Military and Civilian War Related Deaths Through the Ages

Derived from Official and Multiple Reference Sources References

Finding Out True Combat Losses

Combat losses are difficult to fully ascertain in many cases. Some countries kept excellent records and some none at all. Some countries include people who died of combat wounds years after they were inflicted some do not count them.

I created a page of sources to help locate aircraft, personnel, ships, graves and service information.

Historians like original source documents: after action combat reports filled out by unit commanders, ration requests, orders for weapons and other such documents. However, you must keep the time period in which these documents were created. What could be valid in one time period in history where 1 weapon ordered was the same as 1 person in the ranks while in other times 500 items could be ordered but they went to both field personnel and into stock in various places but only 50 actual soldiers in the field ever got them. Sometimes these equipment and food ration records give accurate records of personnel before and after an engagement.

This is not designed to be an exhaustive inclusive list of all wars. Record keeping of figures is good from the 1200s onward for European nations. Prior to that valid records are spotty. Roman era records as well as Greek records in some cases can be verified. Most have to be calculated estimates within valid realms of probability. Some Chinese record keeping go back a lot further are also good. Modern Chinese records are hard to establish due to the many changes of governments that have occurred in China over the past 150 years. Records for other locations on Terra Firma is almost nonexistent prior to a European arrival.

Civilian casualty figures for most wars are impossible to verify. Most historians and governments guessed at them. Some guess due in part that the records of the people living in an area were themselves destroyed, and sometimes they were never counted to hide the true losses from their own people as to the number killed as well as to keep those numbers from enemy.

Coming up with accurate numbers for KIA — Killed in Action; WIA — Wounded in Action; DOW— Died Of Wounds; MIA — Missing in Action; POW — Prisoner Of War varies widely by country. With the creation of paid standing armies it becomes much easier to find these things out — since pay records exist. When money is paid to individual soldiers then records tend to be more accurate.

Finding those paper records can still be difficult with the passage of time. Secondary sources from church records, tax rolls, emigration records and others sources that tend to identify individuals can fill in the gap if enough data can be collected to form a statistically valid sample.

      Hundred Years War 1337-1451 30 years War     Scottish Civil War -1745
US Revolutionary War 1776-1782 Wars on the Barbary Pirates 1801-1805, 1815   Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815 US War of 1812 1812-1814 Mexican-American War 1846-1848 Crimea War 1853-1856 Kartoum
US Civil War 1861-1865   Transvaal War US Indian Wars 1840-1889 Boer War 1898-1902 Spanish American War 1898 China Relief Expedition - Boxer Rebellion 1900-1901 Philippine Insurrection 1898-1902
Mexican Revolution 1911-1913?   Pacification of Nicaragua 1912-1913         Interventions in Mexico 1914-1917
Pacification of Haiti and Dominican Republic (1915-1918)

World War I

1914-1918

Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War 1918-1920 Russian Civil War 1917 -1927

World War II

1937-1945

Korea

1950-1953

Algeria

Vietnam
1947-1972

Hostage rescue mission in Iran 1980 Lebanon peacekeeping mission 1982-1984 Grenada 1983 Panama 1989
Somalia peacekeeping mission 1992-1994
     
Desert Storm 1990-1991     Somalia 1994 Rwanda      
"Operation Iraqi Freedom" - 2003             Official and other Online Sources

Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907 were the first international set of international treaties that codified the rules of war.

US American Revolutionary War 1775-1783

Country Total Combat Died of Wounds / Illness / Accidents Wounded Ships Lost POW Total Mobilized
Britain 10,000   10,000 including KIA 6,000 2,479 12,000 200,000
Hessian 7,554 1,200 6,354     4,000 21,552
France              
United States 25,435 4,435 20,509 6,188 1,323    

Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Country Total Combat Died of Wounds / Illness / Accidents Wounded Ships Lost POW   Civilian
Britain Army 219,420 25,569 193,851          
Britain Navy 92,386 6,663 85,723          
Prussia 134,000              
Austria 376,000              
France 1,706,000 306,000 800,000         600,000
French Allies 65,000 65,000            
Italy 120,000              
Spain 300,000              
Russia 289,000              

War of 1812

Country Total Combat Died of Wounds / Illness / Accidents Wounded Ships Lost POW Total Mobilized
Britain              
United States              

