Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil has overcome more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of the interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, Brazil became Latin America's leading economic power by the 1970s. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem. - US CIA World Factbook


1924 "Legalist Armored Cars pass through the city after the rebel's retreat. São Paulo (SP), july, 1924". IN: FUNDAÇÃO GETÚLIO VARGAS. Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de Histórico Contemporânea do Brasil. A revolução de 1930 e seus antecendentes. Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1980. p. 47.---1932  The lieutenant (jg) Michel Matuck, commander of the assault car section, in action in Mantiqueira [Mantiqueira mountain range]", IN: Noite Ilustrada Magazine, number 124, august, 17, 1932. page. 26.---1932  The commander and the garrison of the Assault Cars that are in action in the south of Minas [Minas Gerais State]. " IN: Noite Ilustrada Magazine, number 124, august, 17, 1932. page. 6.---"An assault car in action, in the sector occupied by the East Army". IN: Noite Ilustrada, nr. 123, August 10, 1932. Page 32

---1998 Renault preserved in working condition at the Army War Material [maintenance] School, Rio de Janeiro, 1998. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---"Assault Cars, ready to go into action, in the advanced lines". IN: Noite Ilustrada, nr. 124, August 17, 1932. Page 26---From: "Vida Doméstica" Magazine, special edition dedicated to the National Army, November 1940. Page 149.---From: "Vida Doméstica" Magazine, special edition dedicated to the National Army, November 1940. Page 166. Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro, who submitted this photo writes, "the most interesting thing about this picture are the buildings behind - a typical Brazilian small town scene, still visible today in the interior of the country. I am guessing here, but this is part of the Paraíba Valley Maneuvers set of photos, so the town could be Resende, Rio de Janeiro."

From: "Vida Doméstica" Magazine, special edition dedicated to the National Army, November 1940. Page 146. Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro, who submitted this photo writes, "Also not very detailed. This was certainly taken at the Armour School (it is possible to identify the buildings in the background, they still exist)."---From: "Vida Doméstica" Magazine, special edition dedicated to the National Army, November 1940. Page 167. Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro, who submitted this photo writes, "this is not a good picture, as it is part of a mosaic of photos, so the inset with a bridging boat. Also from Paraíba Valley Maneuvers set of photos."
Renault FT17 "carros de assalto" (assault cars)

12 Renaults were bought by Brazil in 1921: one radio tank (TSF), four machine gun and seven cannon armed tanks. These had some improvements in relation to the normal French vehicles, suggested by Captain José Pessôa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque. Captain Albuquerque served as a military observer in the French 4th Dragoon Regiment, Armor School and 503rd Char de Combat Regiment during WWI and is considered the "father" of the Brazilian Armored force. The tanks, acquired for testing armor theories, were used by the government against the rebels in the 1924 and 1932 Revolutions and were withdrawn from active service in 1938, although continuing to serve in the Armor school up to 1942. There are four known surviving Renaults in Brazil, but only one is kept in working condition (a cannon vehicle), the others were gutted. The 2 man crews had their functions divided as such: commander/gunner and driver/mechanic. A small breakdown of the duties was as follows: for each operational day, 3 hours were set apart for repairs, also, there is a prevision of a rest day after two days in the field.

Sources: ALBUQUERQUE, José Pessôa Cavalcanti de. Os "tanks" na Guerra Européa. Rio de Janeiro, Albuquerque & Neves, 1921. CASTRO, Adler Homero Fonseca de. Museu Histórico do Exército, peça n. 1: Carro de Combate Renault FT 17. (mimeo).

Specifications
Crew 2 - commander/gunner and driver/mechanic.
Weight Machine gun version: 6682 kg; cannon version: 6478 kg.
Length 5 meters with unditching tail, 4.12 meters without
Width 2.80 m
Height 2.14 m
Armor 22 mm (cannon or "Berliot" turret); 16 mm in the machine-gun turret. Sides of the chassis: 16 mm, top: 8 mm, floor: 6 mm.
Range 35 km
Speed 8 km/h road speed, 4km/h cross-country
Weapons one 37mm Puteaux gun or a 7mm hotchkiss machine gun (in theory, interchangeable). Radio car unarmed.

Wilton-Fijenoord
The Wilton-Fijenoord

An experimental type. After satisfying trials two of these cars were shipped to the East Indies in 1934. Results there were less satisfactory, the vehicles being too heavy for the roads and the air-cooled engines suffering from overheating, forcing the use of airplane gas rather than the normal gasoline. The 2 cars thus were sold back to the firm and returned to the Netherlands.

In February 1935 two vehicles were sold to Brazil. The third remained at the firm until they managed to sell it to the Netherlands army in return of a tax-reduction. In May 1940 the Germans captured the third unit and stored it until re-activated in April 1945 for the defense of Berlin, still unarmed.


Maneuvers in Rio de Janeiro State - 1940---Ansaldo 1940 - Maneuvers in Rio de Janeiro State. The photo was possibly taken at the Armor School (Rio de Janeiro City). Taken from "Vida Doméstica" Magazine, special edition dedicated to the National Army, November 1940 (pages 145 and 167 respectively).---Ansaldo 1940 - Maneuvers in Rio de Janeiro State. Taken from "Vida Doméstica" Magazine, special edition dedicated to the National Army, November 1940 (pages 145 and 167 respectively).

