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Argentine Army
Ejercito Argentino Escudo.png
"Nació con la Patria en Mayo de 1810"
(Born with the Motherland in May 1810)

Argentine Army
List of current regiments
Structure of the Argentine Army
History of the Argentine Army
Timeline of the Argentine Army
List of senior officers
Officer rank insignia
Enlisted rank insignia

The Argentine Army (Ejército Argentino, EA) is the land armed force branch of the Argentine military and the senior military service of the country.



The Army's official foundation date is May 29, 1810 (celebrated in Argentina as the Army Day), four days after the Spanish colonial administration in Buenos Aires was overthrown. The new national army was formed out of several pre-existent colonial militia units and locally-manned regiments (most notoriously the Patricios Regiment, which to this date is still an active Army unit). These units had previously fought the British invasions of the Río de la Plata in 1806 and 1807.


Independence and civil wars

Several armed expeditions were sent to the Upper Peru (now Bolivia), Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile to fight Spanish forces and secure Argentina's newly-gained independence. The most famous of these expeditions was the one led by General José de San Martín, who led a 5000-man army across the Andes Mountains to expel the Spaniards from Chile and later from Perú. While the other expeditions failed in their goal of bringing all the dependencies of the former Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata under the new government in Buenos Aires, they prevented the Spaniards from crushing the rebellion.

During the civil wars of the first half of the 19th century the Argentine Army became fractionalized under the leadership of the so-called caudillos ("leaders" or "warlords"), provincial leaders who waged a war against the centralist Buenos Aires administration. However, the Army was briefly re-unified during the war with the Brazilian Empire. (1824-1827).

It was only with the establishment of a Constitution (which explicitly forbade the provinces from maintaining military forces of their own) and a national government recognized by all the provinces that the Army became a single force, absorbing the older provincial militias. The Army went on to fight the War of the Triple Alliance in the 1860s together with Brazil and Uruguay against Paraguay. After that war, the Army became involved in Argentina's Conquista del Desierto ("Conquest of the Desert"): the campaign to occupy Patagonia and root out the natives, who conducted looting raids throughout the country.


Between 1880 and 1930 the Army sought to become a professional force without active involvement in politics, even though many a political figure -President Julio Argentino Roca, for example- benefitted from a past military career. The Army prevented the fall of the government in a number of Radical-led uprisings. Meanwhile, the military in general and the Army in particular contributed to develop Argentina's unsettled southern frontier and its incipient industrial complex.

In 1930, a small group of Army forces (not more than 600 troops) deposed President Hipólito Yrigoyen without much response from the rest of the Army and the Navy. This was the beginning of a long history of political intervention by the military. Another coup, in 1943, was responsible for bringing an obscure colonel into the political limelight: Juan Perón.

Even though Perón had the support of the military during his two consecutive terms of office (1946-1952 and 1952-1955), his increasingly repressive government alienated many officers, which finally led to a military uprising which overthrew him in September 1955. Between 1955 and 1973 the Army and the rest of the military became vigilant over the possible re-emergence of Peronism in the political arena, which led to two new coups against elected Presidents in 1962 (deposing Arturo Frondizi) and 1966 (ousting Arturo Illia). It should be noted that political infighting eroded discipline and cohesion within the army, to the extent that there was armed fighting between contending military units during the early 1960s.

1960s and the military junta

The military government which ruled Argentina between 1966 and 1973 saw the growing activities of groups such as Montoneros and the ERP, and also a very important social movement. During Héctor Cámpora's first months of government, a rather moderate and left-wing Peronist, approximatively 600 social conflicts, strikes and factory occupations had taken place.[1]. Following the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre, left and right-wing Peronism broke apart, while the Triple A death squad, organized by José López Rega, closest advisor to María Estela Martínez de Perón, started a campaign of assassinations against left-wing opponents. But Isabel Perón herself was ousted during the March 1976 coup by a military junta.

The new military government, self-named Proceso de Reorganización Nacional, put a stop to the guerrilla's campaigns, but soon it became known that extremely violent methods and severe violations of human rights had taken place, in what the dictatorship called a "Dirty War" — a term refused by jurists during the 1985 Trial of the Juntas. Batallón de Inteligencia 601 became infamous during this period. This special unit also participated in the training of Nicaraguan Contras with US assistance, among whom John Negroponte. This, coupled with the defeat in the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas), led the military to relinquish power to a civilian government in 1983.

