The Equestrian Royal Guard (alternate spelling: Royal Equestrian Guard), sometimes also known by the historical term E.U.P. Guardnote , is the main defence and police force of the Principality of Equestria.
The Royal Guard boasts more than 45,000 personnelnote , 30,000 of them active and 15,000 as reserves, and includes members of all of the three major Pony races (Earth Ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi), but admissions from minorities, including griffons and mules, are generally accepted. Thus, the Royal Guard makes up a typical 0.5% of Equestria's entire population, and that doesn't even include the various militias and foreign mercenaries that have fought alongside them from time to time.
Its primary roles are the protection of the Royal Family, the defense of the nation's sovereignty and its borders, and to enforce the rule of harmony in times of peril. The latter, as well as the policing of the public and upholding the law, is left to each regiment's Gendarmerie detachments — soldiers who are tasked with law enforcement duty. They typically make up two-thirds of the unit, and involve every soldier at least once in the course of his time served.
Its current Commanders-in-Chief are the Equestrian Heads of State, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, in a unique case of dual command. They have retired the position in late 2019 to Princess Twilight Sparkle.
Its current annual budget consists of 800 Million bits, which sadly makes it one of the least subsidized government investments, especially compared to the Crown's expenditures for education and welfare.
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Notable Units and Dress CodeThe Royal Guard enforces a strict dress code, which not only requires uniform clothing hairdo, but also uniform coat and mane colors (the latter does not apply to Commanding Officers (COs), who can refuse dye). All uniforms are closely based on the traditional ancient armor worn by the Pegasi Tribes of the Pre-Discordian Era. Each unit has its own coat of arms and motto. Some units have Colonels-In-Chief and Ceremonial Chiefs, and all units have a commanding officer. Here are some branches of the Royal Guard and their respective uniforms.
- The Celestian Guard: (Like The Sun, Powerful And Eternal) A Heavy Hoof Guard regiment and the personal security detail of Princess Celestia, who is also their Ceremonial Chief. They are generally male Pegasi, and all have white coats (usually bleached or dyed), and blue manes (ditto). They carry golden armor and helmets. Their unit insignia is a blue star, and in dress uniform a distinctive shamrock collar flash is worn. Their most recent known Colonel-In-Chief was Captain Shining Armor, who stepped down after becoming Prince of the Crystal Empire when his wife Princess Cadance became Empress. His replacement has not been publicly named. Their headquarters are in Canterlot.
- The Night Guard: (From The Night We Come, Into The Night We Go) A Light Hoof Guard regiment and the personal security detail of Princess Luna, who is also their Ceremonial Chief. They are perhaps the most distinguishable of the military branches, seeing how they sport the most detailed and original uniform dress. Often mistaken for pegasi, they are actually bat-ponies, native to the mountainous regions in the north-east. They have dark blue or purple coats and manes, and carry dark blue armour and Cool Helmets with so-called fishbone manes. However, they also have slitted, yellow feline eyes, which greatly enhance their night vision. Their unit insignia is a blue eye. Their headquarters are in Canterlot.
- The Royal Unicorn Brigade "Prince Blueblood": (Kudos, Fidelity, Victory) An exclusive unicorn Heavy Hoof Guard regiment from Canterlot whose members have grey coats, and golden iron and cotton armor and helmets with white manes. Also known as the "Toff Brigade" by those not from Canterlot. Their unit insignia is a blue star. Their current Colonel-In-Chief is Blueblood, Prince of Canterlot. Their HQ also is, appropriately, in Canterlot.
- The Royal Household Detachment: (Fortune To The Vigilant) Usually pegasi or unicorns, those soldiers guard royal and governmental institutions in major cities, and also take care of Equestrian embassies around the world. Often the butt of cheap jokes from other soldiers who tend to forget that, while their major purpose is indeed guarding buildings and military installations, they have actually absolved a special lengthy combat training committed to capturing and holding buildings as well. They have grey fur and light black iron and cotton armour and black helmets with great white manes. Their unit insignia is a golden star badge. Their headquarters is in Hoofington.
- The 4th Pony Protection Platoon A.K.A. The Wonderbolts: (Fly Like Lightning, Strike Like Thunder; however, their original slogan is Altius volantis — Soaring higher!) In keeping with their status as elite soldiers, they have the least standardized uniforms and do not require dyed manes or dyed coats. Their standard-issue uniform consists of blue nylon bodysuits and wind goggles. Their unit insignia is a yellow thunderbolt with white wings. Their headquarters are in Winsome Falls, Neighgara.
- The Imperial Crystal Guard: (Between Stone And Gem We Last) The newest addition to the Royal Guard, having only joined in 2013. A Hoof Guard regiment that exclusively features Earth Ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi native to the Crystal Empire. They have wearing purple coats, silver armour and helmets with white manes over their naturally sparkly and glass-like physical forms. Their unit insignia is a silver, moon-shaped gorget. Their current Ceremonial Chief is Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, Empress of the Crystal Empire. Their current commanding officer is Lieutenant Flash Sentry. Their HQ is in the Crystal Empire.
- The King's Girthka Spears: (Paragon of Brotherhood, Predator of Fear) A Royal Neighpalese Cavalry unit serving the Equestrian Crown. In the Equestrian-Neighpalese War of 1815, fought between Equestria and the Girthka Kingdom of Neighpal, Princess Celestia saw the potential of Girthka soldiers as well-trained and sturdy light cavalry with the bonus of an ancient military tradition. Their Equestrian HQ is in Fillydelphia.
- The Equestrian Griffons' Armed Battalion: (These Rocks Rule None But Harmony) An independent national guard regiment under local administration, tasked with defending the Free City of Rostrum, a Griffon fortress exclave and port inside Equestria. Made up entirely by Griffons from both Equestria and Griffonstone, it's the only unit with the authority to traverse Griffon territory, following the 1963 Treaty of Rostrum that regulated the territory's special 'inter-border' status that effectively made it a very neutral Truce Zone and buffer between the two great powers. They wear silver Griffin armour (most notably with cabassets with yellow feather plumage), and their unit insignia mirrors the coat-of-arms of the town — a bird's claw grasping a thunderbolt. Their HQ is in Rostrum.
- The Border Guard: (We Are The Moats, We Are The Walls) A term referring to all the regiments of the Royal Guard stationed on the various borders of Equestria. They tend to be often stationed hostile spots, far away from major cities, and thus are frequently undersupplied. A large part of the ranks is made up of criminals, foreign soldiers seeking Equestrian citizenship, and misbehaving/incompetent Royal Guards. Due to the limited budget, even by Royal Guards standards, they are the only non-militia guardponies without any uniform. The biggest regiment, the one in Stalliongrad which is also known as The Northern Guards, is particularly (in)famous. Their headquarters are in Vanhoover, Northern Equestria and Dodge Junction, Appleloosa.
- The Ducal Mustangia Cavalry AKA the Ducal Lance-Canids: (If Not Us, Then No One Does) A strictly Mustangian earth pony force "on indefinite lease" to the Royal Crown in Canterlot note since the formal peace of the Thirteen Years' War in 1631. The Lance-Canids started out as mercenary companies employed by the local Mustangian dukes, and united in the chaos of the 13 war years as a national guard to the seceding Duchy of Mustangia. Evidently, none of it lasted. Probably one of the most ferocious Earth Pony regiments out there. Wear woolen harnesses under their silver armour and Nice plumed Caps. Their unit insignia is a red phoenix. Their headquarters are in Kiger, Mustangia.
- The 1st Light Anti-Parasprite Field Orchestra: (Beautiful Is the Melody of Victory) While occasionally deployed into action, most recently to Fillydelphia under Celestia's personal command, they are better known as a public-relations unit that may be seen playing on many occasions, particularly the popular Canterlot Tattoo. They are responsible for playing the Royal Fanfare when the princesses are present. As a pan-regimental institution, each member keeps the insignia of his unit, though they all have uniform similar to that of the Celestian Guard. Their headquarters is also in Canterlot.
- The Royal Provost Battalion: (Harmony Through Justice, Justice Through Wisdom, Wisdom Through Harmony) The 1200 pony-strong military police of the Guard (not to be confused with Gendarmerie detachs), who seem to dispatch in indefinite amount of zealous, but hopelessly inept Inquisitors General to cause trouble in the ranks. Annoying at best and harrowing at worst, they have garnered a universal Hatedom and — just as often as they seek to find things wrong with REG soldiers — they serve as the common soldier's showcase of everything wrong with the Royal Guardnote . On the other hand, they also make sure commercial production of foods and beverage respects the health laws (mercilessly cracking down on any breach), and are rumored to invent many of the jokes told on their battalion (telling them to their faces when they're in service still counts as a crime). Wear golden armour and helmets with red manes, which has led to the desultory nickname of "redcaps." Have a silver star badge as their unit insignia. Their HQ is in Hoofington.
