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The article summarizes casualties in different theatres of World War II in Europe and North Africa. Only the military losses and civilian losses directly associated with hostilities are included into the article. The actions of the Axis' and Allied military or civilian authorities that fit the definition of genocide, or war crimes (including Nazi war crimes, Soviet war crimes, Allied war crimes, Holocaust, Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs et caetera) are left beyond the scope of the present article.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word γένος and the Latin suffix -caedo. The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".
War crimes perpetrated by the Soviet Union and its armed forces from 1919 to 1991 include acts committed by the Red Army as well as the NKVD, including the NKVD's Internal Troops. In some cases, these acts were committed upon the orders of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in pursuance of the early Soviet Government's policy of Red Terror, in other instances they were committed without orders by Soviet troops against prisoners of war or civilians of countries that had been in armed conflict with the USSR, or they were committed during partisan warfare.
Poland deployed 40 Infantry divisions and 16 brigades (including 1 motorized brigade) with 690,000 men. German forces included 69 Infantry and 14 Panzer divisions comprising 1,250,000 men. Polish losses were estimated in 1947 by the Polish government to be 66,300 killed and 133,700 wounded. German casualties based on statistics collected during the war were 10,570 KIA, 30,322 WIA and 3,469 MIA.The 1995 Polish estimate of military dead and missing was 95,000-97,000 and 130,000 wounded in the 1939 campaign, including 17-19,000 killed by the Soviets in the Katyn Massacre A 2000 study by the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office estimated total German military dead at 15,000 in September 1939. The Soviet Union deployed 34 divisions against Poland with 466,516 men and suffered losses of 996 killed and missing, and 2,002 wounded. Polish forces deployed 475 tanks and 313 combat aircraft in the campaign. German forces deployed 2,511 tanks and 1,323 combat aircraft. German losses amounted to 674 tanks and 564 aircraft.
Finland deployed 9 infantry divisions with 327,800 men and 287 combat aircraft. The Soviet Union deployed 54 divisions, with 760,578 men, 3,200 tanks and 2,500 aircraft. Finnish losses amounted to 23,157 KIA, 1,766 MIA, 43,557 WIA and 61 aircraft. Soviet losses were 126,875 dead and missing, 264,908 wounded, 1,600 tanks and 725 planes.
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Finland. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. The League of Nations deemed the attack illegal and expelled the Soviet Union from the organisation.
The Germans deployed 107,000 men to seize Denmark and Norway and suffered total casualties on land of 5,660, (including 1,317 killed on land and 2,375 at sea. The UK, France and Poland forces totaled 80,000 men and suffered total casualties on land of 4,000.Norway deployed 5 divisions with 90,000 men. and lost 2,000 dead and missing . The Royal Navy lost 2 cruisers, 9 destroyers and 6 submarines. Aircraft losses were 110. Germany lost 3 cruisers 10 destroyers and 6 submarines.
German forces totaled 123 divisions(including 10 Panzer div) with 2,350,000 men, 2,574 tanks and 3,500 planes. Allied forces: total manpower 2,862,000 and 3,609 tanks. France-103 divisions(including 3 armoured divisions); UK-9 divisions with 394,165 men and 1,660 aircraft. Poland 1 division; Belgium- 22 divisions with 600,000 men; The Netherlands 9 divisions with 400,000 men.
German casualties based on statistics collected during the war included 27,074 KIA, 18,384 MIA and 111,034 WIA. Equipment losses were 753 tanks and 1,284 aircraft. UK total casualties were 68,111 including 11,000 KIA. The RAF lost 931 aircraft. French losses were 92,000 KIA, 39,600 MIA and over 250,000 WIA. French aircraft losses were 560. Belgian total casualties were 23,350 including 6,500 KIA. Dutch total casualties were 9,779 including 2,100 KIA. Civilian deaths totaled 13,000 in France 13,000 Belgium and 2,000 in the Netherlands. A 2000 study by the German Armed Forces Military History Research Office estimated total German military dead at 50,000 in May and June 1940.
