From antiquity to today the safety and protection of public, wealthy, and most importantly, politically influential figures has been a very sensitive matter. Every emperor, king, powerful businessman, and president throughout history has been well aware of the fact that there are a series of dangers lurking around them such as assault, kidnapping, homicide, harassment, loss of confidential information, and a host of other criminal offenses. For that reason they make sure to hire the best guards to keep an eye on them 24/7. On this list we will find out about 25 effective bodyguard units that did (or still do) their job pretty well.
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The Evzones were the special forces, if you will, of skirmishers and mountain units in the Greek Army that played a significant role in many battles and wars in the last two hundred years including the Greek War of Independence in 1821, the Balkan Wars, and World War I. Today, however, their role is wholly ceremonial and the unit has been renamed the Presidential Guard. It is one of the most photographed military guards around the world since it attracts millions of tourists each year. The unit guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of parliament and the Presidential Mansion, and the men in service wear the traditional uniform of Klephts, a mountain unit that fought and was victorious against the Ottoman Empire in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Finally, modern Evzones have to be at least 6’2 and quite good looking because for this unit appearance now matters more than fighting skills.
Leibgarde der Hartschier, Kingdom of Bavaria
Leibgarde der Hartschier was established in 1669 under the name Hartschier-Garde, even though the very first Bavarian guard force can be traced back to the Middle Ages when Duke Wilhelm IV hired Spanish archers as his own bodyguards.
By 1745 and only six years after its foundation, the Hartschier served only as palace guards and were more decorative than actual bodyguards since they had mainly ceremonial functions. Despite their ornamental role, the members of the guard were armed with a sword and a halberd and were some of the very best fencers in the palace.
The Forbidden Troops, Ancient China
Nicknamed the Forbidden Troops, the imperial guard of the ferocious Tang Dynasty of ancient China became known for being one of the most populous bodies of guards in history. They originally were the honor bodyguards of the emperor and their role was more decorative than anything but they turned out to be some of the most murderous and skilled bodyguards in East Asian history despite having a reign that lasted less than one hundred years.
Guardia Real, Spain
The Royal Guard of Spain is one of those longest-standing body of guards in history and has been active since the eighth century. It is an independent unit of the Spanish Armed Forces and its sole purpose is the executive protection of the king of Spain and the royal family. It consists of 1,900 highly skilled and disciplined troops, and despite the fact that the Guardia Real regularly takes part in many ceremonial events, it is considered one of the most functional and combat-ready units in the world. Many of the Guardia Real’s troops are former members of the special forces that fought in wars, most recently in Afghanistan and Bosnia. The guard contains a diverse blend of units including a Royal Marines company from the navy and a Paratroop company from the air force.
Konoe Shidan, Japan
The Konoe Shidan was the Japanese Imperial Guard and was organized like a professional company and consisted of well-trained and regimented military men who would do anything to protect the Japanese emperor, his family, and every imperial residence. The Imperial Guard was formed from the very best warriors and soldiers in 1867 and its sole purpose was the protection and safety of the emperor. It was eventually dissolved at the end of World War II and the official surrender of Japan in 1945. Two years later a new imperial guard was established and today it is part of the Japanese National Police Agency.