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swiss guard

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The men wearing these uniforms are not court jesters they are part of a century old military elite force commonly known as the Swiss Guard. The tiny European country of Switzerland is best known for watches, chocolate, banks, and char, but most importantly for its neutrality. So why is it that the Swiss are guarding the pope? During late Medieval times and into the Renaissance the Swiss were mostly known for their battlefield capabilities. They had perfected the infantry use of the pike, a long thrusting spear, up to 25 feet in length, which they referred to as “the skewer”. In the hands of the Swiss, who were poor farmers without horses, heavy armor or archers, the pike became a highly successful tool for infantrymen to disassemble the better equipped cavalries of the noble houses who tried to subjugate them. They fought their battles in the so called pike square formation — an extremely violent and deadly cluster of one hundred men operating in strict unison, making them nearly invincible. They were so good that it became a fashion among European courts to hire Swiss mercenary battalions for protection. Hence, the Swiss Guards. Swiss infantrymen guarded the courts of France, Italy, Portugal and Prussia. But most notably they became the military elite force of the Pope. The Pontificial Swiss Guard is the only military branch of the Vatican and has been in service for more than 500 years. Their main objective is to ensure the safety of the pope. The Swiss Guard’s one true hostile engagement was during the Sack of Rome of 1526, where 147 of a total of 189 guards were slaughtered, but the remaining Forty were victorious in managing to help Pope Clement VII escape from being murdered by the enemy. An assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, re-emphasised the guard’s security purpose and non-ceremonial role. Today the Swiss Guard’s 135 members get hand-selected from the best soldiers out of the Swiss military which has banned all other foreign mercenary activities for its citizens. Even though Swiss Guards are trained with SIG assault rifles and Glock Pistols, their weapon of choice to his day seems to remain the pike.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 47 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 14
Posted by: watm on May 11, 2015

swiss guard

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