List of oldest military units and formations in continuous operation
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This is a list of oldest military units and formations in continuous operation. In continuous operation here means not units that no longer exist, or recent creations sharing only the name with an older unit.
Please note: Whereas modern standing armies 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.
Oldest active military units still in operation
|1248||King's Own Immemorial 1st Infantry Regiment||Ferdinand III of Castile||Crown of Castile||Madrid, 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.||[better source needed]|
|1479||1st Infantry Regiment||King Louis XI of France||Kingdom of 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.|||
|1506||Papal Swiss Guard||Pope Julius II||Papal States||Vatican City||The Pontifical Swiss Guard is one of the oldest active military units presently in existence. They are famous for their last stand which allowed Pope Clement VII to flee from Rome during War of the League of Cognac.|||
|1509||9th Infantry Regiment “Soria”||Ferdinand II of Aragon||Kingdom of Naples, Crown of Aragon||Fuerteventura, 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.|||
|1521||Life Guards||Dalarna, Sweden||Stockholm, Sweden||Life Guards, formerly Svea Life Guards, dates back to the year 1521, when the men of Dalarna chose 16 "young able men" as body guards for Gustav Vasa, subsequent King of Sweden.|
|1534||Tercio of Sicily||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor||Kingdom of Sicily, Spanish Empire||San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain||It was created to protect the Spanish possessions in South Italy, where it was stationed for 2 centuries. It has participated in almost all conflits that involved Spain, and in recent years, its units have participated in international missions in Bosnia Herzegovina, Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.|
|1536||Life Regiment Hussars||Uppland and Södermanland||Karlsborg, Sweden||The Life Regiment traces back to two drafted units set up by Gustav Vasa in 1536 to lessen the dependency on foreign mercenaries. The regiment has fought in many battles and is one of Europe's most victorious regiments. Today the regiment participates in more international military missions for Sweden than any other regiment.|
|1537||Honourable Artillery Company||King Henry VIII||England||City of London||Officially incorporated by Royal Charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII. The Company fought with distinction in both World Wars and its current Regiment is the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army, and the second most senior in the Army Reserve. Today its purpose is to attend to the "better defence of the realm" by the support of the HAC Regiment and a detachment of Special Constabulary to the City of London Police.|
|1537||Spanish Navy Marines||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor||Kingdom of Naples, Spanish Empire||Spain||The Infantería de Armada (Navy Infantry) was created by Charles V in 1537, when he permanently assigned the Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies) to the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley Squadrons).|
|1537||6th Infantry Regiment “Saboya”||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor||Duchy of Savoy, Spanish Empire||Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain||It was created as the "Tercio of Savoy" in 1537. Nowadays is a mechanized infantry unit in the Spanish Army.|
|1537||3rd Infantry Regiment "Príncipe"||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor||Duchy of Milan, Spanish Empire||Siero, Principality of Asturias, Spain||It was created as "Tercio of Lombardy (old)" in 1537. Nowadays is an Airborne Light Infantry unit in the Spanish Army.|
|1539||Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers||King Henry VIII of England||England||Monmouth||The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) is the most senior regiment in the British Army Reserve, having given continuous loyal service to the crown since 1539. It is part of the reserve forces, and is the only remaining Militia unit in the British Army.|
|1556||2nd Dragoon Regiment (France)||Louis, Prince of Condé (1530–1569)||Kingdom of 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. Is the french Army NBC Defense Unit. Still in Service.|
