Swiss Military Museum, Full-Reuenthal

Phil Loder finds a multinational collection of military vehicles at the Swiss Military Museum near Zürich

The three symbols on the museum’s entrance sign represent the Military Museum (yellow), the Festung Reuenthal (red), and the local military historical sites (green)

If you ask most people what they know about the Swiss Army, they will probably mention a pocketknife with lots of tools. Or refer to Swiss neutrality in World War One and Two. In fact, the Swiss pledged themselves to neutrality in the early 1500s, but have since been involved in military operations, and at one stage were particularly valued as mercenaries in other countries’ armies. Located at the centre of Europe, Switzerland shares borders with France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Liechtenstein. With the exception of the latter, all of those neighbours are considerably larger than Switzerland, and have therefore been a potential threat over the years. In 1815, the 26 separate cantons of Switzerland agreed to make 2% of each district’s population available for a central army.

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