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Portuguese Army
Exército Português
Military flag of Portugal.svg
War flag of the Portuguese Army
Active 1139 – present
Country Portugal
Type Army
Role Land Forces
Size 32.000
Part of Portuguese Armed Forces
Patron Afonso I of Portugal
Motto(s) Em perigos e guerras esforçados
In dangers and wars strengthened
Engagements Reconquista
1383–1385 Crisis
War of the Castilian Succession
Persia–Portugal war
Ethiopian-Adal War
Dutch–Portuguese War
Turkish-Portuguese Wars
War of the Portuguese Succession
Malayan-Portuguese War
Portuguese Restoration War
War of the Spanish Succession
Seven Years' War
French Revolutionary Wars
War of the Oranges
Peninsular War
Luso-Brazilian invasion
Brazilian War of Independence
Liberal Wars
First Carlist War
World War I
Portuguese-Indian War (1961)
Portuguese Colonial War
Afghanistan War
Peacekeeping Missions
-Western Sahara
Army Chief of Staff

General José Luís Pinto Ramalho


The Portuguese Army (Portuguese language: Exército Português ) is the ground branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in co-operation with other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the defence of Portugal. It is one of the oldest armies in the world, established in the 12th century.


The history of the Portuguese Army is directly connected to the history of Portugal.

National defenceEdit

The land forces fought for Portuguese independence against the Leonese and the Moors in the 12th century, against the Castilian invaders in the 14th century, against the Spanish Habsburgs in the 17th century, and against French invaders in the Peninsular War in the 19th century. Here they were re-trained by the British (under the direction of Lieutenant General William Carr Beresford). Their infantry and artillery forces went on to perform brilliantly up until the final French capitulation in 1814.

Foreign campaignsEdit

Since the 15th century, the land forces have also participated in Portuguese foreign and overseas campaigns – in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania, and Europe. In the 20th century, the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps participated in World War I on the side of the Allies in the European western front and Africa.

Colonial WarEdit

The army participated in colonial war from 1961 to 1974, in Angola, Goa, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde. At the other oversees possessions, East Timor and São Tomé and Príncipe, there was a military presence but no guerrilla organizations. In 1961, the isolated and relatively small Portuguese Army suffered a defeat against a largely superior Indian Army in the colony of Portuguese India, which was subsequently lost to the Union of India in the same invasion. The counterinsurgency campaigns in Africa had various degrees of success ranging from almost victory in Angola to total and conventional war in Portuguese Guinea. This war ended after the Carnation Revolution military coup of April 1974 in Lisbon and subsequently independence of the colonies.

European/NATO focusEdit

After the independence of the colonies and the normalization of Portuguese political affairs the Portuguese army returned to the barracks and began the process of changing from an oversized colonial and counter-insurgency army to a conventional European army, including drastic personnel reduction, disbanding of some units, acquisition of new arms and equipment, reorganizing units and roles, fielding new headquarters and becoming fully professional. These took several decades and the defined purposes and roles have somehow changed due to external causes like the end of the Cold War as well internal causes like available budget, political changes and the acceptance and desires of the Portuguese people regarding its armed forces.

Peace missionsEdit

In the 21st century, the Portuguese Army has participated in several peace missions, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, East-Timor, and Afghanistan – where it has a Comandos company deployed. In December 2005, a Portuguese commando died in an incident in Afghanistan when a bomb trap was detonated.

Order of battleEdit

Portugal Army 2013

Operational Structure of the Portuguese Army.

Central structureEdit

The Portuguese Army is led by the Army Chief of Staff and includes:

  1. Army Staff ;
  2. Functional Commands:
    • Training and Doctrine Command
    • Logistic Command
    • Personnel Command
    • Operational Command
  3. Operational Formations and Military Zones:
  4. Main Military Schools:
    • Military Academy
    • Army Sergeant School
    • School of the Military Medical Service
    • Army Polytechnical School

Base unitsEdit

Portugal location map
Green pog.svg
Mechanized Brigade
Red pog.svg
2nd Infantry Battalion
Red pog.svg
1st Infantry Battallion
Red pog.svg
1st Parachute Battalion
Red pog.svg
2nd Parachute Battalion
Location of the main Army operational units in Continental Portugal. The Azores and Madeira (off-map to west) each have one operational infantry battalion.