- The Royal Signals and Reconnaisance Regiment: (attributed: To Know The Unknown Is To Win The Unwinnable) Does not exist. But if it did, it would actually be the Royal Guard's military intelligence wing. As nopony is willing to officially confirm its existence, the scope of its activities is dubious note . They have their own task force though — the Security Assistance Squadron, whose existence, surprisingly and quite ironically, has indeed been confirmed. Of course, they have no coat of arms or uniforms of their own. Thanks to their direct links to the Princely Offices, there is confusion about whether they can even be assumed part of the Guard proper. Their HQ is, of course, unknown. Canterlot would be a good guess, though.
- The 7th (Air) Cavalry Regiment: (Pay the Reckoning) Raised in 1866 as an Earth Pony unit; converted to a Pegasus unit in 1963. Best known for the time when an arrogant officer named Custard led it into an ambush during the Buffalo Wars. Its uniform consists of a blue tunic and a blue broad-rimmed campaign hat, and its unit insignia is two crossed sabres on brown cloth. Its headquarters are in Dodge Junction.
- The Foalini: (Nobody Passes Here!) Specialist mountain troops, originally raised among the donkeys residing in the Foal and Crystal Mountain ranges as militia and raised in status to permanent regiment in 1872. Composed by a vast majority of donkeys and mules with smaller numbers of Cowstrian immigrants and Earth Ponies, they distinguished themselves in the Great Changeling War, in which they led the local militias in stopping dead the initial Changeling push into Neighgara County and were able to stifle typical Changeling infiltration tactics thanks to the latter's ignorance of the local cultural peculiarities. The same conflict made them somewhat infamous for their propensity to blow up pieces of mountains on the head of the enemy, as exemplified by the demolition of the Changeling Tooth with an immense amount of explosives (incidentally preventing the Changelings from using an even larger amount of explosive to blow up the Equestrian Tooth occupied by the Foalini). They have a friendly rivalry with the Night Guard (that, before the Banishment, served also as mountain troops). Their uniform is gray-green light armour with a single black feather (white for officers) on the left side of the helmet instead of a plume, and their insignia (also worn on the helmet) is an eagle in a slightly different gradation of green. Their headquarter are in Neighgara Falls.
- The Elements of Harmony AKA The Friendship Council: (Friendship is Magic.) A small team that exists outside of the normal chain of command founded in 2010 to combat the return of Nightmare Moon during the 1000th Summer Sun Celebration made up of Princess Twilight Sparkle (Magic/Friendship), Rainbow Dash (Loyalty), Fluttershy (Kindness), Pinkie Pie (Laughter), Applejack (Honesty), Rarity (Generosity) and any of their allies most notably Spike the Dragon and Starlight Glimmer, but can include anyone willing to help them out regardless of whether or not they are citizens of Equestria, ranging from a con artist cat and a group of pirates to Princess Celestia herself, who was originally the pony the team reported to but they have since gained total independence from the chain of command when Twilight the team leader was coordinated as Equestria's fourth Princess. It should be noted that as Rainbow Dash also happens to be the newest full member of the Wonderbolts membership in this team does not forbid simultaneous membership in other units. Their headquarters is in Ponyville, has no uniform of any kind and was officially renamed the Friendship Council by Princess Celestia during an interview following the The Return of Tirek.
Military RanksThe following ranks are placed in descending order:
- Officer Ranks
- Commander-In-Chief (Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, Years active: 115-2019; Princess Twilight Sparkle, Years active: 2019-) — There is no higher authority in the country though it has become common to turn to either Princess Twilight (Leader of the Friendship Council) or Princess Cadance should both of the dyarchies be unavailable. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna retired in late 2019, handing both of their authority to Princess Twilight.
- General, Marshal (Air Force only), Admiral (Navy only) — Branch commander rank. Formerly collectively referred to as Commander (archaic).
- Colonel, Commander (Navy only) — Commands all troops in one region or two.
- Captain — Has command over a regiment or other complete task force or vessel.
- Lieutenant, Wing Commander (Air Force only) — Commands a battalion at best, a company at worst.
- Cornet, Acting Lieutenant, Sheriff (doubles as political office) — A broad assortment of equal ranks without command, tasked with the sub-command (or temporary command) of a unit or command over irregular units (such as Militias and Border Guards).
- Officer Cadet — Officer in training.
- Non-Commissioned Officer Ranks
- Warrant Major — Leads the platoon.
- Sergeant — Leads one whole section.
- Lance Corporal, Wing Leader (Air Force only) — Leads one combat team/one maneouvre team respectively.
- Enlisted Ranks
Notable Events Involving The Royal Guardnote
- app. 250 bd — 251 bd (Pegasus Army): The Eternal Winter Scramble: As the disastrous winters of the 200s bd destroyed most of the crops and reserves of the three Pony Tribes, and the 250 Conference failed, the three tribes scrambled for the last hoofful of fertile lands of the modern-day Canterlot area. Often, it resulted in occasional fights, territorial clashes and raids in the Hoofington, Cloudsdale and Everfree provinces, especially perpetrated by Pegasi. The animosity continued and grew worse until the three leaders ended up seeking refuge in the same cave...
- app. 100 bd — ? bd (Pegasus Army): The beginning of the Discordian Era. According to a letter of commission, one of the few historical artifacts that has remained from this time, the Pegasopolis Guard tried to fight the Discordian influence by order of the Equestrian Commonwealth in Canterlot. It is unknown how far it was successful, but the entire Commonwealth eventually succumbed to the Chaos in the next few decades.
- 10 — 115 (EUP Guard): The Equestrian Unification Wars.
- 1006 (EUP Guard): The Crystal War: Everything began when the Crystal Empire, led by the rebellious Unicorn King Sombra, tried to expand its border into surrounding (Equestrian) Seaddle territory and enslave the local population. In the next two weeks, the Princess Sisters amassed a 7500 strong-army and marched against the city-state, eventually pushing back an avid, yet undersupplied and unprepared Crystal Guard in the Battle of Horstings. King Sombra famously ordered to raze the conquered land as they retreated. The Crystal State itself was overrun very easily, and the most spectacular event of the entire campaign was perhaps the Alicorn Sisters personally tracking down King Sombra during the retreat and sealing him under the Sir-Ascot-Glacier. Only about 400 ponies were lost on Equestrias side, half of them civilian ponies of the surrounding lands. note That said, relationships with Griffonstone soured as part of the fallout of this campaign. The Griffons had close ties to the region, and when the Crystal Empire was lost in time, they blamed the Royal Sisters for this failure, particularly Princess Luna.
- 1010 (EUP Guard): The Banishment. In the aftermath of Princess Luna's attempt to usurp the throne, much of the Night Guard, loyal to Luna in spite of her madness, launched a civil war to carry out her will. It was stopped later that year, thanks to many of them coming to grips with the error of their ways. The overall toll of this conflict is largely unknown but is estimated at around 6,000.
- 1011 — 1019 (EUP Guard): The Saddle Arabian Campaign: The Saddle Arabian Sultan, as an outspoken friend of Princess Luna, was enraged by her banishment, leading him to refuse to recognize Celestia's status as Equestria's true princess, sever all trade with Equestria, and expel Equestrian ponies from the country. Celestia decided to make him recognize her rule by force, and for that reason called for the nobleponies of Equestria to invade and occupy Saddle Arabian cities and trade posts in her name. All counties of Equestria complied, and soon a force of nearly a hundred thousand ponies ventured to the horse nation, capturing several major metropolises including Mareusalem and Coltstaninople. The Sultan then turned to the Khalifs and Emirs of Saddle Arabia for defence. The captured cities switched owners several times as more noble equines from both sides headed into the battle for their respective nation's honour. Eight years and 65000 lives later, all Royal Guard companies had been beaten back, and the Saddle Arabian borders were restored, with the Sultan's begrudging recognition following suit. Thankfully, relations between the nations have been mild and positive ever since this very humbling conflict.
- 1618 — 1631 (EUP Guard): Thirteen Years' War: The escalation of tensions between the Equestrian Crown and the Griffon Union after Princess Celestia threw a misbehaving Griffon envoy out a Throne Room window. note Seeing this as an act of diplomatic impiety (and appreciating an opportunity to utilize some cutting-edge magic and technology), the Griffon Union declared war and landed èn masse on Equestria's eastern shores, venturing deep into Pony lands. The Griffons managed to capture the seaside fort of Rostrum, using it as a rallying point for mercenariesnote . After the Royal Guard scrambled east to (futilely) prevent the Griffins advancing inland to Mustangia and ultimately Canterlot, the situation only grew worse when they were pushed back, which Mustangia took as an opportunity to try and secede from Equestria. As the war dragged on, the Griffons' own mercenaries began defecting and going rogue across the whole region. It took an entire decade for the fighting to die down and the respective sides to regroup behind their respective sides of the Grand Strait. Officially, the war was a draw, but cost all sides about 200,000 lives and a million ponies displaced.
