Brazilian Expeditionary Force

Discussion in 'Allied Units - Others' started by BeachesofAnzio, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. [​IMG] Great picture! The Brazzilians served in the Italian theatre of war
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    A P-47, and some of the Brazilian oldfartdom who flew them :)


    Attached Files:

    Sandra Doran likes this.
  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Atten'shun. Stand by your beds.

    The BEF - Brazilian Expeditionary Force - is the sole domain of Andy (handle, Drew5233)... :lol:


  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Yes sir, Andy is the official handler of the BEF in this forum :D
  5. Deadly Birds

    Deadly Birds Senta a Púa!

    My website about Brasilian Air Force, during WWII

    Brazilian Air Force

    Photos, info, pics... ;)

    1ºGAvCa was formed in December 18th, 1943, composed for volunteers pilots of the Brazilian Air Force. The Official Commander was the Lt. Col. Av. Nero Moura. The Group had formed for 350 men, including 43 pilots, and was sent to Panama to be trained as fighter unit for the USAAF, because the pilots already had flight experience. One of the pilots, the 2nd Lt Av. Alberto M. Torres, sank the German submarine U-199. In Panama, the Group suffered its first loss, 2nd Lt.Av. Dante Isidoro Gastaldoni died when its P-40C was crashed in the ground. In May 11th, 1944, the Group was declared operational and started to operate of independent form in the missions of protection to the Zone of the Canal (Panama). In June 22th, 1943, the Group was sent to U.S.A. for operational conversion to Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, airplane that would go to equip the Group.

    1ºGAvCa embarked for Italy in September 19th, 1944, arriving in Livorno in October 6th. It passed then to be part of 350th Fighter Group USAAF, unit formed October 1st, 1942, in England. Much of its first pilots had served in the Royal Air Force or the Royal Canadian Air Force. When of the landings British-North Americans in the North of Africa (Operation Torch), 350th Fighter Group was transferred to that Theater of Operations and followed with the Allies the long ascent for Italy, from 1943. 350th FG was formed, until the arrival of 1ºGAvCa, for three squadrons: 345th Fighter Squadron (“Devil Hawk Squadron”), 346th FS (“Checker Board Squadron”) and 347th FS (“Screaming Red Ass Squadron”). When of the incorporation of 1ºGAvCa - which was known as “1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron - 1st BFS” - to 350th FG, this was subordinated to 62nd Fighter Wing, XXII Tactical Air Command, 12th Air Force USAAF. The codes of the squadrons for communication saw radio were the following ones: 345th FS, “Lifetime”; 346th FS, “Minefield”; 347th FS, “Midwood”; e 1ºGpAvCa, “Jambock”.
    Dave55 likes this.
  6. Deadly Birds

    Deadly Birds Senta a Púa!

    Brazilian 1st GAVCA Badge

    The ostrich of it “Senta a Púa” was born on board the “US Colombie”, in the displacement of Suffolk- U.S.A., to Livorno - Italy, having as “father” Cap Av. Fortunato Câmara de Oliveira. During the time where they had been in Panama the pilots of 1° GAvCa had makeed contact with the American kitchen. Although very different of the palate which was accustomed, the rule of it prevailed “is what it has to eat” and it was eaten what went for the table, also white beans with sugar!

    The comparison with the ostrich appeared there, bird that has the fame to eat what it to appear for the front. Adding on this the fact of the pilots walk in groups, did not delay so that the proper pilots started to call themselves ostriches. With this reason it was not difficult to Captain Fortunato, taking for inspiration the figure and by well formed nose of 2° Lt. Av. Pedro de Lima Mendes, or “Limatão” as he was known between the pilots, to imagine the warrior ostrich.

    The marking of the group passed then, to be painted in the left side of the fuselage of the P-47D of 1st GAvCa, on the covering of the engine. Initially it did not present the explosion of “flak”, being that this was enclosed after the end of the Campaign of Italy, becoming it official version of the marking of 1st GAvCa and thus remaining itself until today.

    The shield is an ellipse where the lesser axle (horizontal) corresponds 80% of the axle biggest (vertical).

    The green-yellow double band (with equal thickness 6% of the diameter of the ellipse) that it surrounds the ostrich represents Brazil.

    The ostrich represents the Brazilian fighter pilot, having as inspiration of the Lt. Av. Lima Mendes, and still the stomach of the veterans of 1º GAvCa

    The cap represents the pilot, officer of the Brazilian Air Force.

    The blue shield with the constellation of the Southern Cross is the usual symbol that characterizes the Armed Forces of Brazil

    The pistol symbolizes fire power of the P-47 Thunderbolt.

    The cloud represents the airspace, the “ground” of the fighter pilots.

    The risk, to the right, with the explosion of a howitzer, was added later, when 1ºGAvCa entered in combat, and represents the incessant action of the enemy antiaircraft artillery that fustigated the fighter in the Italian theater (such addition alone appeared in the received aircraft as replacement for losses).

    The red field on which it is the warrior ostrich represents the war sky where they fought the fighter pilots.

