Settled as a colony of Spain in the 1520s, Nicaragua gained its independence in 1821. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990 and again in 1996 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s, but was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. - CIA World Factbook

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Italian CV-33

At least one was purchased. No other details are known.

This tank shows it's 105mm howitzer quite clearly. - Photo research by Dr. Georg V. Rauch. Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.---1980 - Photo contribution by Daniella Carlsson.
U.S. M4A4E1, M4A3 "Sherman" Medium Tank

An unknown number were obtained. Before the revolution ten M4 tanks were in inventory. Exact types are unknown. Nicaraguan armor, before the Sandinistan revolution, was organized under an single mechanized companiy, while platoon-sized units where attached to Somoza Combat Battalion. In 1979 the armor assets where also attached to the Presidential battalion, the engineer battalion, and the Escuela de Entrenamiento Bascio de infanteria (EEBI). Most armored assets, if not all, during the Somoza regime where WW2 vintage vehicles. When the Sandinistian (EPS) army took over they managed to salvage 8 Sherman tanks, by 1983 there where only 3 left.

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U.S. M3A1 Armored Car

Three were in inventory in 1981.

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U.S. M2 Halftrack

Before the revolution, 10 were in inventory.

Photo research by Dr. Georg V. Rauch. Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.---Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.
U.S. T17E1 "Staghound"

An unknown number were obtained under "Lend Lease" in 1942. In July 1941, after British experience in North Africa, the Ordnance Committee gave design specifications for medium and heavy armored cars. Ford (T17) developed a 6 wheel pilot model and Chevrolet (T17E1) a 4 wheel model in September 1941. On October 15, 1942 a committee was formed of Armored Force, Cavalry, Tank Destroyer, and Ordnance personnel to consider the armored cars in design or production. The T17 was considered too large and production was reduced to 250. Hence, the T17 never received a "M" designator. The T17 Ford "Staghound" was to be sent to British but instead were used by Military Police in USA with guns removed. The complicated twin engines each had it's own clutch and 4 speed transmission. A single lever shifted gears and either engine could be put into neutral. Chevrolet built the T17E1 for the British. An order for 2,000 was placed in January 1942. First vehicles were produced in October 1942. 157 were finished by January 1943. Originally was to be used by US Army but order was cancelled after Special Armored Vehicle Board decided that US didn't need armored cars in this weight and size. British liked it and all production was sent to Britain. It was designed to be a long distance reconnaissance vehicle and convoy escort. The Cubian "Staghound" arrived via a unusual route. In 1956, Israel captured large quantities of equipment from the Egyptians, they kept what was usable and sold 45 units to Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua who had helped them get arms back in 1948. In 1958 Nicaragua sold some of these (about 20) to Cuba. Before the revolution the National Guard had between 45 to 67 of these vehicles.

People who helped to make this page possible

Daniella Carlsson
Daniella Carlsson

Dr. Andre Louis Maurois
Dr. André Louis Maurois

Dr. Georg von Rauch
Dr. Georg V. Rauch



Last Update: Thursday, February 13, 2003