- 1815 (EUP Guard): The Equestrian-Neighpalese War
- 1862 — 1891 (EUP Guard): The Buffalo Wars: A desultory series of actions during the Southwestward Expansion of Equestrian settlers into traditional buffalo lands.
- 1899 — 1902 (EUP Guard): The Boors' War: The last great attempt of Equestria to tame the Badlands. Setting up the colonies of Equitoria, the settlers soon found their biggest problem to be the native Diamond Dogs who lived under the earth and robbed towns, plundered supply routes and occasionally even abducted ponies as bounty. The EUP Guard was called in to safeguard the Pony settlers but was quickly overwhelmed with the Diamond Dogs' presence, who at that point had already resorted to irregular warfare (against the painfully rigid, outdated and unflexible tactics of the Guard) to great effect. Even though the Guard proceeded to increase their presence constantly over the months, the Badlands remained to be dangerous and utterly uninhabitable regions, last not but least because of such 'neutral' threats like dragons and hydras. Even though the casualties were minimal (less than 200), Princess Celestia essentially declared the cause not to be worth the trouble, sacked the responsible commanding officers, beat the retreat and reorganized the EUP Guard into the Equestrian Royal Guard, updating it for the modern world with new, more flexible tactics. To this day, there is some sort of unspoken note agreement between the Diamond Dogs and Equestria that keeps Ponies (especially the Royal Guard) out and the Diamond Dogs in. The colonies are still there as well but are destroyed beyond recognition.
- 1914 — 1945 (Equestrian Royal Guard): The Great Changeling War: Under the directions of their new Queen, Chrysalis I, the Changeling empire made repeated, but fairly subtle attempts to expand into Equestrian territory. When Princess Celestia chose not to react note , Chrysalis saw this as an allowance to swallow several whole counties. She invaded Northern Equestria, Mustangia, Germaneigh, Cowstria, and even swung over the Grand Strait to take Eastern Griffonstone, the southern region of Yugryphonia, and all of the Foallands from the air, and ultimately landed in Saddle Arabia, making entire continents her enemies in record time note . It was perhaps the most world-spanning conflict that Equestria took part in. Royal Guards from all over Equestria were ordered to march up north and fend off the Changelings' "thunder and lightning", as they themselves called this new, swift form of conquering land. Chrysalis made heavy use of terror and mind control to make the captured states her puppet countries, and managed to put the Guard under constant pressure over years in a row. However, thanks to the Guard making up in fervour and technology what the Changelings had in flexibility and numbers, the stalemate between the two sides was upheld. Soon, neither side could advance even a mere dozen miles. It was not until Griffonstone launched an all-out offensive from the east and successfully thinned out the Changelings ranks that the stalemate endednote . Those Changeling colonies that didnt retreat were retaken by the Guard in a matter of weeks. The Changelings ended up with less land than before the war and were utterly humiliated by the winning powers. This built-up animosity still persists in present times. More than half a million ponies were taken out, and more than three Million lost their homes.
- 1982 (Equestrian Royal Guard): The Foallands War (referred to in griffon territories as the Falcons' War). In the latest of Equestrian-Griffon tensions, the part-Equestrian part-Griffon Foalland Archipelago (a tiny island group plagued by constant border struggles and unease between Griffon and Equestrian citizens) was invaded by Griffon troops (under the command of the new, radical Griffon leadership) with the intent to claim all of the territory and expel all (126) Equestrian citizens. Princess Celestia (nicknamed 'The Equestrian Empress' by the Griffon Elector in the wake of the war) responded harshly, sending in a completely air-based armada of Celestian Guards to push the Griffons back and retake the Equestrian parts. The operation, taking only about a month, was a big success, with the Griffon invasion force twice the size falling back almost without dealing resistance. The Royal Guard only had about 200 losses, and the Griffons more than thrice that much. As this was a conflict more about honour rather than substance (Griffon fishing rights in the area notwithstanding) the Status Quo between both nations was enforced after the end of the conflict, but the Griffons are still particularly sore because of those islands.
- 1991 — 1999 (Equestrian Royal Guard): The Yugryphonian Intervention: In 1990, Yugryphonia, an apostate south-eastern region of Griffonstone, used the country's precarious political climate (read: the Griffon Civil Wars, which began in the wake of wild internal strife) to declare independence and began drawing up paramilitary forces. Equestria, which had been at odds with Griffonstone ever since '82 and were deeply worried that the war's violence may sweep over the Grand Strait, hastily hatched a treaty of mutual respect with Yugryphonia. When a Gryphon nationalist army marched into Yugryphonia and the Yugryphonian National Guard opened fire, Equestria warily abstained, but filed an international plight for Yugryphonia in the NEIGHTO. It was only when the Yugryphonian conflict got so thoroughly out of claw that the Princesses (including the newly ascended Princess Cadance) and by extension, Equestria's allies as well, felt that the harmony of the entire theatre was too far in peril to be ignored, and organized a peacekeeping mission that deployed 500 Equestrians, 380 Saddle Arabians and 115 Zebricans to Yugryphonia. This peacekeeping force was officially neutral and served mainly as a deterrent for both sides, interfering only in the wake of unjustifiably unharmonious actions perpetrated by the combatants. Naturally, no Griffonstone faction approved of that, but the combatants ultimately retreated from Yugryphonia. Peacekeepers are still stationed in the region as observers, and even though Yugryphonia is largely free, it has yet to be recognized as an independent state by most of the world.
- 1992 (Equestrian Royal Guard): The Zebran Civil War.
- 2010 (Elements of Harmony): The Return of Nightmare Moon: Notable for the rediscovery of the physical Elements of Harmony, the Elements finding new bearers, and Princess Luna being redeemed.
- 2010 (Equestrian Royal Guard and the Elements of Harmony): The Battle of Appleloosa.
- 2011 (Elements of Harmony): The Day of Discord.
- 2012 (Equestrian Royal Guard and the Elements of Harmony): The Siege of Canterlot.
- 2012 (Elements of Harmony): The Return of the Crystal Empire.
- 2012 — Ongoing (Equestrian Royal Guard): The Wuvy-Dovey Land Relief Mission.
- 2014 (All of Equestria): The Return of Tirek: This conflict was the closest Equestria ever came to total collapse, with three of the four Princesses temporarily banished to Tartarus. In it, it was determined that the combined magical power of four alicorns is equivalent to the combined magic of both every non-Alicorn pony in Equestria and Discord. In the aftermath, Princess Twilight obtained a castle, and the group previously known as the Elements of Harmony were renamed The Friendship Council.
- 2015 (Friendship Council): The Battle of Our Town
- 2015 (Friendship Council): The Thirty Minutes War: Botched attempts to create diplomatic overtures with Yakyakistan resulted in numerous threats by Prince Rutherford to declare war. Indeed, before Element of Laughter Pinkie Pie managed to placate the yaks, the prince had formally declared war against Equestria, and during his entourage's rampage caused about 40,000 bits worth of damage (in addition to all the rest of the damage he caused earlier that day). Fortunately, Pinkie Pie managed to convince the yaks to stop their rampage and a thousand moons of peace were declared before they could cause more damage than a group of cider-binging fratcolts.
- 2015 and 2000 (Friendship Council): Starlights Revenge: When the deranged unicorn Starlight Glimmer used a modified time travel spell to alter the past in an attempt to get revenge on the Friendship Council, said Council's Element of Magic Princess Twilight and her assistant Spikenote were dragged along with Starlight by the time travel spell, forcing them into the only conflict in Equestrian history to use a historical event as a battlefield and involve alternate timelines. Ultimately, the conflict resulted in the redemption of Starlight Glimmer, who Princess Twilight took on as her personal student. This event was and technically remains highly classified, though the Council, especially Pinkie Pie, has been rather reckless when discussing it.
- 2016 (Friendship Council): The Gauntlet of Fire: Dragon Lord Torch magically called upon all dragons, including the Council's juvenile dragon member Spike, to return to the Dragon Lands. Spike was accompanied by Element of Magic Princess Twilight and Element of Generosity Rarity. Once the dragons (accompanied by hidden Council members Twilight and Rarity) had assembled, Torch revealed that his term as Dragon Lord was over, requiring him to hand the title of Dragon Lord to another dragon. Whoever could successfully retrieve his symbol of office, the Bloodstone Scepter, by way retrieving it from the hazardous Flamecano, would become the new Dragon Lord. Council members, listening to the meeting, realized that (due to the typical dragon's less-than-stellar view of ponies) the vast majority of candidates for Dragon Lord intended to raid Equestria for centuries to come if given power. Spike then determined that, in spite of his physical immaturity, he had to take any chance to prevent the destruction of Equestria, and entered the search for the Scepter. During the search, Spike encountered Dragon Lord Torch's daughter Princess Ember, and cooperated with her to retrieve the scepter. Although Spike had technically been the one to grab the scepter, he then abdicated to Princess Ember, due to her greater maturity and stronger familiarity with and sense of responsibility to the dragon community. Additionally, Spike was essentially required to abdicate if he wished to remain an active Friendship Council member. This event opened up possibilities for diplomatic relations between the Dragon Lands and Equestria.
