The myth of collapse of corpses (losses in the Great Patriotic War)


We often hear that the ratio of losses of the USSR and Germany to the allies in the Second World War was 1: 5, 1:10, or even 1:14. Further, of course, a conclusion is made about "filling up with corpses", inept leadership, etc. However, mathematics is an exact science. The population of the Third Reich at the beginning of World War II was 85 million people, of which more than 23 million were men of military age. The population of the USSR is 196,7 million people, including 48.5 million men of draft age. So, even without knowing anything about the real numbers of losses on both sides, it is easy to calculate that victory through complete mutual destruction of the male population of military age in the USSR and Germany (even if in the USSR, since this is the winning side, at least 100 thousand people will survive) , is achieved by the ratio of losses 48.4 / 23 = 2.1, but not 10. By the way, here we do not take into account the allies of the Germans. If we add them to these 23 million, then the ratio of losses becomes even less. It should be borne in mind that at the very beginning of the war, the Soviet Union lost large densely populated territories, so the real number of men of military age was even less

However, if, indeed, for each killed German, the Soviet command would have put 10 Soviet soldiers, then after the Germans had killed 5 million people, the USSR would have died 50 million - that is, we would have no one else to fight , and in Germany there would still be as many as 18 million men of military age. And if you count more allies of Germany, then even more. There remains only one option, in which a ratio of losses of 1:10 is possible - Germany managed to lose even before she lost 5 million, and the USSR had 50 million people. However, then this can only speak of the cowardice of the German troops and the mediocrity of the German command, which could not take advantage of the fact that the Wehrmacht killed ten times more enemy soldiers than it lost itself. It is unlikely that such a humiliation of the military capabilities of the Wehrmacht was included in the plans of those Russian truth-lovers who talk about losses of 1:10 and even 1:14, and even more so it does not correspond to reality - the Germans fought well.

However, let us turn to scientific research concerning the losses of the USSR and Germany in World War II.
USSR losses

The main and most detailed source on losses in the Great Patriotic War is the book "Russia and the USSR in the wars of the XX century" under the general editorship of the candidate of military sciences, professor of AVN Colonel-General G.F. Krivosheeva (Moscow: Olma-press, 2001)

Let us give a table "The procedure for calculating irrecoverable losses" from this book [1] The table is compiled on the basis of an analysis of the total number of human losses, taken into account promptly by the headquarters of all instances and military medical institutions during the Great Patriotic War, including the campaign in the Far East in 1945

1 table. The procedure for calculating the irretrievable losses

The irrecoverable losses of the army include not only those killed and those who died of wounds, but also those taken prisoner. As can be seen from the table, their total number was 11,44 million. If we take into account those who returned from captivity and those who, after the liberation of the occupied territories, were re-drafted into the army, then the actual number of all those who died, died and did not return from captivity was 8,668 million people. This number also includes 12 thousand people who died in the war with Japan. The number of those killed on the battlefield and those who died from wounds - 6326,9 thousand

However, this method of calculation has its critics. So, Igor Kurtukov notes [2] that he mixes the accounting and statistical method with the balance one. The first is to estimate losses based on existing accounting records. The balance method is based on comparing the size and age structure of the USSR population at the beginning and end of the war. Thus, mixing the total number of casualties recorded in an operational manner by the headquarters of all instances, with data on the number of those called up in the liberated territories and those who returned from captivity, is the mixing of the two methods. In addition, the reports themselves were far from always accurate. Igor Kurtukov proposes to use the balance method to calculate losses, based on the data presented in the same work by Krivosheev [3].

Table 2. The balance of the use of human resources called up (mobilized) during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. (in thousand people)

