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November 15, 2015

Brazilian Organizations
In Italian Campaign


  This page presents a organizational tables and general information on the Brazilin army in Italy.    I would like to thank Sergio Barcellos for his assistance with the contents of this page.
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History of BEF and its Divisions
     The state of neutrality kept by Brazil since the beginning of WWII was disrupted by Nazi Germany, when U-Boats sank Brazilian merchant ships, killing over 1,000 civilians.
     In August 9th 1943, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (BEF) was created and Division General João Baptista Mascarenhas de Moraes assigned as its Chief Commander. Designed under the American Army standards, BEF was composed of 1st Expeditionary Infantry Division (or 1st  DIE) and other non-division units. 1st DIE itself comprised one Infantry Division, one Artillery Division, one Engineering Battalion, one Medical Battalion, one Reconnaissance Squadron plus several small service units.
     BEF was shipped to Italy from July 2nd 1944 to February 8th 1945.   In Italy, BEF became part of the 5th American Army, under the command of General Mark Wayne Clark and its first combat actions took place in early September 1944, at the Arno River sector, near the city of Pisa.
      In the last days of its offensive, BEF besieged and captured the German 148th Infantry Division (commanded by General Otto Fretter Pico) and the Italia Division (commanded by General Mario Carloni), reaching the Po valley and then heading northwest, to link with French troops at the city of Susa on May 2, 1945.
     Main BEF victories are: Massarosa, Camaiore, Monte Prano, Monte Acuto, San Quirico, Gallicano, Barga, Monte Castelo, La Serra, Castelnuovo, Soprassasso, Montese, Paravento, Zocca, Marano Su Panaro, Colechio and Fornovo.

BEF UNITS         { } = denotes the Brazilian state the unit came from.
11st Mountain Infantry Battalion (Tiradentes Regiment), {Minas Gerais };
1st Motor Infantry Battalion (Sampaio Regiment), { Espírito Santo};
6th Light Infantry Battalion (Ipiranga Regiment), { São Paulo state}.
Top scorer in number of missions performed in Italy. First brazilian unit to go into combat. Captured the German 148th Infantry Division and remaing forces of 90th Panzergrenadier and Italia Division, taking 14,739 prisoners, over 1,500 vehicles and 4,000 cannons plus enormous stocks of ammo and supplies;
1st Mechanized Cavalry Squadron (former 1st Reconaissance Squadron), { Rio de Janeiro };
1st Artillery Division (AD/1), { Rio de Janeiro };
9th Combat Engineering Battalion (Carlos Camisão Battalion), { Mato Grosso do Sul };
8th Coast Artillery Group, { Rio de Janeiro }. Stayed in Brazil to protect the coast and ports;
1st Medical Battalion, { Rio de Janeiro}.

       43rd and 114th Jäger Divisions
       94th, 148th, 232nd, 305th and 334th Infantry Divisions
       29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions
       Hermann Göering Division Parachute Corps
       Italia Division
       Monte Rosa Division
       San Sarco Division

       Days in combat:    239
       Enemies captured:   20,573 (2 Generals, 892 Officers, 19,679 Men)
       KIA:     457 (13 Officers, 444 men)
       WIA:    1,577
       Victims of accidents:  1,145   (487 in combat missions)
       POW:    35  (1 Officer, 34 men)
       MIA:      23  (10 buried as unknown soldiers)

Source: National BEF Veterans Association: translated by Sergio Barcellos.

Brazilian Air Force   or Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB)
The First Fighter Group (Primeiro Grupo de Caça – 1º GAVCa) was founded on December 18th 1943, commanded by Major Nero Moura. The first men, 16 Officers and 16 Sergeants, all volunteer, came from the Brazilian Air Force
ranks.  The FAB was trained in the US on the P-40 and later on the P-47.  The Group was shipped to Livorno, Italy, in early October 1944, ready to fight.
In Tarquinia, Italy, the Group became part of the US 350th Fighter Group.  The four squadrons were the 1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron, 345th, 346th and 347th Fighter Squadron.  They adopted a patch with an ostrich, which symbolizes speed and maneuverability as well as their tolerance for powdered eggs and powdered milk that they had to eat while in US and during their trans-Altantic voyage.

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