US Civil War 1861-1865

Country Total Combat Died of Wounds Wounded Died of Disease POW Died as POWs Total Mobilized
Union (North) Federal Forces 360,022 67,058 43,012 275,175 219,734 (57,265 by dysentary) 211,000
(16,000 paroled)
30,218 1,556,000
Confederate (South) 258,000 94,000   180,000 138,024 215,000 25,976 900,000
Civilians                

US Indian Wars

US Indian Wars 1865-1900
United States Total Soldiers Killed Soldiers Wounded Civilians Killed Captured
           
           
           
           
           

The most famous single battle was with General George Armstrong Custer at the Little Big Horn. Actually, three separate battles over two days. Major Reno and Captain Benteen united their commands and survived. Around 40 Indian warriors are known killed, likley higher. 268 soldiers killed (210 Custer, rest Reno and Benteen.)

Spanish American War of 1898

Country Total Casualties KIA Combat Died of Wounds Disease POW Before the War
Spain 62,835 786 8,627 53,440 30,000  
United States 6,457 496 202 5,509   250 on the USS Maine

Philippine Insurrection February 1898 to July 1902

Country Total Mobilized Total Killed KIA MIA WIA Accident Died of Wounds Disease Civilian POW
Philippines 220,000 20,000             200,000 (Disease/hunger)  
Oregon   64 16 3 88 2   43    
United States   4,000                

World War One 1914-1918

WWI Chateau Thierre Grave Yard, France. American Battle Monuments Commission Photo.
  WW I US cemetery at Chateau Thierre, France.
  American Battle Monuments Commission photo.
  My photos of this site are, of course, from the
  perspective of walking along the ground back
  in 1982.

"Give us a tot of rum tonight And over the top once more we'll go Where we'll bugger the German army all right And show old Fritz how to put on a show."

Main statistics source for WW I: A 1930s Military study done by US Army Officer Vincent J. Esposito, Colonel, US Military Academy. All are Official figures.

Country Mobilized Killed Wounded POW/Missing Died as POW or by Disease Total % of Mobilized
Russia 12,000,000 1,700,000 4,950,000 2,500,000   9,150,000 76.3%
France 8,410,000 1,357,800 3,588,470 537,000 297,000 6,160,800 73.3%
British Empire 8,904,467 908,371 2,090,212 191,652   3,190,235 35.8%
Australia* 331,000 61,000          
Italy 5,615,000 650,000 947,000 600,000 530,000 2,197,000 39.1%
USA 4,734,991 53,402 (combat) 63,114 (non-combat) 204,002 3,973 / 3,350   364,800 8.4%
Japan 800,000 301 907 3   1,210 0.2%
Romania 750,000 335,706 120,000 80,000 62,000 535,706 71.4%
Serbia 707,343 45,000 133,148 152,958   331,106 46.8%
Belgium 267,000 13,716 44,686 34,659   93,061 34.9%
Greece 230,000 5,000 21,000 1,000 32,000 27,000 11.7%
Portugal 100,000 7,222 13,751 12,318 4,100 33,291 33.3%
Montenegro 50,000 3,000 10,000 7,000   20,000 40.0%
Allied Total 42,188,810 5,152,115 12,831,004 4,121,090 925,100 22,104,209 52.4%
Germany 11,000,000 1,773,300 4,216,058 1,152,800 224,000 7,142,558 64.9%
Austria-Hungary 7,800,000 1,200,000 3,620,000 2,200,000 32,000 7,020,000 90.0%
Turkey 2,850,000 325,789 400,000 250,000 163,000 975,000 34.2%
Bulgaria 1,200,000 87,500 152,390 27,029 184,500 266,919 22.2%
Central Powers Total 22,850,000 3,386,200 8,388,448 3,629,829 603,000 15,404,477 67.4%
All Total 65,038,810 8,538,315 21,219,452 7,750,919   37,508,686 57.7%

*Australia totals included in British Empire total.

American Military Cementery outside Cambridge holding WWII dead.
American Cemetery outside Cambridge, England, looking down the
reflecting pool toward the chapel. The wall on the right has the names of
5125 Americans who died and were reported MIA (Missing in Action) in the
European theatre inscribed on it, most are from aviation units. 3811 Americans
are buired in the cemetary.