The Portuguese Army Base Structure Units work as administrative bases responsible for the training and organization of
the operational units of the army's formations, military zones and general support forces. For historical reasons most of the base units are called regiments and are associated with an arm of service. By arm of service, these units are:

  1. Cavalry:
  2. Artillery:
  3. Infantry:
    • School of Infantry at Mafra
    • 1st Infantry Regiment at Tavira
    • 3rd Infantry Regiment at Beja
    • 10th Infantry Regiment at Aveiro
    • 13th Infantry Regiment at Vila Real
    • 14th Infantry Regiment at Viseu
    • 15th Infantry Regiment at Tomar
    • 19th Infantry Regiment at Chaves
  4. Engineers:
    • School of Engineers at Tancos
    • 1st Engineers Regiment at Lisbon
    • 3rd Engineers Regiment at Espinho
  5. Communications:
    • School of Communications at Oporto
    • Communications Regiment at Lisbon
  6. Logistical Services:
  7. Mixed:


General officers
Marechal do Exército
Marshal of the Army
Brigadier General
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
23 - Marechal 22 - General 21 - Tenente-general 20 - Major-general 19 - Brigadeiro-general
Field officers
OF-5 OF-4 OF-3
18 - Coronel 17 - Tenente-coronel 16 - Major
Company officers
Aspirante an official
Officer candidate
OF-2 OF-1 OF-1 OF-D
15 - Capitão 14 - Tenente 13 - Alferes 12 - Aspirante
Non-commissioned officers
Chief Master Sergeant
Master sergeant
First sergeant
Second sergeant
Second quartermaster
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-5 OR-5
11 - Sargento-mor 10 - Sargento-chefe 9 - Sargento-ajudante 8 - Primeiro-sargento 7 - Segundo-sargento 6 - Furriel 5 - Segundo-furriel
Attached corporal
First corporal
Second corporal
OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
4 - Cabo-adjunto 3 - Primeiro-cabo 2 - Segundo-cabo No insignia


Infantry EquipmentEdit

Weapon Caliber Origin Notes
Pistols and Submachine Guns
Walther P38 9x19 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Service pistol, being replaced by Glock17
Glock 17 9x19mm Flag of Austria.svg Austria Purchased in 2019 to replace Walther P38
SIG P228 9x19 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Heckler & Koch USP9 9x19 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany
Heckler & Koch P30 9x19 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany
Heckler & Koch MP5 (A5/SD6/K versions) 9x19 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany The A5 and the SD6 (since 2003) versions are in use.
Assault Rifles & Battle Rifles
FN SCAR 5.56x45mm / 7.62x51mm Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium To become the new standard-issue Battle Rifle, 11,300 rifles have been ordered in 2019. SCAR-L version will replace the m/963 (G3A3 model) while SCAR-H and SCAR-HPR precision model have also been ordered.
Heckler & Koch G3 7.62x51 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Standard issue Battle Rifle, made under license by Fábrica de Braço de Prata as the FBP m/961 (G3) and FBP m/963 (G3A3). To be replaced by the FN SCAR in 2019-2020.
Heckler & Koch HK416 5.56 x 45 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Heckler & Koch HK417 7.62×51 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Heckler & Koch G36 5.56x45 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
IMI Galil ARM 5.56x45 mm Flag of Israel.svg Israel Paratroopers´ standard service rifle. Being replaced by FN SCAR
SIG SG 543 5.56x45 mm Flag of Switzerland.svg  Switzerland Used by Commandos, being replaced by FN SCAR
Sniper Rifles & Anti-materiel Rifles
FN SCAR H PR 7.62x51 mm Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Sniper rifle.
Heckler & Koch


