List of oldest military units and formations in continuous operation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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]

Year Heraldry Name Founder Founding
location
Current
location
Notes Ref.
1088 Alaouite dynasty Flag.svg Moroccan Royal Guard Sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin Almoravid MoroccoMorocco The Royal Guard traces its origins to the prestigious Black Guard that was created in 1088 by the Almoravid Sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin as his personal guard. This recruitment tradition was continued by the Almohads through the 13th century and for the following dynasties. The Alaouite Sultan Moulay Ismail reorganized the Black Guard into permanent infantry and cavalry units at the beginning of the 18th century. He called upon Bambara men who had just converted to Islam, making them take an oath of service on the collection of hadith of the Imam Bukhari. For this reason they were also known as the "Army of Bukhara" or the Boukharis. [1]
1248 Coat of Arms of the 1st King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment of AHQ.svg 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] [2][better source needed]
1479 Insigne du 1er régiment d'infanterie (1er RI).svg 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 England
St. James's Palace, London, England
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]
1506 BANDERA GUARDIA VATICA PANCHO.svg 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. [5]
1509 Coat of Arms of the 9th Infantry Regiment Soria.svg 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. [6][7]
1521 Livgardet vapen.svg Life Guards Gustav Vasa SwedenStockholm, Sweden SwedenKungsängen Founded in 1521 as the Royal bodyguards to Gustav Vasa [8]
1534 Coat of Arms of the 67th Infantry Regiment.svg 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. [9]
1537 Emblem of the Spanish Navy Marines.svg 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 HAC Officers Beret Badge.jpg Honourable Artillery Company King Henry VIII England England City of London City of London 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]. [10]
1556 2 Régiment Dragons digitalized.png 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. [11]
1614 Emblem for the Danish Guard Hussar Regiment.svg 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 [12]
1618 Brasao CCF.jpg Portuguese Marine Corps Portugal Portugal
1636 181InfRegtCOA.png 181st Infantry Regiment England Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [13]
1636 182nd Infantry (former 182nd Cavalry) Regiment Coat of arms.jpg 182nd Infantry Regiment England Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [13]
1636 101stFAR.png 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. [14]
1642 Scots Guards Badge.jpg 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 [15]
1648 Coat of arms for Danish Artillery Regiment.svg Danish Artillery Regiment  Denmark  Denmark Current formation from 2019; traces origins back to 1648 [16]
1650 Coldstream Guards Badge.png 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 [17]
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 [18]
1658 Coat of arms for Danish Royal Life Guards.svg 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 [19]
1659 CoA mil ITA rgt granatieri 1.png 1st Regiment "Granatieri di Sardegna" Duke Carlo Emanuele II di Savoia Savoy Savoy Italy Italy Formed April 18, 1659 as the "Reggimento delle Guardie" [20]
1664 RoyalMarineBadge.svg Royal Marines King James II  England United Kingdom United Kingdom Now roughly small brigade size. [21]
1665 Embleem Korps Mariniers.svg Korps Mariniers Johan de Witt and admiral Michiel de Ruyter Dutch Republic NetherlandsThe Netherlands The Korps Mariniers, raised as the Regiment de marine, during the second Anglo-Dutch War. Today it is roughly 3 battalions strong. [22]
1670 Coat of arms of Jutland Dragoon Regiment.svg Jutland Dragoon Regiment Field marshal Ernst Albrecht von Eberstein Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark [23]
1670 SGSC.Ultima.Ratio.jpg 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). [24]
1684 Coat of arms of the Engineer Regiment (Denmark).svg Engineer Regiment Christian V Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Current formation from 1997; traces origins back to 1684 [25]
1716 Royal Engineers badge.png Corps of Royal Engineers Board of Ordnance Flag of Great Britain (1707–1800).svg 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. [26]
1742 116th Infantry coa.png 116th Infantry Regiment (United States) Colonial-Red-Ensign.svg 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 [27]
1747 111InfantryRegCOA.jpg 111th Infantry Regiment Benjamin Franklin Colonial-Red-Ensign.svg 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 [28]
1758 Madras Regiment insignia (India).svg Madras Regiment East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [29]
1761 Punjab Regiment Insignia (India).svg Punjab Regiment East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [30]
1768 Marathali.gif Maratha Light Infantry East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [31]
1774 175th Infantry Regiment COA.svg 175th Infantry Regiment Mordecai Gist Colonial-Red-Ensign.svg Colony of Maryland  Maryland United States Oldest unit still in operation in the Maryland National Guard. [32]
1775 Rajputana Rifles Insignia (India).svg Rajputana Rifles East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [33]
1776 5FARegtCOA.jpg 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment Alexander Hamilton Flag of the United States (1776-1777).svg 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. [34]
1787 Grenadiers Insignia (India).svg The Grenadiers East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [35]
1795 Rgt-jat.gif Jat Regiment East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [36]
1795 বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশের মনোগ্রাম.svg Border Guards Bangladesh East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1707).svg 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. [37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Un millier d'hommes au service de la dynastie chérifienne". L'Orient-Le Jour (in French). 13 July 1999.
