Emblem of Vatican City

Emblem of Vatican City

Vatican City
, officially the State of the Vatican City, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital city of Italy. At approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and with a population of around 900, it is the smallest country in the world by
Vatican city map

vatican city map

both area and population. (This does not include micronations.)


Security and Civil Defense Services DepartmentEdit

The Security and Civil Defense Services Department manages security and public order, together with the Pontifical Swiss Guard and with related Vatican departments and, when necessary, in conjunction with similar services in Italy and other countries.

Pontificia Cohors Helvetica (Pontifical Swiss Guard)(Foot Guards)Edit

The history of the Swiss Guards has its origins in the 15th century. Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) already made a previous alliance with the Swiss Confederation. The pact was renewed by Innocent VIII (1484-1492) in order to use them against the Duke of Milan. During the time of the Borgias, however, the Italian Wars began in which the Swiss mercenaries were a fixture in the front lines among the warring factions, sometimes for France and sometimes for the Holy See or the Holy Roman Empire. The mercenaries enlisted when they heard King Charles VIII of France was going to raise a war against Naples. Among the participants in the war against Naples was Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, the future Pope Julius II (1503-1513), who was well acquainted with the Swiss having been Bishop of Lausanne years earlier. The expedition failed in part thanks to new alliances made by Alexander VI against the French. When Cardinal della Rovere became pope Julius II in 1505, he asked the Swiss Diet to provide him with a constant corps of 200 Swiss mercenaries. In September 1505, the first contingent of 150 soldiers started their march towards Rome, under the command of Kaspar von Silenen, and entered the city on January 22, 1506, today given as the official date of the Guard's foundation. Ceremonially, they shared duties in the Papal household with the Palatine Guard and Noble Guard, both of which were disbanded in 1970 under Paul VI. Today the Papal Swiss Guard have taken over the ceremonial roles of the former units.

The Guardie dei Fuoco (Fire Brigade)Edit

The earliest Vatican firemen are remembered for their elegant uniforms, preserved in paintings and etchings held by the Vatican Archives. The modern firefighting team was reorganized in 1941, and the fire station is tucked into a corner of the Belvedere Courtyard, a crossroads of sorts at the Vatican. The Fire Department which provides emergency assistance and prevention aimed at safeguarding the people and patrimony of Vatican City State, in collaboration with the Technical Services Administration.

Gendarmerie Somes of Vatican Civitas (Gendarmerie Corps of the Vatican City State)Edit

The Gendarmerie Somes of Vatican Civitas is responsible for security, public order, traffic control, criminal investigation, and other general police duties in Vatican City. A small number of the corps' officers travel with the pope to provide close-in security for the pontiff.

Former UnitsEdit

Sodalitium Pianum (Fellowship of Pius X)Edit

In reaction to the movement within the Roman Catholic Church known as Modernism, Pope Pius X issued in 1907 the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis and the decree Lamentabili Sane, which condemned the movement as a heresy. To ensure enforcement of these decisions, Monsignor Umberto Benigni organized, through his personal contacts with theologians, an unofficial group of censors who would report to him those thought to be teaching condemned doctrine. This group was called the Sodalitium Pianum, i.e. Fellowship of Pius (X), which in France was known as La Sapinière. Its frequently overzealous and clandestine methods hindered rather than helped the Church's combat against Modernism. Cardinal Secretary of State Rafael Merry del Val prevented the association from gaining canonical recognition, and the competent department of the Roman Curia disbanded it in 1921 on the grounds of "changed circumstances". The network remained operational to some degree until the early years of the Second World War.

