86th Infantry Division (United States)

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86th Infantry Division
86 Inf Div SSI.jpg
86th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia
Active 1917–19
Country  United States
Branch  United States Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Nickname(s) "Blackhawk Division"
Engagements World War I

World War II

The 86th Infantry Division was a unit of the United States Army in World War I and World War II.

World War I

The division saw no combat in World War I. It was activated 25 August 1917 at Camp Grant in Rockford, Illinois, went overseas in August 1918, returned to the United States in November 1918, and was deactivated in January 1919.

Included 171st Infantry Brigade (341st and 342nd Infantry Regiments) and 172nd Infantry Brigade (343rd and 344th Infantry Regiments), plus field artillery units.


  • Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Barry (25 August 1917)
  • Brig. Gen. Lyman W.V. Kennon (26 November 1917)
  • Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Barry (15 February 1918)
  • Brig. Gen. Lyman W.V. Kennon (21 March 1918)
  • Brig. Gen. Charles Henry Martin (18 April 1918)
  • Maj. Gen. Charles H. Martin (30 April 1918)
  • Brig. Gen. Lincoln C. Andrews (19 October 1918).

World War II

  • Activated: 15 December 1942
  • Overseas: 19 February 1945, for the ETO; 24 August 1945, for the Pacific
  • Campaigns: Central Europe
  • Days of combat: 34
  • Awards: DSC-2 ; DSM-1 ; SS-12 ; LM-1; SM-1 ; BSM282 ; AM-2
  • Commanders: Maj. Gen. Alexander E. Anderson (December 1942), Maj. Gen. Harris M. Melasky (4 January 1943 – December 1945), Maj. Gen. Paul J. Mueller (January 1946 – April 1946), Maj. Gen. Harry F. Hazlett (June 1946 to inactivation)
  • Returned to U.S.: 17 June 1945, from the ETO
  • Overseas: 24 August 1945
  • Deactivated: 30 December 1946 on Leyte, Philippine Islands

Combat chronicle

The 86th Infantry Division arrived in France, 4 March 1945, and moved to Köln, Germany, taking over defensive positions near Weiden, 24 March, in relief of the 8th Infantry Division. After a short period of patrolling on both sides of the Rhine, the division was relieved, and moved across the Rhine to Eibelshausen, Germany, 5 April. In a rapid offensive advance, the 86th moved across the Bigge River, cleared Attendorn, 11 April, and continued on to the Ruhr uniting with the Ninth Army, taking part in the Ruhr pocket fighting. On 21 April, the division moved to Ansbach and continued to advance, taking Eichstätt on the 25th, crossing the Danube at Ingolstadt on the 27th, securing the bridge over the Amper Canal, 29 April, crossing the Isar and reaching Mittel Isar Canal by the end of the month. The division was ordered to take Wasserburg, 1 May, and leading elements had reached the outskirts of the city when they were ordered to withdraw, 2 May, and to move east to Salzburg.

On 4 May, the division captured the crown jewels of Hungary in Mattsee, Austria.[1] At the end of the war, the division was securing the left flank of the XV Corps. After processing German prisoners of war, it was redeployed to the United States, arriving in New York 17 June 1945. The division trained briefly at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, 21 June-11 August 1945; and then left San Francisco, 24 August 1945, for the Philippines. The 86th Division was aboard ship in Leyte harbor when the Japanese surrendered. After landing on Luzon the unit was dispersed throughout the Island, some to Marikina, some to other locations. A few were assigned to Corregidor Island to guard Japanese prisoners of war.

Assignments in ETO

  • 30 January 1945: Fifteenth Army, 12th Army Group.
  • 22 March 1945: VII Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
  • 30 March 1945: XXII Corps, Fifteenth Army, 12th Army Group.
  • 5 April 1945: XVIII (Abn) Corps, First Army, 12th Army Group.
  • 19 April 1945: Third Army, 12th Army Group.
  • 22 April 1945: III Corps.
  • 2 May 1945: XV Corps, Seventh Army, 6th Army Group.

Nickname and legacy

The division was nicknamed the "Black Hawk Division," named after the Sauk Leader Chief Black Hawk. Frederic McLaughlin, was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. In 1926, McLaughlin would be granted a franchise by the National Hockey League, which he would put in his home town of Chicago. He named the team the Chicago Black Hawks after the unit.

Present day

The 86th was redesignated as the HQ's 86th Training Brigade on 11 Feb 2009 and activated at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin on 16 September 2010. Shortly after its reactivation, on 18 September 2010, it was redesignated as Headquarters 86th Training Division.


  1. "Hungary: Recovery of Crown Jewels 1945". Retrieved 17 December 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


Government Printing Office, 1950 reproduced at http://www.history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/cbtchron/cbtchron.html