- Historical event:
- 29 April 1945
- In World War II the Brazilians were on the side of the Allies, and fought against the Axis powers. Brazil's military units in Europe were called "Cobras Fumantes" (literally, Smoking Snakes).
On this day in 1945, Brazilian military units liberated the Italian town of Fornovo di Taro.
World War II was coming to an end while the Brazilians were fighting on the Allied side. Brazil’s military units in Europe were known as the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (Força Expedicionária Brasileira – FEB), and called themselves “Cobras Fumantes” (literally, Smoking Snakes).
In fact, before Brazil sent troops to Europe, a popular saying was: “It`s more likely for a snake to smoke a pipe, than for the BEF go to the front and fight.”
The phrase was often used in Brazil in a context similar to “when pigs fly”. When the FEB really went to Europe, its soldiers wore a divisional shoulder patch that showed a snake smoking a pipe.
The Supreme Commander of the FEB was Brazilian general Mascarenhas de Moraes, who was later promoted to the rank of marshal.
The town of Fornovo di Taro, which the Brazilians conquered on this day, is located southwest of Parma, in the present-day Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.
Brazil’s forces captured 14,700 Italian and German soldiers, 800 officers, and two generals (German General Otto Fretter-Pico and Italian General Mario Carloni).