Following the sinkings of a number of their merchantmen by U-boats, Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy in August 1942. A year later, after lengthy training, the Brazilain 1st Expeditionary Infantry Division arrived in Naples in mid July 1944. Put at General Crittenberger’s disposal, the Brazilian division saw heavy action during the Allied offensive to crack the Gothic Line in October and November. After pushing into the Reno Valley as part of the IV Corps advance, it attacked Monet Castello – a dominating height overlooking the vital Highway 64 – on 29 November, but suffered a bloody repulse. Crittenberger, eager to break through to Bologna before the onset of winter, ordered another attempt. In heavy fog, on 12 December, the battle-worn Brazilians set foot on the lower slopes of Monte Castello once more. . .