The Chilean Army (Spanish: Ejército de Chile) is the land arm of the Military of Chile. This 50,000 army (9,200 of which are conscripts) is organized into six divisions, a special operations brigade and an air brigade.
|Ejército de Chile|
Chilean Army emblem
|Active||1603, 1810 – present|
|Size||50,000 (9,200 conscripts) |
|Part of||Ministry of National Defense (Chile)|
|Patron||Our Lady of Mount Carmel|
|Motto(s)||Siempre vencedor, jamás vencido ("Always Victorious, Never Defeated")|
|March||Los viejos estandartes ("Old Banners")|
|Anniversaries||September 19th (Army Day)|
|Engagements||War of Arauco|
Chilean War of Independence
Freedom Expedition of Perú
Chilean Civil War of 1829–30
War of the Confederation
1851 Chilean Revolution
Revolution of 1859
Chincha Islands War
Occupation of Araucanía
War of the Pacific
1891 Chilean Civil War
Chilean naval mutiny of 1931
1973 Chilean coup d'état
2004 Haitian coup d'état
|Gen. Ricardo Martínez|
|Bernardo O'Higgins, José Miguel Carrera, Manuel Bulnes, Manuel Baquedano, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, Augusto Pinochet|
Flag of the Chilean Army chief
The National Army of Chile was created on December 2, 1810, by order of the First National Government Junta. The army was actively involved in the Independence War, which was fought against royalist troops in battles such as Yerbas Buenas, San Carlos, Quechereguas, Rancagua, Chacabuco and Maipú. During this period, national figures such as José Miguel Carrera, Bernardo O'Higgins and Argentinian General José de San Martín commanded the army toward definitive victory over the Spanish forces, ultimately achieving independence for the country. The Army's first commander-in-chief was José Miguel Carrera. After obtaining independence from Spain, the newly formed Republic reorganized its military structure by creating the Military Academy of Chile, which was founded by General O'Higgins in 1817.
Diego Portales set up a civil militia, the Guardia Nacional, to end one of the worst stages of militarism in Chilean history. The militia was created in 1825 Portales developed this parallel army to compensate the army's might. The Chilean Conscription Law of 1900 marked the beginning of the end of the Guardia Nacional.
During the War of the Pacific, many high-ranking officers won valuable insights into the state of the army and became aware that the army required rebuilding. Losses, material destruction, and organizational flaws regarding strategic planning and officer training, were noted by officers like Emilio Sotomayor and Patricio Lynch, who approached President Santa María arguing the need of good schools and technical departments for the military. Other factor that supported the emulation, the deliberate systematic imitation of the military technology, organisation, and doctrine of one country by another[Notes 1] was the danger of war with Argentina. The emulation was backed by a broad coalition of civil and military leaders.
Chile hired a French military training mission in 1858,:129 and the Chilean legation in Berlin was instructed to find a training mission during the War of the Pacific in 1881. But large-scale emulation of the Prussian Army began in 1886 with the appointment of Captain Emil Körner, a graduate of the renowned Kriegsakademie in Berlin. Also appointed were 36 Prussian officers to train officer cadets in the Chilean Military Academy. The training occurred in three phases; the first took place from 1885 to 1891 during the presidency of Domingo Santa María, the second was the post-civil-war phase, and the third was the 1906 reorganization.:128-
The emulation was focused in armaments, conscription, officer recruitment and instruction, and general staff organization as well as military doctrine (adopted 1906). It was extended also into military logistics and medical services, promotions, retirement, salary regulation and even uniforms (adopted 1904), marching styles, helmets, parades, and military music.
