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Hi! My name is Donna. I am hoping someone can help me learn more about the time my grandfather spent during WWll.


He told me a long time ago:

*50th division regular army

*Fought in the battle of bulge

*Had to play dead, because the emeny was killing everyone


I have an v-mail that states:

*1st Sgt. Willard M Catron 286th FA. Obsn ( I have not been able to find any info. on 286th)


* Bronze Star citition for risking his life to save another during the ETO.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.






First off welcome. Glad you joined our forum.


I will do some research and see what I can come up with. I'm sure others will be on the outlook too and hopefully at least one of us will be able to assist you. I've become a pretty good WWII sleuth, so don't give up hope.



Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Very interesting. This is what I found on the 50th Division:


The 50th US Infantry Division was a not-existing unit created as a part of the 1st US Army Group. This unit was created to mislead the Germans in beleaving that the Allied-forces would land near Calais.


See also:


The British did have a 50th Infantry Division.


However, 268 Field Artillery Battalion resorted under V Corps at the time of the Batlle of the Bulge.


from 30 August 1944 to 11 September 1944 they were attached to the 83rd Infantry Division.




Arthur Walter Blairactivated and commanded the 268th Field Artillery Battalion. Training continued at Camp Wolters and Fort Bragg before he took his troops overseas in July 1944.


They fought across France, Belgium, Holland, and into Germany with the 8-inch gun, the largest weapon of the ground forces. Blair’s battalion was classified as “Army Artillery†and fought with the First, Third, and Ninth Armies. During late December, his outfit was north of the Bulge area near the Ruhr River. During the heavy shelling on Christmas morning, a direct hit inflicted heavy casualties on he and his men. They are buried together, as he had requested, at the beautiful American Cemetery outside Liege, Belgium


Casualties of 268, buried in Europe:


BLAIR ARTHUR W LTC O-018750 IN 25-Dec-44 B 4 43 HC

BRAUCHLER HERBERT J CAPT O-453992 NY 27-Dec-44 I 6 15 NE

JURA THEOFIL J PVT 33399033 PA 25-Mar-45 E 8 45 HC

NELSON ARTHUR C PVT 16146952 IL 26-Dec-44 C 16 7 HC

PETERSON CONNE A PVT 37321529 IL 4-Mar-45 F 10 7 HC

SCHUMAN LEONARD A SSGT 12209209 NY 26-Oct-44 A 13 8 HC


Herbert Baruchler is buried in The Netherlands, so I will add him to my website.


If you go to and type in "268th Field Artillery" you will find some hits. It seems they were more often attached to the 83rd and also fought in Holland.


I will try to get more information.


I hope this helps,




Great job, Stevin. Where did you find all that info?


I checked my handy US Divisions reference table [ My Ref Table ], and searched for a "50 Infantry Regiment" and "286 FA". As you can see, these don't appear in my table. That means that the 286FA was an independent unit that was assigned to Corps or Army----as you have state. I thou ght maybe Donna's source had identified the 50 Regiment as the 50 Division.


One phrase that catches my eye is she stated "50th Division Regular Army". That sounds like a term that was used prior to WW2. Of course, there wasn't a 50th Division even then but this might be a hint that her grandfather enlisted before WW2 and then was later re-assigned. I've discovered that any sketchy info of a soldier who changed units makes for a little confusion. But when more info is collected it all falls into place and matches up with enlistment dates and overseas service.




Yes Stevin, great info and thanks for taking the time to help our new friend. I am going to try and find out a bit today myself.


Haven't had a chance so far yet because of all the construction that's going on in our house. Yikes. The painter is over today and our water also went out. Had to call someone to come out to look at the pump. Thanks God it was just something little. The store and house haven't had any water since last night. Anyway I digress....

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Of course. I just LOVE to research and learn more about units/incidents I hadn't heard about. It is just a pity that when yo really want to do some serious researching, you need the stuff at NARA and other facilities. We all know that story.


I want to thank you all for your time in helping me. I went home this weekend and took everything back from my dad that I have found during my search. Maybe some of this information can help.

I have his separation qualification record. His army serial no. 37 141 691, Grade 1st Sgt. The description-related civilian occupation said: First Sergeant, Supervised and directed the work of the administrative section of organization in the preparation of correspondence, records, forms, reports and orders. Supervised the preparation of forms on personal matters, including proceedings, morning reports, sick reports, duty rosters, furloughs and discharges. Kept a staff journal and policy file. This was signed by officer Chester J. Dickinson Major AGD.


I have a copy of his Section lll Award of Bronze Star Medals. Some of the information is marked out with **** marks.


One thing I have not said about my grandfather is that I have only known him as William "Bill" Carter. We found out before he passed away about him changing his name and social security number. I have been searching for reasons why he changed his name and started his life over. I do have to say I have really enjoyed learning everything I have so far. No matter why he left his family behind my love for him will never change. Finding out about his bronze star has put him even more so upon a pestol. I have a lot of letters I have sent to the U.S Department of Justice, FBI, Social Security Dept. and I have also sent off for his military records with no luck. I would fax or mail anyone all the information I have to look at if it might help. My grandfather was born with the name of Willard M. Catron from Kansas. I have had the chance to meet with one of his daughters he left behind. For 55 years he was though of as dead.


Once again I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for the information and time you have already provided.






I found a contact for the 286th FA Bn. Let me know if you reach him. :pdt34:


286th Field Artillery Observation Battalion

Mr. Edward A. Marinello

333 Main Street

Roslyn, NY 11576

(516) 621-2681

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Oh Dear! I have made a HUGE mistake! Instead of 286th FA, I made a typing error and ended up giving info I had found on 268 FA Bn.


I am SO sorry!


I did find a book written by a member of that unit:


On the Way

General Patton's Eyes and Ears on the Enemy



Author: Marinello, Edward A


A narrative account of WWII as fought by the men of Battery B, 286th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, from the time they went overseas aboard the Queen Elizabeth in late August 1944. The author was a member of Battery B, and draws on notes he wrote at the time and immediately afterward.







£ 31.00


Nova Science Publishers, Inc

New York - USA

Publication date:




I am also very sorry to hear about your circumstances, Donna, with regards to your dad. It does perhaps illustrate a overlooked aspect of the war; Although WW2 was and is considered "the Good War", I have found that the emotional scars with many soldiers are very much there. This has been brought to the forefront more in relation to perhaps Vietnam vets, but the toll the war took on its veterans and their families is sometimes that deserves more attention than it gets. Only a few studies have been done in this field.


Again, I am VERY sorry to have given information on the wrong unit. When I find out more about his unit, I will let you know.




Donna there are also these routes to take:


You can contact the Veterans Association in the state where your grandfather was from. If he ever applied for benefits of any kind, was hospitalized etc., they will have his records. That is how I found my dad's records.


You can also contact Richard Horrell. He is a WWII historian and does private research on a fee schedule. Please visit his site for more information. If you do contact him, please tell him I sent you.


WWII Connections

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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