An aside on Casualties

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MG1918
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Re: An aside on Casualties

Post by MG1918 » 05 Jun 2020 19:37

Still great views and opinions and it struck me that if one wanted to prepare for war, industry, indeed all aspects of 'life' would/should be geared up for the first day of attack/assault/invasion and beyond! Therefore one would hope that the military would be sufficiently primed too :>) I know very simply put, but if your long term focus is war I don't think anyone could argue against the fact that on Day 1 (of both World Wars) Germany was the 'best'. I would also offer therefore in the same vein that at the end of both World Wars if someone wanted to 'grade' the participants, Germany was not the best. Excellent in many respects, the best by far in certain areas, but overall I would still say not the best. Indeed I would not give this grade to any nation personally but if one looked at specific elements in isolation, perhaps that could be graded as an interesting exercise.
Mark Finneran
''Seeking all MG items, parts, manuals, detail, MG accessories and original tactics/notes for the WW1 Imperial German Army MG08 & MG08/15. Also looking for T Gewehr & the 13mm ammunition please''

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Sheldrake
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Re: An aside on Casualties

Post by Sheldrake » 05 Jun 2020 21:20

Alejandro_ wrote:
24 Aug 2015 10:09
Allied losses during January-February 1918 are 3 times higher (see below), any explanations on why?

France and UK:
Jan-Feb 1918: 63851

Germany:
Jan-Feb 1918: 17678
There were no major operations. According to the reported figures the British and French lost about 1,100 casualties men per day. The Germans 300 per day.

Have a good look at the figures. These are not the same

The British lost C 22,000 all causes (Killed, wounded, missing, sick injuries) (#1)

The French lost 4k dead in battle, missing or prisoners, 4k died in field hospitals wounds or sickness 4k died in general hospitals of wounds or sickness. Total 12k dead, missing or PW. 41,000 evacuated wounded sick or injured. The ratio of dead to evacuated survivors is around 1:4

The German totals show 4.4k dead killed in battle, 1.9km missing or PW and 17.7k wounded. WSC's table has a note that the German figures do not include men who died of wounds (around 50% of the number who died in battle.) So there may have been another 2.2k Germans who died of wounds.(the equivalent of the third column in the French table #2)

It is not clear how German sick or non battle casualties were treated statistically. However the ratio of German dead to reported wounded 1: 2.5 (table #4) is much lower than for the French evacuated hospitalised (1:4). (table post #2)

Something odd is happening here. There is a historic consensus that the Germans were jolly good at war, but the statistics appear to show that German bullets and shrapnel was only half as lethal as French or British. This looks wrong and we are maybe missing about 20-30% of German casualties.

Two hypotheses

1. German sick and non battle injuries who survived their hospitalisation were not counted in these figures. The trenches could be unhealthy places and the 1918-19 pandemic killed millions. The men who died of sickness are counted in column 1 of table #5 - but may be not the men who survived. Do the British figures include the sick as well as the wounded? The French seems to have counted anyone evacuated to general hospitals.

2. Not every nation may have counted wounded the same way. How far up the medical evacuation chain did a soldier travel before his treatment was logged as a wound and counted in the statistics?

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Re: An aside on Casualties

Post by The Ibis » 05 Jun 2020 22:34

Sheldrake,
Do you have a copy of McRandle and Quirk's article "The Blood Test Revisited: A New Look at German Casualty Counts in World War I." While its not new any longer, it was a well researched piece on how German casualties were calculated.
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." - Casey Stengel

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tigre
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Re: An aside on Casualties

Post by tigre » 01 Aug 2020 15:11

Hello to all :D; something to compare..................................

War casualties and replacements.

Under the'term of "war casualties" we classify all members of an army in the Theater of Operations which have become ineffective either permanently or temporarily. Above casualties are classified under two headings (1) Losses due to actual contact with the enemy, such as, dead, wounded (including shell shock and gas cases), missing and men taken as prisers. (2) Losses due to sickness and accidents. In spite of the fact that the World War was free from epidemics, the number of sick is considerably greater than the number of men who became ineffective at the front.