So, we know the number of troops on June 22, 1941 - 4901,8 thousand and on July 1, 1945 - 12839,8 thousand. We know the total number of those called up after June 22, 1941, minus the re-called - 29574,9 thousand. Thus, the total loss is: 4901,8 thousand + 29574,9 thousand - 12839,8 = 21636,9 thousand. The decoding of this decrease is shown in the same table - these are commissioned for injury or illness, demobilized to work in industry, convicted and sent to camps, etc. In total, 9 692 800 people are recruited. The remaining 11 people are irrecoverable losses of the army. Igor Kurtukov believes that it is from this number that it is appropriate to subtract 944 people who returned from captivity, which gives us 100 people who died and died during service in the army and in navy or captivity during the war. Thus, it differs from the previously obtained Krivosheev's figure of 8 people by 668 people, or 400%. To calculate the number of those who died in the course of hostilities, it is necessary to subtract the number of those who died in captivity from the previously obtained 1 million. Their number, according to various estimates, ranges from 439 to 100 million. Igor Kurtukov considers the most reliable figure to be 16,6. mln. Thus, the number of deaths directly during hostilities and those who died from wounds can be estimated at 10.1 million people. It is not very clear what to do with the NKVD troops - on the one hand, they are clearly not represented in this table, on the other hand, in other tables Krivosheev includes the losses of the NKVD troops in the total losses, highlighting them as a common line. We will assume that in this case the losses of the NKVD troops - about 1.2 thousand should be added separately. It is also necessary to take into account the losses of the Polish Army, the Romanian and other allied armies - about 3.1 thousand people. Total losses of the USSR and its allies directly on the battlefield amounted to 2.4 thousand people.
Note that the upper estimate of the death toll is the number of records of the Generalized Data Bank (WBS) "Memorial", which contains information about Soviet soldiers who died, died and went missing during the Great Patriotic War. At the moment, the database contains more than 13.5 million records, but quite often several records refer to the same person - this is due to the receipt of data on the same person from different sources. There are also four-fold duplicate records. Therefore, it will be possible to focus on Memorial's data only after the duplication of data has been eliminated.

Enemy losses

The same book by Krivosheev will serve as a source for us. [4] With the calculation of enemy losses, there are the following difficulties, which are listed by Krivosheev:
There are no real data on losses in 1945, which were very significant. During this period, the Wehrmacht staff mechanism lost its clarity in work, losses began to be determined approximately, most often on the basis of information from previous months. Their systematic documentary accounting and reporting was sharply violated.
The reporting documents on the number of human losses of the armed forces of Nazi Germany in the Second World War did not show the losses of Germany's allies, as well as other foreign formations and units that took part in the battles on the Soviet-German front.
Mixing military casualties with civilian casualties. Therefore, in many states, the losses of the armed forces have been significantly reduced, since some of them are included in the number of civilian casualties. This is typical not only for Germany, but also for Hungary and Romania (200 thousand people. The loss of military personnel, and 260 thousand - the civilian population). In Hungary, this ratio was 1: 2 (140 casualties and 280 civilian casualties). All this significantly distorts the statistics on the losses of the troops of the countries that fought on the Soviet-German front.
If the human losses of the SS troops were taken into account according to the reports of the ground forces, then the losses of the personnel of the security service, the Gestapo and SS (from the non-military number of members of the National Socialist Party), as well as police formations, were essentially not taken into account. Meanwhile, it is known that in all the occupied territories of European states, including in the occupied part of the Soviet Union, a network of branches of the Gestapo and the Security Police (ZIPO) was deployed, which formed the basis of the military occupation administration. The losses of these organizations were not recorded in the documents of the German military department. It is known that the number of SS members during the war years (not counting the SS troops) ranged from 257 thousand (1941) to 264 thousand people. (1945), and the number of police formations performing tasks in the interests of field troops in 1942-1944 ranged from 270 to 340 thousand people.
Not taken into account the loss of "hivi" (Hilfwillider - German - voluntary helpers) - prisoners of war and civilians who lived, agreed to help the German army. They were used as support personnel in the rear units - carts in carts, auxiliary workers in workshops and in kitchens. Their percentage in units was different and depended on the need for service personnel (the presence of a horse train, other vehicles, etc.). Since the workers in the field kitchens in the Red Army, the soldiers who were in the carts were servicemen and the losses among them were taken into account, like any other losses of the Red Army, it is necessary to take into account the corresponding losses in the German troops. In June 1943, according to the report of the Chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces, General Zeitler, there were 220 thousand “volunteers”.

To compile a table of enemy losses, Krivosheev's team used documents from the war period stored in Soviet and German archives, as well as government messages published in Hungary, Italy, Romania, Finland, Slovakia and other countries containing information on the number of troops that took part in World War II war and their losses. The information on the casualties of Hungary and Romania has been updated based on materials received from the general staffs of these states in 1988.

Table 3. Irrecoverable human losses of the armed forces of Nazi Germany on the Soviet-German front from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945 (without the armies of its allies)

The myth of collapse of corpses (losses in the Great Patriotic War)

* Including the Air Force and Air Defense - 117,8 thousand people, the Navy - 15,7 thousand people, non-combat losses - 162,7 thousand people, died from wounds in hospitals - 331,3 thousand people.
** Including the Air Force and Air Defense - 181,4 thousand people, the Navy - 52 thousand people, non-combat losses - 25,9 thousand people, died from wounds in hospitals - 152,8 thousand people.

