Brazilian Army

Brazilian Army
Brazilian Army
Exército Brasileiro
Coat of arms of the Brazilian Army.svg
Brazilian Army Seal
Active 1822 - today
Country  Brazil
Branch Army
Size 235,978 active personnel[1]
1.115.000 reserve[2]
Part of Ministry of Defence
Command Headquarters Brasília
Patron Duke of Caxias
Motto Braço Forte, Mão Amiga
(Strong arm, friendly hand)
March Canção do Exército
Anniversaries August 25 (Soldier's Day)
April 19 (Brazilian Army Day)
Equipment 469 Main battle tank
1,280 armored vehicles
6,676 military vehicles
656 artillery pieces
80 helicopters
Engagements War of Independence(1821–1823)
Confederation of the Equator(1824)
Argentina-Brazil War(1825-1828)
War of Tatters(1835-1845)
Platine War(1851–1852)
Uruguayan War(1864-1865)
Paraguayan War(1864–1870)
War of Canudos(1893–1897)
Contestado War(1912-1916)
World War I
Constitutionalist Revolution(1932)
World War II
Inter-American Peace Force(1965–1966)
Cold War
U.N. peacekeeping missions
Commander-in-Chief President Dilma Rousseff
Commander Army General Enzo Martins Peri
Duke of Caxias
Eurico Gaspar Dutra
Artur da Costa e Silva

The Brazilian Army is the land arm of the Brazilian Military. The Brazilian Army has fought in several international conflicts, mostly in South America and during the 19th century, such as the Brazilian War of Independence (1822-23), Argentina-Brazil War (1825-28), War of the Farrapos (1835-45), Platine War (1851-52), Uruguayan War (1864-65) and the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-70). It has also participated on the side of the Allies at the First World War, Second World War and the Cold War.




The Brazilian Army was created during the process of the independence of Brazil from Portugal, in 1822, with the units of the Portuguese Army in Brazil that have remained loyal to Prince Dom Pedro. The Army was initially composed of Brazilians, Portuguese and foreign mercenaries. Most of its commanders, were Portuguese officers loyal to Dom Pedro.

Along 1822 and 1823, the Brazilian Army was able to defeat the Portuguese resistance (especially in Bahia and Cisplatina) and also avoid a fragmentation of the then new Brazilian Empire after its independence war.

19th century

Brazilian officers next to a cannon, 1886.

After the Independence War, the Army destroyed any separatist tendencies of the early years, supporting the authority of Emperor Dom Pedro I across his vast country and was complemented by the National Guard, a paramilitary militia supported by big slave and land owners, known as "Colonels".

In the Regency Era period, after the abdication of the first Emperor the Army had to repress a host of popular movements for political autonomy and/or against the slavery and colonels' power across Brazil.

Boarding of the contingent of the national guard of the court,1865 War of the Triple Alliance.

On May 1, 1865, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina signed the Triple Alliance to defend themselves against aggression from Paraguay, which was ruled by the dictator Francisco López. López troops, after invading Brazilian territory through the state of Mato Grosso and the north of Argentina, were heading for the South of Brazil and North of Uruguay. Many slaves had been incorporated into the Brazilian forces to face the increasingly serious situation. As a result of their solid performance during the conflict, the Armed Forces developed a strong sense against slavery. After 5 years of a terrible warfare (the largest in South American history), the Alliance led by Brazil defeated Lopez.

Between 1893 and 1926, the first Republican Period, the Army had to deal with various movements: some were derived from Navy and Army corps who were unsatisfied with the regime and clamoring for democratic changes, while others had popular origins without conventional political intentions guided by messianic leaders like Canudos War.

20th century

During World War I the Brazilian government sent three small military groups to Europe soon after declaring war upon Central Powers in October 1917. The first two units were from the Army; one consisted of medical staff and the other of a sergeants-officers corps, and both were attached to the French Army in the Western Front in 1918.

From October 1930 to 1945, the Army supported the Getulio Vargas regime against its opposition, defeating the Constitutionalist Revolt in 1932 and two separate coup d’état attempts: by Communists in 1935 and by Fascists in 1938. The Army also helped to formalize the dictatorship in 1937.

