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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
IFOR
SFOR
EUFOR
KFOR
Afghanistan War
Peacekeeping Missions
-Angola
-Bosnia
-Croatia
-Macedonia
-Western Sahara
-Georgia
-Lebanon
Commanders
Army Chief of Staff

General José Luís Pinto Ramalho

[2]

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.

History[edit | edit source]

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

National defence[edit | edit source]

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 campaigns[edit | edit source]

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 War[edit | edit source]

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 focus[edit | edit source]

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 missions[edit | edit source]

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 battle[edit | edit source]

Operational Structure of the Portuguese Army.

Central structure[edit | edit source]

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 units[edit | edit source]

Portuguese Army is located in Portugal
Mechanized Brigade
2nd Infantry Battalion
1st Infantry Battallion
1st Parachute Battalion
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:

Ranks[edit | edit source]

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

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Infantry Equipment[edit | edit source]

Weapon Caliber Origin Notes
Pistols and Submachine Guns
Glock 17 9x19 mm  Austria Purchased in 2019 to replace Walther P38 and SIG Sauer P228.[1]
SIG P228 9x19 mm  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[1]
Heckler & Koch USP9 9x19 mm  Germany [1]
Heckler & Koch P30 9x19 mm  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[2]
Heckler & Koch MP5 (A5/SD6/KA4 versions) 9x19 mm  Germany The A5,SD6 (since 2003) and KA4 versions are in use.[3]
Assault Rifles & Battle Rifles
FN SCAR L / FN SCAR H 5.56x45mm / 7.62x51mm  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.[4]
Heckler & Koch G3 7.62x51 mm  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.[4]
Heckler & Koch HK416 5.56 x 45 mm  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[5]
Heckler & Koch HK417 7.62×51 mm  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[5]
Heckler & Koch G36 5.56x45 mm  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[6]
Sniper Rifles & Anti-materiel Rifles
FN SCAR H PR 7.62x51 mm  Belgium Sniper support rifle.[4]
Heckler & Koch

G28

7.62x51 mm  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[6]
AI AWSF 7.62x51 mm  United Kingdom [6]
AI AXMC .338 Lapua Magnum  United Kingdom Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[5]
Barrett M107 .50 BMG  United States Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[5]
Machine Guns
Rheinmetall MG 3 7.62x51 mm  Germany General-purpose machine gun. Being replaced by FN Mnimi
Heckler & Koch HK21 7.62x51 mm  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  Belgium General-purpose machine gun. Further deliveries of MK3 variant have been made, to replace the HK21 as the new standard-issued LMG.[4]
FN Minimi 7.62x51 mm  Belgium Purchased to replace MG3.[4]
Heckler & Koch MG4 5.56x45 mm  Germany General-purpose machine gun.[7]
FN M3M .50 BMG  Belgium Heavy Machine Gun. Used on Pandur II
Browning M2HB .50 BMG  United States Heavy Machine Gun.
Shotguns
Fabarm STF 12 12, 20 gauge  Italy Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[5]
Benelli M4 12, 20 gauge  Italy [8]
Benelli Supernova 12 gauge  Italy Purchased in 2020.[9]
Franchi SPAS 15 12 gauge  Italy
Grenade Launchers
FN 40 GL 40 mm grenade  Belgium 2,000 FN40GL 40 mm grenade launchers. Can be used on FN SCAR or individually.[4]
HK 269 40 mm grenade  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre.[5]
Heckler & Koch AG36 40 mm grenade  Germany Used by Special Operations Troops Centre
Heckler & Koch GMG 40 mm grenade  Germany Purchased in 2018
Milkor MGL 40 mm grenade  South Africa Mk.1 version.
Mortars
Tampella B 120 mm  Finland Called m/74.
mGrW 82 81 mm  Canada
FBP m/68 60 mm  Portugal Ultra-light mortar (Morteirete).
Anti-Tank Weapons
Carl Gustav M3 84 mm  Sweden 162 units.[10]
M72 LAW 66 mm  United States Designated as the m/78.
BGM-71 TOW 152 mm  United States 50 Launchers with 216 Missiles.[11]
MILAN 115 mm  France 755 missiles, 55 Milan+, 700 Milan-2-T.[11]


Vehicles[edit | edit source]