- 2016 (All of Equestria): The Changeling Revolution: As payback for losing The Siege Of Canterlot and her subsequent defeat and capture after the liberation of Wuvy-Dovey Land, after her jailbreak Chrysalis I captured and replaced the entire top brass of Equestria, including all five princesses, Prince Shining Armor, and the entire Friendship Council using still-unknown meansnote , in the span of a single day. (The deception was so well done that it took the originals confronting their doppelgangers after their rescue, and the award ceremony speech the day after, for the mass kidnapping to be public knowledge.) The princesses, Council, prince, and others were then rescued at the hands of unlikely heroes Starlight Glimmer (former now-reformed cult leader and current student of Princess Twilight), Trixie Lulamoon (stage magician, stage name The Great and Powerful Trixie), Thorax (a changeling defector to Equestria), and Discord (the reformed Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony). Thorax broke into the throne room of Chrysalis I. As Chrysalis attempted to drain all love from him (her typical method for executing traitors), Starlight Glimmer encouraged Thorax to share his love with the changelings, a behavior which turned out to sate Changeling love hunger over a long period. The result was an explosion that shattered Chrysalis' throne, effectively igniting a coup within the Changelings, which ended with Thorax being installed as King. In the aftermath, Thorax and Celestia brokered a peace treaty between Equestria and the Changelings. Chrysalis' whereabouts are currently unknown.
- 2017 (Friendship Council): The War for Equestria: A major 3-day conflict that interrupted the first-ever Friendship Festival, where the renegade unicorn Tempest Shadow lead the Storm King's armada into conquering Equestria for the sole purpose of giving the Storm King the magic of Equestria's four adult Alicorns in exchange for getting her horn repaired, known for being the only three days in history where the sun never set for more than a few seconds and for being the first major conflict to involve pirates fighting on the side of Equestria and infamous for the Royal Guard being nowhere to be found for the duration of the conflict and for Princess Twilight trying to steal a priceless magical treasure from Queen Novo. Major events in this conflict include...
- The Invasion of Canterlot: The surprise attack by Commander Tempest and the Storm Guard on Canterlot and the beginning of their invasion of Equestria, resulting in the petrification of Princesses Celestia, Luna and Cadance along with a Pegasus named Derpy "Muffins" Hooves, the escape of the Friendship Council who set out to get help from the Queen of the Hippos, the occupation of Canterlot, the enslavement of all ponies in town and the interruption of the first-ever Friendship Festival.
- The Escape from Klugetown: When Tempest tracks Twilight down to the home of a con artist cat named Capper in Klugetown on the far side of the Badlands after Twilight discovers that they are not looking for the Queen of the Hippos but the Queen of the Hippogriffs, the timely interference of Verko the local Crime Boss gave the Friendship Council just enough time to escape onto an airship revealed to belong to Captain Celaeno whos in the employ of the Storm King, and in the aftermath Tempest takes Capper captive who due to a single act of generosity by Rarity claims the Princess was heading to Black Skull Island when they were, in fact, heading to Mount Aris.
- The Sinking of Celaeno's Ship: After Rainbow Dash convinces Celaeno and her crew to turn their backs on the Storm King and help them her carelessly performing a Sonic Rainboom told Tempest exactly where they are and while the Friendship Council abandoned ship with a makeshift hot air balloon that Twilight made while in freefall before Tempest could find them while Celaeno tried to stall, this resulted in Tempest blowing up the ship in midair with Celaeno, her crew and Capper all on board, luckily there were no casualties.
- Princess Twilight's Attempted Theft of Queen Novo's Pearl of Transformation: Upon arriving at Mount Aris the Friendship Council discovered that the Hippogriffs turned themselves into Seaponies and abandoned their home to escape the Storm King using their Pearl of Transformation so Twilight not trusting her friends due to their poor decision making as of late tasks the others with distracting Princess Skystar, Queen Novo and the other Seaponies under the guise of showing them the time of their lives so she can steal the Pearl with the Goal of turning the Ponies in Canterlot into something strong enough to fight the Storm King and his armada, however, she is discovered just as Pinkie was about to convince the Queen to give them the Pearl resulting in them being thrown out of Seaquestria.
- The Capture of Princess Twilight: Twilights stunt results in the group having a fight with everypony besides Spike leaving to give Twilight space, which Tempest takes advantage of to capture Twilight and take her back to Canterlot where she and the other Princesses have their magic drained into the Staff of Sacanas making the Storm King the most powerful being on the planet. However, everyone the Elements befriended throughout this epic adventure shows up wanting to help.
- The Burning of Ponyville: Nopony knows how, when or why Ponyville was set ablaze given that the entire population of the town was in Canterlot for the Friendship Festival and none of the perpetrators have come forward about what happened, all that is known is that it accrued before Canterlot was liberated in the Battle for Equestria. Luckily the town is known for quick rebuilds due to the regular monster attacks that have been plaguing the town for several years.
- The Battle of Canterlot: The remaining members of the Friendship Council, assisted by Capper, Celaeno, her crew and Princess Skystar, now in Hippogriff form, sneak into Canterlot using a trojan cake and Cappers silver tongue before proceeding to storm the Canterlot Palace, all while taking on a hoard of Storm Guards and a tornado unleashed on the city by the Storm King, before reuniting with Twilight while separating the King from the staff. After Twilight got her hooves on the staff, the Storm King attempted to petrify the elements but ended up petrifying himself and smashed into the ground, resulting in the only known casualty of the war when Tempest protected the elements, having swapped sides after being betrayed by the Storm King and having her life saved by Twilight. In the end, Canterlot and Equestria is liberated, the petrified ponies returned to normal, all other ponies are freed, the Princesses get their magic back, the damage to the city is repaired, Princess Twilight grants Tempest clemency and the Friendship Festival resumes.
- 2018 (All of Equestria): The Three-Day Magic Failure: Probably the biggest societal collapse since the return of Tirek. For three days, reports of magic failing with increasing frequency are being raised throughout the nation with no clue as to how it is even happening. Unicorns lost the ability to cast magic by the end of the first day, pegasi and earth ponies lost their own magical abilities by the end of the second day and even artifacts are losing power by the end of the third day. The Friendship Council were sent to Tartarus to question Tirek due to his expertise in draining magic as well as being a possible suspect while getting any clues to this mystery. However, all this was a Red Herring, as the real culprit was operating in the catacombs under the School of Friendship. All other Royal Guard forces have been reduced to trekking on foot due to the lack of magic as the culprit was discovered by EEA Chancellor Neighsay around the third day. Reports as to how the matter was resolved from the student body who were present at the scene was the fact that the saviours of the day were the international exchange students. The culprit's fate after being apprehended by the Royal Guard is declared an international secret.
- 2019 (All of Equestria): King Sombra's Return: Due to unknown reasons, King Sombra was reported to have invaded the Crystal Empire despite sources saying that he was destroyed. In terrifying speeds, he seized control of the Crystal Empire before Princess Cadance and Shining Armor can properly raise defences due to the suddenness of the situation, resulting in their defeat. However, Princess Cadance managed to send a message for help to the Friendship Council, resulting in their quick deployment, the subduing of King Sombra and the liberation of the Crystal Empire. However, it was too soon to celebrate, as it turns out that King Sombra actually faked his defeat to destroy the source of the Friendship Council's power, the Elements of Harmony. With it gone, he set his sights on Ponyville and Canterlot, employing mind control on the populace to act as his army and pony shields. The Princesses were noted to be absent at this crucial time due to them preventing the Everfree Forest from overrunning Ponyville with the destruction of the Elements of Harmony. This effectively leaves the Friendship Council the only force available for quick deployment to liberate Canterlot. After a decisive battle with the brainwashed populace and guards, King Sombra was destroyed for real in the throne room. In light of this abysmal failure even by the usual standards, Princess Celestia has ordered a complete overhauling of the castle's defences.
- 2019 (All of Equestria): Evil's Endgame: Tirek formed an alliance with the fugitive Chrysalis and his fellow inmate from Tartarus after escaping. The reason for the jailbreak is still not publicly known. Multiple notable locations while simultaneously attacked, stretching the local forces thin. Places included the School of Friendship, the Canterlot borderlands and Canterlot Castle itself. After a cataclysmic battle on three simultaneous fronts, the Equestrian forces were thoroughly defeated on all fronts with the majority of Canterlot Castle being destroyed in the conflict. Not only that, it has been noted that racist rumors had been circulating around since The Festival of the Two Sisters, resulting in the return of the Windigos and a deep freeze that lasted several days. The Friendship Council was the only known organization in action that managed to escape to the Crystal Empire, the only Equestrian stronghold left. However, the people that escaped combined with the international exchange students manage to rally themselves and their own nations respectively under a single banner, resulting in an army consisting of armed forces from several other nations on a scale that has never been seen since The Great Changeling War. At the lead of the Friendship Council, they launched a second counter-offensive that defeated the evil alliance for good, with Tirek, Chrysalis and the inmate being turned to stone. Shortly after, Princess Twilight Sparkle was crowned the main ruler of Equestria.
