The Brazilian Expeditionary Force

2/03/2012     Brazil

The role played by BRAZIL in World War II is not well known - the area of philately associated with this role is even less well known.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, Brazil allowed the USA to use a number of Air Bases. Brazil broke off relations with Germany early in 1942, and declared war on the Axis Powers on 24th August 1942. It was not until July 1944 however, that Brazilian troops joined the Allies in Italy - the Forca Expedicionaria Brasileira (F.E.B.). By early February 1945, just over 25,000 Brazilian troops were deployed in Northern Italy.

Mail from and to the Brazilian troops was handled by the F.E.B. postal system, and carried by the US Army Air Force Transport Command between Natal (North East Brazil) and Naples. The Air Mail was free from postal charges, and was censored unless addressed to a General Officer. Covers generally bear date stamps 'CORREIO REGULADOR No. 1 / F.E.B.' and/or 'ESTACAO POSTAL / F.E.B.' Various censor marks were used, often boxed with F.E.B. 'Censurada' and the number of the censor.

By the time the Germans surrendered on 2nd May 1945, the Brazilian Army had lost 451 dead and about 2,000 wounded - around one tenth of their strength. F.E.B. covers are scarce, and form part of a fascinating and relatively unexplored part of Postal History.

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