List of mercenaries

This is a list of mercenaries. It includes foreign volunteers, private military contractors, and other "soldiers of fortune".

Ancient World

Name Life Years active Allegiance
Alexon 250 BC Carthaginian Empire Greek mercenary from Achaea who served in the Carthaginian garrison at Lilybaeum while it was besieged by the Romans during the First Punic War. Foiled a plot by Gallic mercenaries to surrender Lilybaeum to the enemy.
Autaritus d. 238 BC Carthaginian Empire Leader of the Gallic mercenaries in the Carthaginian army during the First Punic War. He turned against Carthage in the Mercenary War and was crucified by Hamilcar Barca after his capture.
Charidemus d. 333 BC 367–333 BC Athens Greek mercenary leader who served Athens, Thrace and Rhodes.
Clearchus of Sparta 411–401 BC Spartan general and mercenary leader who joined Cyrus the Younger in his attempt to seize the Persian throne from Artaxerxes III.
Diogenes of Judea Hasmonean Kingdom Jewish soldier in the service of Alexander Jannaeus. In revenge for the support of certain Pharisees for Demetrius III of Syria's invasion of Judea, Diogenes advised Alexander to crucify 800 Pharisee scholars in front of their families.
Memnon of Rhodes 380–333 BC 334–333 BC First Persian Empire Commander of the Greek mercenaries in the service of Darius III when Alexander the Great invaded Persia in 334 BC.
Mathos d. 237 BC 241-237 BC Carthaginian Empire Berber mercenary leader who fought for Carthage in Sicily during the First Punic War. He later led a revolt against Carthage during the Mercenary War but was defeated by Hamilcar Barca and crucified.
Mentor of Rhodes 385–340 BC 358–340 BC Greek mercenary who fought both for and against Artaxerxes III of Persia. He is also known as the first husband of Barsine, who later became mistress to Alexander the Great.
Naravas Carthaginian Empire Berber mercenary leader who served Carthage during the First Punic War. Unlike his fellow mercenaries, he remained loyal to Carthage during the Mercenary War and helped Hamilcar Barca crush the rebel leaders.
Phalaikos d. 343 BC Deposed ruler of Phocis who formed a mercenary army and fought for Knossos in Crete.
Proxenus of Boeotia 431–401 BC 401 BC First Persian Empire A friend of Cyrus the Younger and Xenophon, he was one of the four ill-fated generals who accompanied Clearchus of Sparta to Tissaphernes.
Pythagoras the Spartan 401 BC First Persian Empire Spartan admiral hired to command the first fleet of Cyrus the Younger during his campaign to claim the Persian throne.
Socrates of Achaea 436–401 BC 401 BC Greek mercenary general from Achaea who traveled to Persia to fight at the Battle of Cunaxa.
Xanthippus of Carthage 255–245 BC Carthaginian Empire Spartan mercenary general hired by the Carthaginians to aid in their war against the Romans during the First Punic War. Credited for developing military tactics used by Carthage, he led Carthaginian soldiers into the battle of Tunis where the Roman expeditionary force was routed and the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus was captured.
Xenias of Arcadia First Persian Empire Greek commander of mercenaries in the service of Cyrus the Younger.
Xenophon 430–354 BC 401–371 BC Peloponnesian League Athenian-born general who served Sparta during the Peloponnesian War.


Name Life Years active Allegiance
France Arnaud de Cervole 1300–1366 French mercenary soldier and brigand of the Hundred Years' War. He was murdered by his own men while planning with Pope Urban V to lead a new Crusade to the Holy Land.
Moravia Bernard Szumborski d. 1470 1454–1470 Teutonic Knights Moravian knight and who led a mercenary army during the Thirteen Years' War. He was hired by the Teutonic Knights during the Battle of Chojnice and was later sent to relieve the besieged city three years later. Szumborski committed a number of atrocities during the conflict and was eventually poisoned.
Bolli Bollason  Byzantine Empire Viking mercenary who became the first-known West Norseman in the Varangian Guard.
Connacht Domnall na Madhmann Mac Suibhne Gallowglass associate of Rath Glas.
France Eustace the Monk 1170–1217 1205–1212  England French mercenary and pirate who raided the Normandy coast on behalf of King John of England until his defection to France in 1212. He supported the rebel faction during the First Barons' War and ferried Prince Louis across the English Channel in 1216. He was executed after his capture at the Battle of Sandwich the following year.
Spain Frederick of Castile 1223–1277 1260–1270  Tunisia After his exile from Castile, Frederick served under his brother Henry as a knight errant in the service of Tunisian emir al-Mustansir.
France Gérard d'Athée 1211–1215  England French mercenary employed by King John of England to control southern Wales.
Spain Henry of Castile the Senator 1230–1303 1259–1268  Tunisia A son of Ferdinand III of Castile, Henry commanded Spanish knights in the service of Tunisian emir al-Mustansir. He also assisted his cousin, Charles of Anjou, becoming King of Sicily in 1266.
England Hereward the Wake 1035–1072  Flanders English rebel leader and outlaw who resisted the Norman conquest of England. Prior to the Norman invasion, Hereward was a mercenary in the service of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders.