Armaments: Prior to 1883, the army was equipped with a variety of rifles, mostly French and Belgian origin. From 1892 to 1902, the Chilean-Argentine Arms Race, marked the peak of Chilean arms purchase. 100,000 Mauser rifles and new Krupp artillery was bought for 3,000,000 DM in 1893, 2,000,000 DM in 1895 and 15,000,000 DM in 1898. Ammunition factories and small arms manufacturing plants were established.:134
Conscription: Like others armies in South America, Chile had had a small army of long-term service officers and soldiers. In 1900 Chile became the first country in Latin America to enforce a system of compulsory military service, whereby training, initially five to eighteen months (Germany: three years), took place in zones of divisional organization in order to create a solid military structure that could be easily doubled with well-trained and combat-ready reserve forces. Budgetary restrictions prevented the full impact of the law: the service fell disproportionately on the lower classes, no more than 20% of the contingent was incorporated annually, and former conscripts were not retrained periodically.:137
Officer education and training: The beginning of the German mission were dedicated almost exclusively to the organization and implementation of a standardized, technically oriented military education with the essence of Moltke's German military system of continuous study of artillery, infantry, cartography, history, topography, logistics, tactics, etc., for a modern, professional and technically trained officer corps. In 1886, the "Academia de Guerra" (War Academy) was founded "to elevate the level of technical and scientific instruction of army officers, in order that they be able, in case of war, to utilize the advantages of new methods of combat and new armaments." The best alumni were candidates for general staff service. By the mid-1890s Körner organized the courses for a Noncommissioned Officers' School (Escuela de Suboficiales y Clases).:139
During the 1891 Chilean Civil War Körner was removed from duty by José Manuel Balmaceda. He and his followers set sail north to join the Congressional forces in Iquique. He became chief architect of the new army and, though Estanislao del Canto formally was commander-in-chief, Körner led the rebel forces in the major clashes of the civil war.:145
Chile had had a General Staff during the War of the Pacific. Körner turned his attention to a permanent institution in 1893-94 that should replace the old "Inspector General del Ejército", but with control over military affairs in peacetime and wartime. It had four sections: Instruction and Discipline, Military Schools, Scientific Works (strategic and operational planning), and Administration.:147-
The Guardia Republicana or Milicia Republicana was created after the fall of the Socialist Republic of Chile in order to prevent another Coup d'Etat. On May 7, 20,000 militiamen marched past President Arturo Alessandri in the streets of Santiago. In Las Mercedes' plot, 1933, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Pedro Vignola called "to resist the Milicia Republicana by any means" and he was forced to retire from his post. In 1936, the militia was disbanded.
During the decades previous to the coup, the Chilean Army became influenced by the United States' anti-communist ideology in the context of various cooperation programs including the US Army School of the Americas.
On 11 September 1973, in a watershed event of the Cold War and the history of Chile, president Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup d’état by the Armed Forces. Paul W. Drake and Ivan Jaksic state in The Struggle for Democracy in Chile:
The Army, with now Captain General Augusto Pinochet, leader of the coup, as Commander-in-chief of both the Army and the Armed Forces, led the national mobilization effort in 1978 as the Beagle conflict began to hit the country. The Army was on full alert status during the duration of the crisis.
Patricio Aylwin became elected President of the Republic on December 14, 1989. Although Chile had officially become a democracy, the Chilean military remained highly powerful during the presidency of Aylwin, and the Constitution, amended by Pinochet's regime, ensured the continued influence of Pinochet and his commanders.
As a result of tensions with neighbors during the conflict-prone 1970s and early 1980s, the Chilean Army refined existing strategic concepts and eventually formulated a plan to restructure its forces. Though wars were avoided, the threats from the 1970s and 1980s encouraged the army to address more effectively its major defense disadvantage: lack of strategic depth. Thus in the early 1980s it looked outward for a model of army organization that would best advance defensive capabilities by restructuring forces into smaller, more mobile units instead of traditional divisions. The resulting Plan Alcázar envisions three military zones in Chile, with the bulk of forces concentrated in the north, and reinforces the center and south. The plan was implemented in stages, starting in 1994. Thus Alcázar, based on threat scenarios of the past, is one of the most durable "lessons" of the past. Even with the resolution of almost all remaining territorial disputes, the restructuring agenda continued, reinforcing a conflict-based mindset in the army.
Army General Headquarters, in Santiago.
Land Operations Command, headquartered in Concepcion.