Ansaldo 1998 - Preserved sample at the Army War Material School. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---Ansaldo 1998 - Preserved sample at the Army War Material School. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---A special torsion bar design for Brazil. - Pictorial History of Tanks of the World 1915-45 by Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis
CV33 Tankette "autometralhadoras" (machine gun carriers)

These vehicles were known only as "Ansaldos" in Brazil, unlike the Renaults, they were not classified as "carros de assalto" (assault cars), but as "autometralhadoras" (machine gun carriers) (*). The goal was to have a Autometralhadoras Reconnaissance Regiment in each Cavalry Division, with two companies of 20 cars each, but Brazil only acquired about 20 CV-33-3 (**). These arrived in Brazil in the Late 1930's (1938?), remaining in Rio de Janeiro, mostly to test armor theories. They were withdrawn from active service as soon as more modern armor was available (US M-3 "Stuart" tanks), in early 1940's (1942?). The vehicles never saw action.

Ralph Ricco - author of Italian Tanks and Fighting Vehicles of WW2 writes: "Between 1937 and 1939, 23 CV 35s were furnished to Brazil, and were designated "Auto Metralhadoras de Reconhecimento" (AMR). These were assigned to the "Escuela de la Motorisation" and were organized into a school squadron consisting of a command platoon and four platoons of 5 machines each.  It is believed that 18 tankesttes were armed with 7mm Madsen machineguns (twin mounts), and 5 were aremd with a Breda 13.2mm machinegun."

Notes:
(*) The Brazilian army does not recognize the word "tank". Up to the 1940's, the armored vehicles were called "carro de assalto" or "autometralhadoras", both later substituted by "carro de combate" (combat car). This, in my opinion, generates many problems, as there is no word for the truly combat car (like the M8 "Greyhound").
(**) The number acquired, according my sources, would have been 23 vehicles: 17 armed with two 7mm Madsen machine guns, 3 with one 13.2 mm Breda machine guns and 3 command tanks (I do not know how these last three would be different from the others). These figures are not based on confirmed data, though.

Specifications
Weight 3,435 kg
Length 3.18m
Width 1.43m
Height 1.28m
Armor (max) 13.5mm
 Range 125 km
 Speed 42 km/hr
Weapons 2 x 7mm Madsen Machineguns
 Crew 2

1924 - Armored car abandoned by the rebels in São Paulo, due to its excessive weight. - From: FUNDAÇÃO GETÚLIO VARGAS. Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de Histórico Contemporânea do Brasil. A revolução de 1930 e seus antecendentes. Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1980. p. 42.---1930 - Rebel "Tanks" from Rio Grande do Sul State in the Revolution victory parade, Rio de Janeiro, 1930 (well, at least these traveled a lot). The tanks are named after the three main rebel states: Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais and Paraíba. From: FUNDAÇÃO GETÚLIO VARGAS. Centro de Pesquisa e Documentação de Histórico Contemporânea do Brasil. A revolução de 1930 e seus antecedentes. Rio de Janeiro, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 1980. p. 198.---1932 - Rebel flame-thrower tank made at São Paulo for the 1932 revolution, during trials. From: DONATO, Hernâni. A Revolução de 32. São Paulo, Círculo do Livro, 1982. p. 183.---Another improvised "tank" used by São Paulo Rebels in September 1932. This one, according to the book caption, weighted 6 tons. According to the same book (Paula, Jeziel de. 1932: Imagens Construindo a História. Campinas, UNIMEP, 1999), São Paulo built 30 armored vehicles during the 85-day revolution. From Jeziel de Paula book, p. 135. The reference about 30 armored vehicles was taken from page 133.

1932 - Rebel armored car, São Paulo. From: FUNARTE & FGV. Revolução de 1932 : a Fotografia e a política. Rio de Janeiro, FUNARTE, 1932. p. 31.---1932 - Early samples of Rebel tanks, made at São Paulo, during 1932 Revolution. ---1932 - Early samples of Rebel tanks, made at São Paulo, during 1932 Revolution. ---1932 - Early samples of Rebel tanks, made at São Paulo, during 1932 Revolution. These were not successful, due to excessive weight (14 tons). They were mounted in caterpillar tractor chassis and were equipped with four heavy machine guns (7 mm Hotchkiss, Brazilian model 1922). improv1932f and improv1932c - latter samples of Rebel tanks, made at São Paulo, during 1932 Revolution. These incorporates the experience acquired during the fighting, being much lighter (4 tons) and equipped with a Hotchkiss heavy machine gun in a revolving turret.

Armored train made by the Paulistas, in the 1932 revolution.  The TB-5 (TB="Trem Blindado", Armored Train, number 5) was the most famous of the lot of armored/artillery trains, being nicknamed by the rebels as the "Phantom of Death". It was armed with a 75 mm gun, four Hotchkiss 7 mm MMGs and had twelve rifle ports. Photo August 1932. From: DONATO, Hernâni. A Revolução de 32. São Paulo, Círculo do Livro, 1982. p.187.---Armored train made by the Paulistas, during the 1932 evolution. This was one of the five armored trains made by the rebels during the revolution, besides other artillery trains (unarmored). From: ONATO, Hernâni. A Revolução de 32. São Paulo, Círculo do Livro, 1982. p. 186.---Armored Boat made by the Paulista rebels, during trials in the Tiete River, 1932 revolution. This was one of the two completed before the end of the revolution both were of the same pattern, equipped with 7 mm Hotchkiss MMG and a searchlight. From: Paula, Jeziel de. 1932: Imagens Construindo a História. Campinas, UNIMEP, 1999. p. 132.
Improvised Rebel Armor

About the Period:

Brazil had a long period of internal turmoil soon after the First World War. The coffee growing economy gave predominance to a very small group of planters based in a small region and the government was subservient to the interests of this group, while the rest of the country lagged behind. Initially led by middle class sectors, heavily represented in the junior ranks of the officer corps, some movements against the "status quo" began, the first one in 1922, followed by other in 1924. The rebels of 1924 did not surrender, a mobile column, pursued by the army, continued in operations up to 1927, after having traversed over more the 22.000 kilometers (13.600 miles) in the interior of the country. After the crash of the New York stock exchange of 1929, the economic situation of the country worsened and the excluded states, allied with urban segments (middle classes and capitalists), led by Getúlio Vargas, overthrew the government led by São Paulo State (main coffee growing region) in 1930. In 1932, the old dominant sectors of São Paulo State, interested in a return to the old situation, mobilized the population against Vargas government, asking for a new constitution. São Paulo, being the most industrialized state in the Country, was able to produce equipment locally, until the rebellion was finally defeated.

Data on the four bottom pictures: "The efficiency of these cars were very impaired by their enormous weight, considering the small weight limits of roadways and bridges. From them, the manufacture of lighter cars began. These were made over Ford Chassis, reinforced with Lincoln road axis and springs and using Ford motors. Armed with a HMG, in a rotating turret, they did good service, due to their small weight and consequent greater mobility. Their weight was 4 tons while the previous ones weighted 14 tons" Source of the text and these four photos (Xerox): A escola Polytecnica e o Movimento Constitucionalista. Revista Polytécnica, nr. 106, Nov./Dec. 1932.pp. 286 (text) and 289-290 for the photos).

Brazilian Rebel Helmet


SdKfz6---SdKfz7---SdKfz8
The German SdKfz6, SdKfz7, SdKfz8

The following data has been found from a reference in Brazil. Sadly, there are no Brazilian photos to add. Only a few of these vehicles were ever delivered owing to a British blockade and (later) Germany keeping these units for their own use.

"From Büssing-NAG Vereinigte Nutzkraftwagen A.G. de Braunschweig (July, 28 of 1939) - One hundred forty four 5 ton half-tracks to be used in the movement of the long (heavy) 105 mm Krupp cannons and for the heavy 150 Krupp howitzers, 36 5 ton half-track, with auxiliary hoist (for the field repair shops). The army ordered 108 pieces of each type, so some of them would have to be drawn by Henschel 33D1 4-ton trucks."

The five ton half-tracks are the SdKfz 6 series, again, differing in components but generally having the same appearance.

Specifications SdKfz 6
Crew Up to 15 personnel.
Weight 8 tons
Length 19' 9"
Width 7' 2"
Height 8' 2"
Armor none
Engine Maybach HL 42 TRKM, 100hp
Speed 30mph (on roads)

"From Lokomotivfabrik Krauss & Comp. - I.A. Maffei A.G., München (July, 28 of 1939) - 32 7.5 tons half-tracks and eight 7.5 tons half-tracks with auxiliary hoist (to drawn field repair shops). These were to be used by the heavy (88mm) antiaircraft regiments. (The other 28 guns were to be drawn by Krupp L3 H163 3.5 tons trucks)."

Most likely, this would be the SdKfz 7 (which are listed here in the manual as 8 ton vehicles ). I'm not sure what the nomenclature is for the half-track with the hoist on it.

Specifications SdKfz 7
Crew Up to 12 personnel.
Weight 10.7 tons
Length 22' 5"
Width 7' 10"
Height 8' 6"
Armor none
Engine Maybach HL TR, 140hp
Speed 30mph (on roads)

"From Daimler-Benz A.G. de Untertuerkheim b/Stuttgart (July, 28 of 1939) - 60 12 ton half-tracks, com Maybach 12 cylinder motors of 185 hp to be used long (heavy) 150 mm Krupp cannons, six 12 ton half-tracks, same as above, with auxiliary hoist (for the field repair shops). (Only 24 guns, but these were to be moved in 2 and half loads, so the 60 half-tracks)."

These would be the SdKfz 8 series. There were three models in this series, differing in the engine (but all seem to use a 185hp engine), braking, and clutch.

Specifications SdKfz 8
Crew Up to 11 personnel.
Weight 13 tons
Length 24'
Width 8' 2.5"
Height 9' 2"
Armor none
Engine Maybach HL 85 TUKRM, 185hp
Speed 30mph (on roads)

US manuals TM 9-705, 9-1706 and 9-1709. The photos annexed were taken from: HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 75---US manuals TM 9-705, 9-1706 and 9-1709. The photos annexed were taken from: HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 75---White M3 - Photo taken in 1942. Shown here with a crew of 6, drawing a 37mm. The cars were armed with a Madsen 7mm Light Machine Gun and two Browning Medium Machine Guns (water cooled, .30 cal). FROM: "Em Guarda" magazine. nr. 2 year 3. page 28.---Brazil's military got the maximum use out of their armor. This photo shows some White Scout Cars and M8 Greyhounds in use by the Brazilian battalion serving in Egypt-Israel, as part of United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). This was a peacekeeping force that had a Brazilian battalion attached from 1957 to 1967, based on the Sinai desert. From: BRASIL - Exército. História do Exército Brasileiro : perfil militar de um povo. Rio de Janeiro, IHGB, 1972. vol. III., p. 871. Photo taken by Major Luiz Gonzaga Schroeder.

