List of oldest military units and formations in continuous operation

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

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[edit]

Year Heraldry Name Founder Founding
location
Current
location
Notes Ref.
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. [1][better source needed]
1479 Insigne 1er Régiment d'Infanterie.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. [2]
1506 Banner of the Pontifical Swiss Guard 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. [3]
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. [4][5]
1521 Livgardet vapen.svg Life Guards Sweden Dalarna, Sweden 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 Coat of Arms of the 67th Infantry Regiment.svg Tercio of Sicily Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Kingdom of Sicily, Spanish Empire SpainSan 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 Livregementets husarer vapen.svg Life Regiment Hussars Sweden Uppland and Södermanland Sweden 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 HAC Officers Beret Badge.jpg Honourable Artillery Company King Henry VIII England England United Kingdom 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 Emblem of the Spanish Navy Marines.svg Spanish Navy Marines Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Kingdom of Naples, Spanish Empire Spain 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 Coat of Arms of the Regiment Saboya.svg 6th Infantry Regiment “Saboya” Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Duchy of Savoy, Spanish Empire Spain Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain It was created as the "Tercio of Savoy" in 1537. Nowadays is a mechanized infantry unit in the Spanish Army.
1537 Coat of Arms of the 3rd Infantry Regiment Príncipe.svg 3rd Infantry Regiment "Príncipe" Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Duchy of Milan, Spanish Empire Spain 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 Cap badge, Monmouth Regimental Museum.jpg Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers King Henry VIII of England England England United Kingdom 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 2-Régiment-Dragons.png 2nd Dragoon Regiment (France) Louis, Prince of Condé (1530–1569) 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. Is the french Army NBC Defense Unit. Still in Service.
1566 Coat of Arms of the 64th Regiment of Mountain Hunters Galicia.svg 4th Mountain Hunters Regiment "Galicia" Philip II of Spain Duchy of Milan, Spanish Empire SpainJaca, 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 Coat of Arms of the 50th Infantry Regiment Canarias.svg 50th Infantry Regiment “Canarias” Philip II of Spain Canary Islands, Spanish Empire SpainCanary 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 Skaraborgsgruppen vapen.svg Skaraborg Regiment (infantry) King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden Sweden Kingdom of Sweden Sweden Sweden In 1942 converted to Skaraborg Regiment (armoured);
in 2000 changed back to Skaraborg regiment
1614 Emblem for the Danish Guard Hussar Regiment.svg Guard Hussar Regiment (Denmark) King Christian IV of Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark Unit amalgamated with and perpetuates Zealand Life Regiment, which was disbanded on 1 January 2001 [6]
1618 Brasao CCF.jpg Portuguese Marine Corps Portugal Kingdom of Portugal Portugal Portugal Consists of 2 battalions
1636 181InfRegtCOA.png 181st Infantry Regiment (United States)  Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [7]
1636 182nd Infantry (former 182nd Cavalry) Regiment Coat of arms.jpg 182nd Infantry Regiment (United States)  Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States Part of the Massachusetts National Guard [7]
1636 101stFAR.png 101st Field Artillery Regiment  Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts 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 101EnBnCOA.png 101st Engineer Battalion  Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts Massachusetts United States The 101st Engineer Battalion was founded at the same time as the 181st Infantry Regiment
1638 211th MP BN Coat of arms.png 211th Military Police Battalion  Massachusetts Bay Colony Massachusetts 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) Portugal Kingdom of Portugal Portugal Portugal
1642 Scots Guards Badge.jpg 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 Coat of arms for Danish Artillery Regiment.svg Danish Artillery Regiment  Denmark  Denmark Current formation from 2019; traces origins back to 1648 [8]