Brazilian soldiers in 1939-40.

In August 1942, after German and Italian submarines sunk many Brazilian merchant ships, popular mobilization forced the Brazilian government to declare war on Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. In July 1944, after almost two years of public pressure, one expeditionary force, called Força Expedicionária Brasileira (FEB), was sent to Europe to join the Allied forces in the Italian campaign. The FEB was composed of more than 25,000 men and was commanded by Major-General (later Marshal) João Baptista Mascarenhas de Morais.

On March 31, 1964, the Brazilian Army, then led by General Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, seized power through a coup d’état, beginning the Military Dictatorship in Brazil, which lasted 21 years. This was the first of a series of coups d’état in South America that replaced elected governments with military regimes. These regimes dominated South American until the 1980s. In this period the Brazilian Army employed harsh means to suppress militant dissident groups: changing the law, restricting political rights, after harassing and pursuing dissidents; and militarily, with support of police forces and militias, proceeding with methods of counter-guerrilla and counter-insurgency warfare to defeat the guerrilla movements that tried to combat the regime by force. The urban guerrillas were active in Brazil between 1968 and 1971 while in the rural areas the 2 main movements subdued by the Army were respectively, one in the region where are today the Caparaó National Park (1967) and the other in the region of Araguaya River (1972–74).

Internationally, in 1965 the Brazilian Army joined forces with US marines intervening in the Dominican Republic, in Operation Powerpack. Already during the 1970s strengthened interchange and cooperative ties with armies from other South American countries giving and receiving advisement about counter-guerrilla and counter-insurgency methods, as for example in the Operation Condor, an procedural coordination to find, capture and eliminate political dissidents in mainland.

In the mid '70s, despite the dissent annulled (by elimination, detention or exile), the leftist guerrillas defeated and the legal opposition tamed, repression was not reduced. This added to the vices and the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power, plus the effects of the then oil/energy crisis and the Latin American debt one, during the late '70s and early '80s, led to increasing social pressures for democracy, which slowly but steadily forced the army to return to its professional activities.

Brazilian Atomic Bomb

According to international sources secretly Brazil already has the technology to produce an atomic bomb. [20] The former minister and Gen. Alberto Mendes Cardoso, former head of the Military and the Institutional Security Office in the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has confirmed that Brazil has mastered the knowledge and wanted to, could drive the technology to build the nuclear bomb. [21] the Brazilian Army through its Military Institute of Engineering has acquired enough technology so that the Brazilian government wishes, build the bomb atomic most powerful of all, the thermonuclear bomb. [22] [23]

21st century

Bodies of Brazilian soldiers killed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Haitian civilians receive assistance in a camp set up by the Brazilian Army in Port-au-Prince.
Brazilian Border Platoon.

Since the 1950s it has taken part in some United Nations missions as for example: Suez 1956-67, East Timor 1999-2004, Angola 1995-1997 and Haiti since 2004, being the latest, the most recent outside intervention in Haiti.

In the great earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010, eighteen Brazilian soldiers died. The Brazilian Army has now about 1.250 troops in Haiti and will envoy more 900 until March 2010, to help the reconstruction of that country.

The Brazilian Army is trying to renew its equipments and making a redistribution of its barracks in all the Brazilian Regions, prioritizing the Amazon. After the promulgation of Brazilian National Defense Strategy, in December 2008, the Brazilian Government appears to be interested in the Armed Forces modernization.

In 2010, during the Rio de Janeiro Security Crisis, the Brazilian Army sent 800 paratroopers to combat drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro. Following the invasion, approximately 2,000 Army soldiers were sent to occupy the Complexo do Alemão.


Active troops: 235,978
Reserves: 1,740,000

  • Trained first-line: 1,115,000
  • Subject to immediate recall: 400,000
  • Second-line: 225,000


Structure of the Brazilian Army

High Command

Brazilian Leopard 1 tank.
  • Army General Headquarters (Quartel-General do Exército) - Brasília
  • Terrestrial Operations Command (Commando de Operações Terrestres) - Brasília
  • Army General Staff (Estado Maior do Exército) - Brasília
Cadets during the "Small Sword" ceremony at the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras.
Army soldier peacekeeper.

