The Astonishing Number Of Russian Casualties In WWII.

by Daniel Russ on March 10, 2010

Stalingrad Soviet Soldiers Fire Back At Germans 



When we talk about warfare we often have little to compare it with but Hollywood. But even Hollywood has barely depicted the the largest combat operation of all times: Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet union.  Sometimes what becomes a battle and what remains a combat operation is a matter of semantics. On June 22nd, 1941 at 0315 hours, a line that staged from the Southern Baltic to the southern plains of Bucharest moved Easterward. Pre empted by a 15 minute articllery barrage on far western Soviet outposts, the Germans fired 4,400 guns and then 3.2 million Nazis under arms, and 1.4 million Axis Allies, 700,000 horses, 500,000 vehicles, 65,00 tanks, 5,000 aircraft, and possibly a million slave labor all headed in the same direction. From the northern most staging line to the southern most, there were battles raging.   From the time that it began for the next four months, the numbers of Russians who were incloved, killed, or captured dwarfs the populations of most countries.

The total number of mobilized Soviets was 34, 476,000.

The total number of Soviet dead was around 28 million. (Compare that with 405,000, the total number if US casualties in WWII).

The total number of Russian POWs was 4 million.

Absolute War. Chris Bellamy, Knoff Purblishers, 2007.


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirill Zotov May 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you for this information. This number of 30.000.000 is highly suppressed by Hollywood and Media.

Louis August 28, 2017 at 7:09 am

Although I do not dispute the numbers, I do want to point out that the casualty figures that you give are for the next four years, not months, like you state in the article.
But I do agree with the fact that WWII was lost by the Nazis on the Eastfront.

PapayaSF October 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

I question those numbers for several reasons. In the immediate aftermath of WWII, the USSR reported distinctly lower numbers. Later they seem to have realized that they could get more sympathy with a higher body count. Higher numbers of “war deaths” could also be used to cover up the massive number of deaths from the purges.

Also, the Soviets had penal battalions whose casualties they cared little about. They were forced to do things like “clearing” minefields by running through them.

Finally, let’s not forget that the USSR fought with the Nazis from September 1939 until June 1941. That should reduce any credit they get for fighting the Nazis afterwards.

Joe Belladonna September 22, 2018 at 7:48 am

The Second World War was won by the USSR. If there was not their fight, the nazys would be under the control of the whole world (like they are not :-). It’s a fact, but your numbers are incorrect. The United States had significantly less casualties than you stated. In the report “Army battle casualties and nonbattle deaths in world war II”, the Department of the Army specified that from 7.12.1984. until 31.12.1946. about 234874 people died in battles in all world theaters (Europe, Pacific, Mediterranean …) and about 83400 people died out of combat. That’s the number of 318274 dead Americans in WWII.

Also, these numbers for the USSR are for all 1941-1945, not just for 1941.

@PapaiaSF an infantry battalion consists of about 400 – 600 soldiers. So, you claim that the Soviets had 50.000 penal battalions??? You must be joking or you are from Ukraine.

Daniel Russ September 23, 2018 at 7:23 am

Well I called the Army, talked to a historian and he said you are wrong. US deaths WWII – 405,399.

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