What Did Brazil Do in World War II? | The South American Ally

Brazil was one of the Allies of World War II. It was also the only Ally from South America to provide troops. The country made significant contributions to the war effort. They sent an expeditionary force to fight alongside the allies in the Italian Campaign. The Brazilian Navy and Air Force helped the Allies in the Atlantic from 1942 until the end of the war in 1945.

Badge of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force

The Brazilian Expeditionary Force or BEF was a force of about 25,344 men. They were organized as a division of the US Fifth Army.  They were delayed in getting started by difficulties in getting organized. Some in Brazil thought the government was not that anxious to send troops into battle.

A popular saying at the time was that it was more likely for “snakes to smoke” than to get the BEF going. It is the same as the saying “When pigs fly”, meaning it will probably never happen. When the BEF did enter the war, they proudly wore their arm patch showing a cobra with a pipe in its mouth. They called themselves the “Smoking Cobras”.

They were organized as a standard American division. They wore American uniforms with Brazilian rank and unit markings. The BEF was divided into three battalions of 5,000 men each. They were the 1st, 6th and 11th regimental combat teams. Their record in Italy was impressive.

At the Battle of Collecchio the BEF defeated the German 148th Division and the Italian Monte Rosa, San Marco, and Italia divisions. They captured 14,700 troops and 800 officers (including 2 Generals). During the eight months of battle in Italy, the BEF captured a total of 20,573 Axis soldiers. 450 BEF troops and 13 officers died while fighting on the front.

Source: History With Hilbert Channel on Youtube