King's Guard (Thailand)

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King's Guard
Royal guards from 1st Infantry Regiment in the Royal Funeral Procession of Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda.JPG
Active1859–present
CountryThailand Siam
(1859–1948)
 Thailand
(1948–present)
Branch Royal Thai Army
 Royal Thai Navy
 Royal Thai Air Force
TypeGuard Corps (Army), Guard Brigade (Navy and Air Force)
RoleCeremonial protection
Size87 regimental units
MarchRoyal Guards March
(มาร์ชราชวัลลภ, March Raja Vanlok)

The King's Guard (Thai: ทหารรักษาพระองค์; RTGSThahan Raksa Phra Ong) is a ceremonial designation given by the Monarchy of Thailand to the various units within the Royal Thai Armed Forces. Practical and real security of the Royal family has since 1992 been provided by the Royal Security Command, which is an agency that is completely independent of the armed forces.[1]

History[edit]

King's Guard at Grand Palace

The first Royal Guards unit was established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1859, when he was still the heir. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahat Lek Lai Ka," roughly translated as "Scarecrow Corps".

When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Thahan Song Lo" (Two-Dozen soldiers"). In 1870, the Royal Guard regiment were given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.

About the year 1875 the necessity for surveys in connection with improvements in the city of Bangkok, and for supervision in carrying out these improvements, led to the selection of certain officers of the royal bodyguard for training in this direction. These officers were formed into a special company called "Military Engineers of the Royal Bodyguard," in which Mr. James McCarthy held the rank of captain. A royal decree issued September 3, 1885, separated the surveyors from the royal bodyguard and created the Royal Survey Department,[2] which is now the Royal Thai Survey Department (Thai: กรมแผนที่ทหาร), a Special Services Group of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.

The Royal Guards still exist down to the present and many more units from all branches of the armed forces were given this distinction.[3][4] Today's King's Guard units serve as the Thai equivalent to the ceremonial guards units of various countries. However the role of the actual protection of the Royal family has been taken over by the Royal Security Command, established in 1992, with Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as its commander.


King's Guard units[edit]

The Royal Guards are today composed of 87 formations (formerly 94 battalions or equivalents), mostly found in the Royal Thai Army.

Royal Security Command[edit]

  • 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Close Bodyguard (a.k.a. "Mahat Lek Ratchawanlop" Thai: มหาดเล็กราชวัลลภ: The king's close bodyguards)
    • 1st Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment
    • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment
    • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment
  • 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Close Bodyguard (a.k.a. "Tahan Lorm Wang" Thai: ทหารล้อมวัง: The palace bodyguards)
    • 1st Infantry Battalion, 11th King's Own Bodyguard Regiment
    • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 11th King's Own Bodyguard Regiment
    • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 11th King's Own Bodyguard Regiment

Royal Thai Army[edit]

Cadet unit
  • Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy Cadet Regiment, King's Guard (Cadet students of the Royal Military Academy)
    • 1st Cadet Battalion, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
    • 2nd Cadet Battalion, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
    • 3rd Cadet Battalion, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
    • 4th Cadet Battalion, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
Infantry units
Cavalry units
  • 2nd Cavalry Division, King Vajiravudh's Guard
    • 1st Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
      • 1st Cavalry Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
      • 3rd Cavalry Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
      • 17th Cavalry Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
    • 4th Cavalry Regiment, Princess Srinagarindra's Guard
      • 5th Cavalry Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, Princess Srinagarindra's Guard
      • 11th Cavalry Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
      • 25th Cavalry Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
    • 5th Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
      • 20th Cavalry Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, Princess Srinagarindra's Guard
      • 23rd Cavalry Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
      • 24th Cavalry Squadron, 5th Cavalry Regiment, King Vajiravudh's Guard
  • 27th Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Division, King Vajiravudh's Guard
  • 29th Cavalry Squadron, King Bhumibol's Guard
  • 2nd Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard
  • 30th Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard
  • 4th Tank Battalion, 1st Division, King's Guard
  • 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard
  • 30th Tank Battalion, 2nd Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard
Artillery units
  • 1st Field Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
    • 1st Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
    • 11th Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
    • 31st Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
  • 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
    • 2nd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
    • 12th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
    • 21st Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
    • 102nd Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
  • 1st Air Defense Artillery Battalion, King's Guard, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
Engineer units
  • 1st Engineer Regiment, King's Guard
    • 52nd Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Regiment, King's Guard
    • 112nd Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Regiment, King's Guard
  • 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Division, King's Guard
  • 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard
Special Operations