    The exclamation “Senta a Púa!” it is the shout of war of the men who are part of 1º GAvCa.

    Emblema Senta a púa
  7. Deadly Birds

    Deadly Birds Senta a Púa!

    First, we must clarify the following regarding BEF (FEB in Brazil):

    Brazil lived under a dictatorship when the advent of war, dictatorship and this dealt with "disinformation" or even hide, Brazil's participation in WWII.

    Unfortunately, for various cultural and political reasons (mostly political), Brazil in general, does not give due weight to the story today (in some cases it comes to contempt, especially in the military). Therefore, it is not uncommon for EUROPE and USA know more about the "BEF / FEB" that Brazil itself.

    This lack of information created since 1940’s, is responsible for a strange thing: The term "BEF / FEB" in Brazil is generally synonymous with "Army", forgetting that the Brazilian Air Force (1st GAVCA / 1st ELO) is also part the "Brazilian Expeditionary Force", so much so that usually we talk about: Participation of the FAB (Brazilian Air Force) in WWII and Participation of FEB (Army) in WWII.

    Another interesting point to remember:

    The Brazilian government had no real interest in sending troops to war (remember that the President Getulio Vargas, had a great admiration for the Duce and Fascism), but as received "economic advantages" of the USA, started preparations for sending troops, but quite disorganized.

    The Brazilian uniform had color very similar to the German uniform, which also caused confusion in the arrival of the Brazilian military to Italy, where they were mistaken for German prisoners.

    The "BEF / FEB" had no badge, but on arriving in Italy, the Brazilian soldiers, seeing the American troops with their badges, got the idea to create your own, and with creativity and humor, created the "Smoking Snake" . Historian creation of this badge, more accepted, even among the military, realize a provocation that the opponents of Getulio Vargas did, saying "It's easier a snake smoking than the FEB go to onboard (for Europe)," for then when they arrived, the "pracinhas" (a term used to refer to Brazilian soldiers send to Europe to fought in WWII), recalling the provocation responded to the point, saying that "The Snake is smoking!"

    Please note that, as the badge was authorized, the Brazilian soldiers demanded that the Italian women do the embroidery, so it is quite common to find many different designs, but with the same central idea, the Smoking Snake.

    Also interesting is the fact that the idea was so successful that there was an attempt by the USA, using a drawing "Standard" for the "Smoking Snake", which was created alongside none other than "Walt Disney" but was very difficult to be done by the Italian embroiderers, so the Brazilians preferred to keep the traditionally badge.

    Such was the lack of information about the BEF / FEB, that I lived a curious fact:

    It isn’t very simple to get a list of the names of veterans, especially when not living in Rio de Janeiro (when it comes to military, everything is concentrated in Rio de Janeiro, and the departments responsible in many cases only personally deliver data) . Well, I always had an interest in learning Brazilian veteran, see if you could make some sort of interview or even just talk about WWII, but never got names.

    My grandfather (my father's father), was summoned, but was dismissed just before boarding and fortunately did not have to fought in Italy.

    But fate plays tricks. I met my wife about 4 years ago and since then we went to visit her grandparents on a regular basis, until four months ago, her grandfather died, aged 89. But what impressed me even that was a subsequent conversation, to my astonishment, I discovered that he was a “Pracinha”, a war veteran, forgotten like so many in Brazil.
    Chris C and Za Rodinu like this.
  8. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Well, well , a few surprises here. For instance I had no idea Brazilian participation was so disregarded at home.
  9. Deadly Birds

    Deadly Birds Senta a Púa!

    Unfortunately it was!

    The first ship that brought home our "Pracinhas", had changed the date of arrival and its docking delayed, so that people could not greet the soldiers as heroes and who knows, people start some kind of revolution to restore democracy.

    After the departure of Vargas, Brazil lived as democracy for a short period, returning to live in a dictatorship (1964-1984), and the military took power, did not want any "FEB leadership to could organize some kind of counter-blow.

    One book about FEB (portuguese-BR language): A FEB por um Soldado (The BEF by a Soldier)
    A FEB por um soldado - Google Livros
    A FEB por um soldado (Open Library)
  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Sandra Doran likes this.
  11. Deadly Birds

    Deadly Birds Senta a Púa!

  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA


    Just want to make sure you didn't think I was good enough to make that P-40 model.:)

    I just happened to see it on a modeling web site after seeing this thread

  13. Deadly Birds

    Deadly Birds Senta a Púa!

