“Casualties” refers to all losses suffered by the armed forces:
killed, wounded, missing in action (meaning that their bodies were not
found) and prisoners of war. There is no "official" casualty figure
for D-Day. Under the circumstances, accurate record keeping was very
difficult. For example, some troops who were listed as missing may
actually have landed in the wrong place, and have rejoined their
parent unit only later.
In April and May 1944, the Allied air forces lost nearly 12,000 men
and over 2,000 aircraft in operations which paved the way for D-Day.
The Allied casualties figures for D-Day have generally been estimated
at 10,000, including 2500 dead. Broken down by nationality, the usual
D-Day casualty figures are approximately 2700 British, 946 Canadians,
and 6603 Americans. However recent painstaking research by the US
National D-Day Memorial Foundation has achieved a more accurate - and
much higher - figure for the Allied personnel who were killed on
D-Day. They have recorded the names of individual Allied personnel
killed on 6 June 1944 in Operation Overlord, and so far they have
verified 2499 American D-Day fatalities and 1915 from the other Allied
nations, a total of 4414 dead (much higher than the traditional figure
of 2500 dead). Further research may mean that these numbers will
increase slightly in future. The details of this research will in due
course be available on the Foundation's website at www.dday.org. This
new research means that the casualty figures given for individual
units in the next few paragraphs are no doubt inaccurate, and
hopefully more accurate figures will one day be calculated.
Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1000 on Gold Beach and
the same number on Sword Beach. The remainder of the British losses
were amongst the airborne troops: some 600 were killed or wounded, and
600 more were missing; 100 glider pilots also became casualties. The
losses of 3rd Canadian Division at Juno Beach have been given as 340
killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner.
The breakdown of US casualties was 1465 dead, 3184 wounded, 1928
missing and 26 captured. Of the total US figure, 2499 casualties were
from the US airborne troops (238 of them being deaths). The casualties
at Utah Beach were relatively light: 197, including 60 missing.
However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2000
casualties at Omaha Beach.
The total German casualties on D-Day are not known, but are estimated
as being between 4000 and 9000 men.
Naval losses for June 1944 included 24 warships and 35 merchantmen or
auxiliaries sunk, and a further 120 vessels damaged.
Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went
missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over
209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground
forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. Of
the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from 21st Army Group (British,
Canadian and Polish ground forces), 125,847 from the US ground forces.
The losses of the German forces during the Battle of Normandy can only
be estimated. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded.
The Allies also captured 200,000 prisoners of war (not included in the
425,000 total, above). During the fighting around the Falaise Pocket
(August 1944) alone, the Germans suffered losses of around 90,000,
Today, twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000
dead from both sides: 77,866 German, 9386 American, 17,769 British,
5002 Canadian and 650 Poles.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 French civilians were killed, mainly as a
result of Allied bombing. Thousands more fled their homes to escape