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8th Infantry Division

On September 18, 1944, several German pockets on the coast of Brittany were just about liquidated. On that day a German lieutenant general who had managed to sneak from Brest to the Crozon peninsula prudently decided to surrender to the 8th Infantry Division. He was brought before Brigadier General Charles D. W. Canham, assistant commander of the 8th, who stood waiting with a group of armed Infantrymen behind him. The haughty German looked at General Canham and said, “Where are your credentials?” General Canham motioned to his grim-faced Doughboys. “These are my credentials,” he said.

That phrase is now part of the permanent history of the “Golden Arrow” Division, formerly known as the “Pathfinder.” Its three Infantry regiments are among the Army’s best known. The 13th was activated in 1798, the 121st stems from a famous Georgia outfit (and fought against the 13th in the Civil War), and the 28th was the first American combat unit ever to set foot in France when, serving with the 1st Infantry Division in the last war, it landed at St. Nazaire in June 1917.

When the Japs struck at Pearl Harbor, the 8th, a Regular Army division, was immediately assigned to patrolling the east coast from North Carolina to the Florida Keys. It sailed for Europe in December 1943, and trained with the British near Belfast in Northern Ireland. Landing in Normandy on the Fourth of July, it went into action four days later and, during the next ten months, was responsible for the capture of 316,000 enemy prisoners, 250,000 of whom were seized when the Division made a swift dash to the Elbe River in April, establishing a bridgehead there and joining up with the Russian forces advancing west along the Baltic.

The 8th Division’s first action was at the Ay River in Normandy. It moved on to capture Rennes, and from there proceeded to the siege of Brest, remaining close to the west coast of France until late in September. During this period the 3d Battalion of the 121st Infantry, while temporarily attached to the 83d Division, made a heroic stand near Dinard, where, on August 9, it was completely isolated for three days, but held out against fierce enemy attacks and saved its wounded by administering plasma dropped by two Cub artillery planes. During August and September, the Golden Arrow Division took 15,000 prisoners.

Turning back toward the east, the division moved into the Luxembourg zone of action, fought in the Hürtgen Forest, and pushed its way across the Roer River backed by a heavy concentration of fire from its own artillery battalions, which one group of Germans reported to be more devastating in their fire than anything they had experienced on the Russian front. The Golden Arrow’s big guns poured in a 45-minute barrage of shells on the city of Dtiren that virtually flattened the place. The 8th went on to cross the Ruhr and the Erft Canal, fought its way to Cologne, stormed the Elbe, and, as the war in Europe ended, was deep in Germany at Schweren. During its ten months of operations in Europe, the Division was out of combat for just ten days.

From Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946.

Pathfinder Division


Activated 1 Jul 40
Arrived ETO 15 Dec 43
Arrived Continent (D/28) 4 Jul 44
Entered Combat:
First Elements 6 Jul 44
Entire Division 8 Jul 44
Days in Combat 266


Northern France
Central Europe


13th Infantry
28th Infantry
121st Infantry
8th Reconnaissance Troop (Mecz)
12th Engineer Combat Battalion
8th Medical Battalion

8th Division Artillery

43d Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
45th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
56th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
28th Field Artillery Battalion (155 Howitzer)

Special Troops

708th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
8th Quartermaster Company
8th Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
Headquarters Company


Division Commander

15 Dec 1943 Maj Gen William C McMahon
12 Jul 1944 Brig Gen Donald A Stroh
30 Aug 1944 Maj Gen Donald A Stroh
28 Nov 1944 Brig Gen WG Weaver
8 Jan 1945 Brig Gen James A Pickering (Actg)
14 Jan 1945 Brig Gen WG Weaver
6 Feb 1945 Maj Gen WG Weaver
25 Feb 1945 Brig Gen Bryant E Moore

Assistant Div Commander

15 Feb 1944 Brig Gen Nelson M Walker
12 Jul 1944 Col Cyrus H Searcy
26 Jul 1944 Col Charles DW Canham
1 Sep 1944 Brig Gen Charles DW Canham

Arty Comdr

15 Dec 1943 Brig Gen James A Pickering


15 Feb 1944 Col Thomas J Cross
27 Nov 1944 Lt Col Thomas B Whitted Jr
9 Feb 1945 Col Thomas B Whitted Jr
22 Mar 1945 Lt Col Joseph K Gibson