|1566||4th Mountain Hunters Regiment "Galicia"||Philip II of Spain||Duchy of Milan, Spanish Empire||Jaca, Aragón, Spain||It was created as "Tercio de Lombardía" to protect the Spanish possessions in North Italy, and from there, it was deployed with the Army of Flanders. It has participated in a great number of military actions in Europe, America and Africa, and now it is stationed in the Pyrenees mountains.|
|1573||50th Infantry Regiment “Canarias”||Philip II of Spain||Canary Islands, Spanish Empire||Canary Islands, Spain||It was raised as "Tercio de Las Palmas" (Militia) on Abril 28, 1573, to protect the island of Gran Canaria from pirates and other European powers, its mission for centuries. It has also participated in actions in the Iberian peninsula and Africa, and in recent times, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan.|
|1613||Skaraborg Regiment (infantry)||King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden||Kingdom of Sweden||Sweden||In 1942 converted to Skaraborg Regiment (armoured);|
in 2000 changed back to Skaraborg regiment
|1614||Guard Hussar Regiment (Denmark)||King Christian IV of Denmark||Denmark||Denmark||Unit amalgamated with and perpetuates Zealand Life Regiment, which was disbanded on 1 January 2001|||
|1618||Portuguese Marine Corps||Kingdom of Portugal||Portugal||Consists of 2 battalions|
|1636||181st Infantry Regiment (United States)||Massachusetts Bay Colony||Massachusetts United States||Part of the Massachusetts National Guard|||
|1636||182nd Infantry Regiment (United States)||Massachusetts Bay Colony||Massachusetts United States||Part of the Massachusetts National Guard|||
|1636||101st Field Artillery Regiment||Massachusetts Bay Colony||Massachusetts United States||The 101st Artillery Regiment is the oldest Artillery unit of the US Army; was founded the same time as the 181st Infantry Regiment|
|1636||101st Engineer Battalion||Massachusetts Bay Colony||Massachusetts United States||The 101st Engineer Battalion was founded at the same time as the 181st Infantry Regiment|
|1638||211th Military Police Battalion||Massachusetts Bay Colony||Massachusetts United States||The 211th Military Police Battalion goes back to 1741; the 772nd Military Police Company of this Battalion was founded in 1638. Part of the Massachusetts National Guard.|
|1641||15th Infantry Regiment (Portugal)||Kingdom of Portugal||Portugal|
|1642||Scots Guards (third regiment of foot guards)||King Charles the First||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|
|1648||Danish Artillery Regiment||Denmark||Denmark||Current formation from 2019; traces origins back to 1648|||
|1649||12th Cavalry Regiment "Farnesio"||Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse-Eschwege||Spanish Netherlands, Spanish Empire||Santovenia de Pisuerga, Castile and León, Spain||It was created on March 7, 1649, in the Landgrave of Hesse-Eschwege. Nowadays is a reconnaissance cavalry regiment stationed in Castile and León, Spain.|
|1650||Coldstream Guards||George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle||Commonwealth of England||United Kingdom||Raised in 1650; became part of the English Army in 1661|
|1652||276th Engineer Battalion (United States)||Virginia United States||United States||The 1953 US Army Lineage Book Infantry traces the 176th Infantry Regiment origins to 1652; 176th Infantry was a predecessor unit of the 276th Engineer Battalion|
|1656||Grenadier Guards||England||United Kingdom||Senior Regiment of the Guards Division|||
|1656||10th Cavalry Regiment “Alcántara”||Philip IV of Spain||Spanish Netherlands, Spanish Empire||Melilla, Spain||It was created in Brussels on February 19, 1656, as "Tercio de Nestién". Nowadays is an armored cavalry regiment stationed in the Spanish north African city of Melilla.|
|1658||Royal Life Guards (Denmark)||King Frederick III of Denmark||Denmark||Denmark||Both a Guard/Ceremonial unit of the Danish Monarch and Infantry Regiment of the Danish Army|||
|1659||1° Reggimento "Granatieri di Sardegna" (Italy)||Duke Carlo Emanuele II di Savoia||Savoy||Italy||Formed April 18, 1659 as the "Reggimento delle Guardie"|
|1660||Life Guards (United Kingdom)||Charles II||England||United Kingdom||Senior Regiment of the British Army|