Training and Doctrine Command (Comando de Institutos y Doctrina)
Force's Support Command (Comando de Apoyo de la Fuerza)
Army Independent Commands
Army General Staff (Estado Mayor General del Ejército)
The Chilean Army has acquired a number of new systems with the goal of having a completely modernized, and largely mechanized army by 2015. The military has also modified the operational structure, creating armoured brigades throughout the entire territory and a new special operations brigade, while preserving the current divisional scheme.
|Pistols and Submachine Guns|
|FAMAE FN-750||9×19mm NATO||Chile||Main pistol. Locally produced version of the CZ-75.|
|Beretta Px4||9x19mm NATO / .40 S&W / .45 ACP||Italy||Special forces|
|HK MP5||9×19mm NATO||Germany|
|FAMAE SAF||9×19mm NATO||Chile||Standard issue submachine gun. Locally designed variation on the SG 540.|
|FAMAE SAF-200||9×19mm NATO||Chile||Tactical variation of the regular SAF|
|Assault Rifles and Carbines|
|M4 carbine||5.56×45mm NATO||United States||Special Forces|
|Galil ACE||Israel||Standard issue rifle, replacing SIG 540.|
|FAMAE FD-200||7.62×51mm NATO||Chile||Locally produced version of the SG 540 modified as a sniper rifle|
|Barrett M82A1M||12.7×99mm NATO||United States|
|PGM 338||.338 Lapua Magnum (8.6x70mm)||France|
|SIG Sauer SSG 3000||7.62×51mm NATO||Switzerland|
|FN MINIMI||5.56×45mm NATO||Belgium||Light machine gun|
|MG3||7.62×51mm NATO||Germany||General-purpose machine gun|
|M60E4||7.62×51mm NATO||United States||General-purpose machine gun|
|FN M2HB-QCB||12.7×99mm NATO||United States||Heavy Machine Gun|
|M203||40×46 mm||United States||Designed to be attached to a rifle|
|Milkor MGL||40×53 mm||South Africa||Grenade launcher|
|Mk 19 Mod 3||40×53mm||United States||Automatic grenade launcher|
|Anti-tank Guided Missile Launchers|
|Anti-tank Recoilless Rifles|
|Carl Gustaf M2 Recoilless Rifle||Sweden||84 mm|
|M40 recoilless rifle||United States||106 mm / some of them are mounted on vehicles|
|M67 recoilless rifle||United States||90 mm|
|200||Leopard 2A4CHL||Germany||120 mm gun. May be upgraded to 2A5CHL in the near future.|
|100||Leopard 1V|| Germany
|105 mm gun|
|Infantry Fighting Vehicles|
|280 ||Marder 1A3||Germany|
|Some equipped with Spike LR missiles|
|Armored personnel carrier|
|404||MOWAG Piranha|| Switzerland
|Built under license in Chile by FAMAE, in various configurations.|
|Armored Wheeled Vehicles|
|180||Land Rover Defender||United Kingdom|
|24||M109A5||United States||24 requested in 2011, 12 delivered in 2012 and 12 more in 2015|
|24||M109 KAWEST|| United States
|Bought in 2004|
|24-36||Soltam M-71||Israel||Bought in 1982|
|74||M101 howitzer||United States|
|54||OTO Melara Mod 56||Italy|
|2||C-212 Aviocar||Spain||C-212-300 Aviocar|
|3||Cessna 208 Caravan||United States||Cessna 208B Grand Caravan|
|1||Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign||United States||Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign|
|4||Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma||France||Aerospatiale SA-330L Puma|
|12||Eurocopter AS532 Cougar||France||Eurocopter AS-532AL Mk-1 Cougar|
|4||Eurocopter AS350||France||Eurocopter AS-350B3 Ecureuil|
|1||Eurocopter AS355||France||Eurocopter AS-355N Ecureuil 2|
|9||McDonnell Douglas MD 500 Defender||United States||McDonnell Douglas MDD-369FF Defender|
|Unmanned Aerial Vehicles|
In 2013, there were 3,900 officers, 17,300 NCOs, 3,600 professional soldiers, and 9,200 conscript soldiers. In military schools, 2,400 students. Civilian employees, 8,400.
|OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D) and student officer|
|General de Ejército||General de División||General de Brigada||Brigadier||Coronel||Teniente Coronel||Mayor||Capitán||Teniente||Subteniente||Alférez|
|No equivalent||No insignia|
|Suboficial Mayor||Suboficial||Sargento Primero||Sargento Segundo||Cabo Primero||Cabo Segundo||Soldado Primero||Soldado Segundo|
The Chilean Army is famous for its elaborate drill, exhibited in large scale during the Día de las Glorias Navales on 21 May and the Parada Militar de Chile (Great Military Parade of Chile) on 19 September. The early armed forces adopted many Prussian military traditions, and it was during this period that the Chilean military had many of its most famous victories. As a result, the drill features many 19th and early 20th century Prussian and German patterns.
Participating soldiers wear stahlhelm and pickelhaube helmets and march in unaltered stechschritt. Marching music consists of Central European marches, alongside several local compositions. Each Parada Militar on 19 September ends with a playing of Preußens Gloria (played in 2007–2017), Preussischer Präsentiermarsch (first played in 2018) and Los viejos estandartes by a mounted band playing in the German tradition.
Pickelhaubes have been worn by the Military School and since recently by the 1st Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Artillery Regiment, and the stahlhelm only by the NCO School.
This is also the cases on parades held on 18 September, Independence Day, in the local level, whenever Army units take part.
Given the long list of battles fought by the Army, the following wear on parade historical dress uniforms from these times, but not march in the German manner:
Alejandro Gorostiaga Orrego (May 12, 1840 - October 30, 1912), was a Chilean military officer born in La Serena. He joined the Escuela Militar de Chile in 1857 till his retirement in 1878. Alejandro Gorostiaga was of Basque descent.In 1879, colonel Gorostiaga joined the Chilean Army due to the War of the Pacific, between Chile, Peru and Bolivia. In May of that year, Alejandro Gorostiaga was named commandant of the civic battalion Coquimbo Nº1.
Participated in the "Asalto y Toma de Pisagua". But the most important participation of this Chilean military was the Battle of Huamachuco, on July 10 of 1883 when Andrés Cáceres' Peruvian forces were defeated.
Alejandro Gorostiaga died in 1912, Santiago.Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (; Spanish: [auˈɣusto pinoˈ(t)ʃe, -ˈ(t)ʃet]; 25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chilean general, politician and US-backed dictator of Chile between 1973 and 1990 who remained the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 1998 and was also President of the Government Junta of Chile between 1973 and 1981.Pinochet assumed power in Chile following a United States-backed coup d'état on 11 September 1973 that overthrew the democratically elected socialist Unidad Popular government of President Salvador Allende and ended civilian rule. Several academics – including Peter Winn, Peter Kornbluh and Tim Weiner – have stated that the support of the United States was crucial to the coup and the consolidation of power afterward. Pinochet had been promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Army by Allende on 23 August 1973, having been its General Chief of Staff since early 1972. In December 1974, the ruling military junta appointed Pinochet Supreme Head of the nation by joint decree, although without the support of one of the coup's instigators, Air Force General Gustavo Leigh. Following his rise to power, Pinochet persecuted leftists, socialists, and political critics, resulting in the executions of from 1,200 to 3,200 people, the internment of as many as 80,000 people and the torture of tens of thousands. According to the Chilean government, the number of executions and forced disappearances was 3,095.Under the influence of the free market-oriented neoliberal "Chicago Boys", Pinochet's military government implemented economic liberalization, including currency stabilization, removed tariff protections for local industry, banned trade unions and privatized social security and hundreds of state-owned enterprises. These policies produced high economic growth, but critics state that economic inequality dramatically increased and attribute the devastating effects of the 1982 monetary crisis on the Chilean economy to these policies. For most of the 1990s, Chile was the best-performing economy in Latin America, though the legacy of Pinochet's reforms continues to be in dispute. His fortune grew considerably during his years in power through dozens of bank accounts secretly held abroad and a fortune in real estate. He was later prosecuted for embezzlement, tax fraud and for possible commissions levied on arms deals.Pinochet's 17-year rule was given a