French cooperation

French journalist Marie-Monique Robin has found in the archives of the Quai d'Orsay, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, the original document proving that a 1959 agreement between Paris and Buenos Aires instaured a "permanent French military mission," formed of militaries who had fought in the Algerian War, and which was located in the offices of the chief of staff of the Argentine Army. She showed how Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's government secretly collaborated with Videla's junta in Argentina and with Augusto Pinochet's regime in Chile.[2].

Green deputies Noël Mamère, Martine Billard and Yves Cochet deposed on September 10, 2003 a request for the constitution of a Parliamentary Commission on the "role of France in the support of military regimes in Latin America from 1973 to 1984" before the Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly, presided by Edouard Balladur. Apart of Le Monde, newspapers remained silent about this request.[3] However, deputy Roland Blum, in charge of the Commission, refused to hear Marie-Monique Robin, and published in December 2003 a 12 pages report qualified by Robin as the summum of bad faith. It claimed that no agreement had been signed, despite the agreement found by Robin in the Quai d'Orsay[4][5]

When Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominique de Villepin traveled to Chile in February 2004, he claimed that no cooperation between France and the military regimes had occurred.[6]

Modern times

Light vehicle Gaucho designed with Brazil

Since the return to civilian rule in 1983, the Argentine military have been reduced both in number and budget and, by law, cannot intervene anymore in internal civil conflicts. They became more professional, especially after conscription was abolished.

In 1998 Argentina was granted Major non-NATO ally status by the United States. The modern Argentine Army is fully committed to international peacekeeping under United Nations mandates, humanitarian aid and emergencies relief.

Recently, in 2009, Argentina’s military decriminalized homosexuality and lifted its gay ban.[citation needed]

Command Organization

Under the Argentine Constitution, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, exercising his / her command authority through the Minister of Defense.

The Army is headed by a Chief of General Staff directly appointed by the President. The General Staff of the Army (Estado Mayor General del Ejército) includes the Chief of Staff, a Deputy Chief of the General Staff and the heads of the General Staff's six departments (Jefaturas). The current departments of the General Staff (known also by their Roman numerals) are:

  • Personnel (Jefatura I - Personal)
  • Informations (Jefatura II - Inteligencia)
  • Operations (Jefatura III - Operaciones)
  • Logistic (Jefatura IV - Material)
  • Finance (Jefatura V - Finanzas)
  • Welfare (Jefatura VI - Bienestar)

The General Staff also includes the General Inspectorate and the General Secretariat.

There are also a number of Commands and Directorates responsibles for development and implementation of policies within the Army regarding technological and operational areas and handle administrative affairs. As of 2005 these include the following:

  • Communications and Computer Command (Comando de Comunicación e Informática)
  • Education and Doctrine Command (Comando de Educación y Doctrina)
  • Engineers Command (Comando de Ingenieros)
  • Remount and Veterinary Command (Comando de Remonta y Veterinaria)
  • Health Command (Comando de Sanidad)
  • Materiel Logistics Command (Comando Logístico de Material)
  • Army Historical Directorate (Dirección de Asuntos Históricos del Ejército)
  • Research, Development and Production Directorate (Dirección de Investigación, Desarrollo y Producción)
  • Planning Directorate (Dirección de Planeamiento)
  • Transportation Directorate (Dirección de Transporte)
  • General Staff Directorate (Dirección del Estado Mayor General del Ejército)

The current Chief of the General Staff (since September 2008) is General Luis Alberto Pozzi.[citation needed]


The Army is structured into three corps, to which are attached varying numbers of brigades of armor, mechanized forces and infantry. Each brigade is in turn composed of several regiments of each combat arm, plus several company-sized support units. Each regiment or artillery group is actually more of a reinforced battalion, and the regimental designator is a legacy of the Argentine War of Independence, during which the Argentine Army fielded traditional regiment-sized units. A major problem of today's Army is that most of its combat units are understrength in manpower due to budgetary limitations; the current Table of Organization and Equipment being established at a time during which the Army could rely on larger budgets and conscripted troops. Current plans call for expansion of combat units until all combat units are again full-strength, as soon as budget constraints allow for the induction of new volunteers.

In the 1960s the Army was reorganised into five Army Corps. This structure replaced the old structure based on divisions following the French model. There was a further reorganisation in 1991, when brigades were assigned to six new divisions, two stationed at Santa Cruz and Mendoza.[7]

Argentine Army 2009

Army forces are distributed throughout the country and are geographically grouped into three Army Corps (roughly equivalent in terms of nominal organization to an U.S. Army division (+)). Each Army Corps has an area of responsibility over a determined region of the country; Second Army Corps covers the northeast of the country, Third Army Corps covers the center and northwest of Argentina and Fifth Army Corps covers the south and Patagonia. Both First and Fourth Army Corps were dissolved in 1984 and 1991 respectively, as part of the country's military reorganization; their dependent units were reassigned to the remaining three Army Corps.

