The Info List - Spanish Army

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The SPANISH ARMY (Spanish : Ejército de Tierra; lit. " Army
of the Land/Ground") is the terrestrial army of the Spanish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is one of the oldest active armies — dating back to the late 15th century.


* 1 History

* 1.1 Under the Habsburgs * 1.2 18th century * 1.3 Napoleonic era and Restoration * 1.4 Nineteen Century Colonial and Carlist Wars until second Restoration and American-Spanish war * 1.5 Second Republic (1931-36) * 1.6 Civil War (1936-39)

* 2 The Spanish Army
under the Francoist Regime (1939-1975)

* 2.1 Second World War * 2.2 International Isolation * 2.3 Agreement with the United States (Barroso Reform, 1957) * 2.4 Years of Economic Development (Menéndez Tolosa Reform, 1965)

* 3 The Spanish Army
under King Juan Carlos I

* 3.1 Initial years (1975-1989) * 3.2 After the end of the Cold War (1989-present)

* 4 Today

* 4.1 Personnel

* 4.2 Equipment

* 4.2.1 Weapons * 4.2.2 Combat vehicles * 4.2.3 Artillery * 4.2.4 Aircraft * 4.2.5 Unmanned aerial vehicles

* 5 Formation and structure

* 6 Commanders in Chief of the Spanish Army

* 6.1 Army
Ministers * 6.2 Chiefs of the Army

* 7 Uniforms

* 8 Ranks and insignia

* 8.1 Officer ranks * 8.2 Ranks of non-commissioned officers and enlisted

* 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Bibliography * 12 External links and further reading


Main article: Military history of Spain

The Spanish army has existed continuously since the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (late 15th century). The oldest and largest of the three services, its mission was the defense of Peninsular Spain , the Balearic Islands , the Canary Islands , Melilla , Ceuta
and the Spanish islands and rocks off the northern coast of Africa.


The Battle of Pavia, 1525. Spanish forces capture the French king, Francis I

During the 16th century, Habsburg Spain saw a steady growth in its military power. The Italian Wars (1494–1559) resulted in an ultimate Spanish victory and hegemony in northern Italy
by expelling the French. During the war, the Spanish army transformed its organization and tactics, evolving from a primarily pike and halberd wielding force into the first pike and shot formation of arquebusiers and pikemen , known as the colunella. During the 16th century this formation evolved into the tercio infantry formation. The new formation and battle tactics were developed because of Spain's inability to field sufficient cavalry forces to face the heavy French cavalry.

Backed by the financial resources drawn from the Americas , Spain could afford to mount lengthy campaigns against her enemies, such as the long running Dutch revolt (1568–1609), defending Christian Europe
from Ottoman raids and invasions, supporting the Catholic
cause in the French civil wars and fighting England
during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) . The Spanish army grew in size from around 20,000 in the 1470s, to around 300,000 by the 1630s during the Thirty Years\' War that tore Europe
apart, requiring the recruitment of soldiers from across Europe. With such numbers involved, Spain
had trouble funding the war effort on so many fronts. The non-payment of troops led to many mutinies and events such as the Sack of Antwerp (1576), when unpaid tercio units looted the Dutch city.

The Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
(1618–1648) drew in Spain
alongside most other European states. Spain
entered the conflict with a strong position, but the ongoing fighting gradually eroded her advantages; first Dutch, then Swedish innovations had made the tercio more vulnerable, having less flexibility and firepower than its more modern equivalents. Nevertheless, Spanish armies continued to win major battles and sieges throughout this period across large swathes of Europe. French entry into the war in 1635 put additional pressure on Spain, with the French victory at the Battle of Rocroi
Battle of Rocroi
in 1643 being a major boost for the French. By the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Spain
was forced to accept the independence of the Dutch Republic .

In the second half of the century, a much reduced and increasingly neglected Spanish army became infamous for being poorly equipped and rarely paid.


remained an important naval and military power, depending on critical sea lanes stretching from Spain
through the Caribbean
and South America
South America
, and westwards towards Manila
and the Far East .

