Guard’s Drill – Egzercir

The first record about the close-order drill – egzercir was on St. George's Day in 1924 at the hippodrome “Careva Cuprija” in Belgrade, at the ceremony of marking the Day of the Guard and the regiment. Since then, until the World War II the drill was traditionally performed every year.

In an extensive Guard chronicle, a lot of historical events were recorded which were motives for giving military honors, conducting ceremonial parades, ceremonies and drill performance.

At the end of the World War II, in the post-war years, the Guard suffered the same fate of very quick and frequent transformations of the Armed Forces. There was no time to train or perform the drill since it was a very complex activity. Thus the drill was not the part of the training any more. 

The tradition of the egzercir was renewed on 6th May 2010 in Pozarevac at the ceremony of marking 180 years since the Guard had been established. 

The word „egzercir” means the constant exercises or drill. The origin of the word is English -„exercise“ which means train. The Guard drill is a set of the most complex and most difficult close-order drills.

The drill was performed as a part of military ceremonies and celebrations, and the focus was on drill performances at the ceremonies across the Republic of Serbia –Belgrade, Nis, Leskovac, Novi Sad, Subotica, Sombor, Valjevo, Krusevac, Kragujevac, Novi Pazar, Sremska Mitrovica, Batocina, aiming to promote the Serbian Armed Forces in public. Although over 40 drills have been performed so far, every next one varies by the number of people (32-100), the content and the effectiveness.    

Some of the most famous celebrations when close-order drill is traditionally performed are Serbian Armed Forces Day and the promotion of the youngest SAF officers. 

The drills which have been performed so far were well accepted and visited by the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the members of the Serbian and foreign Armed Forces. The citizens watching the drills were delighted and wanted to show their respect for good drill skills with a long applause. 

It is important to meet some requirements and be equally good regardless standing or moving with rifles. Those requirements are:

  • to be well-trained for drill and line formation;
  • to perform all line formation actions properly, quickly and harmoniously;
  • to be dexterous and nimble;
  • to put maximum effort and work to achieve the ultimate goal, i.e. the best drill.

The most important prerequisite for soldiers to join the close-order drill group is to be extremely motivated for work and willing to be the part of the Guard drill formation. 

The training and performance of the drill are very dangerous since a semi-automatic rifle 7.62 mm M 59/66 which is used for the drill performance weights 4.1 kg, and when the knife is unfolded it is 1.32 m long. However, the guardsmen perform the drill with discipline and full attention and in that way they completely eliminate the risk of injury and side effects.

The drills which have been performed so far were accompanied by The Guard Representative Orchestra, which was playing the best melodies of the Serbian culture and musical heritage.  

Since the Armed Forces Day which was held in Krusevac in 2013, female Guard members also perform in the close-order drill group.