What Is the Smallest Army in the World

Title: What Is the Smallest Army in the World?


When discussing armies, we often focus on superpowers and their vast military capabilities. However, not all nations possess large armed forces. In fact, some countries have incredibly small armies, which may raise curiosity about their purpose and significance. In this article, we will explore the smallest army in the world, shedding light on its role, size, and other intriguing aspects.


The Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, holds the distinction of having the smallest army. Known as the Pontifical Swiss Guard, this unique force has a rich history dating back to the Renaissance and serves as the personal bodyguard of the Pope. Let us delve deeper into the details of the smallest army in the world.

1. What is the size of the Vatican City’s army?
The Vatican City’s army, the Pontifical Swiss Guard, consists of approximately 135 Swiss guards.

2. What is the role of the Pontifical Swiss Guard?
The primary role of the Pontifical Swiss Guard is to protect the Pope, both within the Vatican and during his international trips.

3. How old is the Pontifical Swiss Guard?
The Swiss Guard was established in 1506, making it one of the oldest standing military units in the world.

4. Why are Swiss guards chosen for this role?
Swiss guards have been trusted protectors of the Pope since the Renaissance. Their reputation for loyalty, discipline, and bravery led to their selection.

5. What is the selection process for becoming a Swiss guard?
Candidates for the Swiss Guard must be Swiss citizens, unmarried, practicing Catholics, and have completed basic training in the Swiss army. They undergo a rigorous selection process, including physical and psychological evaluations.

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6. How long is the service period for a Swiss guard?
Service in the Swiss Guard lasts for a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years.

7. What is the uniform of the Pontifical Swiss Guard?
The Swiss Guard’s distinctive uniform consists of a Renaissance-style doublet, breeches, a metal helmet with a red plume, and a colorful striped uniform.

8. Does the Pontifical Swiss Guard receive weapons training?
Yes, Swiss guards receive extensive training in firearms, self-defense, and close-quarter combat.

9. Are there any female members in the Swiss Guard?
Currently, the Swiss Guard consists solely of male members. However, discussions have taken place regarding the inclusion of female guards in the future.

10. Has the Pontifical Swiss Guard faced any security threats?
Throughout history, the Swiss Guard has faced a few security threats, including an attack on May 4, 1527, during the Sack of Rome, where they valiantly defended Pope Clement VII.

11. Do Swiss guards have any ceremonial duties?
Apart from their protective role, Swiss guards perform various ceremonial duties within the Vatican, including acting as honor guards during religious ceremonies and attending to visiting dignitaries.

12. Can the Pontifical Swiss Guard be hired for security purposes outside the Vatican?
No, the Swiss Guard’s primary responsibility is the security of the Pope and the Vatican City. They do not offer their services to other nations or organizations.


While the Vatican City’s army, the Pontifical Swiss Guard, may be small in numbers, their significance cannot be understated. Serving as the personal protectors of the Pope, these dedicated individuals embody centuries of tradition, loyalty, and bravery. The Pontifical Swiss Guard is a testament to the fact that the size of an army does not determine its historical, cultural, and symbolic importance.

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