Every country in the world has an army, even the smallest country. In part one we saw the biggest and best forces in the world. Part two looked at the guys in the top twenty. In this section, we look at some more of the finest forces in the world.
Top Armies #21- Vietnam- The People’s Army of Vietnam
The People’s Army of Vietnam (PVA) was formed in 1944 with the intent of driving foreign forces from the country. French and Japanese colonies were present in the country and in 1951 the PVA launched an attack against the French strongholds in the country. This lead to the Vietnam War in 1955 when America sent troops to the area. Vietnam was divided between the North and South and by 1975, after nearly 70 years of conflict, the country was reunited. In times of peace, the army is actively involved in helping the economy. From the 1960’s both America and Russia have been supplying the country with different arms. A lot of equipment was left by US Forces when they withdrew from Vietnam and this was placed in the armament. In recent years the country has been developing its own range of weapons. These include the Scud-B tactical ballistic missile launcher.
Top Armies #22- Brazil- Brazilian Army
Parts of the Brazilian Army can be traced back to the 16th century when Portugal began colonies in Brazil. In 1822 when the country declared independence from Portugal, the armed forces officially became the Brazilian Army as an independent force from Portuguese forces. In the 20th century, the Brazilian Army has fought as an Allied force in both World Wars. When they have not been joining forces with the US Army they have faced conflict at home. Rebellions and guerrilla warfare have erupted across the country several times in the 20th century. The Brazilian Army has over 219,000 active service members and another 1,800,000 personnel in the reserve forces. At the age of 18 years old men are expected to serve for 1 year in the forces. This is not enforced and over a third of the army is made of volunteers. In order for a woman to join the army must have a degree in law or economics.
Top Armies #23- Iran- Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran Army (IRIA) is the ground forces of the armed forces in Iran. An army has been part of Iran since the Persian empire but the current army was formed in 1923. During the 20th century, the IRIA has fought against and with the British Army in different conflicts. Iran has a variety of different equipment which it has used in different conflicts. The Zulfiqar is the main battle tanks which were designed and built in the country. Many of the small arms and anti-tank missiles which are used are also manufactured in the country. A number of small arms and missile systems in generally unknown as Iran has let very little information about its arms public. It is estimated that there are over 2,000 tanks and over 1,000 armoured vehicles in the country.
Top Armies #24- Sweden- Swedish Army
The Swedish Army is one of the oldest in the world and it can be traced back to 1521. During times of peace, the army is divided into various branches to assist the country. In recent years the forces have been changed and reduced in numbers. This is mainly due to the conscription service being abolished. At the beginning of the 20th century, the army size would have been around 120,000 personnel. Since the new changes in the 1990’s the force has been reduced to around 50,000. The army does not want to rely on conscription soldiers. Instead, it wants to change to a professional fighting unit which is more efficient in times of conflict. Although the army only has 120 tanks it has over 2,000 armoured vehicles and a vast supply of small arms. The Swedish Army has been upgrading some equipment in recent years to include new armoured vehicles.
Top Armies #25- Ukraine- Ukrainian Ground Forces
From before the First World War, the Ukrainian Ground Forces have been separate. It was not under the collapse of the USSR that the army united under one central command in 1991. This brought over 780,000 troops under one leadership for the first time in nearly a century. Most the equipment that was used by the separate armies was from the Soviet Union. Until recently this equipment was still used but recent tensions in the area have forced the Ukraine to upgrade its equipment. Since the independence from Russia the country has been filled with corruption and much-needed funds for the military never appeared. The lack of funding meant that several bases had to be shut. Those that remained lacked the equipment to tackle Russian special forces during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Although the government had chosen to keep ties with Russia many of the Ukraine disagreed which lead to Russian forces taking over.
Top Armies #26- Singapore- The Singapore Army
The Singapore Army is made up of both professional soldiers and conscripts. Of the 72,000 active personnel, there are an estimated 35,000 conscripts. There is also over 500,000 personal on reserve. The mission of the army is to deter an aggressive behaviour towards the country. If this is not possible they are to secure a quick victory with minimal loss of life. One of the main focuses of the army is advancing the technology that is used to prevent losing any men. Equipment has been tested and used on a number of occasions including peacekeeping missions and bringing aid to disaster zones. A lot of the equipment that the army uses has been upgraded. This includes the Leopard 2SG battle tank which has been upgraded with advanced armour. The army has also begun using unmanned vehicles like the Skyblade Mini which is used for searching battlegrounds for wounded soldiers.
Top Armies #27- Algeria- People’s National Army
Algeria was once a French colony in the north of Africa. After years of tension and the end of the Liberation War in 1962, Algeria declared its independence and formed its own army. It has been estimated that there was around 250,000 service personnel in active service and in reserve. Since the 1970’s there have been repeated efforts to modernise and upgrade the army. One of the main concerns the army has faced is the social unrest since independence. The country has faced a lot of economic problems and religious movements. In 2004 it was announced that there would be massive changes in the army including who would be in charge of the forces. The Army is expected to receive new equipment in the future including 200 new battle tanks and around 40 new surface to air missile systems. Over the next ten years, they plan to receive nearly 1,000 new armoured vehicles.
Top Armies #28- Saudi Arabia- The Saudi Arabian Army
When Saudi Arabia became a single state, a new army was formed to show a strength of unity. The numbers have increased over the years after oil was found in the 1940’s. Since then, Saudi Arabia has considered America an ally who will help the army in the event of a conflict. The First Gulf War in 1990 made it necessary for the army to continue its plans to grow rapidly. There is now an estimated 175,000 troops on active service. Most of the small arms which are used by the army have come from Germany. The United States has supplied many of the missile launchers and anti-tank systems. The army has over 1,000 tanks available and over 1,000 infantry fighting vehicles, although most of these are not used. One of the largest weapons which the army use in the Astros II MLRS multiple rocket launcher system from Brazil.
Top Armies #29- Czech Republic- Army of the Czech Republic
The current form of the Czech army is from 1993 when the dissolution of Czechoslovakia happened. The country then separated peacefully to become the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since then, the Czechoslovak Armed Forces have seen major changes to reflect the separation of the country. Conscription was abolished in 2004 to allow a more positive view of the army and there is around 21,000 active service personnel who volunteered their services. Most of the equipment used today was once used by the old army. A lot of it has been upgraded and improved. The country has also begun developing their own weapons for soldiers to use. The army has been part of NATO since the 1990’s and has taken part in many peacekeeping missions across the world. There is a reserve force which does not serve abroad but acts as a home protection service in the effect of conflict or invasion.
Top Armies #30- Switzerland- The Swiss Army
Switzerland is known for being a neutral nation in times of war. One of the main reasons is that the country is very difficult to invade. The army does not take part in other conflicts but it does provide support for peacekeeping missions. The training of the army over the years has had to reflect the harsh conditions that soldiers would face if an invasion did happen. The Swiss Army still has a conscription service and all men are trained in basic combat. It is estimated that there are around 3 million Swiss citizens that are fit for service in the event of war. Because of how war is fought, and many countries are changing to unmanned vehicles, the Swiss have upgraded various systems to monitor other countries communications. In 2000 the Onyx intelligence gathering system was launched. The country has fitted multiple blast shelters to protect the entire population in the event of nuclear warfare.