32 Italian divisions attacked France in the Alps region defended by 6 French divisions. The French repulsed the attack with a loss of 79 killed. Italian losses were 1,247 KIA, 2,631 WIA and 3,878 POW. .
In the summer of 1940 German air forces opposing the UK totaled 2,830 aircraft including 1,300 Me-109/Me-110 fighters and 1,350 Heinkel bombers. The RAF had 650 operational fighters including 120 Spitfires.During the Battle of Britain from July 10, 1940 until October 31, 1940 the UK lost 1,065 aircraft(including 1,004 fighters); Germany lost 1,922 aircraft(including 879 fighters, 80 Stukas and 881 bombers). UK civilian losses in the German Blitz that ended in May 1941 totaled 43,381 killed and 50,856 injured. German Luftwaffe losses from August 1940 until March 1941 were 2,840 aircraft. Casualties of the German aircrew were 3,363 KIA, 2,117 WIA and 2,641 taken prisoner.
Italian forces invaded Greece in October 1940. By March 1941 Italian forces of 526,550 men and 16 divisions were held back by 14 Greek divisions. German intervention in April 1941 forced the Greeks to surrender. The Italians lost 13,755 KIA, 50,874 WIA, 12,368 MIA and 12,368 disabled by frostbite. The Greeks lost 13,048 KIA and 42,485 WIA.
In April 1941 the German 12th Army organized in 10 divisions and 3 regiments with 1,907 tanks invaded Greece. Allied forces opposing the Germans included British Empire forces 56,657 organized in 2 divisions and 1 brigade; and Greek forces of 3 divisions. The Germans rapidly defeated the allies losing 1,423 KIA and 3,411 wounded. British Empire forces lost 3,700 dead and 8,000 taken prisoner. The Greeks lost 70,000 killed and wounded plus 270,000 POW. 50,732 allied troops were evacuated by sea.
German, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian of 650,000 men in 33 divisions faced 800,000 Yugoslav forces organized in 28 divisions. German forces suffered 151 KIA and 407 WIA. Italian and Hungarian losses totaled 1,000. 341,000 Yugoslavs were taken prisoner and 3,000 to 17,000 civilians killed in the bombing of Belgrade.
According to Soviet sources, for the invasion of Soviet Union in July, 1941, Germany deployed 4.6 million men in 152 divisions and 2 separate brigades, 42,000 artillery, 4,000 tanks, and 4,000 aircraft. Co-belligerent Finland and Axis powers Hungary, Italy, and Romania deployed an additional 0.9 million men in 29 divisions and 16 brigades, 5,200 artillery, 300 tanks, and 1,000 aircraft.However, David Glantz puts the strength of the German forces and their allies in June 1941 at 3,767,000 At the height of her strength in August, 1943, Germany held 189 divisions on the Eastern Front.
Against the invasion, the Soviet Union deployed 2.9 million men in 167 divisions and 9 brigades, 32,900 artillery (not accounting for 50 mm rocket launchers), 14,200 tanks, and 9,200 aircraft. The Czechoslovak military units on Eastern front deployed 60,000 men, 68 artillery, 105 tanks, and 91 aircraft at their maximum in the Prague Offensive. The Polish Anders Army numbered 41,000 troops, the Polish People's Army 200,000, and the Polish resistance movement more than 300,000. In 1944, a number of Germany-allied nations switched on the Soviet side. The Romanian forces deployed 538,536 troops against Germany, Bulgaria 455,000, and Finland 213,000. In the Prague Uprising, 30,000 Czech partisans participated.
Against the Soviet forces, the German Armed Forces lost 3,604,800 men as killed in action, missing in action, or for non-combat reasons. An additional 3,576,300 were captured by the Soviets, 442,100 of whom died. Finland and the Axis suffered the loss of 668,200 men as killed in action, missing in action against the Soviet forces or for non-combat reasons on the Eastern Front. An additional 800,000 Axis and Finnish soldiers were captured by the Soviets, 137,800 of whom died.The casualties of Axis and Finland at the Eastern Front total at 4,852,900 deaths.