The White Scout Car at the Army Museum. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---The White Scout Car at the Army Museum. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro
The American M3A1 Scout Car

Acquired in 1940. Never deployed in combat in Europe. This was a common vehicle that the USA was willing to send abroad, as it would not compromise USA defense requirements. After WWII a large number of these were sent to Brazil and they remained in use up to the late 1970's, although they still are listed in the T9-2800 Manual (Características Gerais das Viaturas Automóveis do Exército - General Characteristics of the Army Automobile Vehicles), 1981 edition. After this time they were substituted by ENGESA's Urutu APC. This armored car passed through a series of changes in its role during its Brazilian Army Career, going from a light reconnaissance vehicle to APC, its armament showing this changes. Already obsolete in the 1950's it was kept in use due to lack of a suitable replacement, but its worth was not considered enough to justify a modernization program, as other WWII vintage armor went through. The vehicle changed its function between the 1940's and 1981. The annexed photo show it in its armored car configuration, with a crew of 6, drawing a 37 mm gun and armed with a Madsen 7 mm light machine gun and two Browning water cooled MGs. By the photo I am not sure whether these are the USA .30" M1917A1 version or the 7 mm M1924 version that was acquired in small numbers by Brazil. Later, this car would be armed with a Browning M1919 air-cooled machine gun and a .50 cal. HMG. In its APC role, the car was unarmed, carrying a crew of two and eight soldiers.

Special photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Specifications (White M3)
Crew Up to 8 personnel.
Weight 5620 kg
Length ?
Width 1.92m
Height 2.11m
Armor 12.7mm
Range 400 km
Speed 80 km/h

M3 Stuart Light Tank---M3 Stuart Light Tank---"Em Guarda" magazine. nr. 2 year 3. page 29---Photo provided by Victor Almeida

- From: ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 36---From: ARMAS de Guerra do Brasil : os segredos da moderna tecnologia militar do País. São Paulo, Nova Cultural, 1989. p. 78.---From: ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 36---"The XLP-10 extends its metallic bridge". From: ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 62 (Photo Bernardini)

ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 38---ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 38---From: ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 63. Photo José Fernandes.---An experiment was made by a Light tank Unit of modifying a M3A1 light tank to be used as a armored antiaircraft vehicle. An M3A1 "Stuart" had its turret removed, substituted by an Maxson turret, with four .50 cal machine guns, taken from a M16 half-track (an M3 half-track with a M45 multiple mount for four HMGs). This experimental vehicle received a new diesel engine, as well new tracks, developed locally. This prototype was not followed by the development of a new vehicle, although one more prototype, along the same lines, was made in 1981. Source: ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos militares brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 59.

X1 light tank, preserved at the Parque de Manutenção, Rio de Janeiro - Photo courtesy of Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---X1 light tank, preserved at the Parque de Manutenção, Rio de Janeiro - Photo courtesy of Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.

Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.---This vehicle was removed in the military museum of the CMS (Military Command of the South) and placed in the city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. - Photo by José Ernesto Annoni---A 155mm Gun prime mover used by the FEB based on the Stuart M3 light tank chassis. No other details are known. - Photo by José Ernesto Annoni
The American M3 Stuart Light Tank

20 of these were received in (out of a promised 65) 1942 and used to replace the armor then available in Brazil. Some 200 more were acquired between 1944 and 1945, both in the M3 and M3A1 versions (**). Due to its lightness and handiness, it was well liked by the army personnel, being nicknamed by them as "Perereca" (Frog), even considering the problems with its radial engine (***).

In the end of the 1970's it was becoming increasingly difficult to find spare parts for these tanks, so a decision was made to modernize part of the M3A1 series (****). A new turret was produced, with a 90 mm gun, the engine was replaced with a more powerful diesel unit (260 hp), locally made, new tracks were developed, as well electronics and aiming devices. The new car, know as CC MB1 (Combat Car, Brazilian Model nr. 1) or X1A, remained in service until the 1990's. A small batch of vehicles was modernized to the X1A1 standard, with a longer chassis (a supplementary set of boogie wheels added), this vehicle being the base for the CC MB2 (X1A2) series of light tanks, made from 1980 (this last vehicle being a completely new one, not a modernized Stuart).

The M3 chassis was also the basis for two specialized vehicles a bridging vehicle (CBE L Pnt 10, better know as XLP-10, six units made) and a rocket launcher (CBE L Msl, better know a XLF-40, only the prototype made).  The XLF-40 was to be armed with three 550 kg rockets.

(**) As far as could be ascertained Brazil did not receive either the M3A3 version or M5 series of light tanks.

(***) It was to became a standard operational procedure for the tank commander to stand near the engine bay with a fire extinguisher whenever the engine has to be started.

(****) The First 80 vehicles were modernized between 1975 and 1978. It is must be noted that the decision to modernize  vehicles so old was partially a political one: Brazil had denounced the US-Brazilian military agreements, so no more obsolet (and cheap) vehicles were available from North American sources, all the tanks having to be bought at market prices - it was much cheaper to improve the M3A1 than to buy new tanks, with the added advantage that this could be done whitout the political strings the US normally attach to a arms deal.

Note: a small batch of partially modernized tanks (new motor, tracks and electronic gear, but with the old turrets) were presented as a gift to Paraguay in the middle of the 1980's.

Special M3 photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Special X1A1 photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Special 155mm Prime Mover photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Specifications
 

M3 and M3A1

X1

Crew 4 4
Weight 12700 kg (M3)
12934 kg (M3A1)
16000kg
Length 4.53m 6.06m
Width 2.23m 2.4m
Height 2.53m M3
2.21m M3A1
2.45m
Armor 44.5mm 50mm
Range 99km 540km
Speed 58 km/h 55 km/h
Armament one 37 mm gun and either five .30 MGs (M3) or two .30 MGs (M3A1). one 90 mm gun a .30 MG and a .50 HMG (AAe).