Only if we consider individual battles do we see a change in this comparison. In the battle of the Somme (July 1-29, 1916) the English had for 1 sick, 4.6 wounded. Generally speaking, the ratio in the English army between wounded, etc., and sick, was 1 to 2, with the exception of the front in Flanders, where the ratio was 1 to 1.31.

In East Africa on the Lettow-Vorbeck front, the ratio among 700,000 evacuations was 1 to 31'.4 (officers 1 to 14.7, enlisted men 1 to 32.6, lines of communication 1 to 140.9). An explanation for the difference in this ratio is found in the climate, system of fighting, and organization of the forces. The difference between the lines of communication and the front line troops on the Flanders front in 1918 was 5.8%, against 74% in 1917 and 68% in 1918 in East Africa.

A decrease in the number of evacuations was noticeable the longer the war lasted. The reason for this is that troops became hardened and used to hardships of war; leaders of small and larger units learned how to handle their units; evacuation and hospitalization became more efficient as the war went on. On the Flanders front the sick report of the English army was in 1914. 2.6 per thousand and in 1918, 1.6 per thousand of the front line troops.

We can count, at the beginning of a European war, on having a sick report of 3 per thousand of the effectives, 2/3 of whom will go to the hospital. The increase in the total number of evacuation in the English army in 1918, as shown in TABLE 1, is due to the German attacks in the spring of 1918, and the then prevailing grippe.

TABLE 1 - ENGLISH ARMY
AVERAGE MONTHLY EVACUATION ON THE FLANDERS FRONT PER 1000 EFECTIVES
Year 1914 - 1915 - 1916 - 1917 - 1918
Dead........ 12 - 6 - 7 - 6 - 3
Wounded ..........54 - 30 - 31- 24 - 26
Sick, etc........... 71 - 73 - 40 - 44 - 50
Missing and Prisoners......24- 3 - 3 - 2 - 7
TOTAL ............161 - 112 - 81 - 76 - 86
In 1914 the average was based on 5 months; in 1918 on 12 months.

Source: "Kriegsverluste und Ersatz." Oberstabsarzt Adam. Military Review. December 1933.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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tigre
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Re: An aside on Casualties

Post by tigre » 08 Aug 2020 16:43

Hello to all :D; something to compare..................................

War casualties and replacements.

The question of how many of the total losses became a permanent, and how many only a temporary loss is important. The dead, missing, prisoners, and totally disabled come under the heading of permanent losses. On the Flanders front the ratio between permanent and temporary losses was 14 to 86, or 1 to 6. The total losses on this front amounted to 6,218,540; the dead amounted to 6.13%. Medical attention was given to 5,517,455, 3 % of whom died, 90% were returned to the front, 5% were sent home, being disabled, and 2% for other reasons. 4% of English prisoners in German hospitals died in 1914, 2.8% in 1915, 2.6% in 1916, and 2.8% in 1917.

While above figures are very favorable, we must remember that v. Clausewitz said: "He who places his strength at a place where there is no enemy, or lets his troops march (thereby making them ineffectives), handles his troops poorly." We have to count all persons in hospitals, etc., or en route to or from there as ineffectives. 5 1/2 million men of the English army received medical attention; 5 million were returned to duty; and 4.3 million of the 5 million to front line duty.

One day less in hospitals will tremendously lessen the number of ineffectives, and it is here that we can make some improvements by having better and faster means of transportation, more efficient hospitals, better treatment of the sick and wounded, and an efficient system of evacuation.

The sick and wounded should never be sent farther back to the rear than is necessary for proper treatment, and establishments near the front should be provided for, where men who are about to go to duty can convalesce. The English were very successful with such convalescent depots. The average number of effectives on the Flanders front in 1918 was 1,989,374 - 91% of these, or 1,808,490, received medical attention. 90% were returned to duty, 78% of which were returned to the front.

ENGLISH EVACUATIONS ON THE FLANDERS FRONT PER 1000 EFFECTIVES
Year - Total Evacuations - Hospital Admittance - Dead
1915 ....1348.....1237.....100
1916 .....969 ..... 856 ..... 112
1917 ..... 910 ..... 816 .... 96.5

Source: "Kriegsverluste und Ersatz." Oberstabsarzt Adam. Military Review. December 1933.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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