The Soviet Armed Forces suffered 8,700,000 military deaths and missing in action.The number of Czech partisan deaths was 2,170 The Czechoslovak military units on Eastern front lost 4,570 as dead. The Polish resistance movement suffered 100,000 deaths. The number of Bulgarian partisan deaths against the "fascists" was 10,000. 10,124 Bulgarian and 21,035 Romanian deaths were documented with the Allies. 1,036 Finns died in the Lapland War and 8,000 Czech partisans were killed in the Prague Uprising.
The Allied casualties at the Eastern Front total at 8,900,000 deaths.
The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union, during July and August 1943. The battle began with the launch of the German offensive, Operation Citadel, on 5 July, which had the objective of pinching off the Kursk salient with attacks on the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. After the German offensive stalled on the northern side of the salient, on 12 July the Soviets commenced their Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Kutuzov against the rear of the German forces in the northern side. On the southern side, the Soviets also launched powerful counterattacks the same day, one of which led to a large armoured clash, the Battle of Prokhorovka. On 3 August, the Soviets began the second phase of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev against the German forces in the southern side of the Kursk salient.
The Battle of Crete was fought during the Second World War on the Greek island of Crete. It began on the morning of 20 May 1941, when Nazi Germany began an airborne invasion of Crete. Greek and other Allied forces, along with Cretan civilians, defended the island. After one day of fighting, the Germans had suffered heavy casualties and the Allied troops were confident that they would defeat the invasion. The next day, through communication failures, Allied tactical hesitation and German offensive operations, Maleme Airfield in western Crete fell, enabling the Germans to land reinforcements and overwhelm the defensive positions on the north of the island. Allied forces withdrew to the south coast. More than half were evacuated by the British Royal Navy and the remainder surrendered or joined the Cretan resistance. The defence of Crete evolved into a costly naval engagement; by the end of the campaign the Royal Navy's eastern Mediterranean strength had been reduced to only two battleships and three cruisers.
Operation Compass was the first large Allied military operation of the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) during the Second World War. British and other Commonwealth and Allied forces attacked Italian forces in western Egypt and Cyrenaica, the eastern province of Libya, from December 1940 to February 1941. The Western Desert Force with about 36,000 men, advanced from Mersa Matruh in Egypt on a five-day raid against the Italian positions of the 10th Army, which had about 150,000 men in fortified posts around Sidi Barrani in Egypt and in Cyrenaica.
The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol were the decisive engagements of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese border conflicts fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Japan and Manchukuo in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield. In Japan, the decisive battle of the conflict is known as the Nomonhan Incident after Nomonhan, a nearby village on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria. The battles resulted in the defeat of the Japanese Sixth Army.
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, and in Germany as the Poland Campaign (Polenfeldzug), was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.
The Western Front was a military theatre of World War II encompassing Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. World War II military engagements in Southern Europe and elsewhere are generally considered under separate headings. The Western Front was marked by two phases of large-scale combat operations. The first phase saw the capitulation of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France during May and June 1940 after their defeat in the Low Countries and the northern half of France, and continued into an air war between Germany and Britain that climaxed with the Battle of Britain. The second phase consisted of large-scale ground combat, which began in June 1944 with the Allied landings in Normandy and continued until the defeat of Germany in May 1945.
The Siege of Tobruk lasted for 241 days in 1941, after Axis forces advanced through Cyrenaica from El Agheila in Operation Sonnenblume against Allied forces in Libya, during the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943) of the Second World War. In late 1940, the Allies had defeated the Italian 10th Army during Operation Compass (9 December 1940 – 9 February 1941) and trapped the remnants at Beda Fomm. During early 1941, much of the Western Desert Force (WDF) was sent to the Greek and Syrian campaigns. As German troops and Italian reinforcements reached Libya, only a skeleton Allied force remained, short of equipment and supplies.
