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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 Boliviamarker), Paraguaymarker, Uruguaymarker and Chilemarker 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 Empiremarker. (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.. 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 ( ), 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'Orsaymarker, 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..

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. 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'Orsaymarker

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.

Modern times

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.

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 ( )
  • Informations ( )
  • Operations ( )
  • Logistic ( )
  • Finance ( )
  • Welfare ( )
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 ( )
  • Education and Doctrine Command ( )
  • Engineers Command ( )
  • Remount and Veterinary Command ( )
  • Health Command ( )
  • Materiel Logistics Command ( )
  • Army Historical Directorate ( )
  • Research, Development and Production Directorate ( )
  • Planning Directorate ( )
  • Transportation Directorate ( )
  • General Staff Directorate ( )

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


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.

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). 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 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.


NATO Rank Code Argentinian Rank Translation US Army equivalent
OF-8 / OF-9 Teniente General Lieutenant General Lieutenant General / General
OF-7 General de División Divisional General Major General
OF-6 General de Brigada Brigade General Brigadier General
OF-5 Coronel Mayor * Colonel Major Colonel (no exact equivalent)
OF-5 Coronel Colonel Colonel
OF-4 Teniente Coronel Lieutenant Colonel Lieutenant Colonel
OF-3 Mayor Major Major
OF-2 Capitán Captain Captain
OF-1 Teniente Primero First Lieutenant First Lieutenant
OF-1 Teniente Lieutenant Second Lieutenant (senior)
OF-D Subteniente Sub-lieutenant Second Lieutenant (junior)

. * 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.

Non-commissioned Officers and Enlisted Men

Argentinian Rank Equivalent Ranks in the British Army
Suboficial Mayor WO1
Suboficial Principal WO2
Sargento Ayudante Staff Sergeant
Sargento Primero Staff Sergeant
Sargento Sergeant
Cabo Primero Corporal
Cabo Corporal
Voluntario Primero Private
Voluntario Segundo Private
Voluntario Segundo en Comisión Private


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

Total Vehicles : 7200 vehicles (aprox.)

Fighting Vehicles

  • 360 x TAM medium tanks
  • 125 x SK-105 Kurassier light tanks plus 40 Patagon in production
  • 115 x AMX-13/105 light tanks being replaced by the indigenous 40 Patagon
  • 86 x Panhard AML-90 reconnaissance vehicles
  • 320 x VCTP infantry fighting vehicles plus variants
  • 660 x M113 armored personnel carriers plus variants (M577,M106,M548,...)
  • 88 x vctm
  • 44 x vcpc
  • 36 x vccdt
  • 30 x vc amun
  • 46 x Mowag Grenadier
  • 10 x Glover Tactica

Support Vehicles

Small arms

Anti-tank weapons


  • 48 x AMX Mk F3 self-propelled 155 mm artillery
  • 26 x VCA Palmaria self-propelled 155 mm artillery
  • 136 x CITEFA Model 77 155 mm artillery
  • 80 x OTO Melara Mod 56 105 mm artillery
  • 24 x Slam PAMPERO 105 mm multiple rocket launcher
  • 80 x M-101 105 mm artillery
  • 90 x Slam SAPBA 127 mm multiple rocket launcher
  • 56 x M-114 155 mm artillery
  • 12 X CALA 30 155 mm artillery
  • 440 x 120 mm mortars
  • 1100 x 81 mm mortars
  • 214 x 60 mm mortars
  • 250 x 40 mm L 56,24 & L 60 BOFORS anti aircraft cannon
  • 100 x 35 mm L 90 OERLIKON anti aircraft cannon
  • 35 x 30 mm Hispano Suiza anti aircraft cannon
  • 550 x 20 mm anti aircraft cannon
  • 16 x Roland anti aircraft missile launchers
  • 1124 x 12,7 mm (Browning M-50)


Bell UH-1H Huey during the Exhibition of the Argentine Army in May 2008

See also


  1. Hugo Moreno, Le désastre argentin. Péronisme, politique et violence sociale (1930-2001), Editions Syllepses, Paris, 2005, p.109
  2. Conclusion of Marie-Monique Robin's Escadrons de la mort, l'école française
  3. MM. Giscard d'Estaing et Messmer pourraient être entendus sur l'aide aux dictatures sud-américaines, Le Monde, September 25, 2003
  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
  6. Argentine : M. de Villepin défend les firmes françaises, Le Monde, February 5, 2003
  7. Jane's Defence Weekly 2 February 1991

External links

In serviceAviation Week & Space Technology 2009, 26 JAN 2009 Web.25 Jul 2009. />.
Aérospatiale SA 315 Lama
Search and rescue
SA 315B
Agusta A109
Scout/attack helicopter
Bell 205
Utility helicopter
UH-1 Iroquois
Utility helicopter
Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma

Antarctic support helicopter
AS 332B
Cessna T-41 Mescalero
Alenia G.222
Beechcraft Queen Air 65
Staff transport

CASA C-212 Aviocar
Cessna 207
Cessna 550 Citation
VIP transport
Citation I
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
Fairchild SA-226 Merlin
Staff transport
Merlin IIIA
Merlin IIIB
Merlin IVA
Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
Intelligence & Electronic Warfare
Additional 6 in storage for spares

Rockwell Sabreliner 75
VIP transport
Sabreliner 75A

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