Losses in World War II

Losses and casualties during World War II.
Military personnel and civilian losses, aircraft, warships and merchant ships of the combatants from 1939 to 1945.

Pioneer Tombs
Pioneer Tombs in September 1940 (pic of the author’s grandfather).

Military and civilian losses of the combatants from 1939 to 1945


NationKilled or missingWoundedPoWCivilians killed
UK 395,800 277,100 172,600 60,600 (plus 30,000 in Merchant Navy)
Australia 29,400 39,800 26,400 c.250
Canada 39,300 53,200 9,000-
India 36,100 64,300 79,500 c.500
New Zealand 12,200 19,300 8,500-
South Africa 8,700 14,400 14,600-
British colonies 6,877 6,972 22,323-
British Empire and Commonwealth TOTAL 528,377 475,072 332,923 61,350
Belgium 8,000 (1940-45) 15,900 200,000 12,000
Brazil943 4,222-c.100
China 1,400,000 (2,200,000 1937-45) c.1,800,000- 8,000,000 (20,000,000 1937-45)
Denmark 1,800-- c.1,000-2,000
France 122,000 (1939-45) 335,000 (1939-45) 1,456,500 (1939-45) 470,000
Greece 18,300 60,000- 415,000 (including 260,000 starved)
Netherlands 13,700 (1940-45) 6,900? 150,000 (including in Asia and missing)
Norway 2,000?? 3,800
Philippines 27,000-- 91,000
Poland c.90,800 (1939-45) c.166,700 (1939-45) c.1,000,000 c.5,675,000 (including 4,800,000 in death camps)
USSR over 13,600,000 (including 2,600,000 PoWs)? c.6,000,000 c.6,700,000
Czechoslovakia 10,000?- 215,000
USA 405,400 671,801 139,709 6,000
Yugoslavia 410,000 425,000- 1,200,000
Allies TOTAL 1939-45 c.16,638,320 c.3,960,595 c.9,462,055 c.23,061,600

Note on the Soviet Union: During the Communist era documents about the Second World War in the Soviet Union were kept under wraps and the officially stated loss figures were propagandistic whitewashed. Joseph Stalin himself declared in May 1946 that the Soviet losses from 1941 to 1945 amounted to 7 million deaths.
A more detailed investigation in March 2008 verifying registered Red Army officers revealed that 14.241 million (970,000 officers and 13,271,269 conscripts) soldiers must be dead or missing. However, this work is not yet completed, as war graves continue to be investigated on the territory of the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe.

Axis Powers

NationKilled or missingWoundedPoWCivilians killed
Germany c.3,250,000 c.4,606,600 c.3,400,000 2,350,000 (including 300,000 Nazi victims)
Italy 226,900 c.66,000 c.350,000 c.60,000
Japan c.1,219,000 (1,740,000 1937-45) 94,000 c.810,000 (including 41,000 dead) c.672.000
Bulgaria c.20,000 c.22,000- 50,000 (including 30-40,000 Jews)
Finland 89,900 201,600- 3,400
Hungary 136,000 c.250,000 170,000 290,000
Rumania c.481,000 (including c.100,000 with Soviets) c.313,000 (including 70,000 with Soviets), "c.100000" 340,000
Axis TOTAL 1939-45 c.5,422,800 c.5,553,200 4,830,000 3,765,400

Victims Total

all nationsKilled or missingWoundedPoWCivilians killed
TOTAL 22,061,120 9,513,795 14,292,055 26,827,000


CountryJewish dead
Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) 200,000
Belgium and Luxemburg 75,000
Bulgaria 30,000
France 120,000
Germany (1933-45) 330,000
Greece 60,000
Hungary 400,000
Italy 12,000
Netherlands 177,000
Norway and Denmark 1,000
Poland 3,000,000
Rumania 230,000
USSR 700,000
Yugoslavia 60,000
Total 5,645,000

Aircraft losses

With regard to the losses of aircraft, it is not possible to resort to precise comparison values. There are several reasons for that.

For one, various armed forces have made no official statements at all.
Second, there is a different definition of what a ‘lost’ plane is. For example, in the German Luftwaffe losses were measured by the percentage of damage to the aircraft. One hundred percent damage is obviously a loss, but in fact, aircraft with 60 percent or more damage were scored as such. In contrast, aircraft with less than 60 percent damage were considered repairable, although the extent and duration of recovery varied.
Thirdly, most of the available numbers of casualties do not make it clear whether they existed for all reasons (combat and the numerous accidents during training, landing, transfer, etc.) or only from combat missions.

It is therefore not possible to give an accurate and reliable overview of aircraft losses, even for the major air forces involved. Only for the losses of the Allied heavy strategic bombers in Europe and during the Battle of Britain there are exact numbers, which were incorporated here but in the more or less complete details.

Any aircraft losses from combat missions:

Air Forceplanes lost
Germany c.28,000 (above 10% damage from 9/1/39 til 1/10/45: 40,613 in action; 10,457 accidents; 11,442 training)
Great Britain 15,992-22,010 (10,045 fighters; 11,965 bombers)
Italy 5,272-6,483 (3,269 in action, 1,771 accidents, 232 decommissioning). Other source: 3,380 fighters; 3,110 bombers_lost
Japan over 31,500 (38,105 planes, from that 17,760 Army and 20,345 Navy planes; other source approx 50,000 planes, from that 40% in action and 60% during training lost)
USSR c.56,000 (106,652 until December 31, 1944 from all reasons)
USA 22,951 in action, from that 8,420 fighters+9,949 bombers-just for Europe (plus 22,000 lost from other reasons)
France 413 in action (250 fighters, 106 bombers, 57 recon), 234 on ground, 245 accidents (only 1940)
Finland 67 (from that 42 in action) in Winter War 1939-40; 536 (from that 209 in action) 1941-44
Netherlands81 (only 1940)
Poland398 (only 1939)

Losses of warships and merchant ships

Losses of Warships:

NavyCarriersBattleshipsHeavy CruisersLight CruisersDestroyersEscortsSubs


  • In addition, 217 German U-boats were scuttled during the surrender in May 1945. The fourth German capital ship, the battlecruiser ‘Scharnhorst’, which was still under reconstruction, was sunk at the end of March 1945. All three pocket-battleships are included according to their classification in the Second World War as heavy cruisers.
  • In the aircraft carriers also escort carriers (but no seaplane carriers) are included.
  • Three more inactive Japanese battleships capsized in their harbors after US air strikes shortly before the war ended. The Japanese destroyers also include escort destroyers.
  • Most of the French losses are from scuttling during the German and Italian occupation of southern France in November 1942.

Merchant Shipping Losses:

TonsNumber of ships
Allied in Atlantic 16,899,147 3,843
Allied elsewhere 5,029,957 1,250
Axis Mediterranean 2,190,857597
Japan in Pacific 8,617,234 2,345

Tank losses

see Tank losses on the Eastern Front

References and literature

Illustrierte Geschichte des Dritte Reiches (Kurt Zentner)
World War II – A Statistical Survey (John Ellis)
Chronology of World War II (Christopher Argyle)

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