The Battles of Rzhev were a series of Soviet operations in World War II between January 8, 1942 and March 31, 1943. Due to the high losses suffered by the Red Army, the campaign became known by veterans and historians as the "Rzhev Meat Grinder".
The Fallschirm-Panzer-Division 1. Hermann Göring was an elite German Luftwaffe armoured division. The HG saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and on the Eastern Front. The division began as a battalion-sized police unit in 1933. Over time it grew into a regiment, brigade, division, and finally was combined with the Parachute-Panzer Division 2 Hermann Göring in 1944 to form a Panzer corps under the by then Reichsmarschall. It surrendered to the Soviet Army near Dresden on May 8, 1945.
This is a sub-article to Battle of Narva (1944).
The Italian participation in the Eastern Front during World War II began after the launch of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, on 22 June 1941. To show solidarity with his Axis ally, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered a contingent of the Italian Royal Army to be prepared for the Eastern Front and, by early July, an Italian force was in transport.
The Battle of Białystok–Minsk was a German strategic operation conducted by the Wehrmacht's Army Group Centre under Field Marshal Fedor von Bock during the penetration of the Soviet border region in the opening stage of Operation Barbarossa, lasting from 22 June to 9 July 1941.
Equipment losses in World War II or Matériel losses in World War II refers to military equipment destroyed during World War II, the deadliest and most costly war in the history of the world.
The Battle of the Kerch Peninsula, which commenced with the Soviet Kerch-Feodosia landing operation and ended with the German Operation Bustard Hunt, was a World War II battle between Erich von Manstein's German and Romanian 11th Army and the Soviet Crimean Front forces in the Kerch Peninsula, in the eastern part of the Crimea. It began on 26 December 1941 with an amphibious landing operation by two Soviet armies intended to break the Siege of Sevastopol. Axis forces first contained the Soviet beachhead throughout the winter and interdicted its naval supply lines through aerial bombing. From January through April, the Crimean Front launched repeated offensives against the 11th Army, all of which failed with heavy losses. The Red Army lost 352,000 men in the attacks, while the Axis suffered 24,120 casualties. Superior German artillery firepower was largely responsible for the Soviet debacle.
During the Second World War the German Luftwaffe was the main support weapon of the German Army (Heer). It fought and supported the Wehrmacht's war effort throughout the six years of conflict and contributed to much of Nazi Germany's early successes in 1939–1942. After the turn in Germany's fortunes, it continued to support the German ground forces until the German surrender in May 1945.
The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was part of the Finnish-Soviet Continuation War (1941–1944), which occurred during World War II. The battle was fought between Finnish forces—using war materiel provided by Germany—and Soviet forces. To date, it is the largest battle in the history of the Nordic countries.
The Fallschirmjäger were the paratrooper branch of the German Luftwaffe before and during World War II. They were the first German paratroopers to be committed in large-scale airborne operations and came to be known as the "green devils" by the Allied forces they fought against. The Fallschirmjäger were very effective when used in commando style raids. The Fallschirmjäger were famous for their willingness to give every effort unwaveringly even in the grimmest of situations. The Fallschirmjäger were seldom used as parachutists. Instead, they were prized for their combat abilities and frequently acted in a "fire brigade" role as roving elite infantrymen. Throughout World War II the Fallschirmjäger commander was Kurt Student.
The 16th Panzer Division was a formation of the German Army in World War II. It was formed in November 1940 from the 16th Infantry Division. It took part in Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, operating in the southern sector of the Eastern Front. After the Soviet offensive in November 1942 the division was trapped in Stalingrad, where it surrendered in February 1943. A new 16th Panzer Division was formed in 1943 and sent to Italy where it was part of the unsuccessful German defense against the Allied invasion of Italy. Sent back to the Eastern Front in November 1943 the division once more saw action in the southern sector, taking part in the relief operation of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket and being part of the Kamenets-Podolsky pocket. It eventually surrendered to Soviet and US American forces in Czechoslovakia in May 1945.