honourable Artillery Company King Henry VIII England England United Kingdom City of London, United Kingdom Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII as the Fraternity or Guild of Artillery of Longbows, Crossbows and Handguns. Fought with distinction in both World Wars. The oldest surviving regiment in the British Army (now part of the Army Reserve)[third-party source needed]. [12]
1556 2nd Dragoon Regiment Louis, Prince of Condé Kingdom of France Kingdom of France France France Despite the recent formation of the regiment in its current configuration, it is the oldest French cavalry regiment, dating back to 1556. The French Revolution gave it the designation of the second regiment of dragoons in the French Army, and with brief interruptions it has served under this name in successive French armies ever since. It is the French Army NBC Defense Unit. Still in Service. [13]
1614 Guard Hussar Regiment King Christian IV of Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Unit amalgamated with and perpetuates Zealand Life Regiment, which was disbanded on 1 January 2001 [14]
1626 Pori Brigade King Gustav II Adolf Swedish Empire  Finland On 16 February 1626, King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden founded the Royal Pori Regiment during the Thirty Years' War. The regiment served in most wars of the great power era of Sweden, and was destroyed and reformed several times during the Great Northern War. [15][16]
1636 181st Infantry Regiment England Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [17][18]
1636 182nd Infantry Regiment England Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [17]
1636 101st Field Artillery Regiment England Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Oldest field artillery unit in the United States Army and Massachusetts National Guard. The 101st FA was an infantry unit until 1897. [19]
1642 Scots Guards (third regiment of foot guards) King Charles I  Scotland  United Kingdom Raised in 1642 to form a personal body guard to King Charles I when he campaigned in Ireland; became part of English Army in 1661 [20]
1648 Danish Artillery Regiment  Denmark  Denmark Current formation from 2019; traces origins back to 1648 [21]
1650 Coldstream Guards George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle Commonwealth of England Commonwealth of England United Kingdom United Kingdom Raised in 1650; became part of the English Army in 1661 [22]
1656 Grenadier Guards Royal Cypher Grenadier Guards Thomas Wentworth, 5th Baron Wentworth, John Russell  England United Kingdom United Kingdom Senior Regiment of the Guards Division [23]
1656 5th Dragoon Regiment Louis XIV  Kingdom of France  France A cavalry regiment of the French Army, created under the Ancien Régime in 1656 [24]
1658 Royal Life Guards King Frederick III of Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Both a Guard/Ceremonial unit of the Danish Monarch and Infantry Regiment of the Danish Army [25]
1659 1st Regiment "Granatieri di Sardegna" Duke Carlo Emanuele II di Savoia Savoy Savoy Italy Italy Formed April 18, 1659 as the "Reggimento delle Guardie" [26]
1664 Royal Marines King James II  England United Kingdom United Kingdom Now roughly small brigade size. [27]
1665 Korps Mariniers Johan de Witt and admiral Michiel de Ruyter Dutch Republic  Kingdom of the Netherlands The Korps Mariniers, raised as the Regiment de marine, during the second Anglo-Dutch War. Today it is roughly 3 battalions strong. [28]
1670 Jutland Dragoon Regiment Field marshal Ernst Albrecht von Eberstein Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark [29]
1670 South Carolina State Guard Province of South Carolina South Carolina South Carolina United States Founded in 1670 as the Charleston Militia. Served in Revolutionary War, War with Mexico, Spanish-American War. Later "South Carolina State Defense Force" (c. 1941), renamed "South Carolina State Guard" (1944). [30]
1716 Corps of Royal Engineers Board of Ordnance Kingdom of Great Britain United Kingdom United Kingdom Formed by the Board of Ordnance in 1716, can trace their origins back to the military engineers brought to England by William the Conqueror. [31]
1741
211th Military Police Battalion England Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [32]
1742 116th Infantry Regiment (United States) Colony of Virginia Virginia Virginia United States Oldest unit in continuous operation in the Virginia National Guard. Today part of the 116th Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division [33]
1747 111th Infantry Regiment Benjamin Franklin Colony of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Commonwealth of Pennsylvania United States The 111th is the oldest unit in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Today, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry is part of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division [34]