Genoa Isnardo Guarco 1380–1458 Genoese politician and mercenary leader.
Lobar the Wolf Leader of Brabançon mercenaries that fought in numerous battles all across Europe in the latter half of the twelfth century.
Bavaria Martin Schwartz 1475–1487 Germanic mercenary who fought for Lambert Simnel, a Yorkist pretender to the English throne.
Wales Owain Lawgoch 1330–1378 1369–1378  France Welsh soldier who served in Spain, France, Alsace, and Switzerland. He led a Free Company fighting for the French against the English in the Hundred Years' War.
Portugal Peter I, Count of Urgell 1187–1258  Morocco Son of King Sancho I of Portugal who commanded a mercenary army of Christian exiles and adventurers in the service of Yusuf II, the Almohad Caliph of Morocco.
Normandy Rainulf Drengot 1016–1045 Norman adventurer and mercenary in southern Italy.
Normandy Robert Guiscard 1015–1085 1047–1085 Norman adventurer remembered for the conquest of southern Italy and Sicily.
Spain Rodrigo de Villandrando 1410–1443  Gascony Spanish mercenary leader in Gascony during the final phase of the Hundred Years' War.
Spain Roger Deslaur Spanish almogàver in the service of Walter V of Brienne. One of the few knights to survive the bloody Battle of Halmyros, he became a member of the Catalan Company after his capture.
Kingdom of Sicily Roger de Flor 1267–1305  Byzantine Empire Sicilian adventurer and condottiere active in Aragonese Sicily, Italy and the Byzantine Empire.
Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara 1438–1506 1457–1470 Timurid ruler of Herat. During Bayqara's exile from his homeland, he served as a mercenary soldier to Sultan Sanjar Mirza of Merv.
Scotland Thomas of Galloway 1212–1228  England
Gall-Gaidhil prince and adventurer who was employed as an agent for his brother Alan of Galloway as well as English and Scottish kings.
Werner von Urslingen 1308–1354  Holy Roman Empire Germanic mercenary in the service of the Holy Roman Empire.
Normandy William Iron Arm 1035–1046 Norman adventurer who was the founder of the Hauteville family.
Flanders William of Ypres 1090–1164 1139–1154 Flemish mercenary commander who served as Stephen of England's chief lieutenant during The Anarchy.

Early modern

Name Life Years active Allegiance
Ottoman Empire Selman Reis 1515–1538 Mamluk Sultanate Ottoman admiral and corsair who commanded a group of 2,000 armed Levantines for the Mamluk navy during the Portuguese–Mamluk naval war.
Switzerland Arnold Winkelried d. 1522 1514–1522  Milan A notorious mercenary leader during the early 16th century, Winkelried was knighted by the Milanese duke Maximilian Sforza in 1514. He instigated by Cardinal Matthäus Schiner to engage in the skirmish that led to the disastrous Battle of Marignano that same year. Winkelried later entered French service and was killed in single combat by his former commander Georg von Frundsberg at the Battle of Bicocca.
Serbia Sava Temišvarac 1594–1612  Holy Roman Empire Serbian military commander in the service of the Transylvania and then the Holy Roman Empire during the Long Turkish War. He and Bishop Teodor of Vršac led the Uprising in Banat in 1594.
Norway Enno Brandrøk 1538–1571 1557–1571  Denmark
Son of Norwegian-born privateer and admiral Kristoffer Trondson, Brandrøk served as a Landsknecht in Denmark, England, Scotland and Spain.
Migliorino Ubaldini  Scotland Italian military engineer working in Scotland. He designed new fortifications at the entrances of Edinburgh Castle, Dunbar Castle, and possibly the walled town of Leith.
Hungary György Dózsa 1470–1514 Székely man-at-arms who led a peasants' revolt in the Kingdom of Hungary. Prior to the revolt, he was a soldier of fortune during the wars against the Ottoman Empire
Greece Thomas of Argos 1545–1546  Kingdom of England Commanded a battalion of Albanian stratioti who served as mercenaries with the English army during Henry VIII's wars against Scotland.
Greece Ioan Iacob Heraclid 1511–1563 1551–1561  Holy Roman Empire A Greek soldier of fortune who fought in the Holy Roman Empire armies of Charles V in his war against Henry II of France. Heraclid seized the throne of Moldova while in the service of Voivode Alexandru Lăpușneanu and, as the Protestant monarch in Eastern Europe, ruled for two years before his murder by Ștefan Tomșa.
Netherlands Maarten Schenck van Nydeggen 1543–1589 1578–1589  Netherlands
Dutch nobleman who left the Spanish Empire to join the Dutch Republic.
Götz von Berlichingen 1480–1562 1498–1544 Imperial knight and mercenary active in numerous campaigns during a period of 47 years.
Ernst von Mansfeld 1580–1626 A son of Count Peter Ernst von Mansfeld, Ernst von Mansfeld was a noted mercenary commander during the Thirty Years' War
Georg von Frundsberg 1473–1528 1492–1527 Landsknecht commander in the service of the Imperial House of Habsburg.
