Finding Aids: Reference Information Paper 82 Appendix

Reference Information Paper 82

A Finding Aid to Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: American Military Casualties and Burials

Table of Contents

Appendix: Casualty Statistics

The statistics given here are not intended to be definitive. There is always room for argument and refinement regarding categories that are subject to judgment and definition. A casualty might seem to be a clear-cut event, but that is not the case. An extreme example of this is the fact that in World War II the German military did not count as a casualty an individual who was wounded but returned to combat after successful treatment. American practice in that regard was different, but naturally some subtle differences in reporting among units and especially among services are found. Categories of casualties, such as missing, missing in action, and declared dead, obviously add another element of uncertainty to some figures. That is not to say that an immense and well-intentioned effort did not go into casualty accounting and reporting by the American military. The sources of the figures given here are good. Figures from other good sources may differ in some respects.

The point of the figures below is to give the reader some sense of the scope and size of the job of handling, accounting for, and reporting casualties among American forces in World War II. Yearly and theater figures are included where possible to give some idea of the tasks in geographic and temporal terms. Although theater figures are not given for Navy and Marine Corps casualties, it may be assumed that the vast majority of those are from the war in the Pacific and Asian areas.

U.S. Army Casualties 14

Army Casualties by Category

Total casualties 936,259
    Deaths among battle casualties
    • Killed in action (including POWs)
    • Died of wounds and injuries
    • Declared dead
    • Died of other causes (nonbattle)
    • Killed in action (excluding POWs)
    Wounded and injured in action
    • Died of wounds and injuries overseas
    • Returned to duty overseas
    Evacuated to the United States
    • Died of wounds and injuries in U.S.
    • Returned to duty, discharged, etc.
    Captured and interned
    • Killed in action
    • Died of wounds and injuries
    • Died of other causes (nonbattle)
    • Returned to military control
    Missing in action
    • Declared dead
    • Died of other causes (nonbattle)
    • Returned to duty

Army Casualties (Wounded and Dead) by Year

Year Air Corps Branch All Other Branches Total
1941 762 331 1,093
1942 7,044 32,998 40,042
1943 21,071 52,881 73,952
1944 66,290 455,100 521,390
1945 19,836 278,878 298,714
1946 6 4 10
Date Unknown 373 685 1,058

Army casualties (Wounded and Dead) by Theater

. Battle Deaths Wounded in Action 15 Captured/ Interned Missing in Action 16
European Theater 135,576 365,086 73,759 1,361
Mediterranean Theater 40,455 107,137 20,182 978
Pacific Theaters
50,385 89,314 27,465 3,033
All Other Theaters 8,458 4,329 2,673 834

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Casualties

Total U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Casualties, World War II

. Number Serving Wounds/ Not Mortal Battle Deaths Total Casualties
USN 4,183,466 37,778 36,950 74,728
USMC 669,100 67,207 19,733 86,940
Total 4,852,566 104,985 56,683 161,668

Note: Compiled by Benjamin L. DeWhitt. Published by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, 1993.

Web version prepared 1999. Additions and changes incorporated in the Web version are between brackets [] and in italics.