For example, there was the return of the exiled Princess Luna in 2010, during she not only managed to overpower Celestia and crash a reception intended for her, but afterwards also managed to evade arrest by the Guard almost single-hoovedly. Later, the Royal Guard were involved in the so-called "Phoenix-gate" and "Crown-gate" scandalsnote , which sparked a debate that drew the overall competence of the Guard into question. More recently, they completely failed to prevent the abduction of both Alicorn Sisters from Canterlot, at which point they also proved to have no crisis-management plan whatsoever.
Next to such minor slip-ups there were also a ton of much more massive slip-ups, such as the 2012 Siege of Canterlot, if it could even be called a "siege"; despite the Royal Guard being put on full alert, they were overrun by a small army of Changelings in a fight that lasted less than 15 minutes. This incident pretty much codified the bad reputation of the Guard, revealing their under-supplied situation and bad strategic foresight for all the world to see.
Furthermore, cynics point out how the Applaloochian militias held its own against the physically imposing buffalo while the Royal Guard couldn't even hold the line long enough for orders to be relayed, with many claiming the training regime is wholly ineffective. They question why they even had the wedding during such a chaotic time, and how the capital of the country of all places could let their soldiers be under-supplied when they knew something was up. Some go so far as to accuse the Captain of the Guard of only getting his position as a commander instead of a Shield-Casting special operative because he was the fiancé of Princess Celestia's favorite niece and his sister was her personal student.
The single most embarrassing moment in the 2000+ year history of the guard is widely considered to be the War for Equestria where it didn't just fail to protect Canterlot or the Princesses but did not even get the chance to deploy, leaving the Battle of Canterlot to be fought and won by a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits (including a con artist cat, a Hippogriff/Seapony Princess and a crew of 5 pirates) rather than the 45,000 trained Equestrian soldiers. It's considered by many Equestrians to be a serious What the Hell, Hero? moment. Again, the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment is strictly enforced.
Many have argued that the Guard's golden age had come to an end as Princess Celestia and Luna seemed to have decided to give it a more of a symbolic, ceremonial role rather than a serious military one. There were tremendous budget cuts on military expenditure, the amount of Guards was heavily reduced, and new recruits were given inferior training compared to that of their senior comrades. It is not an uncommon thought that the reason behind this decline in focus can be attributed to Princess Celestia outsourcing her royal magic power, in the form of the Elements of Harmony, to six members of the public one of whom is the newest member of the Wonderbolts and another was Celestia's personal Student and a close relative of an important Guard commander a commander that just so happened to marry Celestia's adoptive niece who had participated in the capture of Princess Luna, and later became known as the Friendship Council. This is somewhat equivalent to the "Honorable Artillery Companies" of other lands which, at times, have tasked civilian technicians with operating their heaviest firepower.
Nonetheless, this decision caused a lot of derision among many guardsponies, as these Element Bearers were allowed to wield a power equal only to that of Discord, even though only one of them has had any kind of military training. That many of those Element Bearers had been indicted with criminal charges in the past and had regularly been the sources of scandalous headlines and many catastrophes on their own accord, only served to turn the knife in the wound a bit more. However, when asked about this Princess Celestia replied that as far as she is concerned the Element Bearers (which she referred to as the Friendship Council thus revealing their official name) are a part of the royal guard just completely independent of the chain of command... which doesn't really help matters at all.
Big Horseshoes to FillHistorically, the Guard can directly trace its roots back all the way to the Pegasus Tribes of the Pre-Discordian Era. As the Earth Pony tribes were mainly a culture of farmers and workers, and the unicorns generally paid the other races for protection, the militaristic and war-like Pegasi were quick to become the dominant military power of their time. They gained both historical fame and infamy for their attempts to lay sole claim to the weather in the Equestrian skies, trying to expand their borders, stirring up trouble with neighbouring tribes, and their rather legendary racism against their earth-bound contemporaries. One of the most infamous Pegasus chieftains was Commander Hurricane, who ironically went on to become a member of the founding trifecta of the modern Equestrian nation in the year 251 bdnote , as featured in the award-winning 2012 play The Three Tribes.
The general historical consensus is that the point of the downfall of the Pegasus tribes as an independent military power came alongside that of the other tribes with the start of the Discordian Era, as their bravery and fighting prowess proved to be useless against the powers of Chaos and discontent.
It was only after Discord's defeat at the horns of Celestia of the Sun and Luna of the Moon that the Pegasus warrior culture recovered from being nearly swept away by the Discordian influence. After their coronation as the Princesses of Equestria in 1 adnote , Celestia and Luna recognized the potential of the Pegasus legacy and began recruiting male Pegasi into a Praetorian Guard to defend the young Equestrian royal court from competing forces. In the years following its formation, the aptly named the EUP Guard — or Earth Pony, Unicorn and Pegasus Guard — grew into an army, originally split into two branches in 690 ad — the Celestian Guard, commanded by Princess Celestia, and the Night Guard, led by Princess Luna. For the sake of balancing the power between the two, each army took turns acting as the national defence force alongside their commander every sunrise and sunset.
Needless to say, this overly complicated system lasted only as long as the good relationship between the two sisters. When Princess Luna attempted to usurp the throne in in 1010, Princess Celestia managed to summon the Elements of Harmony to defeat and banish her sister from Equestria. The Night Guard, convinced Celestia was the villain, launched a civil war against her.
The Night Guard was defeated in battle within a year, surrounded and forced to capitulate by the Celestian Guard. Even though all its members were pardoned by Princess Celestia, The Remnant of the Night Guard was dissolved or usurped into the ranks of the Celestians soon after. It was at that time that the terms Royal Guard and Celestian Guard became synonymous — Princess Celestia took control of all the countrys troops under her banner, reshuffling the EUP Guard's command structure to form specialized task groups called the PPP's — the Pony Protection Platoons, under the command of the former Celestian Guard officer Firefly. Under Celestia's thousand-year single rule, she expanded the Guard further, splitting it yet again into two branches in 1415, but differentiated by purpose rather than allegiance. In the spirit of the ancient Pegasus Warriors, the Royal Equestrian Air Force was formed as an extended hoof of the ground-based Royal Guard and the Royal Equestrian Navy (thus reverting to its original post-Discordian designation) in 1899. This gave birth to the Wonderbolts two years later, a legendary brigade of crack flyers who were routinely tasked with high-risk missions, and garnered nearly unprecedented pop-cultural fame, becoming the poster children of the Royal Guard's glory for a long time and in 1902 the EUP Guard was officially reorganized into the modern Equestrian Royal Guard when The Boors War revealed just how painfully rigid and outdated the guard actually was.
The next major change the Royal Guard would experience was the formal reinstallation of the Night Guard after Princess Luna was pardoned by her sister centuries later in 2010.
In 2013, the ranks of the Guard were bolstered by the Imperial Crystal Guard, the army of the Crystal Empire, following the country's annexation through Equestria and Princess Mi Amore Cadenza's accession to the throne earlier that year. The Crystal Guard, who had always been a miniscule force tasked with the protection of the Crystal City State and the safeguarding of its assets in the region, were originally formed by King Sombra in a vain attempt to tighten his power over his lands and those of his neighbours, shortly before being effortlessly toppled by the Equestrian Princesses in 1006 ad. The ICG then went missing along with the rest of the Crystal Empire for one thousand years, under the effects of King Sombra's last spell, in 1013 ad before being rediscovered and formed anew.
Is It a Bird? Is It a Dragon?No, it's the Royal 4th Pony Protection Platoon, better known as The Wonderbolts. Originally your run-of-the-mill PPP air wing, they soon gained fame by outperforming all other air wings in dangerous and difficult situations. During a 1901 First Celestial Year of Peace celebration, they were asked by then-General Firefly to perform training moves for Princess Celestia — she and her guests were so impressed by the 4th PPP's display (later known as the infamous Icarean Sun Salutation) that she tasked Firefly and the REAF Colonel Purple Dart to place the unit under her direct command, thus detaching the unit from the Pony Protection Platoons and making them an independent regiment.
It has been a traditionally small detachment, starting with only seven members and seldom holding more than ten ponies ever since. They are easily distinguishable by their unconventional uniform design of blue bodysuits and goggles, though they had a variety of historical custom uniforms.
Since their foundation, the Wonderbolts have been the absolute epitome of Memetic Mutation in the Royal Guard, gaining so much fame that their capability as a combat unit was soon overshadowed by their propaganda potential. Some may argue they haven't aged well, as they are nowadays regularly featured in air shows and races, and have come closer to becoming a sports team than a military unit in recent years. They even have their own Instant Fan Club.