Military Commands

The Army is structured into seven military commands. Each of the seven military commands is responsible for one or more military regions.

  • Eastern Military Command (Commando Militar do Leste; CML), (HQ: Rio de Janeiro) - 1st and 4th Military Regions
  • Southeastern Military Command (Commando Militar do Sudeste; CMSE), (HQ: São Paulo) - 2nd Military Region
  • Southern Military Command (Commando Militar do Sul; CMS), (HQ: Porto Alegre) - 3rd and 5th Military Regions
  • Northeastern Military Command (Commando Militar do Nordeste; CMN), (HQ: Recife) - 6th, 7th and 10th Military Regions
  • Western Military Command (Commando Militar do Oeste; CMO), (HQ: Campo Grande) - 9th Military Region
  • Planalto Military Command (Commando Militar da Planalto; CMP), (HQ: Brasília) - 11th Military Region
  • Amazon Military Command (Commando Militar da Amazônia; CMA), (HQ: Manaus) - 8th and 12th Military Regions

Military Regions

Brazilian Army soldiers, part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

The Brazilian territory is further divided into twelve military regions. Each military region has jurisdiction over one or more states and is subordinate to a military command.

Main units

Airmobile Infantry.
Brazilian Army soldiers during the 2003 Independence Day Parade in Brasília.


Jungle Warfare

Jungle Warfare instruction Center.

The Brazilian Army has five Jungle Infantry Brigades (1st, 2nd, 16th, 17th, and 23rd Jungle Infantry Brigades) and a Jungle Warfare instruction Center.

The Jungle Warfare instruction Center CIGS, also known as Colonel Jorge Teixeira Center, is a military organization based in Manaus, intended to qualify military leaders of small fractions, as wilderness warriors, fighters are able to accomplish missions, nature military, in the most inhospitable areas of the Brazilian Rainforest.

Courses are taught in the Jungle Operations, in three distinct categories, and stages of the military and for civilians. Its symbol is the jaguar.

For the better development of the work, Jungle Warfare instruction Center (CIGS) is structured in a Division of Education, a Division of the Doctrine Research and Assessment Division of Students, a Division of Veterinary Medicine, a Division of Administration and Administrative Base.[3]

Special Forces

first battalion of commandos actions.
Brazilian Army SOF during the 2003 Independence Day Parade in Brasília.

The Special Operations Brigade is Brazil's special operations force. Although administratively assigned to the Plateau Military Command, the brigade's operations are under the direct control of the Land Operations Command.[4] Special Forces were initially formed in 1957 as a parachute trained rescue unit, which specialized in conducting deep jungle rescues along the Amazon basin. After conducting its initial selection, a US Army Special Forces Mobile Training Team (MTT) conducted the unit's first training course.[5]

Conditions of Service

According to Article 143 of the 1988 constitution, military service is obligatory for men, but conscientious objection is allowed. Women and clergymen are exempt from compulsory military service. At age seventeen, men are required to register for the draft and are expected to serve when they reach age eighteen. About 75 percent of those registering receive deferments.

Generally, those from the upper class and upper middle class find ways to defer, and as a result the ranks are made up primarily of lower-class and lower-middle-class recruits. A growing number of recruits are volunteers, accounting for about one-third of the total. Those who serve generally spend one year of regular enlistment at an army garrison near their home. Some are allowed six-month service terms but are expected to complete high school at the same time. These are called "Tiros de Guerra," or "shooting schools," which are for high school boys in medium-sized interior towns, run by army sergeants. The army is the only service with a large number of conscripts; the navy and air force have very few.

The conscript system is primarily a means of providing basic military training to a sizable group of young men who then return to civilian life and are retained on the reserve rolls until age forty-five. The army recognizes that it provides a public service by teaching large numbers of conscripts basic skills that can be valuable to the overall economy when the young men return to civilian life.