7.62x51 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
AI AWSF 7.62x51 mm Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
AI AXMC .338 Lapua Magnum Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
AI AW50 .50 BMG Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Barrett M107 .50 BMG Flag of the United States.svg United States Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Machine Guns
Rheinmetall MG 3 7.62x51 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany General-purpose machine gun. Being replaced by FN Mnimi
Heckler & Koch HK21 7.62x51 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany Made under license by Fábrica de Braço de Prata as the m/968. General-purpose machine gun. Being replaced by FN Mnimi
FN Minimi 5.56x45 mm Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium General-purpose machine gun. Further deliveries of MK3 variant have been made, to replace the HK21 as the new standard-issued LMG.
FN Minimi 7.62x51 mm Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Purchased to replace MG3
Heckler & Koch MG4 5.56x45 mm Flag of Germany.png Germany General-purpose machine gun.
FN M3M .50 BMG Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Heavy Machine Gun. Used on Pandur II
Browning M2HB .50 BMG Flag of the United States.svg United States Heavy Machine Gun.
Fbarm STF 12 12, 20 gauge Flag of Italy.svg Italy Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Benelli M3 12, 20 gauge Flag of Italy.svg Italy
Franchi SPAS 15 12 gauge Flag of Italy.svg Italy
Grenade Launchers
FN 40 GL 40 mm grenade Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium 2,000 FN40GL 40 mm grenade launchers. Can be used on FN SCAR or individually
HK 269 40 mm grenade Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Heckler & Koch AG36 40 mm grenade Flag of Germany.png Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Heckler & Koch GMG 40 mm grenade Flag of Germany.png Germany Purchased in 2018
ARWEN 37 37 mm grenade Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Milkor MGL 40 mm grenade Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa Mk.1 version.
Tampella B 120 mm Flag of Finland.svg Finland Called m/74.
mGrW 82 81 mm Flag of Canada.svg Canada
Soltam 60mm 60 mm Flag of Israel.svg Israel
FBP m/68 60 mm Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal Ultra-light mortar (Morteirete).
Anti-Tank Weapons
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle 84 mm Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
M72 LAW 66 mm Flag of the United States.svg United States Designated as the m/78.
BGM-71 TOW 152 mm Flag of the United States.svg United States 50 Launchers with 216 Missiles
MILAN 115 mm Flag of France.svg France

755 Missiles 55 Milan+ 700 Milan-2-T


Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Armoured vehicles
Leopard 2A6 Flag of Germany.png Germany Main battle tank 37[1] Leopard 2A6 28 are in 2 combat squadrons, 3 in the Command and Services Squadron.
M60 A3 TTS United States Main battle tank 96 CARRO COMBATE M 60 A3 14 are in 1 combat squadron. The others are in reserve.
M901A1 ITV United States Armoured vehicle ATGMs-launcher 4 M901-TOW-latrun-2
M113 Armored Personnel Carrier United States Armoured personnel carrier 277 US M113 in Samarra Iraq Designated as the m/76. Includes 251 M113A3 and 26 M557.[2]
Pandur II Flag of Austria.svg Austria Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal Armoured personnel carrier 188 VBR Pandur Several versions, license-produced. Designated as the m/07. 188 received from the original order of 240. The others were cancelled.
URO VAMTAC ST5 Flag of Spain.svg Spain Armoured car 138 Purchased 139 ST5 variant vehicles in October 2018.
Panhard M11 Flag of France.svg France Armoured car 38[2] VBL RHP Afghanistan Designated as the m/89 Light.
HMMWV M1025 United States Armoured car 37 Portuguese Air Force Hummer and Condor Designated as the m/00.
Engineering vehicles
M88 Recovery Vehicle[2] United States Armoured recovery vehicle 6 Bundeswehrmuseum Dresden 65
M48 AVLB[2] United States Armoured vehicle-launched bridge 4 BrLgPz M48 im Bundeswehrmuseum Dresden


Anti-Air ArtilleryEdit

Tactical VehiclesEdit

  • Japan Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 called m/98
  • United Kingdom Land Rover Defender'90 TDI 4x4
  • Japan Mitsubishi L200 4x4
  • Portugal UMM Alter 4x4

Heavy VehiclesEdit

  • Sweden Volvo D Truck 40 ton 4x2
  • Netherlands DAF FTT Truck 38 ton 6x4
  • Italy Iveco Truck
  • Germany Unimog Truck


See alsoEdit


  1. Army -, July 29, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 [1] -, July 29, 2013

External linksEdit

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