From an Brazilian Army Archives leaflet.---M3 Medium tank from the collections of the Army Museum. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---Year 1954. - Photo research by Dr. Georg V. Rauch. Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.
The American M3 Medium Tank

100 received during the war, starting around 1944 - 45, when it was declared obsolete in the US (of this 100 some M4 Shermans were mixed in so the exact number is difficult to assertain). The number received was great enough to allow the distribution of the vehicle to units outside the main defense areas of the country, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul States, as the accompanying photo, of a parade in São Paulo State, 1944, shows. After the war it shared with the M4 Medium tank the role of the Army MBT, arming four Combat Car (tanks) Units, which would give a number of about 230 vehicles (M3 and M4 together), considering the necessary number to equip schools and training facilities.

The M3's were phased out in the early 1960's when the army began to receive the North American M41 light tanks. The Army Museum in Rio de Janeiro has a sample of M3 (Photo) and a M3A3, with counterweight in the 75 mm gun. It is not known if the country did receive other models of this tank.

Data on the vehicles (from general bibliography, they are not listed in the Brazilian TM9-2800).

Specifications
Crew 6
Weight 27,215 Kg
Length 5.63m
Width 2.71m
Height 3.12m (2.21 M3A1)
Armor 57mm
Range 193 km
Speed 42 km/h
Armament One 75 mm and one 37 mm guns and three .30 MGs

M4 and infantry in maneuvers, Paraíba Valley, 1957. From: BRASIL - Exército. História do Exército Brasileiro : perfil militar de um povo. Rio de Janeiro, IHGB, 1972. vol. III., p. 1035.---One of the Shermans preserved at the Army Museum, Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro---One of the Shermans preserved at the Army Museum, Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro

Photo provided by Victor Almeida---Brazilian Shermans (note the 1BCC, denoting 1 Batalhao de Carros de Combate", (1st Tank Battalion) taken March 1964, during the "coup" which overthrew the Liberal leader -"Joao Goulart. - Photo research by Dr. Georg V. Rauch. Photo courtesy of Dr. André Louis Maurois.---M4A1 - Photo submitted by Paulo Bastos via Dr. Andre Maurois.
The American M4 Medium Tank

The first batches of this tank began to arrive in Brazil by the 1944/1945 (a mixed assortment of M3 and M4 tanks that make exact numbers hard to determine), their deliveries being concentrated to Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul States units, where they equipped the four Combat Car Battalions (later renamed to Combat Cars Regiments) created during the war. The number of vehicles, together with the M3 medium tanks, sent after the war (more M4 vehicles were delivered after the Rio de Janeiro Defense Pact of 1947 was signed) was great enough to create a Armored Division. The division was sited in Rio de Janeiro and the nucleus for another one, in Rio Grande do Sul State (approximately 230 vehicles, considering the number needed to equip schools and training facilities.

The Shermans began to be phased out of service in the early 1960, replaced by North American M41 light tanks, as the Army could not obtain from the USA the MBTs it requested. Even so, lack of a sufficient number of M41 tanks forced the Army to keep the Shermans in service until the late 1970’s, even tough it was becoming increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for them by that date.

The M4 Medium tanks are listed in the 1981 edition of the Brazilian T9-2800 manual, but it was already in limited service or reserve status. By then it was not considered worthwhile to modernize the vehicles or to study their use as equipment platforms, so they were not converted to other uses, as it was done with the M3 light tanks. Some were kept in the Army research establishments, to serve as test beds for concept development, but in the end, none were converted to other uses.

T9-2800 mentions as in use two marks of Shermans: M4 (some equipped with a 105 mm howitzer) and M4A1. It is possible that other types where received, but these were out of service by 1981. The army also received the M32 and M74 Armored recovery vehicles, based on the Sherman chassis, the only point of note being that the M32 in Brazil did not have the 81mm mortar that some North American vehicles were equipped with. T9-2800 has an entry for the "common name" of the vehicles it depicts (for an instance, in the case of the M3 light tank it lists "Perereca" as its common name). The M4 and M4A1 entries is strange, as their common name appears as "SHERMMAN" (with two "Ms"). Also, I remember seeing this spelling as common in the army.

Special photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Specifications
Crew 4 (it appears that the reserve driver was done away with in Brazil)
Weight 31.473 Kg (M4), 30.700 kg (M4A1)
Length 6.172 m (6.197 m M4A1)
Width 2.667 m
Height 2.938 (2.794 M4A1)
Armor not specified, but 108 mm
Range 169 km (172 km M4A1)
Speed 38 km/h
Armament One 75 mm, one .50 HMG and two .30 MGs

This M3 was photographed at the Ford plant in Chester Pennsylvania. Autocar, Diamond T, and White were the prime contractors for building this vehicle. Why it is at Ford is a mystery.---"Half-track personnel carried M3A1 with winch at front". HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 76---"Half-track personnel carried M3 has pedestal mount". HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 76

"Half-track personnel carried M3 has ring mount for machine gun". HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 76---Halftrack1945d.jpg "Half-track personnel carried M3 has gun rail around interior". HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 76---

This vehicle was removed in the military museum of the CMS (Military Command of the South) and placed in the city of Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul. - Photo by José Ernesto Anno
The American M2, M2A1, M3, M3A1, M5 Half Track

Five M3 Half Tracks were deployed in Europe by the Brazilians. The units were employed by the FEB's reccon company. The exact version of M3 halftrack used by the FEB was not recorded. After WWII a large number of these were sent to Brazil and they remained in use up to the late 1970's, although they still are listed in the T9-2800 Manual (Características Gerais das Viaturas Automóveis do Exército - General Characteristics of the Army Automobile Vehicles), 1981 edition. After this time they were substituted by ENGESA's Urutu APC.

