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Soldier of the famous Portuguese Army Caçadores elite light infantry in the Peninsular War
Portuguese Army troops in the jungle, during the 1960's and 1970's Colonial Wars in Africa.
The Operational Structure of the Portuguese Army.

The Portuguese Army ( ) 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 Portugalmarker. 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 Leonesemarker and the Moors in the 12th century, against the Castilian invaders in the 14th century, against the Spanishmarker Habsburgs in the 17th century, and against Frenchmarker invaders in the Peninsular War in the 19th century. Here they were re-trained, following a catastrophic performance in the 1808 French invasion, 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, however the cavalry were less than reliable.

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. The army participated in colonial wars from 1961 to 1974, in Angolamarker, Goamarker, Mozambiquemarker, Portuguese Guineamarker and East-Timormarker. In 1961, the isolated and relatively small Portuguese Army suffered a defeat against a largely superior Indian Army in the colony of Portuguese Indiamarker, which was subsequently lost to the Union of India in the same invasion.

Peace missions

In the 21st century, the Portuguese Army has participated in several peace missions, including in Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker, Kosovomarker, East-Timormarker, and Afghanistanmarker — currently a Comandos company. 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[184358];
  2. Functional Commands:
  3. Operational Formations and Military Zones:
  4. Main Military Schools:

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:
  4. Engineers:
  5. Communications:
  6. Logistical Services:
  7. Mixed:


  • Marechal (Marshall) [Honourific]
  • General
  • Tenente-General (Lieutenant-General)
  • Major-General
  • Brigadeiro-General (Brigadier-General)
  • Coronel (Colonel)
  • Tenente-Coronel (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • Major
  • Capitão (Capitain)
  • Tenente (Lieutenant)
  • Alferes (2nd Lieutenant)
  • Aspirante-a-Oficial
  • Soldado Cadete (Officer Cadet)

  • Sargento-Mor (Sergeant Major)
  • Sargento-Chefe (Master Sergeant)
  • Sargento-Ajudante
  • 1º Sargento (1st Sergeant)
  • 2º Sargento (2nd Sergent)
  • Furriel
  • 2º Furriel
  • Soldado Instruendo

Enlisted Ranks of the Portuguese Army



1º Cabo

2º Cabo


Soldado Recruta


OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1 No Equivalent
No Insignia No Insignia


The Portuguese Army is equipped with light firearms, heavy firearms, mortars, tanks, artillery, anti-air artillery, tactical vehicles, heavy vehicles, armoured vehicles, helicopters, and other equipment.




  • 105mm L118 Light Gun
  • 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 and M109A4

Anti-Air Artillery

Tactical Vehicles

Heavy Vehicles




See also


  • Jornal do Exército, official magazine

External links

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