Brazilian Expeditionary Force

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Distintivo da FEB

FEB's insignia

The Brazilian Expeditionary Force (in Portuguese: Força Expedicionaria Brasileira), Known by the acronym FEB Was the military force Brazilian of 25 334 men who fought alongside the Allies in Italy during the World War II. Initially composed of an infantry division, eventually covering all Brazilian military forces who participated in the conflict. He adopted the motto "The snake is smoking," in allusion to what was said at the time that it was "easier a snake smoking than Brazil enter in the war. "

Historical ContextEdit

In 1939, with the onset of WWII, the Brazil remained neutral, in a continuation of the policy of the President Getúlio Vargas not be defined by any of the major powers, only trying to take advantage of the benefits offered by them. Such "pragmatism" was discontinued in early 1942 when United States convinced the Brazilian government to cede the island of Fernando de Noronha and the northeastern Brazilian coast to receive their military bases. Starting in January of that year began a series of Brazilian merchant ships torpedoed by German submarines in the Italo-Brazilian coastline, an offensive by the idealized Adolf Hitler, Which aimed to isolate the United Kingdom, preventing the receiving supplies (equipment, weapons and raw materials) exported from the Americas, as stated in daily Joseph Goebbels, Supplies are vital to the Allied war effort and that the Germans knew they were going to supply from 1942 by the North Atlantic, Especially so The USSR. It was assumed also that the attacks suffered by Brazilian ships were in error. Since the Brazilian ships were the same path of the Americans.

It also had the objective of the offensive submarine shaft in Brazilian waters intimidate the Brazilian government to maintain neutrality, while his agents and sympathizers in the country fascist Brazilians, pejoratively called by the nickname of the population Fifth column they would spread rumors that the sinking of merchant ships would be the work of the Anglo- Americans interested in the country entered the conflict on the Allied side.

However, the public is not left confused, touched b
General German Brazil

German General Otto Freter Pico, Commander of the 148th Infantry Division, and General Mario Carloni surrendering to FEB in Fornovo di Taro - Italy, 1944.

y the deaths of civilians and also instigated by the arrogant and provocative pronouncements issued by Berlin Radio, Began to demand that the Brazil recognize the state of belligerency with the countries of the shaft. What was not formalized August 22 the same year, when war was declared to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. After which, despite the continuing inaction of the then government, the same public opinion starts to gear up for shipment to Europe of an expeditionary force as a contribution to the defeat of fascism.

But only almost two years later, in July 2 of 1944, Started transporting the first echelons of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force under the command of General João Batista Mascarenhas de Morais, With destination Naples. The first few weeks were busy acclimating to the site, as well as receiving the minimum necessary equipment and training under the supervision of the American command, which the FEB was conditional, as in the preparation Brazil shown to be deficient despite almost two years interval between the declaration of war and the sending of the first troops forward.

Although Brazil had already declared war, was completely unprepared for the conflict. The Aeronautics was just beginning to be modernized, with planes American-made . The Marine had a lot of old stuff, inable to fight submarines. The Army was also ill-equipped and, moreover, all his training had been made by a mission French army, who espoused views rather antiquated. Here's how to set the situation Democritus Cavalcanti de Arruda (Which in Italy would be injured in Montese): "Aviation nonexistent. Dozens of foreign equipment, outdated, no airstrip, no repair shops and personal service. The Army was another salad : French campaign cannons, remnants of previous wars, French and Danish Machineguns . North American coast artillery and German artillery, German rifles. Thus, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, FEB, had to be created from scratch, with American material .

The Brazilians were one of the twenty divisions allied present on the Italian front at that moment, a true Tower of Babel, Consisting of Americans (including troops segregated from the 92 th and 442 th Division, made up of African descent and nipo descent respectively commanded by white officers ), Italian antifascist, exiles Europeans ( Poles, Czechs and Greeks), troops from British colonial ( Canadian, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, Indians, Kenyans, Jews and Arabs) and France ( Moroccans, Algerians and Senegalese ) in an ethnic diversity that much resembled the French front in 1918.