There are no intermediate division level units; each Army Corps is composed by a variable number of Brigades. To date (2009), the Argentine Army has eleven brigades:

  • two armored brigades (1st and 2nd),
  • three mechanized brigades (9th, 10th and 11th),
  • three mountain brigades (5th, 6th and 8th),
  • one paratroopers brigade (4th) and
  • two jungle brigade (3rd and 12th).

Note: The 7th Infantry Brigade was dissolved in early 1985.

Depending on its type, each brigade includes two to five Cavalry or Infantry Regiments, one or two Artillery Groups, a scout cavalry squadron, one battalion or company-sized engineer unit, one intelligence company, one communications company, one command company and a battalion-sized logistical support unit. The terms "regiment" and "group", found in the official designations of cavalry, infantry and artillery units, are used due to historical reasons, these units being more accurately described as battalions; similar-sized units that do not belong to the above-mentioned services are referred to as "battalions". In addition to their service, Regiments and Groups are also specialized according to their area of operations (Mountain Infantry, Jungle Infantry, Mountain Cavalry), their equipment (Tank Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Mechanized Infantry) or their special training (Paratroopers, Commandos, Air Assault, Mountain Cazadores or Jungle Cazadores). Regiments are made up by four maneuver sub-units (companies in infantry regiments and squadrons in cavalry regiments) and one command and support sub-unit for a total of 350 to 700 troops.

In 2006 a Rapid Deployment Force (FDR) was created based on the 4th Paratroopers Brigade.

In 2008 a Special Operations Forces Group was created based on two Commandos Companies, one Special Forces Company and one PsyOp Company.


Insignia for all ranks except Volunteers is worn on shoulder boards. Ranks from Senior Colonel onwards use red-trimmed shoulderboards and the suns denoting rank are gold-braid; the suns on other officers' shoulder boards are metallic. Senior Colonels and Generals also have golden wreath leaves on their coat lapels.

The rank insignia for Volunteers 1st Class, 2nd Class and Brevet 2nd Class is worn on the sleeves. Collar versions of the ranks are used in combat uniforms.

Officers Non-commissioned Officers and Enlisted Men
Argentinian Rank Translation
Teniente General Lieutenant General
General de División Divisional General
General de Brigada Brigade General
Coronel Mayor * Colonel Major
Coronel Colonel
Teniente Coronel Lieutenant Colonel
Mayor Major
Capitán Captain
Teniente Primero First Lieutenant
Teniente Lieutenant
Subteniente Sub-lieutenant
* honorary rank for long-serving colonels who have not been promoted to Brigade General; the rank is junior to Brigade General but senior to Colonel.
Argentinian Rank Translation
Suboficial Mayor Senior Sub-officer
Suboficial Principal Master Sub-officer
Sargento Ayudante/ Staff Sergeant/
Sargento Primero First Sergeant
Sargento Sergeant
Cabo Primero First Corporal
Cabo Corporal
Voluntario Primero First Volunteer
Voluntario Segundo Second Volunteer
Voluntario Segundo en Comisión Brevet Second Volunteer


The following are estimated totals for the weapon systems of the Argentine Army in service as of 2009[citation needed]:

Infantry weapons

Small arms

Name Type Caliber Origin Notes
FN P35 Semi-automatic pistol 9mm  Belgium
FMK-3 Submachine gun 9mm  Argentina
M16A1 Assault rifle 5.56mm  United States Being replaced by Steyr AUG.[citation needed]
Steyr AUG Assault rifle 5.56mm  Austria
FN FAL Battle rifle 7.62mm  Belgium
FN MAG General purpose machine gun 7.62mm  Belgium
M2HB Heavy machine gun 12.7mm  United States

Explosives, rockets, and missile systems

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
GME-FMK2-M0[8] Hand grenade  Argentina
M72 LAW Rocket launcher  United States
AT4 Anti-tank weapon  Sweden
Model 1968 Recoilless rifle  Argentina
Model 1974 FMK-1[8] Recoilless rifle  Argentina 105mm
Mathogo Anti-tank guided missile  Argentina
BGM-71 TOW Anti-tank guided missile  United States
RBS 70 Man-portable air-defense system  Sweden