  2. ^ "REGIMIENTO DE INFANTERIA INMEMORIAL DEL REY Nº 1 DEL CGE". ejercito.mde.es (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Régiments de Picardie et du Colonel Général" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Home". yeomenoftheguard.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Spotlight on the Swiss Guard". news.va. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  6. ^ VILLATORO, MANUEL P. (8 June 2014). "El regimiento más antiguo de Europa empezó siendo un tercio español y combatió contra Napoleón". ABC.es. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  7. ^ Tierra, JEME - Ejercito de. ".:Ejército de tierra:". www.ejercito.mde.es. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  8. ^ "Livgardet i Stockholm". Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Regimiento de Infantería "Tercio Viejo de Sicilia" Nº 67". Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Where We Come From". Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  11. ^ Bruyère, Paul (1885). Historique de 2e Régiment de Dragons, 1635–1885 (in French). Chartres: Imprimerie Garnier. pp. 7–8.
  12. ^ Brøndum, Christian (17 November 2014). "Dronningen fejrer tvivlsomt jubilæum". b.dk (in Danish). Berlingske Media. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Organizational History". U.S. Army Center of Military History. U.S. Army Center of Military History. 1999. p. 29. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  14. ^ "101st Field Artillery Regiment (South Regiment)". Department of the Army Lineage and Honors. U.S. Army Center of Military History.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Dalton, Charles (1896). English Army Lists and Commission Registers, 1661-1714, Vol. IV (2018 ed.). London: Forgotten Books. p. 3. ISBN 978-1333543266.
  16. ^ Maach, Maja Lærke (8 February 2019). "Oprustning af Forsvaret fejret: Dronningen gav fanen tilbage til danske soldater". dr.dk (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  17. ^ "History of the Coldstream Guards". Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  18. ^ "History - British Army Website: Grenadier Guards". 2010-09-29. Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  19. ^ "Livgardens historie" (in Danish). Forsvarskommandoen. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  20. ^ "1° Reggimento "Granatieri di Sardegna" - La Storia". Italian Army. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  21. ^ "Royal Marines History and Traditional Facts" (PDF). Marine Society & Sea Cadet. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Wat is het Korps Mariniers?" (in Dutch).
  23. ^ Jydske Dragonregiment. "Historien bag Jydske Dragonregiment". forsvaret.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  24. ^ "History of the S.C. State Guard". sg.sc.gov. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  25. ^ "Historie". forsvaret.dk (in Danish). Forsvarskommandoen. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  26. ^ "A brief history of the Royal Engineers" (PDF). The Masons Livery Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  27. ^ Regimental History, 116th Infantry Foundation
  28. ^ "111th Infantry Regiment (The Associators)". Department of the Army Lineage and Honors. U.S. Army Center of Military History.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "The Official Home Page of the Indian Army". www.indianarmy.nic.in. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  30. ^ "The Punjab Regiment - The Official Home Page of the Indian Army". www.indianarmy.nic.in. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  31. ^ "The Maratha Light Infantry - The Official Home Page of the Indian Army". www.indianarmy.nic.in. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  32. ^ "175th Infantry Regiment". Department of the Army Lineage and Honors. U.S. Army Center of Military History.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ "The Official Home Page of the Indian Army". www.indianarmy.nic.in. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  34. ^ "1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment". Department of the Army Lineage and Honors. U.S. Army Center of Military History.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ "Indian Army Grenadiers Regiment".
  36. ^ "Jat Regiment - The Official Home Page of the Indian Army". www.indianarmy.nic.in. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  37. ^ "বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ". www.bgb.gov.bd. Retrieved 2021-09-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)