The FEB was integrated to the 4th U.S. Army Corps under the command of general Willis D. Crittenberger this in turn ascribed to the army of the V United States, Commanded by General Mark W. Clark.


FEB entered combat in mid- September 1944 in the Valley Serchio River in the northern city of Lucca. The first victories of the FEB occurred in September, with the acquisition of Massarosa, Camaiore and Monte Prano. Only at the end of October, in the region of Barga, FEB suffered their first setbacks. Due to the success of the campaign in September and early October, at the end of November the BEF alone was responsible for taking the complex formed by the hills Castello, Gazebo and its surroundings, within a few days. Their commander alerted the command of the Fifth U.S. Army that the mission was impossible to be executed by only one effective division, which had already been demonstrated in failed attempts by other effective allies, and that to succeed in such an undertaking would require the joint attack of two divisions simultaneously to Gazebo, Della Torraccia, Monte Castello and Castelnuovo which, nevertheless, warned the Brazilian command, could not be carried out in less than a week. However, the Brazilian commander of the argument was accepted only after the failure of two more tries, this time made by the Brazilians, one in November and another in December.

During the harsh winter between 1944 and 1945 in Apennines FEB faced temperatures of up to twenty degrees below zero, not counting wind chill . Lots of snow, humidity and continuous attacks exploratory by the enemy, through small skirmishes sought both to undermine the physical strength, psychological as the Brazilian troops, not accustomed to low temperatures . Climatic conditions and physical reactions which amounted to more than three months of nonstop campaigning, without pause for recovery also test possible weaknesses in the sector occupied by the Brazilians for a counter -offensive in the winter.

However, in this respect, the attitude of the two unintentionally aggressive attempts to take Monte Castello in late 1944, Added to the voluntary approach to meet the exploratory incursions of the enemy in the occupied territory by the FEB, with the FEB held exploratory forays into enemy territory, made the Germans and their allies chose another sector of the Italian front, occupied by 92nd U.S. Division for their counter-offensive.

Between late February and early March 1945, had suggested as the commander of the FEB, made itself Operation Encore, An advance in conjunction with the newly arrived 10th Mountain Division U.S. . Thus, were finally taken, among other positions, by the Brazilian Monte Castello and Castelnuovo, while Americans were taking Gazebo and Della Torraccia. With these positions of power Allies, they could start the offensive end of spring, which in April took the FEB Montese and Collecchio. The achievement of these positions by the Brazilian division and the division of American mountain in the secondary sector, but vital, has enabled the forces under the command of the VIII British Army, Further east on the main sector of the Italian front, to see if finally free of the heavy and constant fire from enemy artillery, which from that point, so they could move on Bologna and breaking the The Gothic Line after eight months of combat.

It was the final phase of the spring offensive on the Italian front .Fornovo di Taro with a perfect trick in a bold move of his commander

P-47 of the Jambock squadron the first squadron of Brazil and severely modernized during the WWII

, the troops of the FEB in the region who were outnumbered and surrounded the Germans, after fighting from the unsuccessful attempt to break the siege by the enemy followed by rapid trading, managed the surrender of two divisions, the 148th Infantry Divisions in Germany ( with many experienced combat soldiers coming from the Russian front), commanded by General Otto Fretter-Pico and the actual remains of the Italian Bersaglieri division, commanded by General Mario Carloni. This meant that these divisions, which withdrew from the region of La Spezia and Genoa who had been released by the U.S. 92nd Division, to join the forces of the Italo- German Liguria That the waiting to end a counter-attack against the forces of V U.S. Army, advancing, as is inevitable in such situations quickly, but diffuse and uncoordinated, including air support, having left several flashes in his left wing and rear . Many bridges along the Po were untouched by the Nazi-Fascist forces with this intent . The command of the German armies C, which was already in peace talks in Caserta A few days ago with the Allied command in Italy, hoping thereby to obtain a victory in order to achieve better conditions for surrender. The events in Fornovo di Taro involuntarily prevented implementation of this plan by both the embezzlement of troops, as caused by the delay, which allied to the news of the death of Hitler and making final Berlin by the forces of Red Army not left to the German command choice but to accept the early surrender of his troops in Italy. In his final push, FEB yet reached the city of Turin, And May 2 of 1945 In the city of Susa, they joined with the French troops in the Franco-Italian border .

