Fighting the U-boats

Aircraft & Air forces

The Brazilian Air Force

In the beginning of 1942 Brazil broke diplomatic relations with the Axis countries, so soon Brazilian ships were sunk by U-boats and Italian subs. The start made U-432 on 16 February 1942 near east coast of USA. In August 1942 the U-507 sunk 6 brazilian ships with 877 casualties, as a result of this Brazil declared war against Germany and Italy on 22 August 1942.

The Brazilian Air Force was contained by old aircraft but soon bought aircraft from USA like the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber and others. Maritime Patrol Aviation was cooperated early 1942 with the allies to protect the secure of the South Atlantic. The most important bases were at Natal, Recife, Fortaleza and Salvador.

Now the most important attacks of Brazilian aircraft against U-boats.

22 May 1942
A B-25 Mitchell from Aircraft Adaptation Group based at Fortaleza was on patrol near the coast where brazilian ship Comandante Lyra was seriously damaged four days earlier from the most famous italian sub "Barbarigo". At 14:00 hours,the B-25 crew of Parreiras Horta(crew had also americans) found a surfaced submarine, recognized as U-boat which immediately started to shoot at B-25 with machine guns.

As Brazil was neutral,the rules of engagement would be used only after being attacked by enemy, thus Brazilian aircraft could only respond to attack. The Mitchell crew launched depth charges which fell close to the U-boat and most probably damaged the boat.

Five days later, 2 other Brazilian B-25 from the same unit made attack on U-boats, but it is not known if U-boats earlier attacked the aircraft.

26 August 1942
Crew of Alfredo Goncalves Correa attacked a U-boat near Ararangua(State of Santa Catarina). The U-boat was hit and listed badly, but also and the aircraft was damaged when the bombs exploded. The aircraft returned safe to but to other airport, and not to her base.

28 August 1942
Crew of manuel Rogerio de Souza Coelho attacked a enemy submarine near Iguape (State of Sao Paulo) without seeing any damage.

December 1942
The first ten A-28A Hudson aircraft arrived,with 16 more in January.The last Hudson aircraft was received in March 1943.

14 february 1943
Crew of walter Newmayer from the Recife,attacked a U-boat and probably damaged it slightly.

19 February 1943
Crew of Aquino attacked a submarine but no known damage to the submarine.

5 April 1943
A-28A Hudson Hudson, from Salvador, crew of Ivo Gastaldoni, made an attack to a surfaced U-boat with depth charges, some 60 km from the coastal town of Aracaju. Large oil was shown on sea, after the attack, the U-boat definitely was damaged serioulsy if not sunk.

8 May 1943
Crew of Zamir de Barros Pinto from Recife attacked the U-154, which was ready to attack the brazilian merchant ship Motocarline. U-154 lost her chance as dived to avoid the attack. The Brazilian aircraft escorted the ship to Brazil with success.

3 June(or July??) 1943
A-28 Hudson, from Santa Cruz, crew of Clovis Lambre de Lemos attacked U-199 without causing any damages.

31 July 1943
Early morning, a USN Martin PBM-3C Mariner from the VP-74 squadron,based in Rio de Janeiro,located and attacked the U-199. The U-boat was damaged but was not sunk and kept firing chaotically to the american aircraft. Brazilian defences were alerted and a Brazilian Hudson, crew of Sergio Candido Schnoor soon took off from Rio de Janeiro. It attacked the U-199 with two Mk. 17 bombs which fell short of the U-boat, in a second run Schnoor started to shoot U-199 with nose guns and this had the effect to kill some German crewmen on the tower.

Soon another Brazilian aircraft, the crew of Alberto Martins Torres which was flying nearby, came to help,as Schnoor did not have other bombs and besides the U-boat still kept firing to every aircraft found on their way. Torres bombed the U-199 with Mk 44 bombs and the U-199 finally -after a long battle- began to sink.

This particular aircraft was later named Arara, in honour of the crew of the ship of the same name which had been sunk in 17 August 1942 by U-507, while tried to rescue the sailors of brazilian ship "Itagiba" which earlier was sunk from U-507.

30 October 1943
Crew of Dionisio Cerquira de taunay attacked the U-170 with success. U-170 was badly damaged but managed to escape. But also and the Brazilians were seriously damaged but managed to return safe to their base. That was the last attack made by Brazilian aircraft against a German U-boat.

November 1943
Brazil receives Lockheed PV-1 Ventura from USA. A specialized unit was formed the United States-Brazilian Training Unit (UsBa Tu). But however, no more submarines were found in the Brazilian coastal waters after November 1943.

Only when U-861 sank the brazilian transport ship Vital de Oliveira on 19 August 1944, the brazilian aircraft will be alerted to search the U-boat without results. That was the last brazilian ship sunk by U-boat and the last hostile operation by Brazilian Air Force.

Aircraft & Air forces