    Numbers and Facts (BEF/FEB)


    Camaiore, 18-IX-1944
    M. Prano, 26-IX-1944
    Monte Castelo, 21-II-1945
    Castelnuovo, 5-III-1945
    Montese, 14-IV-1945
    Zocca, 20-IV-1945
    Collechio, 26-IV-1945
    Fornovo, 28-IV-1945

    Enemy units engaged in combat

    42nd Light Division
    232nd Infantry Division
    84th Infantry Division
    114th Light Division
    29th Motorized Division
    334th Infantry Division
    90th Motorized Division
    148th Infantry Division

    "Italia" Division
    "Monte Rosa" Division
    "San Marco" Division

    FEB strength

    1st Echelon 5,075
    2nd and 3rd Echelons 10,375
    4th Echelon 4,591
    5th Echelon 8,002
    Air freighted to Italy 111
    total 25,334

    1ª DIE* 15,059
    Other units 10,265

    FEB casualties

    Killed and Missing In Action
    Officers 13
    Brazilian Air Force Officers 8
    NCOs and other ranks 444
    total 465

    in action 2,064
    other reasons 658
    total 2,722

    Prisoners of War
    Officers 1
    Brazilian Air Force Officers 3
    NCOs and other ranks 34
    total 38

    Missing 16

    Enemy POWs

    General rank 2
    Officers 892
    NCOs and other ranks 19,679
    total 20,573

    Source: F.P. Cabral, "Um Batalhão da FEB no Monte Castelo", Thesaurus, 1987.

    WebSource: ... e a cobra fumou! The Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy, 1944-1945

    * In fact, the FEB infantry was named "1ª Divisão de Infantaria Expedicionária or 1ª DIE" (1st Expeditionary Infantry Division)

    the FEB air force was named "1º Grupo de Aviação de Caça or 1º GAvCa (1st Fighter Group)

    the FEB's 1ª Esquadrilha de Ligação e Observação or 1ª ELO (1st Air Spotting and Liaison Flight) was subordinated to 1st DIE
  14. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    This picture was posted on an internal forum at my work - asked and answered:

    for no good reason a random quiz

    The scene is a German surrender

    q1 - What is unusual about the Allied soldiers executing the capture?

    q2 - For a bonus point name the German General

    The generals are German General Otto Pico, Commander of the 148th Infantry Division, and General Mario Carloni

    On 23 Apr 1945, remnants of German 148th Infantry Division began advancing from the Genoa area toward Parma, Italy, which had recently suffered a partisan uprising that drove out the occupying German forces. Upon detecting the German movement, units of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force moved out from Parma in the morning of 26 Apr. By about 1200 hours, Brazilian M8 Greyhound scout cars came in contact with German armoured scout cars 13 kilometres southwest of Parma, just beyond the town of Collecchio; shortly after, troops of 281st Regiment of German 148th Infantry Division were also detected.

    By 1830 hours, two infantry companies (5th Company of 2nd Battalion of Brazilian 11th Regiment, and 9th Company of 3rd Battalion of Brazilian 6th Infantry Regiment) and a machine gun platoon (of 8th Company of 11th Infantry Regiment) were brought up. The attack was launched at 1930 hours. Brazilian troops of 5th Company captured the church at the south-eastern corner of Collecchio quickly (which would soon be used to house captured German troops), while 9th Company probed German lines from the northeast.

    At 2100 hours, 2nd Company of 1st Battalion of Brazilian 6th Infantry Regiment and a small number of tanks of US 751st Tank Battalion arrived to reinforce the attack. Allied troops breached the main German defensive line at 0200 hours on 27 Apr, but German troops continued to fight back fiercely.

    A German counterattack launched just before dawn was repulsed, and German resistance waned gradually after that point. Brazilian troops reported having control of the town by 1200 hours. Surviving troops of German 148th Infantry Division withdrew to Fornovo di Taro 9 kilometres to the southwest. At 1800 hours on 28 Apr, Brazilian 6th Regiment and US tanks attacked Fornovo di Taro, quickly overwhelming the Germans.

    At 2200, General Otto Fretter-Pico of German 148th Infantry Division dispatched a messenger toward the Allied lines to express his intention to surrender; Fretter-Pico would surrender to Brazilian General Mascarenhas de Moraes on the following day.

    Attached Files:

    Dave55 likes this.
  15. Sandra Doran

    Sandra Doran Well-Known Member

    Great photos.
  16. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I hesitate to post here because maybe it should go in a separate thread, but the Brazilian navy was also involved in the war, i.e. in the Battle of the Atlantic, guarding convoys and attacking German and Italian(!) submarines. Some details here: Brazilian Navy - Wikipedia
    Dave55 and Sandra Doran like this.
  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    When I was there in late 1998 the air force museum was very proud of their participation and had a P-47 prominently displayed in the correct markings.
    Sandra Doran likes this.
  18. Sandra Doran

    Sandra Doran Well-Known Member

    Hi Chris, yes, already sorted with the navy. Struggling with the infantry at the moment.
    Chris C likes this.
  19. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The Brazilian's made the same stipulation regarding the deployment of their army in WW2 as they did in WW1 - that it be sent somewhere warm - which is why they went to sunny Italy - like Lady Astor they didn't realise that Italy is not always sunny. In WW1 they were offered to General Allenby for use in Palestine. He had just broken the Gaza - Beersheba line and replied that he had enough problems with his multi lingual multi cultural army thank you without adding yet another language and so they never went.
    Chris C and Sandra Doran like this.
  20. Sandra Doran

    Sandra Doran Well-Known Member

    I am in touch with one young man and he says despite the government interest in their contribution to WWII many others are very proud.

Share This Page