The Brazil had many casualites in this campaingn. about four hundred and fifty officers and thirteen soldiers, and eight pilot-officers of Brazilian Air Force. The Brazilian division still had about two thousand deaths due to combat injuries and more than twelve thousand casualties in the campaign for various causes injury or other disabling them to continue fighting. Having thus summed substitutions, shifts and rotations, of about twenty- five thousand men sent more than twenty-two thousand took stock . What, included deaths and disabilities were given an average of 1.7 men for each used in battle, was a considerable degree of utilization compared to other divisions that have stood

In June 6 of 1945, the Ministry of War in Brazil ordered that the units still in the FEB Italy is subordinate to the commander of the first military region (1st WR), headquartered in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Which ultimately meant the dissolution of the quota.

In 1960, The ashes of the dead in the Brazilian campaign Italy were transferred to Pistoia for Brazil, and now lie at the war memorial that was erected in Flamengo Park, South of the city of Rio de Janeiro. In honor and remembrance for the sacrifices of them.

At the end of the campaign, the FEB had jailed more than twenty thousand enemy soldiers, fourteen thousand, seven hundred seventy-nine only in Fornovo di Taro, Eighty cannons, one thousand and five hundred thousand horses and four cars . Even with his lightning demobilization, the return of the FEB after the end of the war against fascism precipitated the fall of Getúlio Vargas and the end of Estado Novo at Brazil.

Participation of the Brazilian Air Force in the Italian CampaignEdit

Statistical summaryEdit

Total Operations
Total of tasks 445
Total offensive outputs 2546
Total output defensive 4
Total flight hours in military operations 5465
Total flight hours performed 6144
Total bombs dropped 4442
Incendiary bombs (FTI) 166
Cluster bombs (260 lb) 16
Cluster bombs (90 lb) 72
Demolition bombs (1000 lb) 8
Demolition bombs (500 lb) 4180
Approximate total tonnage of bombs 1010
Total of 50 caliber ammunition 1180200
Total rocket 850
Total gallons of gasoline consumed 4058651
Total Operations
Destroyed Damaged
Airplanes 2 9
Locomotives 13 92
Motorized transport 1304 686
Wagons and tank cars 250 835
Armored cars 8 13
horse-drawn vehicles 79 19
Bridges and railroads running 25 51
Bridges and railroads running 412
Platforms screening 3
Buildings occupied by the enemy 144 94
Camps 1 4
Command posts 2 2
Artillery positions 85 15
Accommodation 3 8
Factories 6 5
Different plant 125 54
Power Plants 5 4
Fuel tanks and ammunition 31 15
Deposits of material 11 1
Refineries 3 2
Radar stations
Boats 19 52

Famous FEBiansEdit

Served in the Brazilian Expeditionary Force people from many different social strata . Some in the following years would play straight roles in political, social and cultural brasileira. Other indirectly as parents, educators and professionals, who in their respective areas affected by acceptance or opposition personalities of later generations . We cite in alphabetical order some of the following:

  • Camilo Cola- entrepreneur and founder of the political Group Itapemirim
    Pistoia cemetery

    Graveyard of Brazilian soldiers killed in service, located at Pistoia in Italy.

  • Albuquerque Lima - Minister of Interior between 1967 and 1969.
  • Antonio Pereira Matogrosso - Soldier and father of singer and showman Ney Matogrosso
  • Celso Furtado - Intellectual and economist at ECLAC, creator of SUDENE and Minister of Planning for the João Goulart government.
  • Clarice Lispector - Writer, as a volunteer in the nurse corps FEB.
  • Golbery do Couto e Silva - Ministry of Civil Affairs between 1974 and 1981.
  • Hugo Abreu - Minister of the Military between 1974 and 1978.
  • Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco - President of Brazil between 1964 and 1967.
  • Jacob Gorender - Writer, political activist and a founder of Pcbr.
  • Octavio Costa- He created advertising campaigns of Military Regime during Medici government.
  • Osvaldo Cordeiro - Governor of Pernambuco between 1955 and 1959.
  • Perácio - Soccer player in Rio de Janeiro, nationally famous in the years 1940.
  • Poli - Professional musician, previously recognized in the art world when summoned . Multinstrumentista that influenced names MPB in the years 1960.
  • Solomon Malina - National President of PCB between 1987 and 2001.