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Armoured vehicles
Leopard 2A6  Germany Main battle tank 37 Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE (22791211312).jpg Portugal also bought 1 for training and 1 for spares[12]
  • 32 are in 2 combat squadrons (GCC, Tank Battalion)
  • 5 are in the ERec, Reconnaissance Company
M60 A3 TTS  United States Main battle tank 93 CARRO COMBATE M 60 A3.jpg The Portuguese Army issued a tender to scrap 90 M60A3 TTS main battle tanks. They were formally phased out in 2018. A total of 93 M60A3 TTS tanks were received from US surplus for the Mechanized Brigade, comprising 80 in 1993, twelve in 1995 and one in 1996.[12]
M901A1 ITV  United States Armoured vehicle ATGMs-launcher 4 M901 TOW missile vehicle (1985).JPEG 4 in service since 1993.[12]
M113 BGM-71 TOW  United States Armoured vehicle ATGMs-launcher 17 M-113 TOW.JPG M113 armored personnel carrier equipped with BGM-71 TOW.[12]
M106  United States Mortar carrier 18 Fireball (13746968213).jpg 10 M106 and 8 M106A2, equipped with 107mm M30 mortar.[12]
M125  United States Mortar carrier 15 MTW NDV 2.jpg 3 M125A1 and 12 M125A2, equipped with 81mm M29 mortar.[12]
M577  United States Command vehicle and ambulance 68 M577 V2.gif 68 received: 10 A2, in 1995, 24 A2, in 1997; 18, in 1998; 10, in 1999 and 6, in 2000, but only 49 M577A2 are in service (46 in service as command vehicles and three in service as ambulance vehicles)[12]
M113  United States Armoured personnel carrier 255 Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE (22010429314).jpg 255 M113A1/A2 APC (190 in service)[12]
  • 101 M113A1 received from the USA in 1977
  • 104 M113A2 received from Netherlands in 1993
  • 50 M113A1 received from Germany in 1994
Pandur II  Austria  Portugal Armoured personnel carrier 188 Portuguese Infantry Battalion Operating in a NBQR environment. The polish forces made the decontamination (22648360821).jpg Several versions made under license in Portugal by Fabrequipa.[13]
  • 105 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV), 4 being converted to Route clearance (IEDs) vehicles
  • 7 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV RWS)
  • 30 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV)
  • 5 Anti-tank Guided Missile Vehicle (ATGMV)
  • 16 Command Post Vehicle (CPV)
  • 7 Recovery and Maintenance vehicle (RMV)
  • 8 Medical Evacuation Vehicle (MEV)
  • 6 Radio Access Point Station Vehicle (RAPSV)
  • 4 Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle (RSV)
Bravia Chaimite V200  Portugal Mortar carrier 6 Abril1.jpg Six Chaimite V200 4x4 armored vehicles with 81mm mortar system are currently fielded by the Portuguese Army. They are reportedlythe last Chaimite V200 vehicles in the Portuguese inventory.[13]
Commando V150  United States Armoured car 15 Cadillac Gage V-150 do Exército português.jpg Acquired 15 units in 1989, but only 9 are in active service, in the Group of Recognition, based on Cavalry Regiment nº6.[13]
URO VAMTAC ST5  Spain Armoured car 139 VAMTAC ST5 blindado Ejército español.jpg Purchased 139 ST5 variant vehicles in October 2018.
  • 107 Troop Carriers
  • 12 Special Operations Vehicles
  • 13 Ambulances
  • 7 Command Cost Vehicles
HMMWV M1025 United States Armoured car 37 Fort Irwin National Training Center - Humvee - 3.jpg Army designation: Auto Blindado Reconhecimento 1,25 ton.[14]
  • 22 HMMWV M1025A2 4x4 m/2000 24 are in service since 2000, 22 were blinded by Plasan Sasa with APK kit.
  • 15 M1151A1/A2 D 4x4 m/2009
Panhard M11  France Armoured car 38 Interpolitex 2013 (534-29) (cropped).jpg The Portuguese Army currently fields 38 Arquus Ultrav M11D/VBL 4x4 protected scout vehicles. The type which is locally known as the Ultrav M11D, is essentially fielded by the Rapid Reaction Brigade. The fleet includes MILAN F2, PL127/40, AN/PPS-5B and M1919A4 configurations.[13]
Engineering vehicles
Leopard 2 Driver Training Tank  Germany Military training vehicle 1 Leopard2 drivingschool.jpg One unit in service since 2008, used for training Leopard 2 A6 new drivers.
M48 AVLB[15]  United States Armoured vehicle-launched bridge 4 BrLgPz M48 im Bundeswehrmuseum Dresden.jpg 4 are in service since 1981.
M88 Recovery Vehicle[15]  United States Armoured recovery vehicle 8 Bundeswehrmuseum Dresden 65.jpg 6 M88A1 and 2 M88A2G are in service since 1978.
M578 light recovery vehicle  United States Armoured recovery vehicle 29 M578 Light Recovery Vehicle, RCOC Museum, Montreal, Quebec (1).JPG 21 in service since 1995 and 8 in service since 1997.

Artillery[edit | edit source]

Anti-Air Artillery[edit | edit source]

Tactical Vehicles[edit | edit source]

  • 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 Vehicles[edit | edit source]

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

Others[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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