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81st Infantry Division


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Eighty-First Infantry Division / 81st Division



"Wildcat Division"




World War I



World War II

Western Pacific

South Philippines



Sept 1917

June 15, 1942




Jan 30, 1946



Insignia, a silhouette of a wildcat on a khaki circle. During World War I, the color of the wildcat varied according to the different arms of the service.




World War I


Activated: September 1917.


Overseas: August 1918.


Major Operations: Meuse-Argonne.


Casualties: Total-1,104 (KIA-195, WIA-909).


Commanders: Brig. Gen. Charles H. Barth (28 August 1917), Maj. Gen. Charles J. Bailey (8 October 1917), Brig. Gen. Charles H. Barth (24 November 1917), Brig. Gen. G. W. McIver (28 December 1917), Maj. Gen. Charles J. Bailey (11 March 1918), Brig. Gen. G. W. McIver (19 May 1918), Brig. Gen. Munroe McFarland (24 May 1918), Maj. Gen. Charles J. Bailey (30 May 1918), Brig. Gen. G. W. McIver (9 June 1918), Maj. Gen. Charles J. Bailey (3 July 1918).



Combat Chronicle

Organized at Camp Jackson, S.C., in Sept. 1917. This division was made up on National Army drafts from North and South Carolina and Tennessee. The first units embarked for overseas on July 30, 1918, and the last units arrived in France, via England, on Aug. 26, 1918.


Upon arrival in France the division was ordered to the Tonnerre (Yonne) training area where it remained in training until the middle of August. The division then proceeded to the St. Die sector (Vosges) where it held the line as a part of the 33d French Corps. On Oct. 19th the division was relieved and ordered to join the 1st Army for the Meuse-Argonne offensive.


The division arrived in the Sommedieue sector early in November and was attached to the 2d Colonial Corps (French, as reserve). On Nov. 6th, it relieved the 35th Division in this sector and on Nov. 9th the division attacked the German positions on the Woevre plain, and was in the line when the armistice was signed. On Nov. 18th the division moved to the vicinity of Chantillon-Sur-Seine (cote D'or) and the artillery brigade which had heretofore formed a part of the 8th Corps, rejoined the division. On May 2d the division was placed under the control of the C.G., S.O.S., for return to the United States.


This division captured the following from the enemy: 5 officers, 96 men, 44 machine guns. The division advanced five and a half kilometers against resistance. Battle deaths, 250, wounded 801; taken prisoners, 51. Distinguished Service Crosses awarded 19.


Commanding Generals: Brig. Gen. Chas. H. Barth, Aug. 25 to Oct. 8, 1917; Maj. Gen. Chas. J. Bailey Oct. 8, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918.


The following units composed the division: 161st, 162nd Inf. Brigs., 321st, 322d, 323d, 324 Inf. Regts., 317th, 318th Machine Gun Bns., 156th Arty. Brig., 316th, 317th, 318th Arty Regts., 306 Trench Mortar Battery, 316th Div. Machine Gun Bn., 306th Engr. Regt., and Train, 306th Fld Sig. Bn., 306th Train Hqs and M.P., 306th Amm. Train, 306th Sanitary Train, 306th Supply Train, (321st, 322d, 323d, 324th Amb. Cos. And Field Hospitals).



World War II


Activated: 15 June 1942.


Overseas: 3 July 1944.


Campaigns: Western Pacific, South Philippines.


Days of combat: 166.


Awards: DSC-7 ; DSM-2 ; SS-281; LM-7; SM-40 ; BSM-658 ; AM-15.


Commanders: Maj. Gen. Gustave H. Franke (June-August 1942), Maj. Gen. Paul J. Mueller (August 1942 to inactivation).


Inactivated: 30 January 1946 in Japan.



Combat Chronicle


The 81st Infantry Division landed in Hawaii, 11 June-8 July 1944. The Division minus RCT 323 invaded Angaur Island in the Palau group, 17 September, and pushed through to the western shore in a quick movement, cutting the island in half. The enemy was driven into isolated pockets and mopping-up operations began on the 20th. RCT 321, attached to the 1st Marine Division, went into action on Peleliu Island in the Palaus and assisted in splitting defense forces and isolating them in mountainous areas in the central part of the island. The team aided in mopping up Ngesebus Island and capturing Kongauru and Garakayo Islands. RCT 323 under naval task force command occupied Ulithi Island, 21-23 September 1944. Elements of the team landed on Ngulu Atoll and destroyed enemy personnel and installations, 16 October, completing the outflanking of the enemy base at Yap. On the 18th RCT 323 left to rejoin the 81st on Peleliu, which assumed command of all troops on that island and Angaur, 20 October 1944. Resistance was ended on Peleliu, 27 November. Between 4 November 1944 and 1 January 1945, the Division seized Pulo Anna Island, Kyangel Atoll, and Pais Island. The 81st left in increments from 1 January to 8 February for New Caledonia for rehabilitation and training. The Division arrived in Leyte on 17 May 1945, and after a period of training participated in mopping-up operations in the northwest part of the island, 21 July 1945 to 12 August 1945. After rest and training, the 81st moved to Japan, 18 September, and performed occupational duties in Aomori Prefecture until inactivation.



Divisional history from:



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I find more to look for every time I scroll through these, I'll be busy at SOS working on my ever expanding want list of variations.

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Would that be considered yellow/black?

I don't think so. It's olive drab and black like the top one in the above posted chart-- the one for Division headquarters. The "H" collar disk for a soldier assigned to a brigade or higher HQ would seem to confirm this.

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