World War II 1937 — 31 Dec 1946

Country Mobilized Total Killed Military Combat Non-Combat Army Navy Marines Air Force Merchant Marine Irregular Wounded Civilian POWs POW Deaths Remains Missing (MIA)        
Australia 680,000   23,365                                
Belgium 650,000   7,760                                
Canada 780,000   37,476                                
China 5,000,000   2,200,000                                
Czechoslovakia                                      
Denmark 25,000   3,006                                
Estonia                                      
Finland 250,000   82,000                                
France 5,000,000   210,671                 40,000              
Germany 10,200,000   1,800,000 190,000   35,000         4,300,000

800,000

(of which at least 583,000 by bombing)

3,500,000 1,500,000 1,900,000        
Greece 414,000   73,700                                
Hungary 350,000   140,000                                
India 2,150,000   24,338                                
Italy 3,750,000   77,494                   1,479,556 115,834          
Latvia                       300,000              
Lithuania                                      
Luxembourg                                      
Netherlands 410,000   6,238           3,000 13,000   225,000              
New Zealand 157,000   10,033                                
Norway 45,000   1,000                                
Poland 1,000,000   320,000                 700,000              
Rumania 600,000   300,000                                
Russia 12,5000,000   7,500,000                                
South Africa 140,000   6,840                                
United Kingdom 5,120,000   244,723         55,573         152,000            
USA

16,112,566


215,000 Merchant Marine

404,997

291,557

113,420

(4,778 Marines)

    19,733 34,362 8,651  

670,846

13,708AF

5 - in Oregon

116,129

43,035AF (includes MIA)

  78,000        
Yugoslavia 500,000   410,000                                

Yugoslavia death toll is mainly as a result of guerilla warfare after the initial German conquest in Spring of 1941.

WWII Civilian Deaths

Civilian Deaths and Wounds by Various Causes
Country Killed Unknown Causes KIA by Aircraft Bombs Wounded by Aircraft Bombs KIA by Artillery Fire Wounded by Artilery Killed V-1 Wounded V1 Killed V-2 Wounded V-2 Died / Missing / POW
United Kingdom   51,509 61,423 148 255 6,184 17,981 2,754 9,277  
United States   5, In Oregon by a Japanese Balloon Bomb in 1945   67 at Pearl Harbor: all by "Friendly Fire" 120 (Pearl Harbor)          
Germany   300,000 780,000              
France                    
Belgium                    
Italy                    
Russia 12,500,000                  
Japan   500,000 625,000             360,000
China 3,000,000                  
Jewish 6,000,000                  
European 500,000                  

Events that caused the most casualties:

WW II Selected Equipment Losses

Nation Bombers Fighters Capital Ships Submarines Merchant Ships Merchant Personnel Tanks
England         2,840 35,000+  
United States              
Germany              
Italy              
France              
Russia              
Total Axis Losses              
Total Allied Losses         5,150    

Korean War

25 Jun 1950 — 27 Jul 1953

Country Mobilized Total Killed Military Combat Non-Combat Army Navy Marines Air Force Irregular Wounded Civilian POWs POW Deaths Japan Germany Russia Italy Others
USA 5,720,000 54,246

33,686

20,560

         

103,240

5

4,439

8,000          
United Kingdom                                    
South Korea                                    
North Korea                                    
China   135,000 135,000                              
                                     
                                     
                                     

Algeria Uprising November 1 1954 - July 1, 1962

Country Mobilized Total Killed Military Combat Non-Combat Army Navy Marines Air Force Irregular Wounded Civilian POWs POW Deaths
France                          
Algeria                          
                           

Vietnam / South East Asia 4 Aug 1964 — 29 Mar 1973

Country Mobilized Total Killed Military Combat Non-Combat Army Navy Marines Air Force Irregular Wounded Civilian POWs POW Deaths
USA 8,744,000 58,253

47,457

10,796

         

53,303

 

591

 
United Kingdom                        
South Vietnam                     289,000 (of which 39,000 assassinated)  
North Vietnam                     298,000  
Australia                        
South Korea                        
                         
                         

"Operation Desert Storm" - 1991

17 Jan 1991 — 11 Apr 1991

Country Mobilized Total Military Total Army Marines Navy Air Force Irregular Military
Non-Combat
Wounded Civilian POWs
United States 540,000 269 269 37 3 6 20   121 357   23
United Kingdom                        
IRAQ                     1,140 12,000
                         
