I have wondered if there are any estimates on the number of bullets used in World War 2. I have thought about the question but cannot even get a plausible attack strategy.
The following article describes in great detail the production and deployment of munitions by the Army Ordnance Dept. (AOD).
This is the US production, given the size of the US industry I would have thought it was more than the production of the Axis side, so if you ignore local UK/USSR amounts I would guess it represents more than 50% of the total.
Lt. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr. authored The Industry-Ordnance Team. The book contained his recounting of the Allied effort to produce and deliver weapons, vehicles and munitions for World War II.
(A slightly better than pure guess answer) From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II, the total number of military causalities was 24,000,000.
The number of bullets fired per kill varies based on the source from 5k to 50k. Assuming 10k the number of bullets fired would be 24 x 10^10.
I have heard that the US forces fired 20,000 rounds for every casualty they produced. An example of this: Before the Americans entered the European conflict, snipers had been employed by both the Germans and the Russians to stop advances. Typically, snipers could stop an advance while efforts to locate and kill the sniper proceeded. The American forces changed the scenario. When a sniper fired at an American column, the soldiers sprayed the trees with bullets as if they were spraying for insects. Snipers did not slow down American troop movements. The American supply line won World War II.
It has long been noted that:
Calculating from figures in mgb's answer we get
That is certainly in the ball park, given that artillery rounds have been omitted, and only bullets made in the US counted.
It is worth noting that most shots on the field of battle (probably above 90%) are fired simply to provide the enemy with an excuse to keep his head down, and not with intent to kill, nor to wound, nor even particularly aimed at the enemy but simply fired in his general vicinity.
protected by Community♦ Jul 21 at 15:27
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?