FEB links with current millitary unitsEdit

  • 1st Expeditionary Infantry Division
Today is 1st Army Division - Military Village of Deodoro - Rio de Janeiro- RJ
  • Company 's Headquarters
Music Band Division - Formed by several military units and " Special Squad "organized based on the mobilization of police officers of the Guardia Civil de São Paulo - Currently, the Commando Company of the 1st Army Division - Millitary Village of Deodoro - Rio de Janeiro;
The Civil Guard , or Public Forces dismembered in Civil Police, Military Police and Forensic Science the State of São Paulo;
Musical Corps of Military Police of São Paulo - Light district Sao Paulo;
Band of the 1st Army Division .
  • 9th Engineer Battalion
Formed by 9th Combat Engineer Battalion Battalion Carlos Camisão, Aquidauana -MS, and the Sergeants Company's Engineering School - Rio de Janeiro - Today the 9th Combat Engineer Battalion remains in the city of Aquidauana ;
Subsequently the Company School of Engineering has the name of the 9th Combat Engineer Company (School ) and 1990s became the 1st Engineer Company of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion - Battalion Vilagran Cabrita, Which was renamed School of Engineering Battalion.
  • 1st Infantry Regiment
Currently the 1st Infantry Regiment became the 1st Motorized Infantry Battalion (School ) - Sampaio Regiment , belonging to Grouping Units -School / 9 th Motorized Infantry Brigade located in the Vila Militar Deodoro , Rio de Janeiro- RJ;
  • 6th Infantry Regiment
Currently the 6th Infantry Regiment became the 6th Battalion Light Infantry Regiment Ipiranga, belonging to 12th Light Infantry Brigade ( Aeromóvel )Situated in the City of Caçapava -SP.
  • 11th Infantry Regiment
Currently the 11th Infantry Regiment became the 11th Mountain Infantry Battalion Regiment Tiradentes, belonging to 4th Motorized Infantry Brigade and is located in São João Del Rey- MG.
  • 1st Reconnaissance Squadron
Formed by the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron and the 2nd Regiment Discovery Moto- Mechanized and military Squadron Cavalry School - Currently 1st Cavalry Squadron Light Squad Ten Amaro, Valencia-RJ. In war the Squadron was commanded by then Lieutenant Plinio Pitaluga. On return from the War Cap Pitaluga is appointed commander of 9th Mechanized Cavalry Squadron (School ) and in the 1990s became the 1st Squadron of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment of Guards Regiment Andrade Neves, Which was renamed Cavalry School - Rio de Janeiro- RJ. Rules Pitaluga
  • Police Platoon
Formed by several military units and " Special Squad ", organized on the basis of mobilizing the Civil Guard police of Sao Paulo - the Atualmete 1st Military Police Battalion - Rio de Janeiro- RJ.
  • 1st Battalion of Health
Currently Logistics Battalion 21 - Battalion Oswaldo Cruz - Rio- RJ.
  • 1st Company of the broadcasting
Formed by several military units and " Special Squad "organized based on the mobilization of police officers of the Guardia Civil de São Paulo - Currently 1st Battalion of the Army Communications Battalion Baron Capanema, is called School of Communications Battalion.
  • 1st Light Maintenance Company and 1st Quartermaster Company
Formed by several military units and " Special Squad ", organized on the basis of the mobilization of police Guardia Civil de São Paulo - Currently the 19th Logistics Battalion Battalion Marshal Bittencourt is heir to the traditions of the 1st Company of maintenance and Take 1st Quartermaster Company - Rio de Janeiro- RJ.
  • Expeditionary Division Artillery
Currently Artillery Division (1st Army Division ) - AD Cordeiro, Rio de Janeiro- RJ.
Expeditionary Battery Division Artillery Command
Currently the Battery Division Artillery Command of the 1st Army Division , Rio de Janeiro- RJ.