legal framework through a controversial 1980 plebiscite, which approved a new constitution drafted by a government-appointed commission. In a 1988 plebiscite, 56% voted against Pinochet's continuing as President, which led to democratic elections for the presidency and Congress. After stepping down in 1990, Pinochet continued to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army until 10 March 1998, when he retired and became a senator-for-life in accordance with his 1980 Constitution. However, Pinochet was arrested under an international arrest warrant on a visit to London on 10 October 1998 in connection with numerous human rights violations. Following a legal battle, he was released on grounds of ill-health and returned to Chile on 3 March 2000. In 2004, Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia ruled that Pinochet was medically fit to stand trial and placed him under house arrest. By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations during his 17-year rule and tax evasion and embezzlement during and after his rule. He was also accused of having corruptly amassed at least 28 million USD. Despite the indictment and 300 charges, he only served time in house arrest.Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (American Spanish: [ˈkaɾlos iˈβaɲes ðel ˈkãmpo]; November 3, 1877 – April 28, 1960) was a Chilean Army officer and political figure. He served as President twice, first between 1927 and 1931, and then from 1952 to 1958, serving for 11 years in office.Carlos Prats
General Carlos Prats González (Spanish: [ˈkaɾlos ˈpɾats]; February 24, 1915 – September 30, 1974) was a Chilean Army officer and politician. He served as a minister in Salvador Allende's government while Commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army. Immediately after General Augusto Pinochet's September 11, 1973 coup, Prats went into voluntary exile in Argentina. The following year, he and his wife, Sofía Cuthbert, were assassinated in Buenos Aires by a car bomb planted by the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional.Chilean Gendarmerie
The Chilean Gendarmerie, in Spanish Gendarmería de Chile, (abbreviated to GENCHI) is the title of Chile's uniformed national prison service. The title is historic, and the service is not an actual gendarmerie. The service evolved out of Chilean Army units which were given police and prison duties.
It is an armed service responsible to the Ministry of Justice. It has two mottoes, "Labor Omnia Vincit" ("Work conquers everything"), and "Deus Patria Lex" (God, Country, Law). Its symbol is a castle.
The service is currently led by Director General of the Gendarmerie Jaime Rojas Flores, appointed to this role by the Chilean president in 2016.Cristian Bolton
Lieutenant Colonel Cristian A. Bolton (born 10 October 1973) is a Chilean aviator and former fighter pilot in the Chilean Army. He was a competitor and instructor in aerobatics, most notably in the Red Bull Air Race. He is Latin America's leading aerobatic pilot.Commander Bolton was the leader of the chilean FACH Halcones Acrobatic Team during the years 2013-14.FAMAE
FAMAE (Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército) is a Chilean state-owned firearms manufacturer. Its products are used by the Chilean armed forces and the Carabineros police force. The company produces among others the FAMAE CT-30 carbine, FAMAE SAF submachine gun, FAMAE FD-200 sniper rifle, Rayo rocket launcher and FAMAE revolver.Francisco Antonio Pinto
Francisco Antonio Pinto y Díaz de la Puente (American Spanish: [fɾanˈsisko anˈtonjo ˈpinto]; July 23, 1785 – July 18, 1858) was a Chilean politician who served as President of Chile between 1827 and 1829.GOLFO
The GOLFO is a combat helmet of Chilean origin issued to the Chilean Army. The helmet is locally made by the Baselli Hermanos Brothers S.A of kevlar and was introduced in 2000. It is capable of stopping a 9×19mm round at 310m.Hernán Trizano
Hernán Trizano Avezzana (Valparaíso, 1860 - Temuco, 1926) was a Chilean Army officer who led the Gendarmes para las Colonias an army regiment that acted as rural police in Southern Chile. Trizano led this policing force until 1905.José Joaquín Prieto
José Joaquín Prieto Vial (American Spanish: [xoˈse xo.aˈkim ˈpɾjeto]; August 20, 1786 – November 22, 1854) was a Chilean military and political figure. He was twice President of Chile between 1831 and 1841. José Joaquín Prieto was of Spanish and Basque descent.List of commanders-in-chief of the Chilean Army
This article lists the commanders-in-chief of the Chilean Army. The Chilean Army (Spanish: Ejército de Chile) is the land force of Chile. The Chilean Army dates back to 1810.Manuel Bulnes
Manuel Bulnes Prieto (American Spanish: [maˈnwel ˈβulnes]; December 25, 1799 – October 18, 1866) was a Chilean military and political figure. He was twice President of Chile, from 1841 to 1846 and from 1846 to 1851.