Optimus Tutela [Noble Guard](Horse Guards)Edit

The Noble Guard was one of the guard units of the Vatican. It was formed by Pope Pius VII in 1801 as a regiment of heavy cavalry. Initially, the regiment was tasked with providing escort for the Pope and other senior Princes of the Church, and missions within the Papal States at the behest of the pope. With the unification of Italy and the confiscation of the Papal States in 1870, the Noble Guard became a corps of foot guards. The corps was a volunteer one - its members were not paid for their service, and had to pay for their own equipment. One of the subordinate positions within the corps was that of Hereditary Standard-Bearer, who was responsible for carrying the standard of the Catholic Church. The Noble Guard made its appearance in public only when the pope took part in a public function; when the pope withdrew, he was followed by the Noble Guard. During the Second World War, the Noble Guard shared responsibility with the Swiss Guard for the personal security of Pope Pius XII. The guard was abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as part of the reforms of the Church following Vatican II.

The Papal ZouavesEdit

The Zouaves evolved out of a unit formed by Christophe Léon Louis Juchault de Lamoricière in 1860, the Franco-Belgian Tirailleurs. On January 1, 1861 the unit was renamed the Papal Zouaves. He had been introduced by Frédéric-François-Xavier Ghislain de Mérode. The Zuavi Pontifici were mainly young men, unmarried and Roman Catholic, who volunteered to assist Pope Pius IX in his struggle against the Italian Risorgimento. The Zouaves also played a role in the final engagements against the forces of the newly united Kingdom of Italy in September 1870, in which the Papal forces where outnumbered almost seven to one. The Zouaves fought off enemy lancers on the 13th, withdrew with Papal artillery under heavy fire on the 20th and made preparations for a counterattack against the Garibaldians before being told of the surrender, whereupon they destroyed their weapons. After the Capture of Rome by Victor Emmanuel in 1870, the French contingent of the former Papal Zouaves served the government of National Defence in France during the Franco-Prussian War. Renamed as the Voluntaires de l'Ouest (Volunteers of the West) but retaining their grey and red Papal uniforms, the Zouaves fought the Prussians and their other German allies outside Orléans, with 15 killed or wounded between the 11th and 12 October 1870, and also engaged the enemy at Patay. Numbering about 1,800 men, the experienced former Papal Zouaves fought with distinction at the Battle of Loigny (2 December 1870) where they lost 216 men while covering the retreat of other French units. The Voluntaires de l'Ouest were disbanded after the entrance of Prussian troops into Paris.

Palatine Tutela (Palatine Guard) (Militia)Edit

The Palatine Guard was a military unit of the Vatican. It was formed in 1850 by Pope Pius IX, who ordered that the two militia units of the Papal States be amalgamated. The corps was formed as an infantry unit, and took part in watch-keeping in Rome as well as various battles, including the defense of Rome against soldiers from Piedmont. After 1870 and the unification of Italy, the corps was confined to the Vatican. The Palatine Guard were usually seen either when the Pope was in St Peter's Square, or when a Head of State visited the Vatican. Members of the corps were volunteers, who were not paid for their service (though they received an allowance for replacement or repair of their uniforms). The corps was also the only one in the service of the Vatican to have a full military band. The Second World War was a high point in the history of the Palatine Guard. In September 1943, when German troops occupied Rome in response to Italy's conclusion of an armistice with the Allies, the Guard was given the responsibility of protecting Vatican City, various Vatican properties in Rome, and the pope's summer villa at Castel Gandolfo. The guardsmen (mainly Roman shop keepers and office clerks) whose service had previously been limited to standing in ranks and presenting arms at ceremonial occasions, now found themselves patrolling the walls, gardens and courtyards of Vatican City and standing post at the entrances to papal buildings around the Eternal City. On more than one occasion this service resulted in violent confrontations with Italian Fascist police units working with the German authorities to arrest political refugees who were hiding in buildings protected by the Vatican. At the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 the Palatine Guard mustered some 500 men, but by the liberation of Rome in June 1944 the corps had grown to 2000 men. The corps was abolished in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as part of the reforms of the Church following the Second Vatican Council.

