How Many American Troops Have Died in War?

History Q & A

Click here to see the list compiled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Lawrence Hopkins Curry, Jr. - 5/25/2007

In answering this question, I think it's important to distinguish between BATTLE deaths and other deaths as the DoD does in its reports. According to my calculations and based on those reports, the following are the U.S. BATTLE deaths in major wars since 1775:
American Revolution: 4,435
War of 1812: 2,260
Mexican War: 1733
Civil War - Union forces: 140, 415
Spanish-American War: 385
World War I: 53,513
World War II: 292,131
Korean War: 33,741
Vietnam War: 47,424
Persian Gulf War: 148
Afghanistan/Iraq: 3,821 as of 23 May 2007.

A Fight - 5/17/2006

Very interesting table. First, the statistics are interesting, as these things are. Secondly is how the table reflects the American Weltanschauungen. Yes, you see, there are no figures for the French, that country Americans lamentably seem to need to vilify in order to feel better about themselves. If you want to nurture your pet hates, go ahead and do so. But if you want to discuss history, get your facts straight.

During the fall of France in 1940, there were 360,000 dead or wounded and 1,900,000 captured who were POWs for 4 years. That was in THREE MONTHS of fighting. For a country of 38 million, that is a substantial sacrifice, which bears comparison with the USA's losses in absolute and relative terms on a population base of 140 million in 1940. They may be cheese eating surrender monkeys but they fought and died, which is the ultimate sacrifice any man can make. There is also the matter of the French Resistance whose input into D-Day was estimated by Gen Eisenhower as being equal to 5 divisions. Admittedly they may have been rag-tag allies, but they certainly contributed to the success of D Day. Just as a parting thought, you may be interested in Googling "Jean Moulin" and asking yourself if you could withstand such torture and remain silent.

Thomas R. Washington - 11/11/2004

Please see my comments dated November 11, 2004.

I am equally disappointed that no one at the HNN staff of George Mason University has bothered to correct this "blatant omission" about French military losses since you posted your original comment on October 2003.

Thomas R. Washington - 11/11/2004

Re: How Many Americans Have Died in War? by HNN Staff, History Q & A 4-14-03, Article: 1381.html
In the "Addendum" column, the HNN Staff listed significant deaths by non-Americans is wars. I am quite disappointed that deaths in France were not listed, particularly in The Great War (1914-1918). More than 1,300,000 French troops died, and more than 6,000,000 suffered from serious wounds (loss of limbs, etc.) - These horrific figures include many members of my own family. - Please see: "Mémoire des Hommes" from the French Ministry of Defense: http://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/
This site is available in English, Espanol, and Deutsch, as well as French. The database includes images of actual records for the soldiers that died on-line. - I hope this significant oversight is not a reflection of the quality of the PhD. in History program at George Mason University, or current political biases.

wren thedford - 7/19/2004

Miguel Arndt - 1/29/2004


The British had far more casualties in WW I than in WWII.

Purnell´s History of the second World War, (Compiled by Sir Basil Lidell Hart) gives an estimation of 452.000 death for the commonwealth forces. Other sources give a number of about 375.000 British, 35.000 Canadians, 10.000 Newzealanders, 12.000 Australians and 6.000 South Africans, giving a gross total of about 438.000 commonwealth dead.

Any way, they where far below 1 Million.

eric - 1/3/2004

Agreed. There should be a "1" in front of it, to indicate millions.

Dave Livingston - 12/22/2003

During the Viet-Nam War 23,214 of the 303,000+ WIAs were rated 100% disabled.

Dave Livingston - 12/22/2003

Is it reasonable of one rated 100% disabled by both the Army & the V.A. as a result of wounds incurred on the field of battle to object to the current assumption that the word casualty refers solely to those killed rather than those both KIA and severely maimed?

In our society in which youthful vigor and bodily perfection are worshiped are not some of those G.I.s retrieved alive but severely damaged from the field of battle & subsequently more or less shuttled out-of-view of most of society, so that it need not face one of the harsher realities of warfare, nearly as much casualities as are the dead? If so, why not be more precise in describing battlefield casualities by breaking down the figures between KIAs (Killed in Action) & seriously WIAs (Wounded in Action)?

JOHN - 11/11/2003

Where can I find info. on deaths in all major wars from the beginning of history to present? Thank you.

Carl Unlaub - 11/11/2003

Victoria is right - we are stupid to spend our history killing each other. But is it not worthwhile to depose Saddam, who has murdered at least 300,000 of his own people: men, women, and children, over the past 25 years? Should the "haves" of this world stand aside while tyrants slaughter the "have-nots"? A very debatable point and the fact that we are free to do so speaks well for our society.

victoria melita seeto - 10/8/2003

i've been studying the wars and where, when and why they happened. But i can't find a really good reason!why do poeple have to have wars anyway. Anyone who encourages wars must be a stupid !@#$%^&* who think's he/she can get away with anyhting.
i discourage anyhting to do with it and i know that my generation will stand with me.
Can anyone stop the wars? If they know the answer, mail me...

victoria melita seeto - 10/8/2003

i've been studying the wars and where, when and why they happened. But i can't find a really good reason!why do poeple have to have wars anyway. Anyone who encourages wars must be a stupid !@#$%^&* who think's he/she can get away with anyhting.
i discourage anyhting to do with it and i know that my generation will stand with me.
Can anyone stop the wars? If they know the answer, mail me...

Cecil G. Treadwell - 10/5/2003

Since France was our first ally, and helped us to become a viable republic in our most critical and vulnerable formative years, it is a blantant omission for you not to list the French military casualties in both World War I and II !!!! It isn't as if you didn't have enough space!!!!

Bob Heffner - 7/21/2003

Looking at the total number of deaths doesn't always illustrate the true impact of the deaths. When you consider the number of deaths as a percentage of the population of the U.S. at the time of the any of these wars, you certainly get a better perspective of the sacrifice that was made. This is particularly true for the American Revolution, whose total death casualties seem insignificant when compared to the Civil War and WWII.

SAM - 7/17/2003

The table is very interesting. It appears that Gulf War II is now in the # 10 slot for most war deaths. Another interesting comparison would be to break down all military combat deaths by presidency -- This would include, for example, the deaths in Afganastan and the Phillipines in the Bush II presidency and the non-war "peacekeeping deaths" under the Clinton presidency.

Dennis K. Smith - 7/2/2003

How does the current death rate in Iraq compare to post war/ peace keeping efforts? ie WW1, WW2 Korea or even undeclared conflicts?
Dennis K. Smith

Edwin Moise - 6/11/2003

You need to label your figures on the death tolls for wars, to indicate whether they represent men killed in action (KIA), or total deaths from all causes, including disease. Your figure of 2,260 for the War of 1812 represents Americans killed in action; total deaths from all causes were far higher. But your figure of 25,324 for the American Revolution has to be deaths from all causes; the number KIA in this war was under 10,000.

Your figure of 56,244 for the Vietnam War is strange--too high to be KIA (47,322), too low to be deaths from all causes (usually given as 58,022, and the variant figures that I have seen are higher than 58,022 rather than lower).

Albert Alessi - 6/7/2003

your figure on british losses in WW2 is way way low. it was in the millions.
also no mention of troops we lost in the Filipino war of resistance, or is that included in Sp-Am. War?

Herve - 4/20/2003

In the column " others Losses", you just omitted to mention the very numerous French victims !
It is called "disinformation"!