The Army
was reorganised on the French model and in 1704 the old Tercios were transformed into Regiments . The first modern military school (the Artillery School) was created in Segovia
in 1764. Finally, in 1768 King Charles III sanctioned the "Royal Ordinances for the Regime, Discipline, Subordination and Service in His Armies", which were in force until 1978.


Further information: Peninsular War
Peninsular War

In the late 18th century, Bourbon-ruled Spain
had an alliance with Bourbon-ruled France, and therefore did not have to fear a land war. Its only serious enemy was Britain, which had a powerful Royal Navy; Spain
therefore concentrated its resources on its navy. When the French Revolution overthrew the Bourbons, a land war with France became a danger which the king tried to avoid. The Spanish army was ill-prepared. The officer corps was selected primarily on the basis of royal patronage, rather than merit. About a third of the junior officers have been promoted from the ranks, and they did have talent, but they had few opportunities for promotion or leadership. The rank-and-file were poorly trained peasants. Elite units included foreign regiments of Irishmen, Italians, Swiss, and Walloons, in addition to elite artillery and engineering units. Equipment was old-fashioned and in disrepair. The army lacked its own horses, oxen and mules for transportation, so these auxiliaries were operated by civilians, who might run away if conditions looked bad. In combat, small units fought well, but their old-fashioned tactics were hardly of use against the Napoleonic forces, despite repeated desperate efforts at last-minute reform. When war broke out with France in 1808, the army was deeply unpopular. Leading generals were assassinated, and the army proved incompetent to handle command-and-control. Junior officers from peasant families deserted and went over to the insurgents; many units disintegrated. Spain
was unable to mobilize its artillery or cavalry. In the war, there was one victory at the Battle of Bailén
Battle of Bailén
within the first 2 months of the start and with little time to prepare against the veteran French troops, which however not followed in its advantage - the French evacuated the peninsula all the way to the Ebro valley near the Pyrenees - and suffering many humiliating defeats of the Spanish regular Army
after such auspicious start, proved to be the first sound defeat to the hitherto seemly unbeatable Imperial armies, and demonstrating that if given more or less equal forces than the usual mass superiority of the French as it happened forcing the surrender of a whole Division of the Imperial Army, this inspired many other nations formerly defeated by France, motivating first Austria and showed the force of nationwide resistance to Napoleon. Conditions however steadily worsened as Napoleon brought more effective troops into the peninsula, as the insurgents increasingly took control of Spain's battle against Napoleon in the oldest national trait of warfare, known by its vernacular name Guerrilla and more or less unified underground National Resistance for which traditional armies of the Time and warfare developed during the XVIII century were not organized or prepared yet. Napoleon ridiculed the Spanish standard army as "the worst in Europe". And the British who had to work with it agreed. It was not the Army
that defeated Napoleon, but the insurgent peasants whom Napoleon ridiculed as packs of "bandits led by monks" or "rebels" in "insurgency" against the legitimate government of his brother, Joseph I implanted by him as a new monarch. By 1812, the army controlled only scattered enclaves, and could only harass the French with occasional raids. The morale of the army had reached a nadir, and reformers stripped the aristocratic officers of most of their legal privileges.


further information: the Spanish Carlist Wars

During the XIX century Spain
with a much reduced territory and Power recognized in Europe
after the Congress of Vienna in 1814, had a renewed problem in the international arena, consequence of its former alliance with France that costed its main Fleets and many War damages in its military arsenals and Weapons factories, some of it caused by the British or Portuguese allies during the Peninsular campaign to prevent the French or Spain
after the war to resume their services. Immediately after the War, while its administration was trying to come to terms with the local rebellions against a renewed Totalitarian monarchy, the overseas colonies inspired by France and the United States of America saw to wrestle control from a debilitated Metropolis, that demanded more taxes to rebuild itself after the Napoleonic period disasters. Many continental armies were sent to Central America and South America
South America
which proved to be futile and too late. The former Empire lost an important artery of its Power and with it the wealth in revenues on which have become too dependent over centuries, to reform the Military into a modern and standing national force however conscription was adopted.

