Peru Table of Contents
The EP was the largest of the military services in 1992, with about 75,000 total personnel--some 8,000 officers and 52,000 conscripts, with the balance technicians and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). However, it grew by less than the other services during the 1980s--only by about 15 percent, after almost doubling in size during the 1970s.
Most of the army's manpower, as well as some of the navy's and air force's, has been provided by two-year conscripts. Although all male citizens between the ages of twenty and twentyfive were liable for military training and compulsory military service, a selective draft system was used in practice. On completion of their two-year service, conscripts remained in the Army Reserve (Reserva), without compensation, for ten years. Then they passed to a second-line reserve, the National Guard (Guardia Nacional). The Army Reserve was formed by men between eighteen and fifty years of age and women between eighteen and forty-five years of age who do not serve in the active forces.
In contrast with the navy and FAP, no women served in army ranks. By law, women were required to register for obligatory military service in one of the three armed forces and could be called up between the ages of eighteen and forty-five for two years. As of 1991, this had never been done. In the army, women served only in civilian capacities, such as secretaries, clerks, and nurses. The view that it would be very difficult to integrate women into regular military service, including combat roles, continued to prevail in the EP in 1992.
Since the late 1920s, combat units have been organized on the tactical formation of the light division (división ligera), made up of four infantry battalions and an artillery group, with the possibility of adding as needed a cavalry regiment or an engineer battalion or both. The equivalent in size of a United States brigade, in 1991 there were a total of twelve light divisions, including one airborne, one jungle operations, two armored, one cavalry, six motorized light infantry, and one special forces divisions.
The infantry, armored, and engineer forces were organized as of 1990 into some thirty-six battalions, including three commando and one paratrooper battalions, plus some nineteen groups. The cavalry was formed into eight regiments, including the horse regiment that made up the presidential escort and two armored regiments in the Tacna Detachment (Third Military Region). The artillery was made up of fourteen groups, including four antiaircraft units, an airborne group, and two jungle units. There were also two tank battalions and seven engineer battalions, including three armored, three combat, and one construction.
The five military regions originally determined by the French military mission at the start of the twentieth century continued to comprise the geographic areas of deployment of the EP. The First Military Region, headquartered in the city of Piura, consisted of the northwestern departments of Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, Cajamarca, and Amazonas (see fig. 1). The Lima-based Second Military Region comprised the north-central and coastal departments of La Libertad, Ancash, Lima, Ica, and Huancavelica, as well as the constitutional province of Callao. The Third Military Region, headquartered in Arequipa, included the southwestern coastal-highland departments of Arequipa, Moquegua, and Tacna. The Fourth Military Region, headquartered in Cusco, covered the entire central and southern spine of the Andes and its slopes and foothills toward the jungles of the east and comprised the department San Martín, Huánuco, Junín, Pasco, Ayacucho, Puno, Apurímac, and the largely jungle department of Madre de Dios. The Fifth Military Region, headquartered in Peru's largest Amazon city of Iquitos, covered the jungle departments of Loreto and Ucayali. Each region was normally commanded by a major general.
The general staff of the EP had four sections directed by an assistant chief of staff--personnel, intelligence, operations, and logistics. Additional special staffs, whose directors reported to the chief of staff, included engineers, communications, ordnance, finance, medical, research and development, reserves, premilitary training, and chaplains.
Beginning in 1973, after approaching the United States, France, and Israel without success, the EP negotiated agreements to purchase substantial quantities of arms and equipment from the Soviet Union. Price and credit terms were deemed to be far more favorable than any arrangements that could be made with other potential suppliers. With its Soviet T-54, T-55, and T-62 tanks, as well as its French AMX-13 light tanks, Peru had a significant armored capability, concentrated largely in the two tank battalions in the Third Military Region (see table 23, Appendix).
Peru produced some small arms and ammunition, but most were purchased from several foreign suppliers, including the United States. The diverse sources of Peruvian equipment posed challenging logistical problems, in addition to reported difficulties with maintenance on some Soviet equipment, especially tanks and helicopters.
Data as of September 1992
Peru Table of Contents