Table 4. Irrecoverable human losses of the armed forces of Germany's allies on the Soviet-German front from 22.6.1941 to 9.5.1945

* Among the irrecoverable losses of Hungary and Romania are included persons who were drafted into the Hungarian army from Northern Transylvania, South Slovakia and Transcarpathian Ukraine, and the Romanian army - Moldovans.
** Including 27800 Romanians and 14515 Moldovans were freed from captivity directly by the fronts.
Generalized information on the irrecoverable losses of the countries of the fascist bloc on the Soviet-German front is presented in Table 201. The combined data on the losses of Germany and its allies are summarized in the following table:

Table 5. Irrecoverable human losses of the armed forces of Germany and the army of its allies on the Soviet-German front from 22.6.1941 to 9.5.1945 (thousand people)

* Without prisoners of war from among the citizens of the USSR who served in the Wehrmacht.
So, according to the team of Krivosheev, the total losses of Germany and its allies on the Soviet-German front amounted to 8649,3 thousand people, of which 4273,0 were killed and missing, and 4376,3 were taken prisoners. As for German studies on German losses, the most authoritative at the moment is the study by Rüdiger Overmans "Deutche militärishe Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg" [Munchen, Oldenburg Verlag, 2004]. Overmans made statistically reliable samples from two sets of information - the payroll of the fighting units (Wehrmacht, SS, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, etc. - more than 18 million records) and the dead from the same categories. He calculated how many percent of each of the categories accounted for losses, and already from this he deduced his approximate estimate of the German irrecoverable losses. Here is what Igor Kurtukov writes about this study:
According to this study, in just 1939-1956. the German armed forces lost 5,318,000 killed, died and died in captivity. Of this number, 2,743,000 were lost in killed and deceased troops on the Eastern Front during 1941-44. [Op.cit. S.269]. In 1945 the total casualties and deaths of the German armed forces were 1,230,000 [Ibid], but their distribution along the fronts is unknown. Assuming that in 1945 the share of losses on the Eastern Front was the same as in 1944 (that is, 70%) [Op.cit. S.266], then the losses of the troops of the Eastern Front in 1945 would have amounted to 863,000, and the total losses in the east for the entire war - 3,606,000 people.
Overmans did not count the number of killed and dead soldiers of Germany's allies, so you can take it from Krivosheev's work. The corresponding number has already been given above - 668,2 thousand. Summing up, we find that the total losses of killed and deceased Germany and its satellites in the east are 4 people. That is, this value differs by only 274 people from the data shown in Table 200.

6 table. Loss ratio

This table does not specifically take into account those who died in captivity, because this indicator does not say anything about the military skill of the enemy, but only about the conditions of detention of prisoners. At the same time, it is the number of captured people that is important for the hostilities themselves - until the end of the war, they are considered irrecoverable losses, tk. cannot take part in hostilities. As you can see, there is no talk of any ratio of losses 1: 5, 1:10. We are not even talking about a 1: 2 ratio. Depending on the calculation method, the ratio of losses on the battlefield ranges from 1.5 to 1.8, and if we take into account the prisoners, then the situation for the USSR is even better - 1.3-1.4. As mentioned above, we must not forget that the German losses did not include the Khivi, the military police, the Gestapo, etc. It should also be borne in mind that the number of captured German troops could have been much greater - it is known that German units tried to surrender whenever possible. Anglo-American troops and for this purpose they specially fled from the Soviet units to the west. That is, under other conditions, they could well have been captured by the Red Army. It is also interesting to calculate the relative losses. So, according to Table 2, in total during the war years, 34.5 million people were involved in the army, the navy, the formation of other departments and for work in industry (taking into account those who had already served at the beginning of the war) .The number of killed and taken prisoners, according to maximum estimates, is 11.9 mln. That is, in percentage terms, losses amounted to 29% According to Krivosheev's work, in total during the war years, 1 million people were involved in the armed forces of Nazi Germany, taking into account those who served until March 1939, 21.1 (excluding allies). Taking into account the fact that Germany started the war earlier than the USSR, let us take the total number of German troops fighting on the eastern front as 75%. The total is 15.8 million. Germany's losses on the Eastern Front, excluding the allies, were, based on the above data, 3.6 million killed + 3.5 million prisoners, a total of 7.1 million. As a percentage of the number of those who fought - 45% - more than THE USSR.
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  1. Andrei
    7 January 2011 23: 13
    Especially this myth is exaggerated by the Anglo-Saxons ... The battles of the First World War haunt ... This is where there was a flood of corpses: Loos, Somme (rainy day of Britain), Pashendal ... And that's not all ...
  2. a guest
    8 January 2011 00: 52
    Well, yes, back in Korea there were so many beaters that beat the fly swatter and the flying heroes from the B-52 didn’t get feces during the last raid on Hanoi, that the Pindostana condom personally kicked the heroes.
    But against the background created - heroes, as with the Heroes of the 2011 World Cup Youth. - victory - zilch, but got drunk!
    Red nits!
  3. ballian
    2 July 2011 12: 57
    "Losses of the enemy