1649 Emblem of the Regiment Farnesio.svg 12th Cavalry Regiment "Farnesio" Frederick, Landgrave of Hesse-Eschwege Spanish Netherlands, Spanish Empire SpainSantovenia 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 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
1652 276EngineerBnCOA.jpg 276th Engineer Battalion (United States) Virginia Virginia United States 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 Queens Colour-1Bn-Grenadier Guards.png Grenadier Guards  England United Kingdom United Kingdom Senior Regiment of the Guards Division [9]
1656 Coat of Arms of the 10th Armored Cavalry Regiment Alcántara.svg 10th Cavalry Regiment “Alcántara” Philip IV of Spain Spanish Netherlands, Spanish Empire SpainMelilla, 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 Coat of arms for Danish Royal Life Guards.svg Royal Life Guards (Denmark) 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 [10]
1659 CoA mil ITA rgt granatieri 1.png 1° Reggimento "Granatieri di Sardegna" (Italy) Duke Carlo Emanuele II di Savoia Savoy Savoy Italy Italy Formed April 18, 1659 as the "Reggimento delle Guardie"
1660 Life Guards (United Kingdom) Charles II England England United Kingdom United Kingdom Senior Regiment of the British Army
1663 Coat of Arms of the 31st Mechanized Infantry Regiment Asturias.svg 31st Infantry Regiment "Asturias" General Junta of the Principality of Asturias Principality of Asturias, Spanish Empire SpainEl 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 RoyalMarineBadge.svg Royal Marines King James II  England United Kingdom United Kingdom Now roughly small brigade size. [11]
1665 Embleem Korps Mariniers.svg Korps Mariniers Premier Johan de Witt Dutch Republic Dutch Republic Netherlands Netherlands Founded as Regiment de Marine. Now roughly small brigade size.
1665 Coat of Arms of 2nd Infantry Regiment La Reina.svg 2nd Infantry Regiment "La Reina" Dona Maria Anna of Austria Crown of Castile, Spanish Empire SpainCórdoba, 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 Coat of arms of Jutland Dragoon Regiment.svg Jutland Dragoon Regiment Field marshal Ernst Albrecht von Eberstein Denmark Denmark Denmark Denmark [12]
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). [13]
1671 Insigne du 1er Régiment d'Artillerie.jpg 1er Régiment d'Artillerie Kingdom of France France 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 COA.png 102nd Infantry Regiment (United States) Connecticut Connecticut United States Connecticut Connecticut United States Part of the Connecticut National Guard
1672 65e Régiment d’Infanterie.jpg 65e régiment d'infanterie Kingdom of France France France France Raised in 1672 as a Swiss Regiment (Régiment de Salis) in French Service. Disbanded 1940.
1672 192MPBNCOA.jpg 192nd Military Police Battalion Connecticut Connecticut United States Connecticut Connecticut United States Part of the Connecticut National Guard
1673 113th Infantry coa.png 113th Infantry Regiment (United States) New Jersey New Jersey United States New Jersey New Jersey United States Taken in Service in 1775; traces orgians back to 1673 Militia; part of the New Jersey National Guard
1676 Insigne du 13e RDP.jpg 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment Marquis de Barbezières  Kingdom of France 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 Royal Norfolk Regiment Cap Badge.jpg Henry Cornewall's Regiment of Foot England England United Kingdom 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 Cap Badge.jpg 3rd The King's Own Hussars England England United Kingdom United Kingdom Now part of the Queen's Royal Hussars
1690 CoA mil ITA rgt fanteria 005.png 5° Reggimento Fanteria "Aosta" Duchy of Savoy Duchy of Savoy Italy Italy Raised on 20 February 1690 the "Reggimento Fucilieri di Sua Altezza Reale" (His Royal Highness Fusiliers Regiment)
1696 Deutschmeister Wappen.svg Hoch- und Deutschmeister Regiment Holy Roman Empire Holy Roman Empire Austria 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) Portugal Kingdom of Portugal Portugal Portugal Created under the designation of "Regimento de Cavalaria Ligeira de Olivença"
1709 6th Cavalry Regiment, Dragões D'Entre Douro e Minho (Portugal) Portugal Kingdom of Portugal Portugal Portugal Created under the designation of "Regimento de Dragões de Trás-os-Montes"
1709 Coat of Arms of the 8th Light Armoured Cavalry Regiment Lusitania.svg 8th Cavalry Regiment "Lusitania" Jaime Miguel de Guzmán de Avalos y Spinola Crown of Castile, Spanish Empire Spain 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 Insigne régimentaire du 1er régiment de hussards parachutistes.jpg 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny Kingdom of Hungary Kingdom of Hungary France France It is an airborne cavalry unit in the French Army, founded in 1720 by Hungarian noble Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny.