The North American family of half-tracks was introduced in 1940 with the M2 and M3 vehicles. These, with the general modification of the addition of an M49 ring mount for a .50 HMG, became, respectively, the M2A1 and M3A1. The main differences between these are that the M3 series of vehicles were some 10 inches longer than the M2, seated 13 men instead of the 10 of the M2 and had a door at the rear. All these where later replaced by the M3A2 standard, heavier than the previous versions and seating only 12 men. To further complicate matters of recognition, there were also the following variants: M5, M5A1, M5A2 and M9A1 (similar to the M3/M3A1/M3A2 and M2A1, but made by International Harvester, with components made by that company).

Some cars (model unknown) were received by FEB, in Italy (five vehicles). It is suspected that some more were sent to Brazil during the war, but this could not be confirmed. Certainly, after the war, Brazil received dozens of them, but no enough to equip all the Armored Reconnaissance units, which continued to use the White Scout Cars (M3A1, see entry) to carry their infantry complements. There is the information (*) of the reception, soon after the Korean War, of a great number of M16 half-tracks, (basically M3's, equipped with four .50 HMG in the antiaircraft mount M45). According to the same source, these vehicles were deactivated (converted back to M3 standard) around 1971.

In the 1960's it was increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for these vehicles, so a modernization program was initiated, the original gasoline motor being replaced by a more powerful diesel unit. Also replaced were the original tracks, boogie wheels, gearbox and radio unit. These modified vehicles (reportedly only the M3, but not confirmed) remained in service till the middle of the 1970's, when they were finally replaced by M-113 APCs from the USA. It should be noted, though that TM9-2800, 1981 edition, still lists half-tracks models M2, M2A1, M3, M3A1 and M5 as in service. No special purpose vehicles (such as mortar/gun carriers or AA vehicles) are listed, all half-tracks being classified as "APCs".

Special photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Specifications
  M2, M2A1 M3, M3A1 M5
Crew Up to 10 Up to 13 Up to 13
Weight 8970kg (M2) 8890kg (M2A1) 9071kg (M3) 9280kg (M3A1) 8570kg
Length 6.13m (with unditching roller) 5.96m (with winch) 6.16m (with unditching roller) 6.34 (with winch) 6.15m (with unditching roller, not equipped with winch)
Width 2.22m 2.22m 2.2m
Height 2.54m (M2) 2.87m (M2A1) 2.26 m (M3) 2.69m (M3A1) 2.31m
Armor 12.7mm 12.7mm 12.7mm
Range 280 km 280 km 280 km
Speed 65 km/h 65 km/h 65 km/h
Armament 1 x .50 and 1 x .30 MG 1 x .30 MG (M3) or 1 x .30 and 1 x .50 MG (M3A1) 1 x .30 MG

Source: CASTELLO BRANCO, Manoel Thomaz. O Brasil na II Grande Guerra. Rio de Janeiro, 1960, pages 128-129. Castello Branco was chief of staff of FEB.


M20 Armored car being used as a test bed for a 81 mm rocket launcher developed locally. Foto from 1964-68. From: BRASIL - Exército. História do Exército Brasileiro: perfil militar de um povo. Rio---Photo: From: HOGG, Ian V. The American Arsenal: The World War II official Standard Ordnance Catalog of Small Arms, tanks, armored cars, artillery, antiaircraft guns, ammunition, grenades, mines, etcetera. London, Greenhill books, 1996. p. 67.
The American M20

This combat car, basically a turret less M8, was developed in 1943 as a command vehicle and general-purpose cargo/personnel carrier (as a cargo carrier it would only have a crew of 2). Introduced in Brazil after the war, it was used only as a command vehicle for the units armed with the M8 "Greyhound" combat cars, in which case it had a crew of six and carried a M1 Rocket Launcher (Bazooka) as part of its armament.  Still listed as in service in TM9-2800, of 1981, it was taken out of service soon after this date, substituted by Cascavel Combat Cars and Urutu APCs, developed locally.


Photo by José Ernesto Annoni
The American Harley Davidson Motorcycle

No details


Shown here as a fire station vehicle. - Photo by José Ernesto Annoni
The American Willis Jeep

No details

Special Jeep photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni


Photo by José Ernesto Annoni---Photo by José Ernesto Annoni---Photo by José Ernesto Annoni

Photo by José Ernesto Annoni---Photo by José Ernesto Annoni
The American Dodge Command Car

No details

Special photo intput by Jose Ernesto P. Annoni


M8 seen here in a museum outside of Sao Paulo in 1999. - Photo courtesy of Georg Eyerman.---COSTA, Octavio. Trinta anos depois da volta : O Brasil na II Guerra Mundial. Rio de Janeiro, Biblioteca do Exército, 1976. p. 31. This photo was taken, as far as I could ascertain, in Montese, April 14, 1945.---Photo from the Dr. Georg V. Rauch collection and provided by Dr. André Louis Maurois.---Civilians in the city of Massarosa, liberated by the FEB, thanks the crew of a M8 Armoured Car. IN: "Em Guarda" magazine. nr. 1 year 4. page 9.

