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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:01 AM   #1

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World War I: military casualties


Hi guys, I had some tables in my computer which show German, British and French casualties, some are based on official records and others are of unknown origen. But I still consider them accurate.

So I've been working on them. The one that show the French casualties is made from the point of view of French military operations. Someone made the German one according to that, and then I grouped the British according to the same model. While Britisn and German stats belong to Western Front only, the French ones apparently cover all fronts, but certainlly the French didn't fight a lot out of the western front.

These are:

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Now, the results are these:


*Total Casualties by country

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Casualties Allied vs Germany

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*German and Allied casualties by front. German table don't show early months by front. I deduced the German casualties on those months of the war by an unscientific method: counting the casualties of British and French, I counted the same proportion of casualties caused. I mean: British suffered 9.9% of allied casualties on the first period and 6.9% on the second. Then, I put that they caused 9.9% and 6.9% of German casualties respectivelly. Considering the British performance on the first months of the war, this method underestimate the British contribution to German casualties for sure.



Total

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On the British Front

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On the French Front

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Interested on the British evolution of casualties in relation to Germany, I got a new graphic which show the increasing importance of British damage to Germany in the war

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Frank81; September 30th, 2012 at 11:57 AM.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:10 AM   #2

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Very nice work. It's interesting to see how casualties for both sides rises in Spring Offensive of Germany at 1918.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #3

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very interesting, might I ask for what sources you used?
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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:23 AM   #4

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The tables you can see on the opening. I saved these tables from several sytes over the years. Yesterday I was digging into my archive and found them, but I can't remember where I got them.


Whatever the case:

*The British data comes from a book called "The Military Effort", probably is taken from here (I'm downloading the book) British Empire Great War Military Effort Statistics, 1914-1920, WWI | World War One Resource Centre | World War One History | www.vlib.us/wwi/resources/

*The German data comes from "Statistics of the Reicharchive" which is cited on sevearl works

*The French data seem to be an official report
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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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There is a chart which says 'German losses on the Franco Belgian Fronts'.

Then German losses on the ' British Front'.

The British Army was in Belgian, so what's the Franco Belgian Front? The British Army fought three terrible battle at Ypres and other battles in Belgian.

It a good work you've done there, but I suspect those figures.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #6
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by Gervase Phillips
(Revised, 9/99)
Gervase Phillips, 1999
Haig: A Great Captain
In the final 100 days of the Great War the BEF engaged, and defeated, 99 of the 197 German Divisions in the West. The British captured 188,700 prisoners, almost 50% of the total taken by all the Allied armies in France in this period. (1) The scale of Haig's victories moved the Allied Generalissimo, Marshall Foch, to write;
Never at any time in history has the British Army achieved greater results in attack than in this unbroken offensive...The victory was indeed complete, thanks to the Commanders of the Armies, Corps and Divisions and above all to the unselfishness, to the wise, loyal and energetic policy of their Commander-in-Chief, who made easy a great combination and sanctioned a prolonged gigantic effort. (2)

From Haig a Great Captain by Gervase Phillips. who I believe at that time was a professor at the University of Kansas.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 12:45 PM   #7
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The reason I am wary of offical or other figures which go to hundreds of thousands, is because, I rang a British institution whose job it is, (better not name them) and asked them for a definative figure of British war dead in WW11, because there are all sorts of figures bandied about. Just the dead not, wounded etc.,

The chap on the other end of the phone said, 'what do you mean by definative? I said, 'a certain figure'. He said that they had not got one, all they could come up with was an educated guess. Then he went on to tell me that they had given the task of finding the true figure to an employee, with all the different records, and all the time in the world to come up with a figure. Each record I was told gave a different figure, even up to a 20% difference in each record, so in the end they just made a educated guess. And this was for only the dead of the fewer dead of WW11.

Also it is a pain staking business going through all records of dead, wounded, captured, missing, etc. I always think who does this work, what records have they got, what orders have they been given, have they got an ulterior motive. I know if I were given the task, i would do a lot of guess work.

Lloyd George the British PM gave the House of Commonds a figure for the British Army in France in 1918. These figure were believed. But were later doscovered to be entirely false, he had lied for his own purpose.

I could quote other figures.

Writers have not got the time to check all the records for their book, they just copy from someone else, add a few here, knock a few off here, and it goes on. They even quote Chinese losses in WW11, how on earth would they know this? they just guess.

Patton was known to manipulate figure for his own advantage. As well as other things, he used put the numerous deserters down as sick or missing in action.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #8

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Weren't German and British records different because they use different definitions of what is a casualty?
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Old September 30th, 2012, 01:02 PM   #9

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How about using modern statistics to find out the number of casualties? In other words chose 10,000 random men who were alive in 1914-1918 and were of an appropriate age to serve in the armed forces. Then find out what happened to them. Now times the number of casualties with the proportion 10,000 was of the male population of the UK.

..and throw in a similar study of female nurses as some of them also ended up as casualties.
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Old September 30th, 2012, 01:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
Weren't German and British records different because they use different definitions of what is a casualty?
I don't know.

I do know that a lot of British WW1 records were destroyed in the Blitz.

BTW I'm not knocking Frank 81 post, it is a very good piece of work, and he should be congratulated.
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