ACofS G-1

1 Feb 1944 Maj Edwin W Grenelle
31 Mar 1944 Lt Col Edwin W Grenelle

ACofS G-2

15 Dec 1943 Lt Col Joseph K Gibson
22 Mar 1945 Maj Laban G Lively
1 May 1945 Lt Col Laban G Lively

ACofS G-3

16 Feb 1944 Lt Col Thomas H Beck
1 Apr 1945 Lt Col Fielder P Greer

ACofS G-4

15 Feb 1944 Lt Col Thomas B Whitted Jr
27 Nov 1944 Maj Jacob Shacter
20 Dec 1944 Lt Col Jacob Shacter

ACofS G-5

31 May 1944 Maj Richard G Croft
6 Nov 1944 Lt Col Richard G Croft
16 Apr 1944 Maj Lester A Ahroon

Adj Gen

15 Feb 1944 Lt Col James D C Breckinridge
3 Feb 1945 Maj Cromartie

CO 13th Inf

8 Jul 1944 Col Robert A Griffin
25 Nov 1944 Lt Col Earle L Lerette
1 Dec 1944 Col Numa A Watson

CO 28th Inf

8 Jul 1944 Col Lester A Webb
9 Jul 1944 Lt Col Henry B Kunzig (Actg)
14 Jul 1944 Col Kenneth E Anderson
31 Aug 1944 Col Merrith E Olmstead
4 Mar 1945 Col Thomas H Beck

CO 121st Inf

8 Jul 1944 Col Albert H Peyton
9 Jul 1944 Col John R Jeter
25 Nov 1944 Col T J Cross
22 Mar 1945 Lt Col Earl L Lerette


Antiaircraft Artillery

445th AAA AW Bn (Mbl) 11 Jul 44-12 May 45


709th Tk Bn 13 Jul 44-26 Jan 45
CCR (5th Armd Div) 20 Nov 44-16 Dec 44
740th Tk Bn 6 Feb 45-13 Mar 45
740th Tk Bn 6 Apr 45-12 May 45
CCR (13th Armd Div) 14 Apr 45-17 Apr 45


89th Cav Rcn Sq (-Trs C & D) (9th Armd Div) 23 Oct 44-1 Nov 44
89th Cav Rcn Sq (-Trs A & D) (9th Armd Div) 1 Nov 44-10 Nov 44
13th Cav Gp 25 Dec 44-5 Feb 45


86th Cml Mort Bn 7 Jul 44-20 Sep 44
86th Cml Mort Bn 19 Nov 44-24 Dec 44
Cos C&D 87th Cml Bn 9 Feb 45-10 Mar 45
Cos C&D 95th Cml Mort Bn 4 Apr 45-18 Apr 45
Cos B&C 89th Cml Mort Bn 29 Apr 45-12 May 45

Field Artillery

174th FA Gp 16 Aug 44-20 Sep 44
196th FA Gp 20 Aug 44-20 Sep 44
402d FA Gp 13 Sep 44-20 Sep 44
969th FA Gp 2 Oct 44-10 Nov 44
687th FA Gp 2 Oct 44-10 Nov 44
76th FA Bn (105 How) 19 Nov 44-21 Dec 44
18th FA Bn (105 How) 20 Nov 44-6 Dec 44
188th FA Bn (155 How) 26 Nov 44-11 Dec 44
987th FA Bn (155 Gun) 26 Nov 44-11 Dec 44
188th FA Bn (155 How) 8 Feb 45-28 Feb 45
210th FA Gp 2 May 45-12 May 45
548th FA Gp 2 May 45-12 May 45
965th FA Gp 2 May 45-12 May 45


2d Ranger Inf Bn 17 Sep 44-20 Dec 44
52d Armd Inf Bn (9th Armd Div) 23 Oct 44-30 Oct 44
60th Armd Inf Bn (9th Armd Div) 2 Nov 44-9 Nov 44
112th CT (28th Div) 4 Feb 45-11 Feb 45
2d Ranger Inf Bn 19 Nov 44-16 Dec 44
311th Inf (78th Div ) 9 Dec 44-23 Dec 44
16th CT (1st Div) 6 Feb 45-7 Feb 45
7th FA Bn (1st Div)(105 How) 6 Feb 45-7 Feb 45
Co A 1st Engr C Bn (1st Div) 6 Feb 45-7 Feb 45
Co A 745th Tk Bn 6 Feb 45-7 Feb 45
Co C 634th TD Bn (SP) 6 Feb 45-7 Feb 45
1st Bn 343d Inf (86th Div) 6 Apr 45-7 Apr 45

