Paraguayan Army

United States Brazil Utility vehicle
Paraguayan Army
Coat of arms of the Paraguayan Army.png
Paraguayan Army Seal
FoundedOfficially since 1811
Country Paraguay
Size20.000 active personnel[1]
160.000 reserves
Motto(s)Spanish: Vencer o Morir
To win or to die
MarchMarcha al Mariscal Lopez
Anniversaries24 of July (Mariscal Lopez Birthday)
EngagementsWar of the Triple Alliance
Chaco War
Paraguayan People's Army insurgency
Chief of the Paraguayan ArmyGEN Darío Martin Cáceres Snead
José Félix Estigarribia
Francisco Solano López

The Paraguayan Army is an institution of the State of Paraguay, organized into three divisions and 9, and several commands and direction. It has gone to war on three occasions: in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870) against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay; the Chaco War against Bolivia; and the ongoing Paraguayan People's Army insurgency.



Uniforms of cavalry and infantry of the Paraguayan army at the time of the War of the Triple Alliance.

Paraguay's army was formally established in 1811, the year of the country's independence. For the first several years of Paraguay's existence the commanders of the army, such as Fulgencio Yegros and Pedro Juan Caballero, formed the majority of the cabinet until 1814, when they were replaced by Dr. Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, who installed himself as supreme dictator for life after a series of political clashes with Yegros. Francia removed all army personnel from the government and reformed the army, which was by now inept and corrupt. He limited the power of the army by declaring that no rank above captain could be achieved, and that after three years of service officers were to be retired. By 1816 there were no officers in the army who had fought at the Tacuari or the Paraguari. Francia's horse-grenadier guard company was the first new unit created and was to form the nucleus of the army. Each captain was given command of a branch of the service, which consisted of line infantry, light infantry, dragoons, chasseurs, hussars and artillery. The infantry, artillery and hussars were stationed in the capital Asuncion, and the rest of the army was stationed in outposts around the country to defend from attacks by Indians. The cavalry would go dismounted during peacetime, and were distinguished by the yellow aiguillette sewn onto their left shoulder. Although no formal wars were fought, conflicts with the Chaco Indians, particularly the sub-groups of the Guaykuru tribes, raged in the borderlands. The size of the army varied according to the magnitude of threat. In 1825 it was 5000 strong, but in 1834 it was only 649 strong. There was also a large number of militia troops, which usually numbered around 25,000.

After Francia's death in 1840, Carlos Antonio Lopez assumed power and modernized the army and expanded the navy. He opened an iron foundry at Ybycui that produced arms and bullets and also built up a railway system in the country to transport troops and materiel.

Following the succession of Lopez's son, Francisco Solano López, the army was expanded yet further until it was one of the largest in South America, consisting by 1864 of 44 infantry battalions, 46 cavalry regiments and four artillery regiments. In that same year Paraguay fought its first actual war against Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Despite numerical superiority and initial success, the allies soon upped their game and Paraguay eventually found itself surrounded. Despite constant defeat on the field by the allies, the Paraguayans did not capitulate until Lopez had been killed in 1870, on the run with his 200 remaining men.

Presence in UN Missions


As of 2016, the Paraguayan Army had a total strength of 10,600 personnel, including 2,500 conscripts.[1]

The Paraguayan Army is composed of Presidential Guard Regiment, two battalions (infantry and military police), an armored squadron and a battery of field artillery (plus the Mounted Ceremonial Squadron "Aca Caraya"). Their equipment includes three Argentine modified M4 Sherman tanks, four EE-9 armored cars, four EE-11 armored personnel carriers (APCs), three M-9 halftracks mounting 20mm guns and four M-101 105 mm howitzers. Arguably, this "flagship" of military rule is structurally and physically the strongest of the EP. The REP is an independent unit from other commands. The EP features two artillery groups (GAC 1–12 88 mm QF-25 and GAC 2–12 105mm M-101) and one antiaircraft artillery group (GAA 13 40 mm L 40/60, Oerlikon 20 mm cannons, and six M-55 4×12, 7.0 mm).

Six battalions of combat engineers, one communications battalion, one Special Forces battalion, seven regiments of infantry and six regiments of cavalry comprise the rest of the force. There is little organic aviation available to it.

Each corps has a weapons school run by its command. The logistical command manages and addresses materials, mobilization, health care, etc. The command of the Army Institute of Education administers three schools, commissioned and noncommissoned officers, a military academy and the CIMEFOR (a center for pre-military study that trains Reserve officers).

Each of the nine divisions that make up the three corps has one or two regiments of infantry or cavalry, its platoon of engineers, its communications section, military police units, etc.