1758 Madras Regiment East India Company Company Raj  India The Madras Regiment is the oldest infantry regiment of the Indian Army, originating in the 1750s. In 1758 Stringer Lawrence raised the Madras Regiment, forming the several Companies of Madras Levies into two battalions. [35]
1759 Punjab Regiment East India Company Company Raj  Pakistan The Punjab Regiment is the oldest infantry regiment of the Pakistan Army. It traces its roots to the senior-most battalion of the 1st Punjab Regiment, currently existing as the 1st Battalion, Punjab Regiment. [36]
1761 Punjab Regiment East India Company Company Raj  India The Punjab Regiment is second oldest regiments still in service in the Indian Army, and is the most senior regional infantry regiment. It was formed from the 2nd Punjab Regiment of the British Indian Army in 1947. [37]
1768 Maratha Light Infantry East India Company Company Raj  India The Maratha Light Infantry is a light infantry regiment of the Indian Army. It traces its lineage to the Bombay Sepoys, raised in 1768, making it the most senior light infantry regiment in the Indian Army. [38]
1774 175th Infantry Regiment Mordecai Gist Colony of Maryland  Maryland United States Oldest unit still in operation in the Maryland National Guard. [39]
1775 Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) Robert Rogers Kingdom of Great Britain British North America  Canada The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC) is a Canadian Army Primary Reserve Royal Canadian Armoured Corps regiment based in Toronto and Aurora. It was founded in 1775 as the Queen's Rangers however it traces its origins back to 1756. [40][41][42]
1775 Rajputana Rifles East India Company Company Raj  India The Rajputana Rifles is the oldest rifle regiment of the Indian Army. It was raised in January of 1775 as 5th Battalion, Bombay Sepoys. [43]
1776 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment Alexander Hamilton Continental Congress  United States 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery is the oldest unit in the U.S. Regular Army and the only existing Regular Army unit that fought in the American Revolution. [44]
1787 The Grenadiers East India Company Company Raj  India The Grenadiers is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army, formerly part of the Bombay Army and later the pre-independence British Indian Army, when the regiment was known as the 4th Bombay Grenadiers. [45]
1795 Royal Newfoundland Regiment Thomas Skinner Newfoundland Colony  Canada The Royal Newfoundland Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. It fought in the War of 1812, World War I, World War II, and the War in Afghanistan. The regiment was founded in 1795 however it traces its origins back to 1704. [46][47]
1795 Jat Regiment East India Company Company Raj  India The Jat Regiment is part of the infantry of the Indian Army. Numerous battalions of the Jat Regiment, including the 14th Murray's Jat Lancers, fought in the First World War. [48]
1795 Border Guards Bangladesh East India Company Company Raj  Bangladesh The Border Guards Bangladesh is a paramilitary force responsible for the border security of Bangladesh. This force started its journey on 29 June 1795 with the name of 'Ramgarh Local Battalion' previously named 'Frontier Protection Force' formed by East India Company in 1794. [49]
1798 Baloch Regiment East India Company Company Raj  Pakistan The Baloch Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Pakistan Army. Its senior-most battalion, the 1st Battalion, was raised in 1798 as the 3rd Extra Battalion of Madras Native Infantry at Masulipatam. [50]
1814 Papal Swiss Guard Pope Julius II  Papal States  Vatican City Although the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded in 1506 and is one of the oldest active military units presently in existence, they were disbanded and reorganized multiple times. The most recent iteration of the Swiss Guard began in 1814, after being disbanded in 1809. [51][52]
1842 Engineer Regiment Christian V Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Current formation from 1997 as amalgamation of regiments from 1842; traces origins back to 1684 [53]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ "Home". yeomenoftheguard.co.uk.
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  6. ^ Wragg, David W. (2012). World sea power guide. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Maritime. ISBN 978-1-78303-558-8. OCLC 854583763.
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  9. ^ Tierra, JEME - Ejercito de. ".:Ejército de tierra:". www.ejercito.mde.es. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
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  14. ^ Brøndum, Christian (17 November 2014). "Dronningen fejrer tvivlsomt jubilæum". b.dk (in Danish). Berlingske Media. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  15. ^ https://maavoimat.fi/en/pori-brigade
  16. ^ https://porilaismuseo.fi/
  17. ^ a b "Organizational History". U.S. Army Center of Military History. 1999. p. 29. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
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