Tank Destroyer

644th TD Bn (SP) 15 Jul 44-28 Apr 45
893d TD Bn (SP) 19 Nov 44-10 Dec 44
817th TD Bn (T) 9 Dec 44-8 Feb 45

8th Infantry Division World War II Missing in Action

There are 40 soldiers of the 8th Infantry Division World War II still listed as missing in action.

Staff Sergeant Ralph J. Anderson 13th Infantry Regiment 12/01/1945
Private Charles Andrews 28th Infantry Regiment 12/04/1944
Private First Class Matthew M. Asero 28th Infantry Regiment 11/30/1944
Private First Class Freelin Back 13th Infantry Regiment 04/04/1945
Private First Class Vito Buffa 28th Infantry Regiment 08/30/1945
Staff Sergeant John M. Conklin 13th Infantry Regiment 12/15/1944
Private First Class Edward J. Farmer 13th Infantry Regiment 11/13/1944
Sergeant Gerald R. Frantz 121st Infantry Regiment 12/08/1945
First Lieutenant Matthews Gregory 13th Infantry Regiment 04/06/1945
Technical Sergeant Harbert G. Hampton 121st Infantry Regiment 09/20/1945
Private First Class George H. Hekimian 28th Infantry Regiment 12/05/1944
Private First Class Bernhard R. Hug 28th Infantry Regiment 11/26/1944
Private First Class Leo W. Kaiser 28th Infantry Regiment 12/04/1944
Private First Class James C. Konyud 121st Infantry Regiment 01/02/1946
Private First Class Eugene E. Lochowicz 28th Infantry Regiment 02/24/1946
Private Victor E. Maffia 28th Infantry Regiment 02/25/1946
Staff Sergeant Douglas A. Martin 121st Infantry Regiment 12/03/1944
Sergeant Harold R. McDonald 13th Infantry Regiment 04/04/1945
Private First Class Robert J. McNamara 13th Infantry Regiment 11/23/1944
Private First Class George Miller 28th Infantry Regiment 12/02/1945
Technical Sergeant Joseph R. Moore 121st Infantry Regiment 12/12/1945
Private First Class Edward E. Paladini 28th Infantry Regiment 12/27/1944
Private First Class Paul Peternell 121st Infantry Regiment 12/09/1944
Sergeant Wendell G. Phillips 28th Infantry Regiment 12/06/1945
Private First Class Noah C. Reeves 28th Infantry Regiment 12/06/1944
Sergeant Alexander M. Schrobat 28th Infantry Regiment 08/10/1945
Private Emmet W. Schwartz 121st Infantry Regiment 12/27/1944
Private Walter A. Sochinski 8th Medical Battalion 07/14/1944
Private First Class George B. Thomas 13th Infantry Regiment 11/25/1945
Private Sidney Tuchman 13th Infantry Regiment 04/03/1945
Private First Class Norman D. Wall 28th Infantry Regiment 12/28/1945
Staff Sergeant James E. Walsh 13th Infantry Regiment 01/18/1945
Private Marion Waltz 28th Infantry Regiment 12/15/1944
Private First Class Robert J. Warren 13th Infantry Regiment 02/15/1945
Sergeant Larry S. Wassil 13th Infantry Regiment 12/29/1945
Sergeant Joe N. Watson 28th Infantry Regiment 02/24/1946
Private First Class Duane Whitman 13th Infantry Regiment 11/24/1944
Private Alonzo H. Wilson 28th Infantry Regiment 12/04/1944
Private First Class Mark H. Wimmers 121st Infantry Regiment 08/10/1944
Private First Class Robert R. Womochel 121st Infantry Regiment 09/04/1944

8th Infantry Division World War II Recovered Missing in Action

There are 1 soldiers of the 8th Infantry Division World War II that have been identified and recovered.

Private James J. Cansler 28th Infantry Regiment Missing: 12/20/1945, Recovered: 6/2018

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