Naples Giorgio Basta 1544–1607  Holy Roman Empire Neapolitan general employed by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to command Habsburg forces in the Long War.
Veneto Lucrezio Gravisi 1558–1613 1574–  Prussia
Venetian freelance soldier and knight who served in Muscovy, Prussia, Portugal and Spain.
Wales Roger Williams 1540–1595 Welsh soldier of fortune and military theorist.
Ottoman Empire Osman Pazvantoğlu 1758–1807 Ottoman soldier who led a mercenary army against Sultan Selim III.
France René Descartes 1596–1650 Fought for both Protestant Maurice of Nassau and Catholic Maximilian I during the Thirty Years' War.
Switzerland Sebastian Peregrin Zwyer 1597–1661 1612–1642  Milan
In his 30-year career, Zwyer served as a mercenary soldier in the service of Spain and Milan, the Habsburg emperors Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III during the Thirty Years' War, and in northern Italy.
Switzerland Sigmund von Erlach 1614–1699  France Swiss mercenary commander in the services of Saxe-Weimar and France during the Thirty Years War.
Switzerland Kaspar von Silenen 1506–1517 First Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
Corsica Sampiero Corso 1498–1567 1512–1567  France A condottiero mercenary at age 14, Corso served the Medici family and Pope Clement VII and the French House of Valois during the early 16th century.
United Kingdom Robert Murray d. 1719  Netherlands Scottish soldier and son of Sir Robert Murray, Lord Provost of Edinburgh. A veteran of the Nine Years' War, Murray was an officer in a Scots regiment for the Dutch States Army.
United States John Parker Boyd 1764–1830 1793–1808 A soldier of fortune who served in the army of the Nizam of Hyderabad in Central India.
United States George Rogers Clark 1752–1818 1793–1794  France Leader of the Kentucky militia during the American Revolutionary War. After the war, Clark offered his services to France and planned a campaign with ambassador Edmond-Charles Genêt to drive the Spanish out of the Mississippi Valley.
England Rowland York d. 1588 1572–1588  Netherlands
English soldier of fortune who served under Humphrey Gilbert and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester in the Spanish Netherlands during the Eighty Years' War. York later betrayed the Earl by turning over the Zutphen sconce to the enemy and accepting an offer to command lancers in Spanish service.
France Pontus De la Gardie 1520–1585  Denmark
French nobleman in the service of Denmark and Sweden.
England Thomas Stukley 1520–1578 1551–1578  France English mercenary who fought in France, Ireland and Morocco.
England Simon Harcourt 1603–1642 1619–1636  Netherlands English soldier of fortune in the service of the Prince of Orange.
Scotland John Ruthven 1627–1638  Denmark
Scottish military officer who served in Denmark and Sweden during the Thirty Years' War.
Scotland Patrick Ruthven, 1st Earl of Forth 1573–1651 1609–1637  Sweden Scottish nobleman and diplomat who served Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War.
Scotland George Sinclair 1580–1612 1607–1612  Sweden Scottish mercenary who fought for Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the Kalmar War. He and his men were ambushed and killed by Norwegian peasant militia at the Battle of Kringen.
Scotland William Baillie  Sweden Scottish professional soldier who commanded a regiment under Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.
Scotland Mark Alexander Boyd 1562–1601 1587–  France Scottish poet and soldier of fortune who took part in the religious wars of France.
Scotland Sir James Ramsay 1589–1638 1603–1638  Sweden Scottish soldier, known as "Black Ramsay", who served Gustavus Adolphus, during the Thirty Years' War.
Bavaria Peter Hagendorf 1625–1649  Holy Roman Empire German mercenary soldier in the Thirty Years' War. His wartime diary is credited for giving a unique historic record of the life in the contemporary army from the viewpoint of a simple Landsknecht.
Scotland Paul Menesius 1637–1694 1658–1694  Russian Empire Scottish soldier and diplomat in the service of the Tsar Alexis of Russia.
Scotland Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge 1611–1662 1627–1662  Sweden Scottish cavalry general in Swedish service during the Thirty Years' War and Swedish-Polish wars.
Scotland William Drummond, 1st Viscount Strathallan 1617–1688 1655–1665  Russian Empire Scottish soldier and politician who served as Lieutenant-General in the Muscovite army.
Scotland Patrick Gordon 1635–1699 1655–1699  Russian Empire Scottish general and rear admiral in the service of Peter the Great.
Scotland James Francis Edward Keith 1696–1758 1726–1758  Prussia
 Russian Empire
Scottish Jacobite who became a mercenary after the failed attempt to restore the Stuart Monarchy in Britain. He initially fought for the Spanish and Russian Empires before serving in the Prussian army under Frederick the Great. He eventually rose to the rank of field marshal and was killed during the Seven Years' War at the Battle of Hochkirk.
Scotland David Leslie, 1st Lord Newark 1600–1682 1630–1640  Sweden Fought for the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus as a professional soldier during the Thirty Years' War.
Scotland Alexander Leslie, 1st Earl of Leven 1582–1661 1605–1637  Netherlands
Scottish soldier in Dutch and Swedish service.
Scotland James Lumsden 1598–1660 1632–1639  Sweden Scottish soldier who served in the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War.