Overview of the Army's equipment, it also includes other vehicles such as trucks and cars.

Main Equipment 2011
Main battle tank Armored vehicles Other military vehicles Artillery pieces Regular helicopters
Quantity 469 1,280 6,676 656 80

Main Equipment

Equipment Origin Type Versions In service[6] Notes
Leopard 1  Germany Tank 1A1
Ex-Belgian Army 1A1.
Ex-German Army Leopard 1A5
M-60  United States Tank A3 TTS 91 Ex-US Army
Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles
EE-9 Cascavel  Brazil Armored car/reconnaissance EE-9 600+[7] 45 being upgraded
EE-11 Urutu  Brazil Armored personnel carrier EE-11 226[8] 121 being upgraded
GUARÁ  Brazil Light Armored Vehicle AV-VB4 RE (Guará) 1 (20+) On tests in Haiti
GUARANI  Brazil  Italy APC/Infantry fighting vehicle VBTP-MR VBCI (with 30mm turret) 4(+50) Four pre-series and 50 purchased. Deliveries to start in 2011-2012. 2,044 units of the 6x6 variant (finish by 2030).
M-113  United States Armored personnel carrier M-113B/C 584 Being upgraded by BAE Systems
M-578  United States Armored recovery vehicle M-578 17
Self-propelled artillery
M108  United States Self-propelled artillery M-108AP 105 mm 72
M-109  United States Self-propelled artillery M-109A3 155 mm 40 Ex-Belgian Army. Updated in 2000 in Switzerland
Multiple rocket launchers
ASTROS II  Brazil Multiple rocket launcher 108/180/300 mm 20 Being upgraded. Acquisition of additional units in the study. Astros 2020 in development.
AV-SS 12/36  Brazil Multiple rocket launcher 70 mm +-100
Astros hawk  Brazil Multiple rocket launcher 70mm rockets 60
Towed artillery
M114  United States Towed howitzer 155 mm 92
L118  United Kingdom Towed howitzer 105 mm 36
M777  United Kingdom Towed howitzer 155 mm Being ordered
OTO Melara Mod 56  Italy Towed howitzer 105 mm 72 -
M101  United States Towed howitzer 105 mm 320
M102  United States Towed howitzer 105 mm 19 -
Oerlikon 35mm  Switzerland
Towed aa artillery 35 mm 38 Being upgraded
Bofors 40mm L/70  Sweden Towed anti-aircraft artillery 40 mm 24 Being upgraded
Bofors 40mm L/60  Sweden Towed anti-aircraft artillery 40 mm 100 Being withdrawn
120mm M2 RAIADO  Brazil Towed mortar 120 mm 60
Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1  France Towed mortar 120 mm -
M30  United States Heavy mortar 107 mm 209
M936 81mm AGR  Brazil Medium mortar 81 mm 1.019
L16 81mm Mortar  United Kingdom Medium mortar 81 mm -
M949 60mm AGR  Brazil Light mortar 60 mm 1.050
Brandt 60 mm LR Gun-mortar  France Light mortar 60 mm -
Recoilless rifles
M40  United States recoilless rifle 106 mm -
Carl Gustav  Sweden recoilless rifle 84 mm 127
Light anti-tank weapons
AT4  Sweden single-shot recoilless weapon 84 mm 1500 Being replaced by ALAC
ALAC  Brazil single-shot recoilless weapon 84 mm +200 On order. Going into mass production in 2012.
Anti-tank guided missiles
ERYX  France anti-tank guided missile 136 mm 12 To be replaced by the national missileMSS-1.2
MILAN  Europe anti-tank guided missile 20 To be replaced by the national missile MSS-1.2
MSS-1.2  Brazil anti-tank guided missile 66 First units ordered in 2009.
Anti-aircraft missiles
Igla  Russia Anti-aircraft missile SA-18/SA-24 118/20 Igla/Igla-1S version

