Salvadoran Army

Salvadoran Army

Badge of the Salvadoran Army.
Active 1824–present
Country El Salvador
Branch Army
Size 14,165[1]

The Salvadoran Army (Spanish: Ejército Salvadoreño) is the land branch and largest of the Armed Forces of El Salvador. In 2006 the government of El Salvador approached the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador seeking assistance in modernising its army.[2]


The Football War

Main article: Football War

The Football War (also called The Soccer War or 100-hours War) was a term coined by Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński to describe a brief conflict between El Salvador and neighbouring Honduras. He argued that the war began after the rival nations traded wins during the qualifying round for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. But this event was not the cause of the war. Tensions had been mounting between both nations for several years because of immigration and economic problems, resulting on the war in 1969. The soccer matches incidents just one of several events that happened during that time. Longstanding tensions between the countries were heightened by media reports on both sides, each accusing the other of hooliganism and violence toward their own football fans. On June 26, 1969, El Salvador dissolved all ties with Honduras, the events where used as a call for nationalist pride for both governments and the media.

On July 14 Salvadoran forces began moving rapidly into Honduras following a series of border clashes. Their progress halted after the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States brought heavy diplomatic pressure to bear on both governments in an effort to effect a cease-fire.

A ceasefire was ultimately negotiated and signed by July 18, with Salvadoran forces withdrawing from Honduras by August 2 following guarantees of safety for Salvadoran citizens in Honduras by the Honduran government.

The Salvadoran Civil War

Main article: Salvadoran Civil War
On December 11, 1981, units from the Salvadoran Army killed 800 civilians, over half of them children, in the village of El Mozote.

By the late 1970s, longstanding socio-economic inequality, human rights violations and the unwillingness of the National Conciliation Party dictatorship to address these problems led to the growth of a social movement. The government responded by assassinating thousands of political opponents and massacring students and protestors on several occasions. The heavy handed response of the government signaled to those identifying with the social movement that peaceful solutions were futile, which led to the growth of an insurgency.

On 15 October 1979, the military government was deposed by a joint military-civilian government calling itself the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador or JRG. The JRG's policies were met with opposition from the military and economic elites and government repression increased, with tens of thousands of civilians being killed in 1980 and 1981 alone. This led to the formation of the FMLN, which brought on a twelve year civil war.

The Iraq War

Main article: Iraq War

Up to 380 Salvadoran troops, mostly paratroopers, were deployed as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq between August 2003 and January 2009. They operated alongside the elite Spanish Legion in Najaf and were well regarded by the U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, British Army and their Spanish comrades. While in Iraq, the Salvadoran contingent suffered 5 dead, and 20 wounded.[3]

Organizational structure

El Salvador is divided into 6 military zones, each of which has its own infantry brigade:

Furthermore, the army has the following units:


Infantry Weapons

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
92SB[4] Handgun  Italy
FN P35[4] Handgun  Belgium
Uzi[4] Sub-machine gun  Israel Uzi submachine gun, Mini-Uzi.
MP5[4] Sub-machine gun  Germany MP5SD3, MP5A3, MP5A2, MP5, MP5A1
HK33[4] Assault rifle  Germany Including HK53 variant
HK416[4] Assault rifle  Germany
FN FNC Assault rifle  Belgium versions used: Standard" Model 2000 and Short" Model 7000, used by the Salvadoran Military Police and Paratrooper Battalion
M4 Assault rifle  United States M4 Carbine, Colt M4A1
T65[4] Assault rifle  Republic of China
M16[4] Assault rifle  United States XM16E1, M16A1, M16A2, M16A3, M16A4, M16A1 with A2 handguards. M16A2 (Model 701, 703, 705, 711, Model 715 and Model 720 (Burst fire/single fire)). M16A2 Light Machine Gun (LMG). Some M16A1's have M16A2's brass defectors, XM16E1.
IMI Galil[4] Assault rifle  Israel Galil AR, Galil SAR, Galil SAR339, Micro Galil
Galil ACE Assault rifle  Colombia
M14[4] Battle rifle  United States Used as ceremonial gun, still used in active service on the Salvadoran Army infantry divisions,
Heckler & Koch G3[4] Battle rifle  Germany G3A3, G3A4, G3KA4
M24 Sniper rifle  United States
M21 Sniper rifle  United States Used in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
Barrett M82 Sniper rifle  United States Used in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
Dragunov SVD Sniper rifle  Russia Used in the Salvadoran Army Special Forces.
M79[4] Grenade launcher  United States
M203[5] Grenade launcher  United States mounted in M16 Rifles (all its variants), M41's, M4A1's and CAR-15's (all itss variants).
Hawk MM-1[5] Semi-automatic grenade launcher  United States
M60[4] General purpose machine gun  United States M60, M60E2, M60D.
M2HB[4] Heavy machine gun  United States
HK21[4] General purpose machine gun  Germany
FN MAG[4] General purpose machine gun  Belgium
M249[4] light machine gun  United States First-generation M249 SAW, M249 Paratrooper
FN Minimi[4] light machine gun  Belgium
CAR-15 [4] Carabine Rifle  United States XM177, GAU-5/A (Colt Model 610), XM177E1 (Colt Model 609), XM177E2 (Colt Model 629), Colt Model 653 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 653 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 654 (M16A1 Carbine), Colt Model 727 (M16A2 carbine), Colt Model 733 (M16A2 Commando)


Note: Sources are circa 1988, while some equipment listed may no longer be in service.

Utility Vehicles
Model Type Number Dates Manufacturer Details
AIL Storm[7] Light Utility Vehicle 38[1] AIL,  Israel
2011 Ford Ranger Light Utility Vehicle 37 2012 Ford
Jeep CJ[7] Light Utility Vehicle Jeep, USA
M151[7] Light Utility Vehicle Various, USA
HMMWV Light Utility Vehicle 50 AM General, USA
Dodge M37[7] Light Utility Vehicle Dodge, USA Mostly converted to Cashuats.[7][8]
M35 truck[7] Medium cargo truck 45 Various, USA
M809 truck[7] Heavy cargo truck AM General, USA
MAN 630 truck[7] Heavy cargo truck MAN SE,  Germany
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Model Type Number Dates Manufacturer Details
AML 90[9] Armoured Car 6 [1] Panhard,  France
UR-416[9] Wheeled APC 6[1] Thyssen-Henschel,  Germany
M3 Scout Car[9] Wheeled APC 5 White Motor Company, USA
Cashuat Wheeled APC 41  El Salvador/USA Based on a Dodge M37. Armor kits and turrets purchased from the United States and applied in El Salvador[8]
VCTA2 Tank Hunter, created by the Salvadoran Military Forces 38  El Salvador
BC7A1 Armored Personal Carrier, also used as Anti Aerial Vehicle, created by the Salvadorian Military 4  El Salvador Armed with 2 two HS 404 20mm cannons.
M113[9] Tracked APC 20 FMC, USA
M3A1[9] Half-track 5 Various, USA

[7] [8] [9]


Example of a TCM-20 AA-mount at the Israeli Air Force Museum.
Model Caliber Number Dates Manufacturer Details
M19[1] 60mm 306 USA
M29[10] 81mm 151[1] USA
M74[10] 120mm  Yugoslavia Kept in storage.
UB M-52[10] 120mm  Yugoslavia Kept in storage.
Field Artillery
Model Caliber Number Dates Origin Details
M101[10] 105mm 8[1] USA
M102[10] 105mm 24[1] USA
M56[10] 105mm 18[1]  Yugoslavia M101 copy produced in Yugoslavia
105/14 Model 56[11] 105mm 14  Italy Pack Howitzer
M114[10] 155mm 6 USA
Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Model Caliber Number Dates Manufacturer Details
M-55[10] 20mm 31[1]  Yugoslavia Hispano-Suiza HS.804 copy.
M-55 (Self-propelled)[10] 20mm 4  Yugoslavia Truck or half-track mounted M-55.
TCM-20[10] 20mm 4[1]  Israel Twin Hispano-Suiza HS.404s on towed pedestal mount.

[10] [11]



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