Scotland Anders Mowatt of Hugoland 1535–1611 1587–1610  Denmark Scottish merchant who served as an admiral in the Danish Navy under Christian IV of Denmark.
Scotland Samuel Cockburn 1574–1621  Sweden Scottish soldier who participated in the Swedish civil war between Sigismund Vasa and Duke Karl IX.
Scotland Andrew Rutherford, 1st Earl of Teviot d. 1664  France Scottish soldier who served in the French army of Louis XIV during the Thirty Years' War.
Province of Hanover Anthony Pohlmann  United Kingdom Hanoverian soldier who served in the armies of the British East India Company and Daulat Scindia.
United Kingdom Donald Cameron of Lochiel 1700–1748 Scottish Highland chieftain involved in the Jacobite rising of 1745.
Baron Munchausen 1720–1797 1735–1760  Russian Empire Nobleman who fought for the Russian Empire in the Russo-Turkish War.
Republic of Ireland Alejandro O'Reilly 1722–1794 1762–1794  Spain An Irish Jaboite who left Ireland during the Flight of the Wild Geese to fight in foreign Catholic armies. He entered Spanish service and rose to become a military reformer, brigadier general and governor of colonial Louisiana.
United Kingdom Robert Douglas 1727–1809 1778–1794  Netherlands Scottish-born soldier who served as a major-general in Dutch service. He was governor of the garrison city 's-Hertogenbosch 1784 to 1794.
Republic of Ireland John Sherlock 1705–1794 1727–1775  Spain Irish-born brigadier general of the Spanish Empire's Ultonia Regiment. He successfully defended Melilla during a 100-day siege by Moroccan troops.
Republic of Ireland George Thomas 1756–1802 1781–1798 Irish mercenary who was active in 18th-century India. From 1798 to 1801, he ruled a small kingdom in India, until his defeat and capture by Scindia's army under French general Pierre Cuillier-Perron.
United Kingdom John Ross 1777–1856 1808–1812  Sweden British naval officer and Arctic explorer who served in the Swedish Navy.
France Jean-François Allard 1785–1839 1815–1839  Persia
French soldier and adventurer in the service of the Abbas Mirza and Ranjit Singh.
United Kingdom Gregor MacGregor 1786–1845 1812–1819 Scottish adventurer and confidence trickster attempted to draw British and French investors and settlers to "Poyais", a fictional Central American territory he claimed to rule as "Cazique".
United Kingdom John Mackenzie, Lord MacLeod 1727–1789 1750–1770  Prussia
Scottish Jacobite and soldier of fortune in the service of Sweden and Prussia.
United Kingdom John Forbes 1733–1808 1762–1808  Portugal Scottish general in Portuguese service.
France Benoît de Boigne 1751–1830 1768–1796  Punjab A military adventurer who made his fortune and name in India with the Marathas.
Netherlands Jacob Van Braam 1729–1792 1741–1779  United Kingdom A Dutch sword master and mercenary in British service. An officer under Lawrence Washington, he is also credited with training his younger half-brother George Washington.
United Kingdom George Hanger, 4th Baron Coleraine 1751–1824 1776–1780 Hesse-Kassel A British author and eccentric who served in the Hessian Jägers during the American Revolutionary War.
France Claude Auguste Court 1793–1880 1827–1843  Punjab French soldier and mercenary in the service of Ranjit Singh. Attaining the rank of general, Court was considered one of the leading European officers in the Punjab Army.
France Pierre Cuillier-Perron 1755–1834 1780–1803 Military adventurer in India who served under Benoît de Boigne. He succeeded De Boigne as commander-in-chief of Sindhia's army until the defeat of Ujjain in 1801. He defected to Great Britain during the Second Anglo-Maratha War after his forces were destroyed by Lord Lake and Sir Arthur Wellesley.
United Kingdom Sidney Smith 1764–1840 1790  Sweden British naval officer who served in the Royal Swedish Navy in the war between Sweden and Russia.
United Kingdom John Robison 1778–1843 1802–1815 Scottish inventor in the service of Nizam of Hyderabad.
United Kingdom Thomas Sutcliffe 1790–1849 1817–1838  Chile
English soldier of fortune who served as an army officer in the service of Colombia and Chile.
United Kingdom John Holmes 1829–1848 Sikh Empire Flag.pngSikh Empire Anglo-Indian mercenary in the service of the Sikh Empire. He served with the Sikh Khalsa Army during the First Anglo-Sikh War.
Naples Paolo Avitabile 1791–1850 1815–1824
Neapolitan adventurer who served under Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, Ranjit Singh and Sher Singh in the years following the Napoleonic Wars.
Italy Giuseppe Garibaldi 1807–1882 1833–1854  Brazil
One of the founders of modern Italy who led the Redshirts during the Risorgimento. As a youth, he served in military enterprises in Brazil, Uruguay and Europe.
Republic of Ireland James Patrick Mahon 1800–1891 1852–1858
Irish journalist and mercenary who fought in Europe, South America and United States during the mid-to late 19th century.
Republic of Ireland George Dawson Flinter d. 1838 1816–1838  Spain Irish adventurer and mercenary who left the British Army to become a staff officer in Spanish service and took part in the First Carlist War.
