List of oldest military units and formations in continuous operation
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.[third-party 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.[third-party source needed]|||
|1485||Yeomen of the Guard||King Henry VII||Kingdom of England||
St. James's Palace, London, England
|The Queen'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.|||
|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 (Sweden)||Gustav Vasa||Stockholm, Sweden||Kungsängen||Founded in 1521 as the Royal bodyguards to Gustav Vasa|||
|1534||Tercio Viejo de Sicilia||Charles I of Sicily||Kingdom of Sicily||San 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.|||
|1537||Spanish Navy Marines||Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor||San Fernando, Cádiz, Spain||citation needed][|
|1537||Honourable Artillery Company||King Henry VIII||England||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].|||
|1556||2nd Dragoon Regiment||Louis, Prince of Condé||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. It is the French Army NBC Defense Unit. Still in Service.|||
|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||Portugal|
|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|||
|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|||
|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|||
|1656||Grenadier Guards||Thomas Wentworth, 5th Baron Wentworth, John Russell||England||United Kingdom||Senior Regiment of the Guards Division|||
|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||1st Regiment "Granatieri di Sardegna"||Duke Carlo Emanuele II di Savoia||Savoy||Italy||Formed April 18, 1659 as the "Reggimento delle Guardie"|||
|1664||Royal Marines||King James II||England||United Kingdom||Now roughly small brigade size.|||
|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).|||
|1684||Engineer Regiment||Christian V||Denmark||Denmark||Current formation from 1997; traces origins back to 1684|||
|1744||Nepal Army||Prithvi Narayan Shah||Nepal||Nepal||Nepal Army, known as Royal Nepal Army before 2008 until the abolition of monarchy was established in 1744 by King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Nepal. There are seven independent units that operates with in the various sector in defense.|||
|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|||
- List of armies
- 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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- "Spotlight on the Swiss Guard". news.va. Retrieved 8 February 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- "Regimiento de Infantería "Tercio Viejo de Sicilia" Nº 67". Retrieved 3 May 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Where We Come From". Retrieved 10 May 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- "History of the Coldstream Guards". Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "History - British Army Website: Grenadier Guards". 2010-09-29. Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
- "Livgardens historie" (in Danish). Forsvarskommandoen. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "1° Reggimento "Granatieri di Sardegna" - La Storia". Italian Army. Retrieved 17 November 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Royal Marines History and Traditional Facts" (PDF). Marine Society & Sea Cadet. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Jydske Dragonregiment. "Historien bag Jydske Dragonregiment". forsvaret.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 10 February 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "History of the S.C. State Guard". sg.sc.gov. Retrieved 10 February 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Historie". forsvaret.dk (in Danish). Forsvarskommandoen. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Nepali Army | नेपाली सेना (nepalarmy.mil.np)
- "111th Infantry Regiment (The Associators)". Department of the Army Lineage and Honors. U.S. Army Center of Military History.