In fact, their fame has enabled them to open their own aeronautical academy, where they supply military-grade training to both civilian and military pegasi bent on improving their flying skills or on a fat promotion.
The current Commanding Officer is Wing Commander Spitfire.
Common EquipmentSince modern ponies (unlike their evolutionary predecessors in the distant past) lack toes, it is impossible for them to hold weapons in the same manner as creatures with opposable thumbs. This has led to a number of interesting modifications. But in general, most guardsponies go unarmed, relying on physical strength and their hardened hooves and teeth in the event of combat. Even the Celestian Guard relies more on its reputation and stern demeanor (not to mention that of its charge) than on its armament.
- Spears: Largely ceremonial, as they must be held in the foreleg and cannot be carried at the gallop. Therefore they are regularly used on guard duty by all units, when leaving the post is not an option (since casting away one's weapon in the face of the enemy is a court-martial offense), it also motivates guards to stay put in all circumstances, and instead use the lance to keep enemies at tip-point.
- Lances: Bigger and entirely wooden counterparts of the spear which, on the other hoof, can be carried on the move — affixed to a guardspony's armor and pointed directly to his front. They come in different weights and sizes, but are primarily the heavy cavalry's aggressive weapons, meant for charges on the battlefield to punch through the enemy's lines. Thick bulky ones are traditional weapons of the Crystal Empire, where it has since also become a national sport in traditional jousting tournaments.
- Bows: Far less mobile than those of other lands, Equestrian archers rely on a standup bow, reinforced and weighted at the bottom; however, the bow can be easily pivoted for aiming. Due to this, archers are always delegated as support units and never make up a primary front line, being dependent on regular cavalry protection. There are varieties of ammunition, such as ice arrows for use against dragons.
- Cannons: Many would be surprised to hear that cannons — large cast-iron tubes on wheels that use black powder cartridges to propel loads forward really fast — have their roots on the battlefield. While they do have chiefly civilian uses nowadays (like propelling confetti, fireworks or stuntponies), artillery was once designed to hurl cast iron and carved stone projectiles into the enemy ranks with devastating results. Nowadays, artillery has been abandoned by the Guard in favor of the much more effective and cheaply available detonation spells. But the concept of firearms itself has not yet been entirely disused...
- Howitzers: The main artillery of the Equestrian military. There are two models currently in use: the 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer made by Royal Armament, who can fire a 6-inch shell up to 10,400 yards (with longer-ranged munitions being currently in development), is the main model, used by Unicorn and Earth Pony regiments; and the smaller Mod. 56, a 'pack' howitzer (so-called due the ability to be easily broken down in packages for easier transport) made by the OTO company, firing a 4.13 inch up to 10,900 yards, in use with the Foalini regiment (who originally requested its development, as the cwt 26, unable to be broken down, was nearly impossible to move in mountain terrain) and Pegasus regiments (who can move the lighter piece with superior ease compared to the cwt 26).
- Mortar: A "Mortar" is a smaller version of the howitzers already in service. Unlike other experimental designs listed here, this one is expected to be finished in less than a few months but they will not replace howitzers on the battlefield.
- Rockets: Another obsolete weapon designed to carry explosives to great heights and distances, these are now better known as firework carriers — though in some cases military and police ordnance — ponies are tasked with safely launching them over public events, their only function is to create colorful displays of light and sound. It has been theorized that these might one day be improved to carry larger payloads, or even carry ordinary ponies to the Moon. It is thought that this last is why Princess Luna has blocked any further development. Though, rockets in combat haven't left researchers' minds completely.
- Grenades: A grenade is a thrown explosive that can be used by the common infantrypony and thrown up to 40 yards. The grenade is stick-shaped with an explosive ordinance up on top. The grenade is activated by a pull cord at the bottom of the stick and explodes after a five-second delay. Infantryponies have occasionally tied up to six of these grenades together for a bigger explosion.
- Smoke Grenades: A grenade that releases smoke instead of an explosion. Used for escape, flanking enemy positions, and disorienting enemies.
- Magic Canceling Grenades: A grenade that releases a blast that cancels out all unicorn magic in a room. Unicorn guards are advised to be extra cautious with these grenades, for fear of accidental incapacitation.
- Crossbow: Standard issue to every gaurdspony out on the front lines. It has a range of 500-600 yards and can accept various forms of ammunition. Traditional one-shot crossbows have been phased out in favor of repeating crossbows that fire four arrows before having to reload.
- Standard Arrow: Standard arrow with average penetration. Good for anti-infantry roles and against lightly armored targets, but ineffective against dragons and heavily armored fortifications.
- Explosive Arrow: Arrow with a tip designed to explode with the assistance of chemicals after either instant contact of a five-second delay. Used against dragons.
- Ice Arrow: Ice tipped arrow allowing for extra penetration of target. Used against dragons.
- Poison Arrow: Poison tippednote arrow designed for use in assassination missions. This type of ammunition is usually issued to Night Guards when sent on stealthy assassination missions.
- Ballista: Formerly standard anti-infantry and anti-dragon projectile launching weapon. The arrows the weapon launches can reach up to 500 yards and can launch varying types of ammunition. No longer issued to front line units but are still issued to rearguard units.
- Standard Arrow
- Explosive Arrow: Used additionally against armored fortifications.
- Ice Arrow
- Scorpio: A modified crossbow designed for killing targets at far distance, usually up to 1200 yards. Is able to launch varying types of ammunition
- Standard Arrow
- Explosive Arrow
- Ice Arrow
- Poison Arrow
- Small Firearms: Rumored to be a new type of weapon under development in the Royal Research and Development labs for at least a decade. note According to unconfirmed reports, a "firearm" is a smaller, thinner and portable version of the cannon, firing pellets of any type 200 yards at the pull of a trigger similar to those seen on crossbows. Due to their bulk, they might only be used by Pegasus guardsnote .
- Tank: Based on the designs of a wood-plated, earth pony-drawn chariot by the popular Earth Pony leader Jan Horse, a tank would be an armored military vehicle armed with a high powered cannon and manned by a crew of at least five ponies. Leading "tank" scientist Desert Fox boastfully proclaimed that these vehicles would be the future of warfare and Equestria had to keep up with the times in terms of military prowess, despite Princess Celestia's hesitance to do so.
- Rocket Launcher: A "Rocket Launcher" would be a weapon that launches a 2.36-inch Rocket from a tube-like object designed to take out multiple groups of enemies, garrisoned buildings, or artillery positions. The main reason that the weapon is not on the a battlefield as of this writing is due to problems with getting to rocket to launch reliably.
Her Royal Highnesses' Navy
The Royal Equestrian Navy is perhaps the most funded and the most traditional part of the military, currently being the largest navy in the worldnote . The exact amount of ships currently in Royal Navy use is unknown but is speculated to be around 400 ships (including airships). Prince Blueblood of Canterlot is known to be one of the more prominent supporters of the navy.
- Clipper: A Clipper is a swift ship designed more for quick sneak attacks than taking hits from enemies, leaving it woefully under armored.
- Galleon: The standard ship of the Royal Navy, able to carry 200-400 sailors and comes equipped with three ballistae on the port and starboard and one ballista on the bow and stern.
- Ironclad: The Ironclad is a vessel that was created in response to the GIS note Von Beaksmarck. The class ship HHS Warrior was the first ship in the entire Royal Navy to use a cannon.
- Ship of the Line: A huge and heavily armored ship that is able to carry 410 sailors comes equipped with four ballistae on the port and starboard and one ballista on the bow and stern. A Ship of the Line is designed to take multiple hits from either cannon or ballista fire and partake in line battling.
- Battleship: The Royal Navy has a long history with Battleships. First used in the Great Changeling War, the HHS Starswirl served alongside her more antiquated counterparts throughout the until her sinking in 1919. A typical Battleship is typically armed with heavy-caliber cannons designed to rain Tartarus on enemy positions on the shore. Other Battleships include the HHS Lord Blueblood II and the HHS Royal.
- Destroyer: The Destroyer is designed to protect the flanks of Battleships while they provide fire onto the shores. The average Destroyer is armed with two Ballistas on both sides. The first Destroyer commissioned was the HHS Generosity, a playful nod towards the role the ship is to play in combat. Plans to produce a Destroyer with cannons are currently underway.
- Airship: Built by the Goodyear-Zeppony Corporation as pleasure and passenger craft, dirigible airships are garnering an ever-greater share of Equestria's travel industry. The Pegasus Weather Service makes airships (otherwise vulnerable to storms) surprisingly reliable. Militarized versions have become a major asset to the Navy, as they have greater endurance than pegasi and can be operated by unwinged ponies. There is significant Inter Service Rivalry over the role of aircraft, and the Navy is also known to be experimenting with helicopter carriers. Two major types of airships exist — the large and rigid ''Los Pegasus'' class and the smaller, non-rigid blimps. Airships are lightly armed and used for maritime patrol, often with a few pegasus scouts to extend their range.