United Kingdom John de Havilland 1826–1886  Spain English soldier of fortune who served in Spain under Don Carlos where he became a general in the Spanish Army. An officer of arms at the College of Arms, Havilland is one of two people born in the U.S. to have held that rank.
United Kingdom Stephen Bartlett Lakeman 1823–1900 1853–1856  Ottoman Empire English adventurer and mercenary soldier who rose to become a general in the Ottoman Empire.
Italy Camillo Ricchiardi 1865–1940 1899–1902  Transvaal Italian adventurer and journalist who commanded the Italian Volunteer Legion during the Second Boer War.
France Prosper Giquel 1835–1886 1861–1885  China French naval officer who took part in the Taiping rebellion. His time with the Qing government played an important role in the modernization of 19th century China.
United Kingdom Harry Aubrey de Vere Maclean 1848–1920 1877–1908  Morocco Scottish soldier who served Sultan Mulai Hassan and Moulay Abdelaziz as a military instructor to the Moroccan Army.
United States Frederick Townsend Ward 1831–1862 1852–1862  China American sailor and soldier of fortune known for his military service in Imperial China during the Taiping Rebellion. He was killed while leading Qing forces at the Battle of Cixi.
United States Ira Allen 1751–1814  France One of the founders of Vermont, Allen co-led the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolutionary War. He went to France in 1795 seeking French army intervention for seizing Canada, to create an independent republic called United Columbia. He bought 20,000 muskets and 24 cannon, but was captured at sea, taken to England, placed on trial, charged with furnishing arms for Irish rebels.
United States Horace Bell 1830–1918 1859–1861  Nicaragua
A founding member of the Los Angeles Rangers, Bell was a member of William Walker's filibustering expedition in Nicaragua and Benito Juárez's Army in Mexico during the Reform War.
United States Parker H. French 1826–1880 1855–1856  Nicaragua Adventurer and swindler who participated in William Walker's conquest of Nicaragua.
United States James Long 1793–1822 1819–1822 A former US Army surgeon, Long was involved in two filibustering expeditions against the Spanish Empire. He led the ill-fated led Long Expedition to establish an independent republic in Spanish Texas.
United States Augustus Magee 1789–1813 1812–1813 A former US Army officer who led a filibustering expedition of Spanish Texas in 1812.
United States George Mathews 1739–1812 1810–1812 A Continental Army officer during the American Revolutionary War, Mathews was a key figure in an 1810-1812 filibuster expedition to capture Spanish Florida for the United States.
United States John A. Quitman 1798–1858 1849–1854 As military governor of Mexico City, Quitman aided Venezuelan filibuster Narciso López's expedition to liberate Cuba from Spanish rule in 1850. He and Mansfield Lovell later attempted a filibustering expedition to Cuba in 1853, however, the plans were abandoned when President Franklin Pierce withdrew his support.
United States William Walker 1824–1860 1853–1860  Nicaragua Lawyer and journalist who led several filibustering expeditions into Latin America during the 1850s. He served as president of Nicaragua from 1856 to 1857 when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies.
United States Chatham Roberdeau Wheat 1826–1862 1849–1861  Mexico An American mercenary and filibusterer who took fought under Narciso López in Cuba and Juan Álvarez in Mexico. He was briefly a member of Giuseppe Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand but returned to the U.S. at the start of the American Civil War.


Name Life Years active Allegiance
United States Frederick Russell Burnham 1861–1947 1893–1902  United Kingdom American scout and adventurer who served with the British South Africa Company and the British Army in colonial Africa.
United States Lee Christmas 1863–1924 1897–1923  Honduras American mercenary who fought with rebel groups in Central America during the early 20th century. Initially employed as a railroad engineer in Honduras, he was kidnapped by rebels in 1897. Christmas eventually joined their cause and became a close associate of General Manuel Bonilla.
United Kingdom Morris Cohen 1887–1970 1922–1943  China British adventurer who became aide-de-camp to Dr. Sun Yat-sen and a major-general in the Chinese National Revolutionary Army.
United States George Washington Dixon 1801–1861 1847 American singer and stage actor best known as one of the earliest blackface performers. A controversial newspaper editor, Dixon took part in a failed filibustering expedition to the Yucatán in 1847.
United States Josiah Harlan 1799–1871 1824–1839  Punjab
 United Kingdom
American adventurer who traveled to Afghanistan and Punjab with the intention of making himself a king. Rudyard Kipling's short story The Man Who Would Be King is partly based on his life.
United Kingdom Charles Frederick Henningsen 1815–1877 1834–1857 Carlists
An English mercenary and munitions expert who fought in the First Carlist War, Russian-Circassian War, Hungarian Revolution of 1848, and the U.S. Civil War. Henningsen was involved in several filibustering expeditions during the 1850s including, most notably, William Walker's campaign in Nicaragua.
Russia Emilio Kosterlitzky 1853–1928 1871–1913  Mexico Russian-born soldier of fortune, known as the "Mexican Cossack", who participated in the Mexican Apache Wars and Yaqui Wars. Imprisoned during the Mexican Revolution, Kosterlitzky was freed after the intervention of the U.S. in 1914.