|1663||31st Infantry Regiment "Asturias"||General Junta of the Principality of Asturias||Principality of Asturias, Spanish Empire||El Goloso, Madrid, Spain||It was first raised as "Tercio de Asturias" in the autonomous region of Asturias on February 3, 1663, again in 1690, and again and definitely in 1706. Nowadays is a mechanized infantry unit in the Spanish Army.|
|1664||Royal Marines||King James II||England||United Kingdom||Now roughly small brigade size.|||
|1665||Korps Mariniers||Premier Johan de Witt||Dutch Republic||Netherlands||Founded as Regiment de Marine. Now roughly small brigade size.|
|1665||2nd Infantry Regiment "La Reina"||Dona Maria Anna of Austria||Crown of Castile, Spanish Empire||Córdoba, Andalucia, Spain||It was created as "Queen Body Guards", by the Governor Queen Dona Maria Anna of Austria, by Royal Decree of August 22, 1665, during the minority of Charles II of Spain, for the guard of the Real person of the King.|
|1670||Jutland Dragoon Regiment||Field marshal Ernst Albrecht von Eberstein||Denmark||Denmark|||
|1670||South Carolina State Guard||Province of 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).|||
|1671||1er Régiment d'Artillerie||France||France||The 1st Artillery Regiment is the oldest artillery regiment of the French Army, created under the Ancien Régime in 1671. Hence the name Royal Artillery or 1st Artillery Regiment of France|
|1672||102nd Infantry Regiment (United States)||Connecticut United States||Connecticut United States||Part of the Connecticut National Guard|
|1672||65e régiment d'infanterie||France||France||Raised in 1672 as a Swiss Regiment (Régiment de Salis) in French Service. Disbanded 1940.|
|1672||192nd Military Police Battalion||Connecticut United States||Connecticut United States||Part of the Connecticut National Guard|
|1673||113th Infantry Regiment (United States)||New Jersey United States||New Jersey United States||Taken in Service in 1775; traces orgians back to 1673 Militia; part of the New Jersey National Guard|
|1676||13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment||Marquis de Barbezières||Kingdom of France||Martignas-sur-Jalle, France||Constituted under the form of a regiment of Dragoon (the mounted cavalry) during the Ancien Regime by the Marquis de Barbezières at Languedoc in 1676, this cavalry regiment, one of the oldest, adopted the nomination of 13th Dragoon Regiment (French: 13e Régiment de dragons) during the reorganization of the French cavalry in 1791. The regiment was transformed into an armored corps in 1936, then an airborne-capable reconnaissance unit in 1952.|
|1685||Henry Cornewall's Regiment of Foot||England||United Kingdom||In 1751 numbered 9th Regiment of Foot; in 1881 Norfolk Regiment; in 1935 the Royal Norfolk Regiment; now A Company/1st Battalion "Royal Norfolks" of the Royal Anglian Regiment|
|1685||3rd The King's Own Hussars||England||United Kingdom||Now part of the Queen's Royal Hussars|
|1690||5° Reggimento Fanteria "Aosta"||Duchy of Savoy||Italy||Raised on 20 February 1690 the "Reggimento Fucilieri di Sua Altezza Reale" (His Royal Highness Fusiliers Regiment)|
|1696||Hoch- und Deutschmeister Regiment||Holy Roman Empire||Austria||First raised as the Pfalz-Neuburg-Teutschmeister Regiment, later Teutschmeister zu Fuß thenk.u.k. Infanterieregiment „Hoch- und Deutschmeister“ Nr. 4, all in service of the Holy Roman Empire until 1804. Served with the same name as part of the forces of the Austrian Empire until 1867 and the Autro-Hungarian Monarchy until 1919, then as part of the first Austrian Republic until 1936 (as Infanterieregiment „Hoch- und Deutschmeister“ Nr. 4), then as the German 44. Reichsgrenadier-Division "Hoch- und Deutschmeister" until 1945, and then as the Landwehr Regiment 21, later Jägerbataillon 2 and currently Jägerbataillon Wien 1 "Hoch- und Deutschmeister" of the current Austrian Republic.|
|1707||3rd Cavalry Regiment, Dragões de Olivença (Portugal)||Kingdom of Portugal||Portugal||Created under the designation of "Regimento de Cavalaria Ligeira de Olivença"|
|1709||6th Cavalry Regiment, Dragões D'Entre Douro e Minho (Portugal)||Kingdom of Portugal||Portugal||Created under the designation of "Regimento de Dragões de Trás-os-Montes"|
|1709||8th Cavalry Regiment "Lusitania"||Jaime Miguel de Guzmán de Avalos y Spinola||Crown of Castile, Spanish Empire||Marines, Valencian Community, Spain||It was created as "10th Regiment of Dragons" on December 18, 1709. Nowadays is a light armoured cavalry unit in the Spanish Army.|