Royal Thai Navy[edit]

Cadet unit

  • Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard (Cadet students of the Royal Naval Academy)
    • 1st Cadet Battalion, Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Royal Thai Naval Academy
    • 2nd Cadet Battalion, Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Royal Thai Naval Academy
    • 3rd Cadet Battalion, Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Royal Thai Naval Academy
    • 4th Cadet Battalion, Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Royal Thai Naval Academy

Royal Thai Marine Corps

  • 1st Marine Battalion, King's Guard, 1st Infantry Regiment, Marine Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps
  • 9th Marine Battalion, King's Guard, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Marine Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps

Royal Thai Air Force[edit]

Cadet unit

  • Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy (Cadet students of the Royal Air Force Academy)
    • 1st Cadet Battalion, Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy
    • 2nd Cadet Battalion, Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy
    • 3rd Cadet Battalion, Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy
    • 4th Cadet Battalion, Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy
    • 5th Cadet Battalion, Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy

Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment

  • Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment, King's Guard
    • 1st Security Force Battalion, Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment, King's Guard, Security Force Command
    • 2nd Security Force Battalion, Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment, King's Guard, Security Force Command
    • 3rd Security Force Battalion, Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment, King's Guard, Security Force Command

Anti-Aircraft Artillery

  • Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
    • 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
    • 2nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, King's Guard
    • 3rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment, King's Guard

Former King's Guard units[edit]

Royal Thai Army[edit]

Infantry units

4th Infantry Batallion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Chulalongkorn Guard (amalgamated with the Royal Security Command as King's Own Bodyguard Command in 2017)

Signal units

  • 1st Signal Battalion, King's Guard
  • 12th Signal Battalion, King's Guard
  • 2nd Signal Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard

Medical units

  • 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Division, King's Guard
  • 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard

Ordnance units

  • Maintenance Battalion, Support Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Division, King Vajiravudh's Guard
  • Maintenance Battalion, Support Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard

Transportation units

  • Transportation Regiment, King's Guard
    • 1st Transportation Battalion, Transportation Regiment, King's Guard
    • 2nd Transportation Battalion Combat Team, Transportation Regiment, King's Guard

Royal Thai Navy[edit]

Royal Thai Marine Corps

  • Marine Command Garrison, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Guard, Marine Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps
  • Marine Command Garrison, 3rd Infantry Regiment, King's Guard, Marine Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps

Royal Thai Air Forces[edit]

Squadrons

  • 201 Helicopter Squadrons, King's Guard
  • 602 Royal Flight Squadrons, King's Guard

Royal Military Endorsement units[edit]

In additional, they are established own's endorsement units. they are mostly retired, currently they have only three units left.

Royal Thai Army[edit]

Active[edit]

  • 6th Cavalry Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, Queen Saovabha Phongsri's Endorsement Unit
  • 14th Cavalry Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, Queen Saovabha Phongsri's Endorsement Unit
  • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, Princess Srinagarindra's Endorsement Unit

Retired[edit]

  • 1st Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, King's Endorsement Unit
  • 6th Infantry Regiment, Crown Prince's Endorsement Unit
    • 1st Infantry Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Crown Prince's Endorsement Unit
    • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Crown Prince's Endorsement Unit
    • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Crown Prince's Endorsement Unit
  • 1st Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, King's Endorsement Unit
  • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, King's Endorsement Unit
  • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, Princess Royal's Endorsement Unit
  • 152nd Infantry Regiment, Princess Royal's Endorsement Unit
    • 1st Infantry Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment, Princess Royal's Endorsement Unit
    • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment, Princess Royal's Endorsement Unit
    • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment, Princess Royal's Endorsement Unit
  • 1st Infantry Battalion, Infantry Center, King's Endorsement Unit

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charuvastra, Teeranai (13 October 2017). "Royal Decoration Awarded to King's Chief Bodyguard". Khaosod English. Gen. Suthida is the de facto head of security for His Majesty the King. Although she formally holds the title of deputy commander of the royal guard corps, the top rank had been left vacant since December 2016.
  2. ^ Giblin, R.W. (2006) [1908]. "Royal Survey Work.". In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T (eds.). Twentieth century impressions of Siam (65.3 MB). London&c: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Company. p. 121. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  3. ^ Nationreligionking.com
  4. ^ "Thailand". Nation, Religion, King. Retrieved 2016-06-24.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kenneth Conboy, South-East Asian Special Forces (Osprey)