Brazilians at War

Brazilians at War

Author
Santiago Rivas
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Brazil is not one of the major players in WW2 and does not feature in any Hollywood or Elstree Studio lists. They were however an important player in that they, along with the United States, patrolled the waters off their coasts which were a hunting ground for German and Italian submarines. This book deals with the aviation part of the Brazilian war effort , both in protecting their own coast but also the fighter squadron sent to Italy to work under the USAAF and to support the Brazilian ground troops also fighting in that theatre.

The book is well illustrated, many of the photographs from the author’s own collection, with details of the different types of aircraft that were part of the Brazilian Air Force. There are also coloured drawings showing the markings used so this book would be very useful if any modellers would like to see what the colouring of these aircraft were.

Along with the photographs and illustrations is a concise text explaining the role that Brazil had in the war and what they did. This starts off with the ward beginning, and Brazil, like most S American countries, attempting to stay neutral. They were under huge pressure from the USA to assist and bases were established on Brazilian soil before they came in to the war and from which US aircraft patrolled the seas. Brazil lost many of its own merchant fleet to submarines which eventually brought them in to the war on 22 August 1942.

The Brazil navy operated under the US South Atlantic Fleet and conducted themselves very well fitting in to the Fleet fairly easily. The first part of the book is dedicated to the effort of the Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB). The deployment of Squadrons and the operations carried out against submarines is quite detailed and while there were not a huge number of Axis submarines sunk the FAB certainly played their part in keeping the shipping lanes free. Attacks on various submarines are described in details and the known outcome given, although often when the submarine submerged it was difficult to know if it was sunk, damaged or got off unscathed.

As the war in the Mediterranean moved into Italy, Brazil sent troops and a fighter squadron to Italy as part of their war effort. This book describes the operations undertaken by the fighter squadron and by the reconnaissance aircraft deployed. Again, very well detailed with plenty of photographs showing both aircrew and ground crews along with their charges. One shows a Thunderbolt with half a wing missing but which the pilot managed to fly back to base – can’t have been a fun flight.

There are six Appendices at the rear of the book

Appx 1 – the operations carried out in Italy 31/10/44 to 3/5/45

Appx 2 – results from these operations

Appx 3 – a list of P47D Thunderbolts used by FAB and their eventual disposal, the last not being retired until 1958

Appx 4 – rather strangely a list of submarines known to have operated in Brazilian waters or off her coast along with their eventual fate

Appx 5 – a list of Brazilian Merchant ships lost to submarines.

Appx 6 – a small glossary of Brazilian military ranks.

I must say I have never really thought of Brazil as a member of the Allied forces but they played their part to the full as much as they could and this book goes a long way to telling us their story. Prince Philip seems to have been of the same vein as me as a story about him meeting a Brazilian Admiral, he was admiring the ample number of World War II medals on the chest of the Brazilian admiral. The Prince remarked that he didn’t think Brazil was in the war long enough for him to earn the medals. The admiral responded, “At least I didn’t get them for marrying my wife.” !

4/5 for this very informative book, ideal for Mil Hist buffs and model makers.

Author
Auld-Yin
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