Pink Cloud is what has been classified as a "chemical weapon of mass destruction" that was created and used during The Great Changeling War against the mass armies of Changelings charging at entrenched positions and usually overran them. When Pink Cloud was first authorized for use on the battlefield, it worked a little too well. The gas instantly made the Changeling armies halt as they were either put down instantly or found an end by asphyxiation, all while horrified Equestrian troops watched.
The chemical would be launched by howitzer or cannonnote and would come in the form of a warhead that looked no different from a conventional one. The warhead would land in the ground unexploded, making it appear to be a dud. The "dud" however was anything but, as the gas would begin to leak, catching the unsuspecting victim by surprise, ending them.
The Griffon Kaiser Imperious Steelclaw I, who thought the gas could be used against his armies if Equestria chose to resume hostilities in the future, and Queen Chrysalis I, angered that many of her changelings were taken out from a distance "in a cowardly act", ordered the creation their own chemical weapons which became known as Mustard Gas and Green Mistnote respectively.
What happened next is best described by modern Equestrian historians as "a Celestia damned nightmare". By 1918, thousands on all sides were lost due to the chemicals. Military commanders on all sides were horrified at the catastrophic losses. Princess Celestia, Kaiser Imperious Steelclaw I, and Queen Chrysalis I agreed to send diplomats to neutral Geneighva to discuss taking the weapons off the battlefields.
In what became known the "Geneighva Convention", all sides had agreed to never launch the first chemical strike but retaliation with chemicals is only authorized when attacked first and all stockpiles shall be destroyed post-war. When the Equestrian diplomat tried to turn the talk into ending the war altogether, the meeting quickly degraded into a shouting match which ended with the Changeling diplomat storming out of the meeting.
When the war finally ended, thousands of gas stockpiles were left over, awaiting use. The gas has remained in all three power's arsenals, but have not been used since. The gas is slowly becoming outdated thanks to better shield and filtering spells for unicorns and changelings, better quality gas masks, and the Griffon made CPS note . The Equestrian government has remained divided on the issue of disposing of the gas, with Celestia and her supporters wanting to get rid of the gas once and for all and Luna's side wanting to keep the gas due to it providing a useful buffer to prevent another war. To date, a decision has not been made.
Also contrarily to common belief, there were survivors of these chemical attack, though they were usually either horribly disfigurednote , disabled for the rest of their lives, or afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (with severe cases being afflicted with all three). One of these survivors, an Earth Pony named Sergeant Hammer Downnote starred in a movie titled Personal Circle in Tartarus: Tales from The Great Changeling War that was released in 1966.
Conscription (a.k.a. "The Draft") is the required military service required from those 18 or older note , was not gender exclusive, nor were minorities such as Donkeys, Griffons, and Mustangs excluded. The only way you can be excused from the draft is if you have a medical condition (such as asthma or blindness), were an amputee, or had a war critical job (such as a factory worker or a farmer).
During the early years of Royal Guard, the draft was a necessity to keep the numbers of the Guard up to counter mass numbers of enemy troops or overrun those more advanced than them. As the years passed and opinions changed, the usefulness of conscription became questioned more constantly, with critics commonly citing The Great Changeling War, where conscripts were heavily utilized by all three sides and were often sent to the front lines with the bare minimal trainingnote .
Draft Dodging was also common in Equestrian society despite it being punishable by either life-long prison or hard (and usually extremely dangerous) labor under the grounds of treason. Draftees would often flee to Saddle Arabia and be granted political asylum or (depending on the war) The Griffon Empire, whose strained relationship with Equestria would make them more than happy to hide the Equestrian draft dodgers. During times of conscription, factories and farms across the country see a large increase of job applications, due to workers of those occupations being excused from the draft.note
In 1948, Princess Celestia released that the number of trained Guards currently in service and in reserve would be plentiful enough to defend Equestria from attack. Later that year, she approved a law that would ban the use of conscription except for cases of dire emergencies (such as Equestria on the verge of falling to enemy forces).
It has also been recently demonstrated, under actual combat conditions, that both of these combined pale before the simple friendship of six magic-deprived ponies.
The nations around Equestria are naturally expressing grave concern about this development. A promising Griffon scientist promptly constructed a thesis on counteracting the power the princesses have, only stating that "Even the tiniest of things in existence can make two enemies see eye to eye". The Griffon Republican government is expected to hear this thesis in full sometime within the year.
The Royal Guard Featured in Media
- Daring Do tends to come across members of the Royal Guard once and a while on her travels. Unfortunately, most of them tend to be either obstructively stuffy about her snooping around everywhere or are simply dumb as bricks.
- The Three Tribes features Commander Hurricane and his Pegasus Tribes in a significant role.
- Personal Circle in Tartarus: Tales from the Great Changeling War is a biographical epic about the Great Changeling War, and was notable for portraying the Guard in an increasingly bleak light, and thus is accredited with setting the mood for how the Guard is seen today.
- Wings: One of the earliest award-winning Equestrian films, colloquially known as "the history of the Wonderbolts movie."
- They Fell with Their Horseshoes On: Depicts the 7th Cavalry during the Buffalo Wars, giving entirely too much credit and heroic nature to Colonel Custard.
- We Were Ponies: A more accurate and sober portrayal of the 7th Cav shortly after its conversion to a Pegasus unit, when it flew into another ambush.
- The Longest Night: An epic documenting the N-Night, the Nightmare Night which marked the turning point in the Great Changeling War, on which Equestria and its allies crushed the Changeling stalemate in a massive surprise offensive. Notable for faithfully acknowledging the massive Griffon contribution to the mission (averting the ever-present Equestria Wins The War), but even more so for portraying the dreaded Changelings in a way that was surprisingly Fair for Its Day.
- Wonderbolts Academy: Recruitment increased dramatically after this film, which starred box office heartthrob Val Coltmer.
- Pegasus Down: Dramatization of an incident during the Zebran Civil War. Features the Security Assistance Squadron prominently, causing controversy because ordinary ponies of line regiments and the Griffons who also participated were not shown.
- Red Helm: Rule Of Harmony: A highly successful show that gave back the RPB some of its hard-pressed dignity, by depicting the Battallion's Inquisitors and Advocates General solving exciting Guard-based cases. Founded a franchise full of spin-off shows that moved the location from Canterlot to Manehattan, Las Pegasus, and Vanhoover.
- The Friendship Journal: A controversial autobiographical collection of stories and friendship lessons written by the Friendship Counsel themselves (with one story and lesson provided by the Cutie Mark Crusaders) intended to help teach others especially young foals the Magic of Friendship, controversial only because a very load subset of adult readers began to overanalyze the content of the book and bothered the Friendship Counsel in their personal lives resulting in them having to hide out in Princess Twilight's Castle for several days before Princess Celestia herself had to get involved and personally order the mob to disperse under threat of arrest.
- After the disastrous publication of the The Friendship Journal Princess Twilight was approached with an chance to help create a series of plays, books and films based upon the stories and lessons in the Journal which she agreed to so long as it is made clear that the primary audience are foals and that anything based upon the adventures of the Friendship Counsel must get their approval before anyone can see it, the first project from this series to be greenlit is a film dramatizing the events of the Return of Nightmare Moon simply titled "The Magic of Friendship" which is noticeable for having cast Princess Luna as herself.
Tropes popularly associated with the Royal Guard:
- Appeal to Force: Commander Hurricane was very fond of this trope. He even brought armed soldiers with her into the Grand Summit of the Three Tribes (though he still lost the argument).
- Army of Thieves and Horses: Army of Thieves and Horses: The Northern Guard
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The Northern Guards officers. Unlike most other branches of Royal Guards, the Nothern Guards' officers are almost exclusively made of senior NCO guardpony who have gotten battlefield commission.
- Badass Decay: Since the formation of the Element Bearers, the Guard has forfeited a lot of their power and influence in Equestria. Moving on.
- Bling of War: The Celestian and Imperial Crystal Guards are perhaps the best examples, having gold-plated and crystalline armor, respectively. The Night Guard subverts this by having more subdued, darker armor, though it is still rather ornately-designed.
- Boring, but Practical: How the rest of the Royal Guard views the very underrated Earth Pony Regiments. Although they are almost indispensable in things logistical, They can't fly, they can't do magic, and are hardly if ever seen in media.
- City Guards:
- Any unit tasked with the protection of a single urban centre, like the Royal Unicorn Brigade for Canterlot and the Equestrian Griffons' Armed Battalion for Rostrum.
- Historically, the Pegasus Forces were this for ancient Cloudsdale.
- Combat Pragmatist: One of the reputations of The Night Guards; according to the rumors, they have the authorization to infringe ROEnote and have pardons for other shadowy actions. Major-General Shadow Stab denies this claim, saying that such behaviors are unbefitting for a guardpony.
