The Papal Army - Military of Vatican City State
The Pontifical Swiss Guard (1) was founded in 1506 and is currently the only Papal military unit, as well as the only remaining unit of its kind (as a Swiss regiment).
The Guardia Corsa (Corsican Guard) (2) was the oldest regiment, founded in 1378. It was disbanded under pressure of Louis XIV of France after an incident with the French garrison in Rome.
The Guardia Palatina (3) was founded as an infantry regiment by Pope Pius IX in 1850. During World War II German occupation, the Palatine Guard had the duty of protecting Vatican City and the Papal buildings around Rome. The unit was abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
The unit of Papal Zouaves (4) was created under Pope Pius IX in the early 1860s.The Zouaves saw action against Garibaldi’s forces during the Italian Risorgimento. The unit was massacred after surrendering in 1870.
The Carabinieri Pontifici (5), later renamed Gendarmeria Pontificia, was created in 1816 after the restoration of the Papal States in the Congress of Vienna. In 1971, under Pope Paul VI, the Papal Gendarmerie ceased to exist as a military force and became a police corps.
The Guardia Nobile (6, 7) was a cavalry regiment and the Pope’s personal guard, formed by volunteers from Roman noble families. It was founded by Pope Pius VII in 1801 and disbanded by Pope Paul VI (yes, again) in 1970.
Source for picture 4: Blog of Fr. José Antonio Fortea (visit for more pictures of Papal Gendarmerie)
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Source for all other pictures (x)
Belgian Special Forces operators in The Republic of Chad.
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An illustrated book from the 1500s on fighting.
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Artwork by Andrei Cristea