Artillery and missile systems


  • 440 x 120 mm mortars
  • 1100 x 81 mm mortars
  • 214 x 60 mm mortars

Field artillery

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M-101 105mm Howitzer 60  United States
OTO Melara Mod 56 105mm Howitzer 70  Italy
CITEFA Model 77 155mm Howitzer 109  Argentina
CALA 30 155 mm Howitzer 2  Argentina Developed to replace the CITEFA Model 77
M-114 155 mm Howitzer 48  United States

Self-propelled artillery

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
VCTM Self-propelled mortar 50  Germany/ Argentina VCTP variant carrying a 120mm AM-50 mortar.
AMX Mk F3 Self-propelled howitzer 24  France 155 mm gun
VCA Palmaria Self-propelled howitzer 19  Argentina/ Italy 155 mm gun. Palmaria turret mated to a TAM hull.
SLAM PAMPERO Multiple rocket launcher 4  Argentina 105 mm multiple rocket launcher mounted on a Unimog truck.
SLAM SAPBA Multiple rocket launcher 50  Argentina 127 mm multiple rocket launcher mounted on a FIAT 697 truck.

Anti-aircraft weapons

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Hispano Suiza HS.831 30 mm anti-aircraft gun 21  France
Bofors L/60 40 mm anti-aircraft gun 250  Sweden
L90 twin cannon 35 mm anti-aircraft gun 100  Switzerland
Roland Surface-to-air missile system 4  France


Logistics and utility vehicles

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Lohr Fardier All terrain vehicle 50  France For use by Paratrooper Brigade
M151A2 MUTT Light Utility Vehicle 340  United States
Mercedes-Benz MB 230G Light Utility Vehicle 919  Germany
Isuzu Trooper Light Utility Vehicle 147  Japan
HMMWV Light Utility Vehicle 40  United States For use in UN peacekeeping missions
Ford F-100 Light utility truck 485  United States
Chevrolet M1008 Light utility truck 70  United States
Mercedes-Benz MB 1112/1113/1114 790  Germany
Mercedes-Benz MB 1720 100  Germany
Mercedes-Benz Unimog U-416/421/431 Light Tactical Wheeled Vehicle 1913  Germany
FIAT 697 Heavy equipment transporter 20  Italy

Armored fighting vehicles

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M113 Armored personnel carrier 520  United States Including variants (M577,M106,M548,...)
MOWAG Grenadier Armored personnel carrier 47  Switzerland 4x4 wheeled APC.
Alvis Tactica Armored personnel carrier 9  United Kingdom 4x4 wheeled APC.
AMX-13 VCPC Armored personnel carrier 30  France
VCPC Command vehicle 9  Germany/ Argentina Command post version of the VCTP.
VCTP Infantry fighting vehicle 216  Germany/ Argentina IFV variant of the TAM. Tank turret replaced with a turret mounted 20mm autocannon
Panhard AML-90 Armored car 50  France
SK-105 Kurassier Light tank 118  Austria
AMX-13/105 Light tank 56  France Being phased out in favour of the Patagon.
Patagon Light tank 40  Argentina Locally produced light tank. Combines a SK-105 hull with an AMX-13 turret.
TAM Medium tank 200  Germany/ Argentina Based on the hull from the Marder, and turret from the Leopard 1.



See also


  1. ^ Hugo Moreno, Le désastre argentin. Péronisme, politique et violence sociale (1930-2001), Editions Syllepses, Paris, 2005, p.109 (French)
  2. ^ Conclusion of Marie-Monique Robin's Escadrons de la mort, l'école française (French)
  3. ^ MM. Giscard d'Estaing et Messmer pourraient être entendus sur l'aide aux dictatures sud-américaines, Le Monde, September 25, 2003 (French)
  4. ^ « Série B. Amérique 1952-1963. Sous-série : Argentine, n° 74. Cotes : 18.6.1. mars 52-août 63 ».
  5. ^ RAPPORT FAIT AU NOM DE LA COMMISSION DES AFFAIRES ÉTRANGÈRES SUR LA PROPOSITION DE RÉSOLUTION (n° 1060), tendant à la création d'une commission d'enquête sur le rôle de la France dans le soutien aux régimes militaires d'Amérique latine entre 1973 et 1984, PAR M. ROLAND BLUM, French National Assembly (French)
  6. ^ Argentine : M. de Villepin défend les firmes françaises, Le Monde, February 5, 2003 (French)
  7. ^ Jane's Defence Weekly 2 February 1991
  8. ^ a b "Light Arms Production in Latin America". 

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