- Covert Group with Mundane Front:
- The Security Assistance Squadron, Equestria's top-secret special forces unit.
- Lest we forget her umbrella organization, the Royal Signals and Reconnaissance Regiment, which sounds like, well, Signals and Recon, but... isn't just that.
- Ensemble Darkpony: Princess Luna's Own Night Guard, which has the unique and dubious honour of having been both an ally and an enemy to their comrades. Their pragmatic, tenacious and borderline-fanatical fighting style has earned them a certain degree of independence as a combat unit, and are rumoured, deep within their hearts, to not be a part of the REG after all.
- Elites Are More Glamorous:
- The Wonderbolts, at least, such is their status. Their actual achievements leave much to be desired.
- The Night Guards have a reputation of being one. However, they deny the claim, saying that there is no such thing as "elite" guards, that all the guards in Equestria are professional soldiers who serve Royal Highnesses with all their capacity.
- The Security Assistance Squadron. Nobody knew the unit even existed until they were seen in one photo taken during the Saddle Arabian embassy siege of 1980. They were spotted one more time in 1993 Battle of Somaroia, fighting alongside GIGN. It is speculated that most members of SAS are selected from the Wonderbolts and the Night Guards.
- Enemy Mine:
- The Security Assistance Squadron has allegedly cooperated with GIGN, National Griffon Intervention Group, in order to fight insurgents and warlords in several Zebrican countries. Due to their exploits, the number of pirates in the coast of Somaroia has decreased significantly.
- And, as an extension, any time the Equine and Griffon armed forces had to cooperate in any way in the history of the world. Most of the time, the countries have been at decent terms only on paper, oftentimes officially in rivalry for decades, and at war at least a dozen times. Still, Equestria currently hosts about 180 Griffonstone and Rostrum officers in the course of an exchange programme, just as Griffonstone hosts 120 Equine ones.
- Estrogen Brigade: Debatable whether it still is the case nowadays, it has certainly become an active part of their image. Male recruits with deep, baritone voices and prominent muscles are still favoured.
- Equestrian Royal Guards: The Trope Maker. They are the origin of the stoic, not-moving-for-anypony guard archetype as is constantly portrayed in media. Originally practiced by the Celestian Guards, and still done today during royal visits.
- Fragile Speedster: The Pegasi, or more precisely, the Reconnaissance and Scout Companies. Few are armed, even fewer are armoured, and even then only very lightly, and have more than once served as proposed target practice for Griffon bow-creatures and other enemies with ranged capabilities. Not helping is the notion that they are rather dense, even by Pegasus standards.
- Fun with Acronyms:
- The revolutionary REVAAL (Rapid, Early Verification of Army, Airborne and Logistics) system, which was introduced by the Royal Signals and Reconnaisance Regiment around 1939, allowed the Guard, through an intricate network of outposts, informants, messengers, semaphore towers, lighthouses, musical signals and even firework salutes and the regular postal service to relay often vital intelligence messages across Equestria with unprecedented speed.
- Notable for serving as an early warning system in the days preceding the Siege of Canterlot (hey, at least they tried), alarming the Wonderbolts during the Ponyville Dragon Incident and timely reporting the discovery of the long-lost Crystal Empire. Possibly one of the most successful Royal Guard initiatives.
- Also, it is said that the members of the Security Assistance Squadron have a ridiculous amount of sas.
- And of course, there is the NEIGHTO — Neighbouring Equine Integrity and Geopolitical Harmony Treaty Organisation, a loose defence coalition of several Equine or near-Equine nations, spearheaded by Equestria. Includes, among others, the Crystal Empire, Saddle Arabia and Zebrica as member states.
- It has been a long time since the RPB, the Royal Provost Battalion, has been mentioned by its full name.
- The revolutionary REVAAL (Rapid, Early Verification of Army, Airborne and Logistics) system, which was introduced by the Royal Signals and Reconnaisance Regiment around 1939, allowed the Guard, through an intricate network of outposts, informants, messengers, semaphore towers, lighthouses, musical signals and even firework salutes and the regular postal service to relay often vital intelligence messages across Equestria with unprecedented speed.
- Glass Cannon: The general consensus on many Pegasus and Unicorn brigades. The former are perfect targets and traditionally lightly armored to make flying less of a chore. With the latter ones it's usually subverted, as, unless they are actual wizards, they tend to do (and specialize on) a lot of defensive magic in the form of pioneer and defence expert companies. One famous example may be none other than former Shield Casting Specialist Prince Shining Armor.
- Home Guard: See Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
- Innate Night Vision: The Night Guards, making them particularly well-suited for night warfare.
- Insistent Terminology: For all you Pegasi — it's a platform, not a cloud. There are many types of clouds, but only the ones that can carry your weight are platforms. Don't mix it up.
- It's Raining Ponies: A natural outgrowth of the fact that a third of the Guard are pegasi.
- Legion of Lost Souls: Some regiments of The Border Guards, but particularly the Northern Guards. To get Equestrian citizenship, a foreign soldier needs to serve for six years in the unit. Barely half of them make it all the way.
- Mundane Utility: The Wonderbolts often perform in airshows and many branches of guardponies assist in agricultural production.
- My Greatest Failure:
- The War for Equestria has become known as the three most humiliating days in the 2000+ year history of the Guard and the Siege of Canterlot back in 2012 is not gladly remembered by most Guardsponies either, both for obvious reasons.
- Among the more wistful members of the Night Guard, the Battle of Everfree Hall is known as The Humiliation of Everfree.
- No True Equestrian: Just like with their homelandnote , the Lance-Canids' allegiance to Canterlot is dubious only on paper; for the past half-century, they have diligently served alongside the other Royal Guardsponies as an 'independent' Equestrian regiment, though taking extreme pride in their freelance, mercenary-like image inside Equestria.
- Open Secret: The Royal Signals and Recons exist, and everypony, including the Griffons, know they exist. Even its task force, Security Assistance Squadron, "exists" (officially, that is), so many wonder who Canterlot is kidding.
- Praetorian Guard: Started out as one for both Princesses, but became a regular army soon after. Nowadays, the original two Praetorian Guard branches are still two independent regiments committing to the same tasks.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Everypony wants to be this guy, most notably the Lance-Canids. Still, the only ones that could actually for the bill are Night Guards (from North East Equestria) and the Neighpalese Girthka Spears.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In remote places where the Guard is not stationed, its duties are mostly done by city/town/county militia ponies. Usually assembled by local Sheriffs as 'posses', they do their work pro bono and are not officially acknowledged as military by Canterlot, but have oftentimes proven to be capable defenders against surprising odds. As proven by the Appleloosan Militia in 2010. As they usually consist of most adult members of a community and can be mobilised within a single day, they are perhaps effectively an Instant Militia.
- Reassigned to Stalliongrad: The Trope Namer; Stalliongrad is absolutely infamous for hostile weather, dangerous wildlife, relative desolation, and worst of all, bad food. Less than 10% of personnel stationed there are volunteers; the rest Got Volunteered for incompetence, insubordination, or cowardice. The reputation is so horrible that becoming a Northern Guard is sometimes presented as an alternative to prison. There was a rumor that Captain Shining Armor was going to be reassigned to Stalliongrad after his command's failure in Canterlot, but this was promptly squashed when the Crystal Empire returned.
- Rule-Abiding Rebel: The Lance-Canids like to see themselves as the bad boys of the Guard, constantly only a paycheck away from ditching the Equestrian Crown and finding a better bidder. In reality, however, they're... just a standard regiment with Mustangian mercenary roots and a slightly higher-than-average cider consumption. Just don't tell them that.
- Sociopathic Soldier: During the early days of the Northern Guards, the Stalliongrad branch of the Royal Guards were absolutely infamous for the sheer varieties of cruel conduct, both to friend and foe. Fortunately, the behavior has substantially improved by now.
- Soldiers at the Rear: One of Earth Pony Regiment's major roles, and it has several battalions devoted exclusively to logistic support.
- The Spook:
- The Night Guards. There is absolutely NOTHING known about them other than that they serve Luna. This is in stark contrast to their Celestian couterparts, who like to revel in publicity and keep up an active image in the public eye. The Night Guard never had an image to speak of, giving outside speculation much more room.
- The Royal Signals and Recons are this, though inverted and to a lesser extent — officially, they don't even exist, but hints and clues just keep trickling through the facade. And Canterlot has done nothing to shoo these elephants out of the room. And the less said about the Streisandalwood Effect, the better.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The Foalini are (in)famous for blowing up entire mountains, if given reason.
- Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: The Northern Guards, especially during under Colonel Snow Sledge during the Battle of Stalliongrad.
- Weather Manipulation: Has been a viable tactic of the Guard and part of the official military doctrine since the legendary battle of Augeron-court in 1415, in which the opposing forces were all but immobilised in thick mud caused by heavy rain, and suffered a defeat at the hooves of less than 8000 Light Unicorns, of all ponies.