Armored vehicles

Model Type Origin Quantity Notes
M4 Sherman Medium tank  United States 3[1] Retired in 2018 [2]
M3 Stuart Light tank  United States 10[3] 10 operational as of 2014, 4 more in storage[3]
M9 Half-track Armored Personnel Carrier  United States 23[4]
EE-9 Cascavel Armored car  Brazil 28[4] Upgraded in Brazil in 2008.
EE-11 Urutu Armored Personnel Carrier  Brazil 12[4]

Logistic vehicles

Model Type Origin Quantity Notes
M.Benz Atego Tactical Truck  Brazil
M.Benz 1414/51 Tactical Truck  Brazil
Unimog Utility Truck  Germany
MAN 630 Tactical Truck  Germany 100 Upgraded in Germany in 1994
MAN KAT1 Tactical Truck  Germany 20 ordered in 2013
Engesa EE 25 Tactical Truck  Brazil 5? maybe not operational
Ford Cargo 17-22 Tactical Truck  Brazil +78
Ford Ranger utility vehicle  Argentina 19
Land Rover Defender 130 utility vehicle  United Kingdom 96
Land Rover Defender 110 utility vehicle  United Kingdom
Agrale Marrua utility vehicle  Brazil 17
Chevrolet S10 utility vehicle  Brazil 104
Mitsubishi L200 utility vehicle  Brazil +11
ARGO 8×8 amphibious all-terrain vehicle  Canada 12

Artillery pieces and mortars

Model Type Origin Quantity Notes
M101 howitzer howitzer  United States 20/26 105 mm
Ordnance QF 25-pounder howitzer  United Kingdom 12 87.6 mm
7.5 cm FK 38 Krupp howitzer  Germany 12 75 mm, in reserve.
Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 mountain gun  Sweden 6/12 75 mm, in reserve.
M20 recoilless rifle recoilless rifle  United States ? 75 mm
Brandt mle 27/31 mortar  France 80 81 mm
M30 mortar mortar  United States 8 107 mm
M-120 120 mm mortar  United States 38 120 mm
60 mm Mortar mortar  Spain 42 60 mm
M1A1 Anti-aircraft artillery  United States 10 90 mm
Bofors 40 mm L/60 Towed anti-aircraft artillery  Sweden 13 40 mm
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon Anti-aircraft artillery   Switzerland 20 20 mm, some mounted in vehicles.
Oerlikon GAI- BO1 20 mm Anti-aircraft artillery   Switzerland 3 20 mm
M3 Half-track half-track armored personnel carrier  United States 3 Armed with 20 mm cannons

Anti-Armor Weapons

Model Origin Type Quantity Notes
Anti-Armor Guns
M40  United States 106 mm. Recoilless rifle 06
M20  United States 75 mm. Recoilless rifle 31
M18 recoilless rifle  United States 57 mm. Recoilless rifle 32
Bazooka M-20  United States recoilless rocket antitank weapon 136
M72 LAW  United States Anti-tank rocket launcher 80 First Delivery

Small arms

Name Origin Type Caliber Notes
Beretta 92  Italy Pistol 9×19mm Parabellum
Browning HP35  Belgium Pistol 9×19mm Parabellum
Taurus 9 mm  Brazil Pistol 9×19mm Parabellum
T65K2  Taiwan Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Standard issue
FN FAL  Belgium Assault rifle 7.62×51mm
M4 carbine  United States Assault rifle 5.56×45mm
Norinco CQ  China Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Limited use
M16 rifle  United States Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Limited use
HK G3  West Germany Assault rifle 7.62×51mm In reserve
M24 Sniper Weapon System  United States Sniper rifle 7.62×51mm
Barrett M82  United States Anti-materiel rifle 12.7×99mm Version M-107A1
submachine guns and machine guns
MP5  West Germany submachine gun 9×19mm Parabellum
IMI Uzi  Israel submachine gun 9×19mm Parabellum
FN MAG  Belgium machine gun 7.62×51mm use for EE9-Cascabel, Land Rover Defender 110.
IMI Negev  Israel light machine gun 5.56×45mm
Heckler & Koch HK21  West Germany machine gun 7.62×51mm Version HK-21E
Browning M2HB  United States machine gun 12.7×99mm
M1919 Browning machine gun  United States machine gun 7.62×51mm Version A4
ZB vz. 26 Brno  Czechoslovakia machine gun 7.62×51mm Upgraded by IMBEL (Brazil) in the 80s
grenade launchers
M-79  United States grenade launcher 40 mm. grenade
M203  United States grenade launcher 40 mm. grenade


Officer Ranks

The stars worn by Army and Air Force lieutenants (Sub-Teniente, Teniente, Teniente 1ro) and captains are silver in color. The ones worn by the Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel are gold. The army officers branch is denoted by the color of circular pads under the stars, which is also the same color used for the chevron. Red denotes branches such as Infantry and Artillery, while Cavalry is denoted by a pink. A darker red denotes support branches such as Engineering Corps, Communications, and Intelligence. Green means Supply and Transportation, while purple is reserved for the Medicine Branch. Generals' special chevron consists of a woven depiction of the olive and palm found in the national emblem in gold threads.

Paraguayan Officer Ranks and their US Military counterpart

Enlisted Ranks

As in the case of the army officers, the army enlisted branch is denoted by the color of their chevrons and bars. The colors and meanings are the same as the ones explained above.

Paraguayan Enlisted Ranks and their US Military counterpart

See also


  1. ^ a b c IISS (2012), p. 398
  2. ^ Rivas, Santiago (18 April 2018). "Paraguayan Army retires last M4 Shermans from service". Jane's 360. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b de Cherisey, Erwan (29 December 2015). "Paraguay keeping M3 Stuart, M4 Sherman tanks in service". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b c IISS (2012), p. 399