                         

Somalia

Oct 1993

Country Total Military Total Army Marines Navy Air Force Irregular Military
Non-Combat
Wounded Civilian POWs
United States 18 18 18           70   1
Somalia War Lord 500           500   500    

Rwanda

Summer 1995

Country Total Military Total Army Marines Navy Air Force Irregular Military
Non-Combat
Wounded Civilian POWs
Hutu 50,000                 50,000  
Tutsi 1,000,000                 1,000,000  

"Afganistan" - November 2001 - Present Day

Country Total Casulaties Military Total Unknown Branch Army Marines Navy Air Force Irregular Died, Military Non-Combat Total Wounded Wounded RTD (Returned To Duty) Wounded (Not Returned to Duty) DOD Civilian Died, Civilian POWs Died while POW
United States 5582 1548 252 125 9 15 8   215 2,605 922 1,683        
United Kingdom 0 77                            
Canada                                
Taliban                                
Afganistan                                
Afganistan New Army                                
                                 
Civilians Unknown Nation 0 0                            
Total 5582 486   125 9 15 8 0 215     1683   0 0 0

As of 10 June 2011.

When totals in KIA or Casualties do not match across it is because I do not know the breakdowmn by service. Then I give the actual total till I can re-find the breakdown. One of the problems living in the US is that the news services only report on US casualties and seldom about the other nations involved.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" - March 2003 - December 2008

See notes below table about updates.

Country Total Casulaties Military Total KIA (Unknown Branch) Army Marines Navy Air Force Irregular Died, Military Non-Combat Total Wounded WIA Not RTD WIA - RTD (Returned To Duty) DOD Civilian Died, Civilian POWs Died while POW
United States 35,143 4469 1863 1029 472 24 9   814 30,871 13,601 17,270 8 53 6  
United Kingdom 2,681 177 41 77 7   2   50 2,500       4    
IRAQ under Hussin 2,325 0                       2,325 6,000  
IRAQ post Hussin (Civilians estimated) 191,797 8792   8792           150000   150000   33000   5
Australia 2 2   2                        
Azerbaijan 0     1                        
Bulgaria 13 13   13                        
Czech Republic   1                            
Civilians Unknown Nation 168 0               168            
Denmark 7 7   6                        
El Savador 5 5   5                        
Estonia 2 2   2                        
Georgia 0     5                        
Hungary 1 1   1                        
Italy 33 33   33                        
Kazakhstan 1 1   1                        
Latvia 3 3   3                        
Netherlands 2 2   2                        
Poland 23 23   23                        
Romania 3 3   3                        
Salvador 5 5   5                        
Slovakia 4 4   4                        
South Korea 1 1   1                        
Spain 425 11   11           212       202    
Thailand 2 2   2                        
Ukraine 20 18   18           2            
Ukraine 18 18   18                        
Total 180,777 11435   10057 479 24 11 0 864 133753       35584 6006 5

Table updated 10 June 2011.

As of July 2013, there are still around 5 people a day, on average, being killed by the internal Muslim vs. Muslim secretarian religious violance in Iraq. Most are through car bombs in public markets and eateries.

Spain ran away after electing a new government due to the Madrid bombings by terrorists. No Queen Isabella there anymore.

After two and a half years of being in Iraq, March 2003 through November 2005, the number of US Soliders killed in action (1501) was close to the number killed on a single day during World War II in just ONE location: Normandy on June 6, 1944.

More Iraqis have died as a result of insurgent bombings, revenge killings, than were killed by US military by accident (collateral damage in military parlance) during the 2003 invasion (Bush Speak: Regime Change). True number of Iraqis killed by terrorists was published in newspapers October 30, 2005 but they were guessing also.

On average, around 45 Iraqis died due to bombings and revenge killings each day against their own citizens from July 2005 till July 2006. Since August 2006 the total has averaged around 100 a day - mainly due to car bombings at markets to kill the "average" Iraqi - but of the other Muslim sect of course. The average was 15 per day from March 2003 till around fall 2004 then it upped to around 45 a day. These were more of a revenge killing and "targeted" bombing against people now in power. Since the "surge" started in Summer of 2007 the civilian daily total has now dropped down to around 25 a day killed and equal number wounded. As of January 2008 the average number of Iraqis killed by Al Quaeda and others is back again to around 15 a day. The average per day being killed from the middle of July 2008 was around to 23 or so a day - mainly due to "Kamakazi" type killings - in public gathering locations - markets - to ensure that the most people are killed.