1735 Insigne du 2e Régiment de Hussards 2nd Hussars Regiment (also called : Chamborant Houzards) comte Valentin-Joseph Esterhazy Kingdom of Hungary Kingdom of Hungary France 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 108th Cavalry Regiment DUI.svg 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 Rhode Island State of Rhode Island An independent chartered command of the Rhode Island Militia.
1747 111InfantryRegCOA.jpg 111th Infantry Regiment Benjamin Franklin Colonial-Red-Ensign.svg Colony of Pennsylvania 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 [14]
1759 Punjab Regiment East India Company Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg Madras  Pakistan Oldest regiment in subcontinent region.
1756 169th Military Police Company King George II Colony of Rhode Island Rhode Island State of Rhode Island An active unit of the Rhode Island National Guard with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
1756 Qyrang crest.jpg The Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment) (RCAC) Robert Rogers United Kingdom British America Canada Toronto, Canada Founded as Rogers Rangers
1764 Insigne 3ème régiment de hussards 3rd Hussars regiment (also called : Esterhazy Houzards) comte Valentin-Joseph Esterhazy Kingdom of Hungary Kingdom of Hungary France 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 Coat of Arms of the 66th Infantry Regiment America.svg 66th Infantry Regiment "América" Charles III of Spain Viceroyalty of New Spain, Spanish Empire SpainBerrioplano, 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-logo-footer.gif First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry Abraham Markoe Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, 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 69th INF REG COA.gif Company A, 1st Battalion 69th Infantry Regiment (New York) New York (state) New York City, United States 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 5FARegtCOA.jpg 1st Battalion 5th Field Artillery Regiment Alexander Hamilton Continental Congress United States United States Oldest unit in the regular US Army
1789 258FARegtDUI.jpg 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery (United States) New York (state) New York United States New York (state) New York United States Part of the New York National Guard
1794 Insigne régimentaire du 152e régiment d'infanterie..jpg 152e régiment d'infanterie France France France France
1798 Baloch 1h1.jpg Baloch Regiment East India Company Masulipatam  Pakistan
1798 United States Marine Band John Adams  United States  United States

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ "Régiments de Picardie et du Colonel Général" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Spotlight on the Swiss Guard". news.va. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  4. ^ VILLATORO, MANUEL P. "El regimiento más antiguo de Europa empezó siendo un tercio español y combatió contra Napoleón". ABC.es. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  5. ^ Tierra, JEME - Ejercito de. ".:Ejército de tierra:". www.ejercito.mde.es. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  6. ^ Brøndum, Christian (17 November 2014). "Dronningen fejrer tvivlsomt jubilæum". b.dk (in Danish). Berlingske Media. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "History - British Army Website: Grenadier Guards". 2010-09-29. Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  10. ^ "Livgardens historie" (in Danish). Forsvarskommandoen. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Royal Marines History and Traditional Facts" (PDF). Marine Society & Sea Cadet. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  12. ^ Jydske Dragonregiment. "Historien bag Jydske Dragonregiment". forsvaret.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  13. ^ "History of the S.C. State Guard". sg.sc.gov. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  14. ^ "111th Infantry Regiment (The Associators)". Department of the Army Lineage and Honors. U.S. Army Center of Military History.