At the same time right after, and as consequence of the regional grievances brewing for decades against the Centralization of Government that the Bourbons brought from France, surfacing during and after the Napoleonic wars that made it more evident and taking sides within the dynastic wars that took place mainly within the peninsula, it broke Spain
into more military woes to reform not just the Military but its whole Administrative and Social structure. As consequence of these internal conflicts, and the weakness of a Central net structures of government under the Monarch, many generals with political careers intent would interrupt in the Public Life in multiple pronunciamientos for the rest of the century until the Second Restoration of the Bourbons in Spain, that will form part of the pervasive Cultural mentality of the new professional body of officers forming into the High command and of a more or less permissive Society at large, expecting these or financing and backing these military irruptions in Civil government. This Cultural tacit expectation of "special emergency interventions" from the military will pervade well into the first third of the XX century, ending up in the Spanish Civil War between factions of the Military and the whole Social reconfiguration of the Nation in all its sections and seams, from the State itself and its geographic entirety down to the families and individuals split by it.

Further information: see the Spanish-American War in 1998 against the United States and Spanish War in Cuba and lost of Empire


During the Second Spanish Republic, the Spanish government enlisted over a ten million men to the army.

CIVIL WAR (1936-39)


See also: Policía Armada

This period can be divided in four phases:

* 1939-1945: Second World War * 1945-1954: International Isolation (lack of means) * 1954-1961: Agreement with the United States (a certain improvement in means and capabilities) * 1961-1975: Development plans (economic basis for the modernisations that follows in the 1970s and 1980s).


Military service in Spain

At the end of the Civil War, the Spanish (Francoist) Army
counted with 1,020,500 men, in 60 Divisions. During the first year of peace, Franco dramatically reduced the size of the Spanish Army
to 250,000 in early 1940, with most soldiers two-year conscripts. A few weeks after the end of the war, the eight traditional Military Regions (Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Burgos, Valladolid, La Coruña) were reestablished. In 1944 a ninth Military Region, with HQ in Granada, was created. The Air Force became an independent service, under its own Air Ministry.

Concerns about the international situation, Spain's possible entry into World War II, and threats of invasion led him to undo some of these reductions. In November 1942, with the Allied landings in North Africa and the German occupation of Vichy France bringing hostilities closer than ever to Spain's border, Franco ordered a partial mobilization, bringing the army to over 750,000 men. The Air Force and Navy also grew in numbers and in budgets, to 35,000 airmen and 25,000 sailors by 1945, although for fiscal reasons Franco had to restrain attempts by both services to undertake dramatic expansions.

During the Second World War, the Spanish Army
had eight Army
Corps, with two or three Infantry Division each. Additionally, there were two Army
Corps in Northern Africa, the Canary Islands General Command and the Balearic Islands General Command, one Cavalry Division and the Artillery's General Reserve. In 1940 a Reserve Group, with three Divisions, was created.


At the end of the Second World War, the Spanish Army
counted 22,000 officers, 3,000 NCO and almost 300,000 soldiers. The equipment dated from the Civil War, with some systems produced in Germany during the World War. Doctrine and Training were obsolete, as they had not incorporated the teachings of the Second World War. This situation lasted until the agreements with the United States in September 1953.


After the signature of the military agreement with the United States in 1953, the assistance received from Washington allowed Spain
to procure more modern equipment and to improve the country's defence capabilities. More than 200 Spanish officers and NCOs received specialised training in the United States each year under a parallel program. With the Barroso Reform (1957), the Spanish Army
abandoned the organisation inherited from the Civil War to adopt the United States' pentomic structure. In 1958 three experimental pentomic Infantry Divisions were created (Madrid, Algeciras, Valencia). In 1960, five more pentomic Infantry Divisions (Gerona, Málaga, Oviedo, Vigo, Vitoria) and four mountain Divisions were created. All in all, after the Barroso Reform, the Spanish Army
had 8 pentomic Infantry Divisions, four Mountain Divisions, one Armoured Division, one Cavalry Division, three independent Armoured Brigades and three Field Artillery Brigades.