Monument in homenage to the FEB soldiers located in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais

I Group Mortars 105
Currently 1st Field Artillery Group Jungle - Floriano Regiment, Maraba -PA.
Group II howitzer 105
Currently 21st Field Artillery Group Group Monte Bastione, Rio de Janeiro- RJ.
Group III Mortars 105
Currently 20th Field Artillery Light Group Group Bandeirante, Barueri , Brazil.
Group IV 155 howitzer
Currently 11th Field Artillery Group Group Montese Vila Militar Deodoro - Rio de Janeiro- RJ.

Association of Veterans of the Brazilian Expeditionary ForceEdit

The Association of Veterans of FEB was organized to keep alive the history of Brazilian participation in the WWII. The central direction of the organization is in Rio de Janeiro but there are regional chapters in other parts of Brazil.

Detail and Curiosities about the FEB in WWIIEdit

  • FEB remained in uninterrupted two hundred thirty-nine days in combat. As an example of comparison of the forty- four

    Monument of FEB in Araxá, Alagoas state in Brazil

    divisions that fought in the American North Africa and Europe between November 1942 and May 1945 only twelve more days continuously been fighting in the Brazilian division .
  • Despite the latent racism of some of the top officialdom of the FEB, it was the end of 1944 the only force mixed, not segregated between the allied troops fighting in Europe.
  • FEB fought nine German and three Italian divisions, suffering four hundred fifty-seven deaths, two thousand and sixty-four wounded, and had thirty -five men imprisoned.
  • Major victories took place in the FEB Massarosa, Camaiore, Monte Prano, Monte Acuto, San Quirico d' Orcia, Gallicano, Barga, Monte Castello, La Sierra, Castelnuovo, Soprassasso, Montese, Windscreen, Zocca, Marano sul Panaro, Collecchio and Fornovo di Taro. Throughout his campaign has captured two generals, 493 officers and 19,679 enemy soldiers and were the most prisoners ( 14 779 ) were captured in Fornovo.
  • The FAB with the 1st fighter group had killed sixteen planes, with a loss of eight aviators. Despite having flown only 5% of all tasks performed by all the squads under the XXII Tactical Air Command ally, between November 1944 and April 1945 in this period within that total, was responsible for destroying 85% of the ammunition dumps, 36% of fuel tanks, 15% of motor vehicles (trucks, tanks, and locomotives ) enemies, among other tasks. So, for her performance had honorable service of the Congress United States.
  • Before the surrender of German forces to become official May 2, 1945, the 148th division was the only German division captured in full including your command with an allied force (in this case, the Brazilian 1st Division ). Throughout the campaign of Italy, since the invasion of Sicily in July 1943 until the spring offensive of 1945, all other German divisions, regardless of losses, were able to retreat to the north without surrender.
  • During the making of Montese There was a singular tribute paid to that three Brazilian soldiers in the patrol mission, faced with a whole company of the German army, having been ordered to surrender, refused and died fighting . As recognition of the bravery and courage of those soldiers, by the way fought the Germans would have buried them in shallow graves, and near the tombs placed a cross with the inscription " helden brasilianischen drei "(three Brazilian heroes ). They were - Arlindo da Silva Lucio, Baeta Geraldo da Cruz and Geraldo Rodrigues de Souza - There is today in the courtyard of graduation of the battalion which belonged to a monument that reverence.


Before go to the war, the Brazilian Government brought new weapons to the Brazilian Expeditionary Force

Name Specifications Image
M1 Carbine

Caliber: .30 or .30 M1 Carbine

Operating System : The gas, with rotating bolt

Scheme of Fire : Semi- Automatic Weight: 2.7 kg with 15 cartridge loader Capacity: 5, 15 and 30 cartridges Length : 905 mm

M3 Grease Gun

Caliber: .45 ACP

System Operation: Blowback, open bolt

Fire Regime : Automatic Weight: 4.48 (Loaded)

Capacity: 30 rounds Length : 762 mm ( butt extended) Rate of fire : 450 rounds per minute

