Losses in World War One


Number of losses to soldiers, civilians, ships, by the air war and war costs and damage in the First World War.

The fallen comrade

The fallen comrade.

Until the end of the First World War, the scale of the devastation and loss of human life was incomparable to any previous conflict in human history.
In comparison with earlier wars, the fighting continued, more or less violently, practically continuously. Between August 1914 and November 1918 practically no day passed without any military operations and losses.

At the same time, the fighting was very intense, mainly due to the nature of the trench warfare and the destructive weapons used by the belligerents, which were previously unknown.

The average daily loss in the previous nine major wars was 233 soldiers per day in the French Revolutionary Wars and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars of 1789 to 1815. In the Crimean War from 1854 to 1856, the number rose to 1,075 soldiers per day. In the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 there were 518 dead soldiers per day, while the number of victims in the Prussian-Danish War of 1864 was only 22.
In the Prussian-Austrian War of 1866, this number shot up again to 1,125, while in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, with 876 soldiers killed per day, it was slightly less.
In the Boer War from 1899 to 1902 there were only 10 casualties per day and in the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-05 this number did not exceed 292, despite the first comprehensive use of modern weapons such as machine guns.
In the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, however, the number rose for the first time to 1,941 casualties per day, and in the First World War of 1914 to 1918, the number of casualties among soldiers skyrocketed to an outrageous 5,509 per day.

It should be noted that all figures on human life losses can only be rough estimates.
Of the 65 million soldiers mobilized by all belligerents, some 8 million were killed and another 21 million wounded.

For the Central Powers, these losses amounted to 1.8 million deaths out of 11 million mobilized in Germany. Austria-Hungary mobilized 7.8 million men and suffered 922,000 killed, Turkey 325,000 out of 2.8 million mobilized soldiers and Bulgaria 76,000 out of 1.2 million mobilized men.

For the Entente or Allies, these figures are 1.36 million deaths for France from 8.4 million mobilized men, 908,000 deaths for the British Empire from 8.9 million mobilized, 1.7 million deaths for Russia from 12 million mobilized, 462,000 deaths for Italy from 5.6 million mobilized, and 50,000 deaths for the United States from 4.3 million mobilized.
In addition, Belgium has 14,000 deaths from 267,000 men, Serbia 45,000 from 707,000 men, Montenegro 3,000 from 50,000 men, Romania 335,000 from 750,000 men, Greece 5,000 from 230,000 men, Portugal 7,000 from 100,000 men and Japan 300 deaths from 800,000 mobilized men.

German soldiers at a funeral

German soldiers at a funeral for fallen at Verdun.

Just like the military losses, those of the civilian population also amounted to a hitherto unknown extent. A total of about 6.6 million civilians lost their lives, about two-thirds of them mainly in Russia and Turkey. With the victims of the Allied ‘hunger blockade’ against the Central Powers and the at least 6 million victims of the Spanish flu, other calculations even put the figure at over 13 million.
In the case of Turkey, the majority of the at least 2.1 million civilians killed were victims of ethnic cleansing of Armenians and other Christian minorities. Other sources quote up to 4 million Armenian, Syrian, Jewish and Greek victims by the end of the Turkish Liberation War.

The survivors of the fighting were also marked by the experiences. Many ordinary soldiers continued to suffer from deep psychological trauma, known as ‘Shell Shock’.
Although the soldiers of the First World War had been exposed to the danger of death as in all previous times, unlike their predecessors from earlier wars they were not only under this psychological pressure for a few hours during a series of temporally separated and relatively short battles, but now for 24 hours a day for weeks, if not months.


Allies:

 MobilizedTotal CasualtiesDeaths all causesWoundedPoWs or missing
Belgium380,000200,13045,50078,62473,976
British Empire (total)8,904,4673,428,535947,0232,289,860191,652
Australia416,809215,51459,330152,1004,084
Britain5,704,4162,555,799722,7851,662,625170,389
Canada628,964236,23359,544172,9503,735 (incl 6 missed)
British colonies134,83751,78145,9674,826988
India1,679,998140,01562,05666,88911,070
Newfoundland11,9223,6611,0822,314170 (incl 18 missed)
New Zealand128,52558,49216,64541,317530
South Africa136,07018,9137,121 or 9,05011,4441,538
French Empire (total)8,660,0006,220,8001,397,8004,266,000557,000
France8,091,0001,322,000531,300
French North Africa and Colonial569,000 75,700
Greece230,00038,31023,09814,1451,067
Itay5,903,1402,197,000680,000947,000600,000
Japan800,00013,2451,34411,901?
Montenegro50,00020,0003,00010,0007,000
Portugalover 200,00035,2478,14514,78412,318
Romania1,234,000535,706335,706120,.00080,000
Russia12,000,0009,300,0001,600,000 - 1,850,0004,950,0002,500,000
Serbia707,343413,641127,535133,148152,967 (incl 82,535 missed)
USA4,743,826325,236116,708204,0024,526 (incl 46 missed)

Central Powers:

 MobilizedTotal casualtiesDeaths of all causesWoundedPoWs or missing
Austria-Hungary8,000,0004,650,2001,496,200 (including 480,000 PoWs in captivity)1,943,0001,211,000
Bulgaria1,200,000346,869101,224155,026over 90,619
Germany13,250,0007,209,4131,808,555 (including 55,006 PoWs in captivity)4,248,1581,152,800
Turkey2,998,3211,965,000 - 2,415,000550,000 - 600,0001,565,000c.250,000

Civilians (1914-1918, including famine and diseases):



1914-1918Civilian dead
Belgium30,000
Britain30,633 (including 15,313 merchant sailors and fishermen)
France40,000 (including 3,000 merchant sailors)
Russiaover 2,000,000 ( 500,000 Poles and Lithuanians)
Greece132,000
Rumania275,000
Serbia650,000
Germany812,296 (including 760.000 to Allied blockade)
Austria300,000 (over 2/3rds Polish)
Bulgaria275,000
Turkey (Massacre of Armenians, Syrians, Jews, Greeks)up to 4,000,000 until 1923 ( 2,150,000 until 1918, at least half Armenians)
At sea and in air raids (total)at least 100,000
Spanish influenza (worldwide)at least 6,000,000

Ship Losses 1914-1918

Allied warships:

 BritainFranceItalyJapanRussiaU.S.A.
Tonnage651,907172,26192,10448,453126,52841,365
Personnel41,05811,4003,0651,039+5,000 (killed)8,106
Dreadnoughts2-1-2-
Battlecruisers3-----
Pre-Dreadnoughts104211-
Cruisers1352121
Light Cruisers12-13--
Monitors4-2---
Coastal defence ships1-----
Carriers3-----
Destroyers661182222
Torpedo boats118511-
Gunboats52--21
Sloops181----
Patrol boats2-----
Minelayers221-3-
Minesweepers18-2-25-
Armed merchant cruisers171314-1-
Armed boarding steamers13-----
Coastal motor boats13-17 (MAS boats)---
River gunboats2-----
Submarines54128-202

Central Powers warships:

 Austria-HungaryGermanyTurkeyBulgaria
Tonnage58,416362,37130,640195
Personnel?24,955??
Dreadnoughts2---
Battlecruisers-1 (large armored cruiser)--
Pre-Dreadnoughts-11-
Coastal defence ships1-1 (obsolete)-
Cruiser-6--
Light cruiser220--
Destroyers4533-
Torpedo boats26352
Gunboats-56-
River gunboats-31-
River monitors3---
Minelayers-13-
Minesweepers-283-
Motor Torpedo boats-2--
Armed merchant raiders-11--
U-boats7192--

Merchant Shipping Losses:

NationTonnage (t)Ships
Belgium105,000?
Brazil31,000?
Britain7,759,0902,479
Denmark245,000?
France819,000500 just to U-boats
Greece415,000?
Hollandc 230,000?
Italy872,341633
Japan128,000?
Norway1,177,001?
Portugal28,637?
Romania??
Russia183,000?
Spain260,000?
Sweden264,000?
USA531,000?
Austria-Hungary15,116?
Bulgaria??
Germany4,900,000643
Turkey61,470?

Air War losses 1914-1918

Aircrafts and Personnel:

NationAircraftsAirshipsPersonnel
Britainc. 4,000 (+ 15,000 in training)99 (destroyed)16,623
Francec. 3,00045.333 (killed and missing)
Russia358 (just German claim on Eastern Front)-?
Italy267 (Navy only)7?
USA357-?
Germany3,128 (incl 460 in service with Turkey)67 (17 over Britain, 17 elsewhere shot down)15,906 (incl 389 in Zeppelins)
Austria-Hungaryover 423 (plus 231 of Navy in accidents or worn out)-?

Air Raid Losses

 CasualtiesDamage (£)BombsMissions over target
Britain (total)4,8302,962,1118,575?
London only2,6302,043,1991,824?
Zeppelins on Britain only557 killed + 1,358 wounded1,527,5855,751 (196.4 t)202 (of 277) in 54 attacks, 17 lost
Gotha and Giant bombers on Britain only835 killed + 1,973 wounded1,418,2742,471 (73.6-113 t)330 (of 446) in 27 attacks, 28 lost
other aircrafts on Britain only22 killed + 85 wounded16,25230161 in 37 attacks, 6 lost
France (Paris only)914 (+ 880 to Paris Gun)???
Germany2,5891,200,000 (24,000,000 Reichsmark)14,208?

War Costs

Financial and Economic Costs 1914-1918:

Nationin million £in million $
ALLIES
Belgium2,03910,195
Britain7,85239,260
British Empire (total)10,39551,975
France9,975.449,877
Greece111.2556
Italy3,628.618,143
Japan??
Portugal60-80300-400
Romania520.22,601
Russia5,12121,600
Serbia4802,400
USA6,46432,320
CENTRAL POWERS
Austria Hungary4,92123,706
Bulgaria2031,015
Germany11,614.458,072
Turkey6893,445
NEUTRALS
Denmark1890
Holland134.4672
Norway26130
Sweden859.64,298
Switzerland50250

These figures include government spending, loans and material damage valuation. They can only be taken as an approximate relative guide (£1=$5 in 1914).

Supremacy 1914

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