United States Homer Lea 1876–1912 1899–1912 Tongmenghui American adventurer involved with Chinese reform and revolutionary movements in the early twentieth century. A close associate of Dr. Sun Yat-sen during the 1911 Chinese Republican revolution.
United States Henry McIver 1841–1907 1857–1884 American soldier of fortune who fought for 18 countries during his 27-year career.
United States Thaddeus P. Mott 1831–1894 1848–1857
 Ottoman Empire
American adventurer and ex-soldier who fought in Mexico, Italy, and Turkey. As an advisor to Sultan Abdülaziz I, Mott recruited former Union and Confederate soldiers for service in the Egyptian Army.
United Kingdom Carol Ap Rhys Pryce 1876–1955  Mexico Welsh soldier of fortune. Noted for his role in the 1911 Magonista rebellion in Baja California as an officer with the Mexican Foreign Legion.
Venezuela Rafael de Nogales Méndez 1879–1936  Ottoman Empire
Venezuelan adventurer and writer who took part in the Russo-Japanese War, Spanish–American War and various uprisings in Latin America. Méndez served with the Ottoman Empire during World War I where he was a witness to the Armenian Genocide.
Senegal Abdul Injai  Portugal Muslim Wolof mercenary in colonial Portuguese Guinea at the turn of the 20th century.
United States Frederic Ives Lord 1897–1967 1917–1919
 United Kingdom
Royal Flying Corps flying ace during the First World War and Russian Civil War. He was also served as a military advisor to the Mexican air force during the Mexican Revolution.
Sweden Carl Gustaf von Rosen 1909–1977 1936–1977  Finland
A mercenary pilot for Finland during the Winter War and Nigeria during the Biafran War. A pioneer aviator, Rosen flew relief missions in a number of conflicts from the 1930s to 1970s.
United Kingdom Francis Arthur Sutton 1884–1944 Flag of Fengtian clique.svg Manchuria English adventurer, known as "One Arm Sutton", who served as a major general for Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin.
Sweden Ivor Thord-Gray 1878–1964 1893–1919 Swedish adventurer who participated in 13 different wars across several continents.
United States Frank Glasgow Tinker 1909–1939 1936–1937  Spain Mercenary fighter pilot and top American ace for the Spanish Republican Air Force during the Spanish Civil War.
Italy Amleto Vespa 1888–1941 1922–1941 Flag of Fengtian clique.svg Manchuria Fascist mercenary, spy and weapons smuggler who worked for Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin and later for the Empire of Japan.
Poland Jan Zumbach 1915–1986 1940–1967  France
A Swiss-born Polish fighter pilot who served with the British, French and Polish Air Force during World War II. He also took part in the Congo Crisis and Nigerian Civil War as an air force commander during the 1960s.


Name Life Years active Allegiance
United States Joseph Adams (fl. 1970s &'80s)  Nicaragua Bodyguard and military adviser of Adolfo Calero, one of the leaders of the Contra rebellion in Nicaragua.
United States George Bacon 1946–1976 1975–1976  Angola A former Green Beret and CIA operative, Bacon served with the National Liberation Front of Angola during the Angolan Civil War.
United States Frank Camper 1946–  El Salvador
A Vietnam War veteran and Defense Intelligence Agency employee who operated as a freelance mercenary in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Yemen. He later operated the Recondo mercenary training school near Dolomite, Alabama. According to the FBI, Camper was personally responsible for saving the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's life in 1985.
United States Thomas W. Chittum  Croatia
An ex-Vietnam War veteran who fought in the Rhodesian War and Croatian War of Independence.
United Kingdom Charlie Christodoulou 1951–1976 1975–1976  Angola Greek Cypriot-born British mercenary killed in an ambush in Angola during the Angolan War of Independence.
United States Andrew J. Moonen 1980– 2006–2007  Iraq Former employee of Blackwater Security, accused by the Iraq government of murdering Raheem Khalif, a security guard of the Iraqi Vice-president, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
Belgium Yves Debay 1954–2013  Rhodesia
 South Africa
French-Belgian mercenary who served in the Rhodesian Bush War and South African Border War. He became war correspondent in 1986 and covered wars in Afghanistan, both Iraq wars, Lebanon, the Balkans, Libya and Syria. Debay was the first Belgian journalist killed during the Syrian civil war.
Belgium Jean Schramme 1929–1988 1961–1968 Belgian planter who turned mercenary during the Congo Crisis and led the 1967 uprising in Katanga against Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko.
United States Russell “Texas” Bentley 1960- 2014–  Donetsk People's Republic An unidentified American fighting alongside pro-Moscow forces in the War in Ukraine. He is the only American fighting alongside the pro-Russian separatists.
United States Tex O'Reilly 1880–1946  Mexico An American adventurer and soldier of fortune who participated in the Banana Wars, Mexican Revolution and the Rif War during the early 20th century.
United States Robert C. MacKenzie 1948–1995 1970–1985  Rhodesia
 South Africa
An ex-Vietnam War veteran who served as an officer with the Rhodesian Special Air Service, South African Defence Force, and Transkei Defense Force. He was later a contributing editor for Soldier of Fortune and covered conflicts around the globe.