---COSTA, Octavio. Trinta anos depois da volta : O Brasil na II Guerra Mundial. Rio de Janeiro, Biblioteca do Exército, 1976. p. 30. This photo was taken in Montese, April 14, 1945.---M8 Armored cars, around 1982. Photo of Roberto Pereira de Andrade. IN: ANDRADE, Roberto Pereira de & FERNANDES, José de Souza. Veículos Militaresa Brasileiros. São Paulo, Aquarius, 1983. p. 18---Photo from the Dr. Georg V. Rauch collection and provided by Dr. André Louis Maurois.---Photo from the Dr. Georg V. Rauch collection and provided by Dr. André Louis Maurois.

---Photo by José Ernesto Annoni---Photo by José Ernesto Annoni
The American M8

13 units were available to the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. The M8 Armored car was received by Brazil to arm the Reconnaissance Troop of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in Italy (13 vehicles). After the war, a much greater number was acquired by Brazil, together with M20 turret-less command vehicles. The mobility and handiness of these cars made then be well liked by the army personnel. When it’s useful life was nearing the end in the early 1970's, due to difficulties in finding replacement parts, it was decided to modernize them locally. This decision was also forced on the Army, for there was not enough money to buy new cars outright. The modernization kit including a new and more powerful diesel engine (replacing the original gasoline one), a new transmission, brakes, tires and electronic equipment, all of these made in Brazil. With these modifications, the max road speed went from 85 km/h to 95/h. The modernized vehicles continue to serve until the 1980's when they were replaced by Cascavel Armored Cars, developed locally.

A note: the Cascavel family of recon cars was an result of an specification that demanded a local 6x6 armored car with characteristics similar to the M8 Greyhound car, showing the regard that it had in the army. The first Cascavel Cars even had the same turret as the M8, but later this was substituted for other, with a 90 mm gun.

Specifications
Crew 4
Weight 7801 kg
Length 5.18 m
Width 2.59 m
Height 3.15 m
Armor 19 mm
Range 830 Km
Speed 90 km/h (55 mph)
Armament One 37 mm gun, one .30 MG and one .50 MG

Photo contribution by Dr. André Louis Maurois
Armored Train

An improvised armored train as used in the Brazilian revolution in the 1930’s. The train was equipped with a Schneider 75mm model 1919 mountain gun.


Photo from Paulo Bastos' collection. Photo provided by Dr. Andre Maurois---Photo from Paulo Bastos' collection. Photo provided by Dr. Andre Maurois---Photo by Paulo Bastos. Photo provided by Dr. Andre Maurois---Photo by Paulo Bastos. Photo provided by Dr. Andre Maurois
U.S. M74 TRV

Only two vehicles were received in the 1950s and were operated until the 1980s. One of these is preserved at the Museum of the 11th Armored Infantry Brigade at Campinas, Sao Paulo.


---One of two jeeps used by Brazilian General Mascaranhas de Morais (FEB commander), in Italy. The name on the jeep is translated as "Little Oswald". - Photo courtesy of José Ernesto P. Annoni ---One of two jeeps used by Brazilian General Mascaranhas de Morais (FEB commander), in Italy. The General is third from the left, wearing glasses. - Photo courtesy of José Ernesto P. Annoni
Brazilian soldiers in Europe

The reluctant ally...

     Starting in the 1930's, Brazil leaned slightly toward Germany for friendship. Many Germans and Italians lived inside Brazil with a good deal of political and economic power. This same condition also existed in Argentina and Chile. Each of these countries had a serious cash flow problem owing to the Great Depression and the overtures of an economically viable resurgent Germany were welcome. It also helped that Fascist type government appealed to those who would love the power aspect it provided to politicians. By the mid 1930's this provided a bit of worry to the United States and Americans decided to start to do some political pressuring themselves. The thought of a Fascist South America was unthinkable. In 1937 President Vargas responded to both communist and fascist attempts to overthrow him by announcing a new constitution and declaring his intention to remain in office. Vargas then suspended payment on all foreign debt, began road and railway construction into the interior, and announced that he would modernize the army. His last step was to warm up to the United States - slowly and still keeping his hand out to Germany. Vargas doubted that the United States would be able to halt a German invasion of Brazil.

     After much political maneuvers by America and Germany, Brazil was undecided as to where it's best interests lay, but determined to get the best deal. President Vargas got military and economic concessions from both countries. The Germans tried to set up a Krupp plant to make steel but Vargas turned it down when it appeared that the Germans were not going to win the Battle of Britain. America set up a steel mill (which Vargas wanted) along with airfields and a loan for 10 million dollars (plus a pledge for more later). These pledges would eventually cost the American taxpayer more than 350 million dollars (that is known).

     Joint US-Brazilian naval and air patrols angered Hitler and in 1942 he ordered his U-boats to make a special effort to hit Brazilian shipping in an effort to teach them their folly of supporting the United States. Hitler even threatened to level the city of Natal in Brazil in a radio message. German U-boats hit hard and sank a Brazilian troop ship and another with religious pilgrims onboard. Brazilian public opinion exploded with anger - there was no turning back now. Brazil declared war. Hitler was overheard to say that the Brazilians would actually send combat troops when "snakes began smoking pipes". Brazil did indeed send ground combat troops - the Brazilian Expeditionary Force - a.k.a. the "Smoking Cobras" thanks to Hitler's little comment. Directly integrated into the command structure of the United States, this division would fight with bravery and determination in Italy. As the unit gained combat experience, they would chalk up a good combat record. On one occasion, a battalion of the FEB (the Portuguese acronym for the Brazilian Expeditionary Force) was ordered to relieve an American unit. The commander of the battalion asked for a delay to allow his men to rest and resupply with ammunition. General Mascarenhas, the commander of the FEB, was overheard to say "Didn't each soldier receive a knife?". General Mascarenhas had the spirit of a lion. After the war, the men of the Smoking Cobras would return to their country determined to make some political changes. Vargas, fearful of these new, world wizened men, disbanded their division and forbade even poetry about their heroics.