The 1965 Reforms were inspired by contemporary French organisation and Doctrine of the era. The Army
was grouped into two basic categories: the Immediate Intervention Forces (Field Army) and the Operational Defence Forces (Territorial Army) and were divided into the following:

* The IIF (FA) had the mission of defending the Pyrenean and the Gibraltar frontiers and of fulfilling Spain's security commitments abroad and thus were composed of the following:

* Armoured Division, with two Brigades * Mechanised Division, with two Brigades * Motorized Division, with two Brigades * Parachute Brigade (raised 1973) * Airborne Brigade * Armored Cavalry Brigade * Army
Corps support units

* ODF (TA) units had the missions of maintaining security in the regional commands and of reinforcing the Civil Guard ) and the police against subversion and terrorism categorized into:

* 9 independent TA Infantry Brigades (one in every Military Region), with two Infantry Battalions each, * 2 TA Mountain Divisions, * 1 Mountain Reserve of the Army
High Command (TA), * The Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Ceuta
and Melilla
commands, with their respective TA units including the Regulares (6 Groups later reduced to 4) and the Spanish Legion
Spanish Legion
(4 Tercios), * and the Army
General Reserve Command, composed of TA units working as the reserve force of the Army
and are the equivalent to the United States Army

Members of the Spanish Legion
Spanish Legion

During the last years of the Francoist regime, contemporary weapons were ordered for the Spanish Army. In 1973, the military education system was reformed in depth, in order to make its structure and objectives similar to those existing in the civilian universities. It was during this time that the Spanish Army
fought in the campaigns in what is now Western Sahara
Western Sahara
against Arab forces in the area who agitated for the end of Spanish colonial rule.


INITIAL YEARS (1975-1989)

Main article: Structure of the Spanish Army
in 1989

Three main events characterise this period: creation of a single Ministry of Defence (1977) to replace the three existing military ministries (Army, Navy and Air Ministries), the failed coup d\'état in February 1981 and the accession to NATO
in 1982.

The Army
modernisation program (META plan) was done between 1982 and 1988 in order for Spain
to achieve full compliance with NATO standards. When the plan was completed the following results were achieved:

* Military regions in the mainland were reduced from 9 to 6. * The IIF (FA) and the ODF (TA) were merged into one single structure. * The number of Brigades was reduced from 24 to 15. * Personnel numbers were reduced from 279,000 to 230,000.


The end of the Cold War came with the reduction of the term of military service for conscripts until its complete abolition in 2001 and the increasing participation of Spanish forces in multinational peacekeeping operations abroad are the main drivers for changes in the Spanish Army
after 1989. Three reorganisation plans were implemented since: the RETO plan (1990), the NORTE plan (1994) and the Instruction for Organisation and Operation of the Army
(IOFET) 2005.



Spanish soldiers of the Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan

In 2001, when compulsory military service was still in effect, the army was about 135,000 troops (50,000 officers and 86,000 soldiers). Following the suspension of conscription the Spanish Army
became a fully professionalised volunteer force and by 2008 had a personnel strength of 75,000. In case of a wartime emergency, an additional force of 80,000 Civil Guards comes under the Ministry of Defence command.



* Heckler & Koch USP - 9 mm pistol Standard weapon. * Heckler & Koch MP5
Heckler & Koch MP5
- 9 mm submachine gun Special Operations Forces. * Heckler & Koch G36
Heckler & Koch G36
- 5.56 mm assault rifle . Without integral red dot sight , Spanish variants use a Picatinny Rail to mount an EoTech holographic sight * Heckler & Koch G36KE and G36CE - 5.56 mm assault rifle Special Operations Forces. * Heckler & Koch HK417 - 7.62 mm NATO assault rifle Special Operations Forces. * Rheinmetall MG3
Rheinmetall MG3
- 7.62 mm NATO medium machine gun * Heckler -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ "España Hoy 2016-2016". lamoncloa.gob.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 May 2017. * ^ A B New chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force. Ministery of Defence (Spain). Retrieved 31 March 201