    The source will be the same book by Krivosheev "
    author burns :)))
  4. Vladimir296
    7 February 2012 16: 05
    Calculation of the irretrievable losses of soldiers in the Great Patriotic War by the methods of demographic statistics.
    The draft age is determined by taking:

    No. 0269 August 10, 1941
    In connection with the situation in the combat zone, I ORDER to call upon the mobilization of military servicemen born from 1904 to 1890 inclusive of conscripts born in 1922 and 1923 who live in the Kirovograd, Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk regions and areas west of Lyudinovo-Bryansk-Sevsk, Orel region.
    The call to finish by August 15, 1941.
    The mobilized servicemen 1904-1895 birth and conscripts 1922 and 1923 birth send to spare parts. Military servicemen 1894-1890 birth to transfer to the disposal of the Head of the Engineering Directorate of the Southern Front to carry out field defensive work.
    The order to enter into force by telegraph.

    People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR
    Moreover, in the occupation of people, it was suddenly a step to move from digging field fortifications to repel the advance of the fascist troops that year.
    Next, we take the censuses of the USSR for 1939 and 1959 (who knows why they did not conduct censuses either immediately after the war or in 1949?)
    the results of the census in the USSR, 1939 according to these data, men from 13 to 49 years old are 46,155 million people (it will be they who will later be called up for war ),
    After the annexation of the territories of Western Ukraine and Belarus, the Baltic countries and Bessarabia, the population of the USSR increased from 170,6 million to 194 million, 170,6 million were 46,155 million people, who will then be called up for war. by 23,4 million there will be 6,33 million men of draft age. As of June 22, 1941, there are approximately 52,485 soldiers. Now the 1959 census, ages 33 to 69 years, 26,980 million men remain. The disadvantage is 25,505 men.

    So where could they go? Initially, by natural mortality. In 1959, the average life expectancy of a man was already 64 years old,
    and according to Urlanis B.U. Fertility and life expectancy in the USSR. M., 1963. with. 103-104)

    Year Average life expectancy in the USSR

    1917 32
    1927 44
    1939 47
    1955 64
    1956 67
    1958 68
    1959 69
    1961 70
    1975 70,4
    1980 70,9

    If the life history is 44 years old, this does not mean that they should die of old age at 44 years old, it does not mean at all. The thing is, on the contrary, in babies!

    As the well-known demographer Novoselsky noted shortly before the revolution, "Russian mortality is generally typical of agricultural and backward countries in the sanitary, cultural and economic relations." At the turn of the 100th and 70th centuries in European Russia, out of every 49 born boys, only 20 survived to one year, 36 to 50 years, 100 to 74; out of every 53 girls born, 39, 31, and 33, respectively. Because of this, the average life expectancy was 15 years for men, XNUMX years for women, according to this indicator the advanced countries of that time exceeded Russia by at least XNUMX years.
    Thus, the causes of low life expectancy in 1939 are as follows
    1) In Russia, the deeply archaic structure of the causes of death was preserved, it was formed under the decisive influence of exogenous (external) factors and caused high mortality in children and young adults. Even in the mid-twenties, in urban settlements of the European part of the USSR, more than 11% of each generation died from tuberculosis alone. Pneumonia, one of the main causes of child mortality, claimed even more lives (about 12%): 70 - 80% of those dying from this cause were up to 10 years old, and 40 - 50% - up to one year. A huge number of children died from infectious gastric diseases and other diseases, only the share of those who died from scarlet fever, diphtheria, dysentery and typhoid fever accounted for more than 6% of the generation. The role of exogenous causes of death in rural areas was probably even greater
    The second is political reprisals. The first decades of Soviet history were marked by bloody outbreaks of red and white terror, accompanied by demographic losses. The “red” political repressions acquired a particular scope from 1929 and were carried out on a massive scale until Stalin’s death in 1953. The number of victims of repression, including the premature deaths caused by them, goes to millions, but the exact number is still not known , and there is still a dull resistance to clarifying the truth.
    The third is famine, especially the famine of 1932-1933, when in the main grain regions of the country - in Ukraine, the North Caucasus, the Volga region, Crimea, and also in the nomadic regions of Kazakhstan, millions of people who produced food and fed the country remained in the full sense words without a piece of bread. At the same time, the country's leadership blocked almost all ways of helping the starving, and in many cases measures were taken to prevent them from leaving the devastated villages, where they could only die. In just the hungry 1933, the number of deaths increased, compared to the not-so-prosperous 1932, by 2,4 times, or by 6,7 million people.
    After the war, however, a general weakening of the economic and political tension in the country and some more specific shifts, such as the introduction of antibiotics into practice, made it possible to control many external factors of mortality and accelerated the formation of a new pathology structure (and, therefore, the reasons death), characteristic of the relatively late stages of the epidemiological transition. Diseases of the circulatory system and neoplasm came to the first place among the causes of death. By the middle of the 60s (due to official, perhaps, overestimated estimates), infant mortality had sharply decreased (to 26–27 per 1000 born both in the USSR and in Russia in fact) (less babies began to die, organized throughout in the country, uniformly arranged maternity hospitals began to save children with anti-biotics, and so the life expectancy increased), and life expectancy in the USSR increased to 66 years for men and 74 years for women, in Russia, respectively, to 65 and 73. The USSR entered finally The “club” is a country with a low mortality rate for that time (average life expectancy of 65 years or more). At the beginning of the 60s, among the 35 st years with the highest life expectancy, he occupied 22nd place, outstripping even such countries as Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Japan.
    It was all about babies and maternity hospitals, not healthy men of military age: normally, if he did not die in infancy and adolescence, it means he will continue to live for a long time.
    Therefore, natural decline after the war should be among men of military age, calculated differently.
    Let us check by comparison with the 1959 census, with the 1979 census:

    13 year olds
    men -1130471


    15 – 19 Feet
    20 – 24 Feet

    25 – 29 Feet

    30 – 34 Feet

    35 – 39 Feet

    40-4 4

    45 – 49 Feet

    Total: men --51 205 819

    Census 1979

    33 year old men --- 1028090
    34 men --- 935120


    7647063 people


    9233196 people


    7869524 people


    7358632 people


    3694159 men


    3004216 men


    3172418 men

    Total: men - 43 942 418

    The difference: 7 people. Let's call this number, "the number of supermortality of men in the USSR in peacetime." Suppose that they all died from various "peaceful" reasons from May 263, 401 to the time of the 9 census, even, and not from 1945.

    25,505 - 7,263 = 18,242 million people. But, obviously, not all of them are dead soldiers.
    During the famine in 1946/1947, 1 million people died, usually during the famine 60% of men and 40% of women die. So, 600 thousand men died, of which draft age, at the maximum, could be no more than 300 thousand. ..
    After the end of World War II, the Red Army in August and early September 1945 launched a short-term military campaign against Japan, which was on the eve of the collapse. According to official figures, the losses of the Soviet Armed Forces during this campaign amounted to 12 dead and missing and 031 wounded and sick. Allied with the USSR, Mongolian troops lost 24 killed and missing and 425 wounded and sick. There are no reliable data on the losses of the Japanese and allied Manchu troops in this campaign killed and wounded. As a result of the surrender of the Japanese army, 72 thousand Japanese troops and soldiers of the allied Japan of the Manchu troops were captured. Of this number, about 125 thousand died in Soviet captivity.

    After the end of World War II, Soviet troops participated in the Korean War of 1950-1953, mainly as military advisers and pilots. During the war, according to official figures, 299 soldiers and officers of the Soviet Army died. In Algeria in 1954-1962 and later 25 Soviet soldiers died for various reasons,
  5. Vladimir296
    7 February 2012 17: 05
    In general, there is no myth!
    1. 0
      6 September 2023 05: 52
      Let's say so. Let's say someone decided to create horror and reported this proportion as 1:5. Does this somehow diminish the feat of our soldiers? And excuse me, author, I didn’t read it very carefully, but why such strange calculations? Who was captured and who was not. A person does not die twice. If a person returns from captivity, it is still one combat unit. And no one counted him twice. Where are the boys who take credit for taking a couple of years to get to the front? Where are the children holding up boxes to reach the headstock of the lathe and those who died at the factory. Where are the women: civilian and military. And by the way, what does this have to do with how many times the soldier was called up? After captivity, he most likely ended up in prison and in a penal battalion. And no one considered this cannon fodder at all. As in the film of the same name, the captain shouted: “I don’t count the dead, I count the living. By fingers.” How many partisans died, whom no one counted either. How many people fought without documents? And you don’t need to tell me that this is impossible. What is this article even for? Prove to everyone that we are stupid people and the Americans won the war? And I apologize to Vladimir296. For unknown reasons, it was not possible to write a separate comment, only as a response to someone.