A 2007 "study" claims that there has been 654,965 Iraqi civilian deaths as seen in the British Medical Journal "Lancet" in January 2008. However, unlike other studies, the people who created it are not releasing any of the raw data collected so the methods cannot be repeatedly redone to check their validity unlike normal scientific studies. It also used regular statistical polling methods - but its predictions is like those of the 2008 New Hampshire polls that predicted Sen. Obama winning - valid but flawed to the extreme. Other studies state anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000 civilian Iraqi deaths. Think of it as polling 10,000 people - but only those at Berkley in California - and then state that is how to whole US feels about an issue.

This means my "guess" at total Iraqi civilian deaths at being around 26,000 as of 1 January 2007 was pretty darn accurate and a total of around 53,000 by January of 2008 is the most likely number. And I did not have to spend a few million dollars and use of a computer to come up with that figure.

The number of wounded Iraqis is at most seven times the reported number killed due to the bombings (using US wounded vs killed as a sample, but not truely comparable since we have better medical for our soldiers). That would mean a better ratio of 5 to 1 would have 150,000 Iraqi's have been wounded in some physical manner. Anything from a scratch that required a few stiches to losing arms, legs, and other major trauma requiring major surgery.

The US based Liberal radio spectrum ("left side of the dial") network has quoted 100,000 civilian dead since 2005 and used the same number in 2007. Totally made up figure. Of course around 2 million+ have fled Iraq to neighbor nations to avoid the revenge killings. Revenge killings by tribes stop usually around 200 to 300 years after they first started based on historical timelines of the past. Even Doonesbury® has had comics about that.

Operation Telic is the name given by the British

Number Killed during the Actual War Initial Combat Phase

There were 137 US Soldiers actually killed during the fight to Bagdad. The rest were killed while trying to re-establish an Iraqi government that US, UN, French, German and even the Iraqis would like to see run their country. i.e.: Trying to replace the destroyed (mainly by Iraqi looters) power stations, fuel lines, telephones and get a functioning government and police force up to a point so that the Allied military forces who attacked Iraq could be withdrawn.

Losing a member of a military family during combat operations can be devastating. Not only is there personal loss, there are also important financial concerns such as repayment of military loans and the home mortgage a family has to deal with. Similar to regular loans, military loans from justmilitaryloans.com need to be paid off within a certain amount of time. Long-term financial planning is important for all military families because you never know what the future holds.

For all tables: If you see whole numbers (100, 200, 10,000) it means best esitmate from multiple sources. Exact number means official sources.

Avoiding Military Duty

In the US there were an estimated 200,000 Conscientious Objectors during the Vietnam War, 4,300 in the Korean War, 37,000 in World War II, and 3,500 in World War I. 16.1 million people served on active duty in World War II. From the upward count it has become quite popular to avoid serving in the armed forces in the last 50 years in the US. From what I have read this is true in all democratic counties where you have a choice to serve or not. In the US being a conscentious objector did not mean that you could not be drafted and be in the military when the US had a draft. Many CO were medics and at least 1, Desmond Doss, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor while doing so. (Thanks to Kit Riegel in pointing this out.)

During the US Civil War you could pay someone to serve in your place. This came about due to the implementation of a levy (in essence a state draft) being instutitued in 1863 and 1864. If your name was pulled to serve, and you had enough money, you could have someone else serve in your place. Going price was usually around $350 - a year's income back then.

Draft riots occurred in New York City and Baltimore during the war, as well as other large cities, when this was instituted. Over 200 people died during the riots. (A passing reference to this occurs in the movie "Gangs of New York" when a ship is firing on New York city streets, but unless you know this bit of history the context of why they are firing is not specified or explained.)

References

Here are some official government records archives that are online where you can research military combat related information as well as some good research done by others.

The history of "Taps".

A Midi Version of "Taps" with distinct left and right bugles.
All photographs are available for purchase.
All text and photographs © 1976-2014 Tom Philo, 17502 SW Kimmel Ct, Beaverton, Or 97007-6877. Phone / Fax: 503-591-3227. See permitted uses of photos on the copyright and disclosure statement page.
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