United States Dean Ivan Lamb 1886–1956 1912–1923  Honduras
A mercenary fighter pilot who took part in the Mexican Revolution, World War I and the First Paraguayan Civil War. He also helped to establish the Honduran Air Force in 1921.
State of Palestine Abu Nidal 1937–2002 1967–2002 Founder of the Abu Nidal Organization.
United States Bruce Conde 1913–1992 1962–1970  North Yemen Stamp collector and royal impostor who served as a general with Royalist forces in the North Yemen Civil War.
United States Harold Edward Dahl 1909–1956 1936–1945  Spain Mercenary pilot who was a member of Andrés García La Calle's "American Patrol" group during the Spanish Civil War.
United States Sam Dreben 1878–1925 1907–1917  Mexico A World War I war hero popularly known as "The Fighting Jew". He also fought as a mercenary during the Banana Wars and Mexican Revolution.
United States Sam Hall 1937–2014  Nicaragua One time U.S. Olympian who fought on the side of anti-communist forces as a military advisor to the Nicaraguan Contras.
United Kingdom Peter McAleese  Angola
 South Africa
An ex-Special Air Service officer who served with the FNLA, Rhodesian SAS and the 44 Parachute Brigade.
France Bob Denard 1929–2007 1961–1995 French soldier and mercenary who operated in many African countries during the Cold War.
France Dominique Borella 1927–1975 1945–1975 French soldier and mercenary who fought in the Algerian War, Cambodian Civil War and the Lebanese Civil War.
Germany Rolf Steiner 1933– 1950–1971  Biafra Soldier of fortune who led the 4th Commando Brigade in the Biafran Army during the Nigerian Civil War, and later served with the Anyanya rebels in southern Sudan.
Republic of Ireland Mike Hoare 1919– 1960–1983 An Irish mercenary leader known for military activities in Africa and his attempt to conduct a coup d'état in the Seychelles.
Germany Siegfried Müller 1920–1983 1962–1965 A former Wehrmacht officer-candidate who fought as a mercenary under Major Mike Hoare in the Congo Crisis.
Canada Lynn Garrison 1937– 1967–1970 Flew as a combat pilot in various conflicts, most notably the Nigerian Civil War, and later acted as a military and political advisor, allegedly with the support of a number of US Government agencies and various U.S. senators.
United Kingdom Fred Marafano 1940–2013 1984–2006  Sierra Leone Fijian-born British Special Air Service operative turned mercenary who fought in the Sierra Leone civil war as a member of Executive Outcomes.
United Kingdom Costas Georgiou 1951–1976 1975–1976  Angola Greek Cypriot-born British mercenary executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence.
United Kingdom Philip Sessarego 1952–2008  Afghanistan A soldier of fortune involved in a failed coup in the Maldives and trained Mujahideen in Afghanistan before faking his own death in 1993.
United Kingdom Simon Mann 1952– 1993–2004  Equatorial Guinea Former British Army officer who was imprisoned in Equatorial Guinea for his role in a failed coup d'état in 2004.
United Kingdom Tim Spicer 1952– 1994– A British Army officer turned military contractor. He served as CEO of Sandline International from 1995 to 2000 before co-founding Aegis Defence Services.
Hungary Eduardo Rózsa-Flores 1960–2009 1991–1994  Croatia A war correspondent for La Vanguardia and the Spanish unit of the BBC World Service, Rózsa-Flores joined the Croatian National Guard during the Croatian War of Independence. As the group's first foreign volunteer, he helped form the Croatian army's First International Unit. Rózsa-Flores was later killed in a police raid during a meeting to allegedly plan the assassination of Bolivian president Evo Morales.
Israel Yair Klein A former Israeli Army officer who founded the private mercenary company Spearhead Ltd. The organization provided arms and training to armed forces in South America, Lebanon, and Sierra Leone.
South Africa Nick du Toit South African arms dealer and mercenary implicated in the 2004 plot to overthrow Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea.
Italy Tullio Moneta 1937– 1964–1981  South Africa Italian-born South African mercenary who served under Mike Hoare in the Congo. He was second-in-command to Hoare during the failed 1981 coup at Mahe Airport in the Seychelles. Moneta was sentenced to five years in prison.
South Africa Neall Ellis 1949– 1996–2004  Sierra Leone An ex-South African Air Force pilot, Ellis later contracted for various private military corporations including Executive Outcomes and Sandline International. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, he and his crew held off Revolutionary United Front forces almost single-handedly before the capital was overrun.
Sweden Bertil Wedin 1940– 1982–1986  South Africa A former Swedish secret service agent, Wedin was an alleged member of an apartheid South African death squad. He was acquitted in the 1982 burglary of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) office in London, the 1986 bombing the ANC office in Stockholm, and assassination of Swedish premier Olof Palme.
South Africa Taffy Williams 1933–1996 1960–1970  Biafra Welsh-born mercenary who served in Biafra and the Congo with Mike Hoare and 5 Commando Congo.