|1720||1st Parachute Hussar Regiment||Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny||Kingdom of Hungary||France||It is an airborne cavalry unit in the French Army, founded in 1720 by Hungarian noble Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny.|
|1735||2nd Hussars Regiment (also called : Chamborant Houzards)||comte Valentin-Joseph Esterhazy||Kingdom of Hungary||France||The 2nd hussars regiment (2nd hussars) is a regiment of the French Armed Forces formed in 1735. It distinguished itself during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.He is currently the Armored Intelligence Intelligence Regiment of the Army. The regiment belongs to the Intelligence Command and is stationed in Haguenau in Alsace. Specialized in infiltration, camouflage, intelligence, survival techniques and the latest technologies, the 2nd Hussars is characterized by the mobility of its patrols that are deployable on short notice. They are extremely discreet intelligence riders.|
|1736||Georgia Hussars||James Oglethorpe||Georgia Colony||State of Georgia||Part of the 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, Georgia National Guard|
|1741||Artillery Company of Newport||King George II||Colony of Rhode Island||State of Rhode Island||An independent chartered command of the Rhode Island Militia.|
|1747||111th Infantry Regiment||Benjamin Franklin||Colony of Pennsylvania||Commonwealth of Pennsylvania||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|||
|1759||Punjab Regiment||East India Company||Madras||Pakistan||Oldest regiment in subcontinent region.|
|1756||169th Military Police Company||King George II||Colony of Rhode Island||State of Rhode Island||An active unit of the Rhode Island National Guard with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.|
|1756||The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC)||Robert Rogers||British America||Toronto, Canada||Founded as Rogers Rangers|
|1764||3rd Hussars regiment (also called : Esterhazy Houzards)||comte Valentin-Joseph Esterhazy||Kingdom of Hungary||France||The 3rd Hussars Regiment (3rd HR, former Esterhazy hussars) is a regiment of hussars of the French army, created in 1764 and member of the armored cavalry. Stationed in Metz since 2011, he has been part of the Franco-German Brigade since 1990. The regiment has distinguished itself during its long history in many battles, among which Valmy, Jena, Friedland, Montereau or more recently Ypres, Ourcq, and the second battle of the Marne in 1918.|
|1764||66th Infantry Regiment "América"||Charles III of Spain||Viceroyalty of New Spain, Spanish Empire||Berrioplano, Navarre, Spain||It was first deployed in the Presidios of the north frontiers of New Spain, in territory of the present United States of America. Nowadays is stationed in Navarre, Spain.|
|1774||First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry||Abraham Markoe||Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||Founded before the United States declared independence from Great Britain, the Troop served as George Washington's bodyguards and fought at the American Revolutionary War battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. Was active through the US Civil War, World Wars I and 2, and Iraq. Currently designated as Troop A, 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division (United States),the Pennsylvania National Guard.|
|1775||Company A, 1st Battalion 69th Infantry Regiment (New York)||New York City, United States||New York City, United States||Descended from the 8th Company 1st New York Regiment 1775-1777; Part of the New York National Guard|
|1776||1st Battalion 5th Field Artillery Regiment||Alexander Hamilton||Continental Congress||United States||Oldest unit in the regular US Army|
|1789||1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery (United States)||New York United States||New York United States||Part of the New York National Guard|
|1794||152e régiment d'infanterie||France||France|
|1798||Baloch Regiment||East India Company||Masulipatam||Pakistan|
|1798||United States Marine Band||John Adams||United States||United States|
- List of armies
- List of army units called Guards
- List of oldest institutions in continuous operation
- Army National Guard and Active Regular Army Units with Colonial Roots (US Army only)
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