Haiti Declares War on Germany and so Does Brazil, Cuba and Many More in Countries in South America.

The headline is correct although I’m referring to World War Two.

In one his brilliant moves, Hitler went before his boot-licking toadies in the Reichstag on 11 December 1941 and declared war on the United States. He forgot to mention this to the German military high command who heard about on the radio.


After Hitler’s speech, Colonel Jodl, one of Hitler’s military adjutants, phoned Colonel Warlimont, Chief of the War Plans Division of the German General Staff. “Warlimont,” said, “do you know that the Fuhrer has declared war on America?” Long pause. “Yes,” said Warlimont, “we heard it on the radio during lunch and we could not be more surprised.”

The United States returned the favor on 11 December 1941 followed on that day by Haiti, Cuba, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The next day Honduras and Salvador came through.  They couldn’t do much and didn’t send any troops but the Americans wanted them to declare war on Germany so they did. Mexico, Panama and Brazil declared war on Nazi Germany in 1942.

(source: World War Two: A Military History by Jeremy Black)




Shoulder patch of the Brazilian Expeditionary Forces in World War Two


Of all of these countries, only Brazil sent troops to Europe in return for massive American military assistance through Lend-Lease. Once trained, 25,000 Brazilian troops were sent to fight under Allied command in Italy. They fought in Italy and took part in the long and bloody slog up the Italian peninsular. The major battle they participated in was the Battle of Monte Castello, a bitter fight against entrenched German troops which lasted from 25 November 1944 to 22 February 1945.

Mexico sent troops to the Philippines where they fought against the Japanese on Luzon



tumblr_lndivyKZCd1qz9tkeo1_500Brazilian troops arrive in Naples.

(Photo courtesy of US Army and the NARA)


German General Otto Freter Pico, Commander of the 148 Infantry Division, and General Mario Carloni surrendering to Brazilian FEB after the battle of Fornovo di Taro.

(photo in the public domain. Author unknown.)

Lest We Forget:
948 Brazilian soldiers, sailors and airmen
gave their lives in the fight against Nazi tyranny.

an article by a scholar in field, Professor Frank D. McCann of the University of New Hampshire can be found here:

Brazil and World War II: The Forgotten Ally.
What did you do in the war, Zé Carioca?


Gallant RAF Pilot Who Went Down in the Channel and Perished

Lest We Forget

Almost 100 trained fighter pilots from Czechoslovakia made their way to Great Britain after the Germans invaded their country and volunteered to fight for the RAF. They were among the most aggressive and highest scoring pilots in Fighter Command. On occasion, when out of ammunition, they would ram German aircraft then bale out.




Rudolf Ptáček, one of the many Czech pilots who had made their way to Great Britain to serve in the Royal Air Force, and the Spitfire he flew. Ptáček was killed in action against the Nazi Luftwaffe in March of 1942 in a fight over the English Channel.

Information below taken from an official RAF report on Rudolf Ptáček who crashed into the English Channel. Originally posted as “missing” he was later posted as “killed in action”.

 No. 602 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM148 W/O. Ptáček

Date: 28th March 1942 (Saturday)

Base: R.A.F. Redhill, Surrey

Location: English Channel, off France

Pilot: W/O (Warrant Officer) Rudolf Ptáček (he was one of the almost 100 Czech pilots serving in Fighter Command) R.A.F.V.R. (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve)



shot down by pilots of JG26, over the English Channel. His body was never recovered.

You can find the entire report here:



And the unit that shot him down:


Adolf Galland

The photograph shows Galland in the uniform of a Lt. Colonel or Oberstleutnant wearing the  Ritterkreuz, or Knights Cross.

(Photo courtesy of the German National Archive. Curiously, according to the Archive, the photograph was taken by Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffman. Presumably then, Hoffman took the photo after Hitler had presented Galland with the Knights Cross, something Hitler usually did)


Jagdgeschwader 26 (Fighter Wing 26) was the most famous German fighter formation of the air war in the West. It was commanded from August 1940 through November of 1941 by the famous Adolf Galland, who was promoted to command the unit at age 28 while only a major. JG 26 compiled a reputation as a deadly foe.

In December 1941, Galland by then a full colonel, was promoted to General Commanding Fighter Pilots or General der Jagdflieger.  He held this position until the end of the war. He is thought to be to the youngest man promoted to general officer of any country in World War Two. He survived the war and died in 1996.

You can find his obituary in the New York Times here: http://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/14/world/adolf-galland-top-aviator-for-the-nazis-is-dead-at-83.html


Do You Want To Go Blind? Sex Education at the Royal Navy’s Dartmouth Naval Academy in the1930s

RN Academy Dartmouth

Royal Navy Academy at Dartmouth

official Royal Navy photograph

“Keep it for that wonderful day.

Don’t ‘touch’ yourselves. You might go blind.”


The above from the parson of the Royal Navy Academy at Dartmouth to a group of fifteen year old naval cadets. In that era, one started one’s education as a Royal Navy officer at age 13.

“As we had been touching ourselves for at least two years and our eyesight was still perfect we didn’t believe a word of it. Looking back, it all seems incredible and I don’t know why the powers that be thought that fifteen year olds were all really going to pay any attention to such nonsense.”

Recounted in an outstanding memoir of World War Two: Sunk by Stukas, Survived at Salerno: The Memoirs of Captain Tony McCrum, RN

This memoir by Captain Tony McCrum is amusing, thoughtful and unstinting in its description of the horror of war. His self deprecation is typically British. Of his final year at Dartmouth he writes,  “…I still wasn’t selected for any position of responsibility (‘poor officer-like qualities, McCrum’), not even milk monitor.”

“Many years later when I was first in my term (class) to be promoted to Captain RN I remembered my term officer’s dire forecast of my abilities…”

The Royal Air Force Pigeon Service, part two

RAF Carrier Pigeons Didn’t Like Getting Wet

The Best Advice For Landing In the Water? Avoid doing it.


Pan American Flight 943 lands in the Pacific

on Oct. 16, 1956. The Boing 377 Stratocruiser had lost power to two of its four engines and had to risk an emergency water landing. (William Simpson / US Coast Guard) 


This plane pictured above was made by Boeing and is bigger than a B-17 or RAF Lancaster used in World War Two but will give you a good idea of what it was like to land a four engine aircraft on the water. All 31 passengers as well as the crew survived because there was US Coast Guard cutter nearby.

During the war, pilots did everything they could to avoid ditching. Just landing a plane on water was difficult. Except for amphibious planes, no other planes were designed to land in the water. If the weather was bad and the waves high and the plane landed nose into the waves instead of coming down in the trough between the waves then the plane often broke apart. Since the aircraft landed nose up when it came down the force of the water usually burst the windscreen and often injured or killed the pilot.


If the pilot made a good landing in the Channel and if the water was not choppy or storming, then the plane might not break up. In that case, it might stay afloat for a minute or two. However, in a rough landing in bad weather with heavy seas, the crew had only seconds to get out of the plane before it sank.



One of the best amphibious planes of World War Two was the British Short Sunderland. (It was built by Short Brothers hence the name which isn’t a reference to the length). This aircraft was deployed to Air/Sea Rescue units as they became available.

These planes rescued many RAF and Allied pilots throughout the European Theatre who had ditched in the ocean or the English Channel. In certain instances, the plane landed in water too rough and broke apart and sank. Not only would the crew of the Sutherland end up in the water but now there were more men to be rescued.

Image by Royal Air Force via the website/www.raf.mod.uk