Note: The Brazilian expeditionary force of about 20,000 men was entirely equipped by the U.S. and had few (if any) weapons used prior to the declaration of war with them in Europe. Most weapons listed on this page would be found in units in Brazil before the US started supplying large quantities of equipment.


Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro added the following data and history about the FEB.

“I would like to make some comments on the action of the FEB's recon troop. FEB's history, for those who are interested in this kind of history in Brazil - is very important: we did not do badly in Europe and the influence of the officers that went to Italy was long lasting. In addition, we went to Europe to fight a particularly abhorrent government and although Brazil was a right wing dictatorship, even the communist party supported the effort to fight the Nazis. Later on the return of the FEB marked the fall of Vargas' dictatorship, so we here felt proud of FEB's action

FEB's recon troop: The Brazilian Expeditionary Force was a project that would result on the creation of an infantry corps of three divisions to fight in Italy, with all associated support elements (including Armor units). The situation in the end of 1944 did not warrant the sending of so many soldiers to Italy, so the presence of the Cavalry was reduced to a single unit, the recon troop attached to the 1st Expeditionary Division. Most of the action in 1944 and early 1945 was centered in the efforts to breach the German lines, were the light Armor of the M8 cars was useless, so the troop was not used at all, but when the Pó Valley line fell the situation changed. Now the enemy was in retreat, with the allied divisions in pursuit. The FEB, being a "foot" infantry unit, would not able to participate in the chase but for the decision of the Division Commander, Marcarenhas de Morais, of striping the artillery of its towing and ammunition trucks and creating an improvised motorized infantry combat group, based in the 6th Infantry Regiment. This unit was led by the recon troop and it did the greatest feat of arms of FEB's brief history, when in the 26th-29th of April it surrounded the German 148th Division (as well remnants of the 90th Panzer Division and Italia Bersaglieri Division). These surrendered, resulting in almost 15.000 prisoners. The VI day (May, 2nd) saw the linking of the recon troop with the 27th Free French Division, in the French Border.

Another note: in the text (above) about the FEB there is a mention of that all weapons used by the FEB were from the USA: this is correct, only the officers' and sergeants' personal weapons were Brazilian and these only because they were Colt M1911A1 .45 pistols and Smith and Wesson .45 revolvers, adopted by Brazil in 1937. The only difference on the armament of the Division in relation to a normal US unit was that our soldiers did not receive Garand M1 semiautomatic rifles, but M1903 bolt-action rifles. Maybe this was decided in the false expectation that they would be more familiar for our soldiers (but the rest of the equipment was completely different, so this decision was not very logic).”


A short history of Brazilian armor from 1939 compiled by Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro

In 1939, the Brazilian General Staff presented, informally to the US a request for weapons, which included 41 tanks and 252 armored cars as a "first priority" items (the real needs would be three times these numbers), these vehicles to be used mostly in the defense of the Southern borders. As this area was not among US worries, linked to the European situation, and considering the US laws prevented the selling of war material from its stocks, the hopes of seen these needs fulfilled were dim. Orders with the manufacturers were also out of question, as the country lacked the necessary cash and a barter deal, like the one that was made with Germany in exchange of weapons, was impossible. Brazil had to do with the material it already had.

Nevertheless, Brazil was the "most favored nation" in South America (*), so some armor was provided in February 1942: 20 light tanks and some antiaircraft guns (these last taken from their positions in New York Harbor. Besides these, some armored cars were also sold, allowing the Brazilian army to scrap the obsolete Renault and Ansaldo vehicles.

Some other vehicles were given directly to the Brazilian Expeditionary force operating in Italy, but most of the US armor that Brazil used exclusively from 1942 on, was acquired after the WWII: more than 500 medium and light tanks. These remained in service until the end of the 1960's (medium tanks) or 1990's (light tanks, improved locally).

(*) In August 1940 President Roosevelt approved an statement of policy, which provided, in the case of Brazil, armaments "To insure her ability to defend herself against a major attack, from neighboring states, or from overseas, and against internal disorder, until U.S. armed aid can arrive in sufficient force to insure success". This was more than was provided for any other Latin American country, including Mexico.

Sources: CONN, Stetson and FAIRCHILD, Byron. The Framework of Hemisphere Defense. Washington, Office of the Chief of Military History, 1960. LAWRY, Nelson H. Guns and Men: U.S. Coast Artillery to South America. Coast Defense Study Group Journal, vol. 7 nr. 2, May 1993.



Brazilian stamps commemorating the FEB's participation in WWII


People who helped make this page possible.

Chris McCann

Georg Eyerman

Jose Ernesto P. Annoni
Jose Ernesto P. Annoni

Tim Keennon

Major James C. Collins - U.S.A.F.

Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro
Adler Homero Fonseca de Castro

Edward M. Dyer

Victor Almeida
Victor Almeida

Dr. Andre Louis Maurois
Dr. André Louis Maurois

Ralph Ricco, thanks to his book and personal input, was a major contributor to this section.
Ralph Ricco

Steven Guy
Author of
Thunder and Steel

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Manuel Ferraz de Campos-Salles

This page is dedicated to...
Manuel Ferraz de Campos-Salles

The 2nd President of Brazil (and I am proud to say - a relative of mine!).