New Zealand Kelvyn Alp 1971– 1996–2002 Founder of the New Zealand Armed Intervention Force. Though founded as a mercenary organisation, it was referred to in the media as a Māori separatist group.
Sweden Jackie Arklöv 1973– 1992–1999  Croatia Liberian-born Swedish mercenary who took part in Yugoslav Wars. He was imprisoned for war crimes in Bosnia but eventually returned to Sweden in a prisoner exchange. Arklöv later joined the neo-Nazi group led by Tony Olsson and participated in their 1999 crime spree that led to the deaths of two police officers.
United States Mitchell WerBell III 1918–1983 1950–1973  Cuba
 Dominican Republic
An ex-Office of Strategic Services guerrilla operative, arms dealer and weapons designer who served as a security advisor to Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo and to the Batista regime in Cuba during the 1950s. Also involved with various rebel groups in the Caribbean and Central America during the Cold War.


  • Brooks, M. Evan. Military History's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Improbable Victories, Unlikely Heroes, and Other Martial Oddities. Potomac Books, 2002.
  • Davis, Richard Harding. Six Who Dared: The Lives of Six Great Soldiers of Fortune. Fireship Press, 2007.
  • Lanning, Michael Lee. Mercenaries: Soldiers of Fortune, from Ancient Greece to Today's Private Military Companies. Random House Publishing Group, 2007.
  • Mockler, Anthony. The Mercenaries: The Men Who Fight for Profit—from the Free Companies of Feudal France to the White Adventurers in the Congo. Macmillan, 1969.

Further reading

Ancient World
  • Griffith, G. T. The Mercenaries of the Hellenistic World. Cambridge University Press, 1935.
  • Trundle, Matthew. Greek Mercenaries: From the Late Archaic Period to Alexander. Routledge, 2004.
  • Yalichev, Serge. Mercenaries of the Ancient World. Constable, 1997.
  • France, John, ed. "Mercenaries and Paid Men: The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages". Smithsonian History of Warfare. Vol. 47. BRILL, 2008. ISBN 9004164472
  • Janin, Hunt and Ursula Carlson. Mercenaries in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. McFarland, 2013.
  • Mallett, Michael. Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy. Pen and Sword, 2009.
  • Murphy, David. Condottiere 1300–1500: Infamous Medieval Mercenaries. Oxford: Osprey, 2007.
Early modern
  • Dempsey, Guy. Napoleon's Mercenaries: Foreign Units in the French Army Under the Consulate and Empire, 1799-1814. Frontline Books, 2002.
  • Ingrao, Charles W. The Hessian Mercenary State: Ideas, Institutions, and Reform Under Frederick II, 1760-1785. Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Janice E. Thomson, Mercenaries, pirates, and sovereigns: state-building and extraterritorial violence in early modern Europe Princeton University Press, 1994. ISBN 1-4008-0801-4 Describes the building of the modern state system through the states' "monopolization of extraterritorial violence."
  • Rodriguez, Moises Enrique. Freedom's Mercenaries: British Volunteers in the Wars of Independence of Latin America. Vol. 2. Hamilton Books, 2006.
  • Military science in western Europe in the sixteenth century. Prologue:The nature of armies in the 16th century (pdf): A given army often included numerous nationalities and languages. The normal Landsknecht regiment included one interpreter per 400 men, and interpreters were commonly budgeted for in the staffs of the field armies of the French, and of German reiter regiments as well. Fluency in multiple languages was a valuable skill for a captain, given that it was not uncommon for armies to consist of a majority of foreign nationals.
  • Edwards, John Carver. Airmen Without Portfolio: U.S. Mercenaries in Civil War Spain. Praeger, 1997.
  • Jowett, Philip. Chinese Warlord Armies 1911–30. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.
  • Langley, Lester D. and Thomas D. Schoonover. The Banana Men: American Mercenaries and Entrepreneurs in Central America, 1880-1930. University Press of Kentucky, 2014.
  • Roche, James Jeffrey. The Story of the Filibusters. T. F. Unwin, 1891.
  • Guy Arnold. Mercenaries: The Scourge of the Third World. Palgrave Macmillan, 1999. ISBN 978-0-312-22203-1
  • Anthony Mockler. Hired Guns and Coups d'Etat: Mercenaries: Thirty Years 1976-2006. Hunter Mackay, 2007.
  • Anthony Mockler. The New Mercenaries: The History of the Mercenary from the Congo to the Seychelles. Paragon House, 1987.
  • Robert Young Pelton. Hunter Hammer and Heaven, Journeys to Three World's Gone Mad, ISBN 1-58574-416-6
  • Jeremy Scahill. Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, Nation Books, 2007. ISBN 1-56025-979-5
  • Peter J. Woolley. "Soldiers of Fortune," The Common Review, v. 5, no. 4(2007), pp. 46–48. Review essay.
  • McFate, Sean. The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order. Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Othen, Christopher. Katanga 1960-63: Mercenaries, Spies and the African Nation that Waged War on the World. History Press, 2015.
  • Venter, Al J. War Dog: Fighting Other People's Wars: The Modern Mercenary in Combat. Lancer Publishers, 2010.

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