· 12" nightmare
I knew it was coming and now mentioned in the Cotswold newsletter, should be cool:
The Corps of the Pontifical Swiss Guard is a small force responsible for the safety of the Pope, including the security of the Apostolic Palace and access to the entrances to the Vatican City. It serves as the de facto Military of the Vatican City. The Swiss Guard has served the popes since the 1500s. 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. At the end of 2005, there were 134 members of the Swiss Guard.
The official dress uniform is of blue, red, orange and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance. Headwear is typically a black beret for daily duties, while a black or silver morion helmet with red, white, yellow and black, and purple ostrich feather is worn for ceremonial duties, the former for guard duty or drill; the latter for high ceremonial occasions such as the annual swearing in ceremony or reception of foreign heads of state.
Members wear a long sword and receive instruction in the ceremonial use of their halberd on a four-sided pole which is held on their right during marches, drill, and regular formations in their official duties around the Vatican. The halberd includes a loose metal ring just below the halberd blade which adds a loud clink when an individual or formation comes to attention.