The Corsican GuardEdit

The Corsican Guard (Italian: Reggimento Corsica) was the personal guard for the pope, formed by Pope Clement VIII in 1603. Unfortunately, the Corsicans were rather intemperate, and in 1662, as a result of an insult to Pope Alexander VII by the Duke du Crequi, the French ambassador to the Papal States, the Corsican Guard led an attack against the French ambassador's Guard in Rome, leading to several deaths. This created an international incident. Louis XIV of France retaliated by dismissing the nuncio at Paris and forcing Alexander VII to disband the Corsican Guard.

Pontifical Navy (Marina Pontificia)Edit

Pontifical Navy Ensign

Pontifical Navy Ensign

The Pontifical Navy (Italian: Marina Pontificia) was the maritime force of the Papal States. Originally protected by the Byzantine navy, the Papal States found themselves in need of a naval force of their own following a Muslim raid on Rome in 843 and the sack of the city in 846. Under the leadership of Caesar, prince of Naples, a force of Neapolitan, Amalfitan, Gaetan, and Papal ships repulsed the pirates off Ostia in 849. Later, the Papal States subsidized various fleets during the Crusades and outfitted some squadrons of their own, which participated with Venice and others against the Ottoman Empire following the fall of Constantinople. With hired and affiliated ships from Tuscany and Malta, one Papal squadron participated in the Battle of Lepanto. Papal ships often assisted the Republic of Venice in her wars with the Ottoman Empire. In 1715, Pope Clement XI constructed the Pontifical Arsenal near Porta Portese in Ripa Grande on the Tiber. Pontifical ships were protected by international treaty in 1819, but the navy only slowly recovered from the seizure of its vessels during the Napoleonic Wars. By 1823, the navy comprised the 12-gun schooner San Pietro, a cutter, a felucca, and a pinnace. Another twelve patrol boats armed with mortars performed coast guard duties in two squadrons, eight vessels in the Adriatic Sea and four in the Tyrrhenian. In 1856, the separate Navy (Marina da Guerra), Finance Navy (Marina di Finanza), and Tiber Navy (Marina del Tevere) administrations were combined into the Pontifical Navy (Marina Pontificia). As part of his break from the diplomatic policies of Pope Pius IX, Leo XIII sold off the last ship in the papal navy, the corvette Immacolata Concezione, during his first year in office. As the Papacy had already been confined to the Vatican City following the Capture of Rome, it had been docked at Toulon, France.

Legion of AntibesEdit

The Legion of Antibes was recruited under direction of Pope Pius IX's secretary of state, Giacomo Antonelli, following the September Convention of 1864, to replace French troops garrisoned in Rome, during the closing phase of Italian unification, the Risorgimento. The September Convention permitted the Pope to keep an army, but it did not give Napoleon III the right to continue to maintain forces in Rome, supporting papal temporal power in the rump Papal States. Nevertheless, at the battle of Mentana, fought November 3, 1867 between French-Papal troops and the Italian volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, it became public knowledge that the "Legion" was composed of French Imperial recruits, Antibes lying on the Mediterranean coast close to the border with Piedmont: their "services to the Pope were rendered as services to the French Empire." No formal denunciation of French intervention so contrary to the spirit of the September convention was lodged. The Legion of Antibes fought under the papal states until the capture of Rome in September 20, 1870, by Italian forces.


  • SIG SG 550 Rifle
  • SIG SG 510 Rifle
  • SIG P220 Pistol
  • Mehrzweckgewehr 91 Shotgun (Remington 870 Multipurpose Shotgun)


Mercedes-Benz G-Class W463


Commissioned OfficersEdit

  • Captain General Richard Thornton, Commander-In-Chief of the Papal Armed Forces
  • Oberst (Colonel — the Commandant of the Guard)
  • Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel — the vice-commandant)
  • Kaplan (Chaplain — Considered the same rank as a lieutenant colonel)
  • Major
  • Hauptmann (Captain)

Non-Commissioned OfficersEdit

  • Feldwebel (Sergeant-major)
  • Wachtmeister (Sergeant)
  • Korporal (Corporal)
  • Vizekorporal (Vice-corporal; closest British equivalent would be lance corporal)


  • Hellebardier/Gardist (Halbardier/Guardsman)

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