Brazil became the only Latin American country to send troops to Europe. The total strength of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (BEF) was 25,334 military personnel. The BEF lost 509 men, having 451 killed in action, and 58 missing in action. And 1,577 wounded in action during the Italian campaign. Since the Paraguay War in 1865, the Brazilian Armed Forces had not lost so many personnel in less than a year. There is still much study in this area and these statistics differ across several historical sources.
Prior to World War II, for over one hundred years, Brazil had accepted a large number of Italian and German immigrants. Many of the BEF soldiers like Dino Carpi were of Italian ancestry. Dino remembers how it surprised him to see the segregation in the Allied Armies because of race or skin color, as the Brazilian forces didn't segregate. He also remembers how ill prepared the BEF was when they first arrived in Italy: wearing their olive-green uniforms, they got a bad reception from the Italian population, as they thought they were Nazi prisoners. Furthermore, after a long grueling journey across the Atlantic, they arrived disarmed because the agreement between Brazil and the USA stated they would get their weapons in Italy. The BEF had to overcome more than anybody else in difficult and sometimes embarrassing situations, due to inadequate training, coordination, health conditions, uniforms, coats, and shoes. The U.S Army provided adequate clothing and equipment. After several losses, the BEF proved themselves, and went onto achieving battlefield successes at Massarosa, Camaiore, Mount Prano, Monte Acuto, San Quirico, Gallicano, Barga, Monte Castello, La Serra, Castelnuovo di Vergato, Soprassasso, Montese, Paravento, Zocca, Marano sul Panaro, Collecchio and Fornovo di Taro. Brazil was able to provide a meaningful tactical and strategic contribution.
The Brazilian Expeditionary Force called themselves Cobras Fumantes (Smoking Snakes). They created a shoulder patch which showed a snake smoking a pipe. According to popular belief, this was because someone supposedly said "snakes will start smoking pipes before Brazil joins the Allies." or "It's more likely for a snake to smoke a pipe, than for the BEF to go to the front and fight." Until the BEF entered combat, the expression "a cobra vai fumar" ("the snake will smoke") was often used in Brazil in a context similar to "when pigs fly". After the war the meaning was reversed, signifying that something will definitively happen, in a furious and aggressive way. With that meaning, the use of the expression "a cobra vai fumar" has been retained in Brazil until the present times.
After the war, Dino Carpi became a Policeman, and then a Judge, until his retirement. He is currently writing a book of his experience in Italy during World War II.