Born in Concepción, he served as the president of Chile between 1841 and 1851. At the age of 16 he was imprisoned as a revolutionary by the Spanish authorities, but was soon released, and in 1818 joined the army of San Martin under whom he served as colonel throughout the Chilean War of Independence. After three years of continuous warfare (1820–23), he accomplished the temporary conquest of the Araucanian Indians. He was appointed brigadier general in 1831. In 1832 he crossed the Cordillera and defeated decisively the Pincheira brothers in the battle of Epulafquén. Then Bulnes commanded the Chilean army in 1838 against Gen. Santa Cruz in Peru; and, after taking Lima and winning the battles of Huaraz and Puente del Buin, combined his forces with those of Gamarra and defeated Santa Cruz at the Battle of Yungay (January 19, 1839), thus putting an end to the confederation between Peru and Bolivia.Manuel Contreras
Juan Manuel Guillermo "Mamo" Contreras Sepúlveda (4 May 1929 – 7 August 2015) was a Chilean Army officer and the former head of the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), Chile's secret police during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. In 1995, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for the murder in Washington, D.C. of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier, which he served until 2001.
At the time of his death in August 2015, Contreras was serving 59 unappealable sentences totaling 529 years in prison for kidnapping, forced disappearance and assassination.Military of Chile
The Armed Forces of Chile (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Chile) is the unified military organization comprising the Chilean Army, Air Force and Navy. The President of Chile is the commander in chief of the military, and formulates policy through the Minister of Defence. In recent years and after several major reequipment programs, the Chilean Armed Forces have become one of the most technologically advanced and professional armed forces in Latin America. The Chilean Army is mostly supplied with equipment from Germany, the United States, Israel, France, and Spain.Occupation of Araucanía
The Occupation of Araucanía or Pacification of Araucanía (1861–1883) was a series of military campaigns, agreements and penetrations by the Chilean army and settlers into Mapuche territory which led to the incorporation of Araucanía into Chilean national territory. Pacification of Araucanía was the expression used by the Chilean authorities for this process.René Schneider
General René Schneider Chereau (; December 31, 1913 – October 25, 1970) was the commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army at the time of the 1970 Chilean presidential election, when he was assassinated during a botched kidnapping attempt. He coined the doctrine of military-political mutual exclusivity that became known as the Schneider Doctrine.Robert Souper Howard
Colonel Robert Souper Howard (September 9, 1818 – January 13, 1881) was a Chilean soldier, although born in England, who served in the Chilean Army during most of the War of the Pacific.Yelcho Base
Yelcho Base is a Chilean Antarctic research base. It is located on the shore of the South Bay, Doumer Island.The station was built in 1962 by the Chilean Army and was given to the INACH in 1980. It was abandoned between 1998 and 2014, and was reopened in 2015.
After its last remodeling it went from being a small "sub-base", a scientific shelter of 50 m² built, to have a built area of 200 m², with its own laboratories and an increase in accommodation capacity, from its original 7 beds, until completing space for up to 15 people.It is named for the Yelcho that was commanded by Luis Pardo, who saved the Shacketon's Expedition in 1916 from the Elephant Island.