Brazil was the only South American country to send troops to fight in WWII. Initially neutral, the government of Brazil created the Força Expedicionária Brasileira (Brazilian Expeditionary Force) of ~25,000 men in 1943 after 34 Brazilians ships were sunk near the country’s shore by U-Boats.

Early reluctance by the Brazilian government to joining the Allied war effort, fostered the popular saying: Mais fácil uma cobra fumar um cachimbo, do que a FEB embarcar para o combate = It’s more likely for a snake to smoke a pipe, than for the BEF to go the front and fight.

Beginning in 1944, the BEF infantry, naval and air force fought alongside the Allies in the Mediterranean Theatre.

Before entering battle, BEF troops, wearing a shoulder patch with a smoking cobra,  declared: A cobra ai fumar! The snake will smoke!

948 BEF troops were killed in action from 1944-45.