M1A1 Thompson

Caliber: .45 ACP

System Operation: Blowback, open bolt

Scheme of Fire : Semi- Automatic and Automatic Weight: 4.7 kg with 30 cartridge loader Capacity: 20 or 30 rounds Length: 813 mm Rate of fire : 700 rounds per minute


Caliber: .45 ACP

Operation: Semi- Automatic

System Operation: Blowback, open bolt Weight: 1.106 kg Capacity: 7 rounds Length : 21.6 cm Useful range : 50 m


Smith & Wesson .45

Caliber: .45 ACP Auto Rim

Operation: Double action

Weight: 2.26 kg Capacity: 6 cartridges Length: 27.43 cm Useful range : 50 m

Springfield 1903 Calibre: .30-06 (7, 62 x 63)Principle of Operation: Muscle Action ShooterWeight: 3.910 kg

Capacity: 5 rounds Length: 1.115 cm Bayonet Length : 0.306 cm

M1 Garand

Model: M1

Caliber: 7.62 x 63 mm

Food: clip of eight cartridges was impossible to feed individual cartridges Initial Velocity : 822.96 m / s Length: 109.22 cm Barrel length : 60.96 Weight: 4.3 kg Sights: Adjustable aperture, 100-1200 yards Method of operation: Gas recovery Type of Fire: Single-shot

Browning Automatic Rifle Calibre: .30-06 (7, 62 x 63)Operating System : The gas, with action openScheme of Fire : Semi -automatic

Weight : 8.33 kg

Capacity: charger with 20 cartridges Length : 1214 mm Rate of fire: 500 rounds per minute (cyclic ) Range: accurate up to 550 m.

Browning M-1919 Machine Gun Calibre: .30-06 (7, 62 x 63)Principle of Operation : Short recoil of the barrelOperation : Automatic

Weight : 14.07 kg Charger: Type in canvas tape Capacity: 100 or 250 cartridges Length: 1.036 m Rate of fire : 250 rounds per minute Useful range : 540 m

M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun

Calibre: .50 (12.7 mm)

Operation: Semi-Automatic and Automatic Weight: 39 kg Charger: Type metal tape Capacity: 100 or 250 cartridges Length: Rate of fire : 400-600 RPM Useful range : 1,800 m

Grenade MK-IIA1

Chipset : Approximately 50 fragments

Weight: 540 g Diameter: 5 cm Length: 10 cm Explosive: Granulated Powder Primer : Detonates in about 4 seconds Action radius : 30 m

M2 Flamethrower

Range: 70 meters, depending on the fuel mix

Weight: 34 kg loaded Capacity: 20 intermittent loads

Bazooka M9A1

Caliber : 2.36 inch . or 60mm

Operation: Recovery Principle of operation: Action of an electric current on the rocket Weight: 6.800 kg Length: 155 cm Useful range : 270 m Rocket Weight : 1.53 kg Power Source: Magneto placed on the wrist Point Apparatus : display fixed, graduated 0-600 yards

Bazooka M9

0MM Mortar

Size: 60 mm

Operating System : Muscle Action Shooter Scheme of Fire: 12 shots per minute Weight of the pipe ( barrel ): 3.8 kg Tripod Weight : 5.0 kg Weight plate - base : 4.0 kg Useful range : 2,050 m

81mm M1 Mortar

Size: 81 mm

Operating System : Muscle Action Shooter Scheme of Fire : 12 shots per minute Weight of the pipe ( barrel ): 38.6 kg Weight of tripod: 14.3 kg Weight plate - base : 12 kg Useful range : 5,800 m

37mm Cannon

Size: 37 mm

Fire Regime : 'Weight: '413.68 kg Length: 3.92 m Range: 6.9 km

Sixpounder 57mm Cannon Size: 57 mmRange: 2,800 mPenetration power : at screening, 80 mm

Weight: 1200 kg

M-101 Howitzer 105mm Calibre: 105 mm

Range: 11,000m

Weight : 2.270 kg

M1 155mm Howitzer

Calibre: 155 mm

Rate of fire : 3 rounds per minute Weight : 5,700 kg Weight of grenade : 45 kg

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