Portuguese Army

Portuguese Army
Portuguese Army
Exército Português
Military flag of Portugal.svg
War flag of the Portuguese Army
Active 1139 — current
Country Portugal
Type Army
Role Land Force
Size 24,000
Part of Portuguese Armed Forces
Patron Afonso I of Portugal
Motto 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
Liberal Wars
First Carlist War
World War I
Portuguese-Indian War (1961)
Portuguese Colonial War
Afghanistan War
Peacekeaping Missions
-Western Sahara
Army Chief of Staff General José Luís Pinto Ramalho


Soldier of the famous Portuguese Army Caçadores elite light infantry in the Peninsular War
Portuguese Army troops heading for Angola, during World War I.
Portuguese Army troops in the jungle, during the 1960's and 1970's Colonial Wars in Africa.
Portuguese Army Chaimite armoured vehicles in Bosnia.
The Operational Structure of the Portuguese Army.

The Portuguese Army (Portuguese: 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 defence

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 went on to perform brilliantly up until the final French capitulation in 1814.

Foreign campaigns

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

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

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

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

Central structure

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

  1. Army Staff ;
  2. Functional Commands:
    • Training and Doctrine Command
    • Logistical Command
    • Personnel Command
    • Operational Command
  3. Operational Formations and Military Zones:
    • Rapid Reaction Brigade
    • Mechanized Brigade
    • Intervention Brigade
    • Military Zone of Azores,
    • Military Zone of Madeira
  4. Main Military Schools:
    • Military Academy
    • Army Sergeant School
    • School of the Military Medical Service
    • Army Polytechnical School

Base units

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
    • 8th Infantry Regiment at Elvas (Disbanded: Replaced by a Military Museum)
    • 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:
    • School of Services at Póvoa de Varzim
    • Medical Service Battalion at Coimbra
    • Transportation Regiment at Lisbon
    • Maintenance (Material Service) Regiment at Entroncamento
  7. Mixed:


General officers
Marechal do Exército
Marshal of the Army
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
23 - Marechal.png 22 - General.png 21 - Tenente-general.png 20 - Major-general.png 19 - Brigadeiro-general.png
Field officers
OF-5 OF-4 OF-3
18 - Coronel.png 17 - Tenente-coronel.png 16 - Major.png
Company officers
Aspirante a oficial
Officer candidate
OF-2 OF-1 OF-1 OF-D
15 - Capitão.png 14 - Tenente.png 13 - Alferes.png 12 - Aspirante.png
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.png 10 - Sargento-chefe.png 9 - Sargento-ajudante.png 8 - Primeiro-sargento.png 7 - Segundo-sargento.png 6 - Furriel.png 5 - Segundo-furriel.png
Attached corporal
First corporal
Second corporal
OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
4 - Cabo-adjunto.JPG 3 - Primeiro-cabo.JPG 2 - Segundo-cabo.JPG 1 - Soldado.JPG




Rifles and Carbines



Light machine guns/General-purpose machine guns

  • MG3
  • Heckler & Koch HK 21 general-purpose machine gun
  • FN Minimi general-purpose machine gun
  • Heckler & Koch MG4 general-purpose machine gun

Heavy machineguns

Grenade Launchers


  • 120mm Tampella B m/74 heavy mortar
  • 81mm L16 A2 m/86 medium mortar
  • 60mm Soltam light mortar
  • 60mm FBP m/68 ultra-light mortar (morteirete)

Missile Launchers


  • Leopard 2A6 (37)
  • M-60 A3TTS (100, to be retired).


  • 105mm L118 Light Gun (21)
  • 105mm M119 Light Gun m/98
  • 105mm OTO Melara Mod 56 (discontinued, some may be used by the School of Artillery for no-live fire training, replaced by M119 Light Gun)
  • 105mm M101 (discontinued, some may be used by the School of Artillery for no-live fire training)
  • 155mm M114 (discontinued, some may be used by the School of Artillery for no-live fire training)
  • 155mm M109A5 (18) and M109A4 (??)

Anti-Air Artillery

Tactical Vehicles

Heavy Vehicles




See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Portuguese Army Commandos — Infobox Military Unit unit name= Portuguese Army Commandos caption= Unit Badge nickname= Boinas Vermelhas (Red Berets) motto= Audaces Fortuna Juvat (Fortune Favors The Bold) war cry= MAMA SUMAE march= ceremonial chief= type= Special Operations… …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Army Police — The Army Police ( pt. Polícia do Exército, PE), usually called the Lanceiros , is the provost (military police) of the Portuguese Army being the speciality designated as Polícia Militar (Military Police) between 1953 and 1976. In the Portuguese… …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Colonial War — Portuguese troops embarking to go to the Colonial War Date 1961–1974 …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Armed Forces — Forças Armadas Portuguesas Flag of the Portuguese Armed Forces Service branches Army Navy …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Empire — Portuguese Empire …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Expeditionary Corps — CEP soldiers loading a Stokes Mortar. Active During World War I, 1917 1918 Country …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Navy — Marinha Portuguesa Portuguese Navy NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F333) frigate …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Communist Party — Partido Comunista Português Leader Jerónimo de Sousa …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Ceylon — Infobox Former Country native name =Ceilão conventional long name = Ceylon common name = Ceilão continent = moved from Category:Asia to South Asia region = South Asia country = Sri Lanka empire=Portugal status=Colony status text= era =… …   Wikipedia

  • Portuguese Rapid Reaction Brigade — Infobox Military Unit unit name= Portuguese Army Rapid Reaction Brigade caption= Rapid Reaction Brigade Coat of Arms deletable image caption|1=Wednesday, 16 April 2008 motto= Se fizeram por armas tão svbidos themesong= colors= march= ceremonial… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”