Individual Weapons and Equipment

Name Number Notes
FN M2HB Used in vehicles and platoon level
FN MAG M971 general purpose machine gun +6.000 Used in vehicles and platoon level
MG 3 general purpose machine gun 280 Used in Leopard 1
Milkor MGL Grenade launcher 300 Used by Jungle Infantry Brigades
M79 Grenade launcher - Used by Jungle Infantry Brigades: Being Replaced by Milkor MGL
Mosquefal M968 7,62mm - Standard of the Brazilian army, basic rifle training
M964 FAL - a license-built FN FAL SAW
IMBEL M964 FN FAL +300.000 a license-built FN FAL Standard of the Brazilian army
IMBEL M964A1 MD1 +40.000 a updated license-built of FN PARA-FAL, All M964 will be updated to M964A1 MD1 standard, Used Forces Parachute and Aeromovel.
IMBEL MD-2 and MD-3 - The MD-2 and MD-3 rifles are the result of redesigning the FN FAL to use the 5.56x45mm NATO
Taurus M972 submachinegun + 2800 M972 SMG, a license-built Beretta Model 12.
IMBEL M973 pistol + 180.000 a license-built M1911 modified to 9 mm Luger Parabellum.
Taurus M975 pistol +280.000 a license-built Beretta 92.
Mossberg 590 shotgun +5.000 Used by Jungle Infantry Brigades
Pump CBC calibre cal.12 shotgun 400 Used by Infantry
M40 rifle - Used by Jungle Infantry Brigades, Forces Parachute and Aeromovel.
Interceptor Protective Vest Used by some unit: Being produced under license in Brazil
PASGT Helmet Used by some unit: Helmet was replaced by national CCB (Combat Ballistic Helmet)
CCB (Combat Ballistic Helmet) +4.500 national CCB (Combat Ballistic Helmet)
ballistic vest +22.000 National manufacturing
AN/PVS-14 NVG +10.500 Used by Jungle Infantry Brigades
EB11 - PRC 910 NVG +15.000 radio communicator

Brazilian Special Operations Brigade

Name Origin Type
Glock 19  Austria Pistol
Heckler & Koch USP  Germany Pistol
ParaFAL  Brazil Assault Rifle
IMI Galil  Israel Assault Rifle
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun
Heckler & Koch G36C  Germany Assault rifle
Colt M4  United States Assault rifle
Franchi SPAS-15  Italy Shotgun
Benelli  Italy Shotgun
FN Minimi  Belgium Machine gun
Barrett M82  United States Sniper rifle
Heckler & Koch PSG1  Germany Sniper rifle
SIG-Sauer SSG 3000  Switzerland Sniper rifle
M24 Sniper Weapon System  United States Sniper rifle

Aircraft inventory

AS365 Panther.

The Brazilian Army Aviation Command operates 80 helicopters, of which the 16 Helibrás HB 350 represent some of the Brazilian-made aircraft.

Aircraft Type Versions In service[9] Notes
Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar transport helicopter AS 532UE 8
Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec scout/liaison/attack helicopter AS 550A-2 18 Upgrade ordered at 30 December 2010
Helibras HM-1 Pantera transport/attack helicopter AS 365K 34 Upgrade ordered at 24 December 2009.[10] Possibly to Gunships.
Helibras HB 350 utility/attack helicopter HB 350-1 15 Upgrade ordered at 30 December 2010
Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk transport helicopter S-70A 4 (6+) 6 more ordered
Eurocopter EC 725 transport helicopter EC 725 1 (15+) 16 Ordered
Vant VT-15 UAV VT15 - Being incorporated


Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Willys Jeep Light Utility Vehicle 318  United States 318 still active use M40 recoilless rifle. Being withdrawn: being replaced by Marrua
Toyota Bandeirante Light Utility Vehicle 347  Brazil military ambulance
Land Rover Defender Light Utility Vehicle 850  United Kingdom more 41 ordered
VBL (inbrafiltro) Light Utility Vehicle 1  Brazil developing.
JPX Light Utility Vehicle 750  Brazil
Marrua Light Utility Vehicle +400  Brazil over 338 cars
Chivunk 4x4 Light Utility Vehicle 03  Brazil in developing. For parachute infantry brigade
Gaucho 4x4 Light Utility Vehicle 06  Argentina /  Brazil 200 ordered, parachute infantry brigade
Engesa E-4 Light Utility Vehicle 115  Brazil being replaced by Marrua
M-Gator Light Utility Vehicle/All Terrain Vehicle 03  United States most probably acquired in recent years


Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M8 Octopus Armored truck Light -  Brazil developing.
Mercedes-Benz L-1519 6x6 Utility Vehicle 500  Brazil Use standard Army: Gradually being retired. 220 units updated in 2005 to 2010
Engesa EE-15 Light Utility Vehicle 50  Brazil Gradually being retired
Engesa EE-25 Light Utility Vehicle 200  Brazil 181 units updated in 2005 to 2010. Gradually being retired
Mercedes-Benz 1720A Light Utility Vehicle 1000+  Brazil Use standard Army
VW 15.210 4X4 "Worker" Light Utility Vehicle 600[11]  Brazil + 330 ordered. Use standard Army Use standard Army
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Utility Vehicle 106  Germany 100 units updated in 2006 to 2010
Ural-4320 Utility Vehicle 6  Russia seized by the Federal Revenue in Salvador
M35 6x6 Utility Vehicle 400  United States used by some battalions of artillery (800 retired)
Volvo N L10 Utility Vehicle -  Brazil Battalions of logistics and transportation of materials


Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
AVMT-300 cruise missile  Brazil developing theoretical range of 300 km
FOG-MPM Fiber Optics Guided  Brazil developing 60 km range
SKYFIRE-70 Multiple launcher  Brazil in use in helicopters 70mm


Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M-60 Radar 06  Brazil 9 but requests in 2011
M-200 Radar -  Brazil Evolving from entering into service in 2012
EDT-FILA Radar 06  Brazil radar for artillery

Future plans

Name Type Informations/Notes/Orders[9] Notes
COmbatente BRAsileiro - COBRA (Brazilian Fighter - Snake) Based on FÉLIN[12][13] In development
IMBEL IA2 New individual weapons 200.000 units being ordered. In development test being conducted in 2011 by the Brazilian army
M777 howitzer Future howitzer of brazilian army. Being ordered. study of purchase to be delivered up to the crown in 2012.
Flakpanzer Gepard Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun Studying possible buys. study of purchase 36. to be delivered up to the crown in 2012.
Taurus IMI Tavor TAR-21 weapon of special forces in acquisition. test being conducted in 2011 by the Brazilian army
Tor missile system Air defense system, "Tor M2E"[14] Studying possible buys. study of purchase to be delivered up to the crown in 2014
Astros 2020 Multiple rocket launcher system, future acquisition in developing. Study of purchase to be in 2016.
MSA 3.1 with an anti aereo reach 5 km, to replace the Igla Igla missiles operate with the army as a favorite in partnership with Russia or France, to be in service until 2014

See also



  1. ^ Decreto Nº 5.670 de 10 de Janeiro de 2006. Presidência da República. Retrieved on 2009-02-01. (Portuguese)
  2. ^ Os pés de barro de um gigante Revista Época. Retrieved on 2009-02-01. (Portuguese)
  3. ^ Jungle Warfare instruction Center Brazilian Army, accessed on May 8, 2008. (in Portuguese)
  4. ^ Land Operations Command Brazilian Army, accessed on May 8, 2008. (in Portuguese)
  5. ^ Special Operations Brigade Brazilian Army, accessed on May 8, 2008. (in Portuguese)
  6. ^ Armamentos e Munições Exército Brasileiro. Centro de Comunicação Social do Exército. Retrieved on May 4, 2007. (Portuguese)
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Brazilian military aviation OrBat
  10. ^ Modernization of Aeronaves Pantera (in Portuguese)
  11. ^ "Terrestre - MAN já tem 600 unidades na frota do Exército". DefesaNet. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Sagem Felin | Poder Aéreo - Informação e Discussão sobre Aviação Militar e Civil". Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  14. ^ "DefesaNet". DefesaNet. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 

External links

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