Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Of those, 73,000 were from the United States, 83,000 from Britain and Canada. Around 11,000 Allied aircraft, 7,000 ships and boats, and thousands of other vehicles were involved in the invasion.


When we talk of ‘casualties’, this is generally accepted to include all those who are killed, wounded, missing in action (bodies not identified) and those combatants taken as prisoners of war. To this day there does not exist an official and finite quantity for D-Day casualties; the main reason for this was the sudden and dramatic circumstance not allowing records to be kept. The rapidly shifting scenes and varied combat sites all along the coastal area made accurate accountancy of casualty rates impossible. Many combat troops were misplaced amongst different units, and wounded personnel were moved quickly with a proper medical priority causing disregard for counting.

During the preparation period and run-up to D-Day, Allied air forces lost nearly 12,000 men in over 2,000 aircraft. Although this effort paved the way for the success of the Landings, the casualty figures are unlikely to be included under that heading.

The original but broad allied casualty figure for D-Day itself is estimated at 10,000 men, including 2,500 killed in action.

More recent studied analysis carried out in the United States has significantly uplifted this figure. A listing of individual names leads to a more accurate assessment of a total American Armed Forces death toll of 2,499 on that first day, with a further 1,915 of other allied nationalities including mainly British. In round figures, it is believed the British took 1,000 casualties on Sword Beach and a further 1,000 on Gold Beach. Other significant British losses were 700 killed and wounded during the airborne assault. Canadian losses on Juno Beach are recorded as 340 killed, and a further 574 wounded.

American casualties were the most severe at Omaha Beach where it is believed the 1st & 29th Divisions suffered 2,000 casualties. By comparison, casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light at 197, including 60 missing. In savage irony, this death toll is significantly less than the lives lost in training at Slapton Sands

Taking a wider view, during the Battle of Normandy over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing. This figure includes around 210,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 killed amongst the ground forces and a further 16,000 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. German losses of around 200,000 were killed or wounded; a further 200,000 were taken prisoner during the Campaign. Looking just at the fierce fighting which took place around the Falaise Pocket (or Falaise Gap) in August 1944, the German Army suffered losses in excess of 90,000 men, including those taken prisoner.

French civilian casualties are even more difficult to measure accurately. Most civilian casualties resulted from Allied bombing, especially in and around Caen. It is believed that between 15,000 and 20,000 French civilians were killed during the Normandy Campaign, although many more fled their homes to escape the main combat area. Those who were able to return found extensive destruction left in the wake of the allied advance to Paris.

The death rate was very significantly held down by advances in battle field medical treatment. Medical personnel were brought into the combat area within a few days of D-Day. Facilities were crude and makeshift, with casualty clearing stations erected in large canvas tents.


Britain’s Normandy landing casualties and those of the wider Normandy Campaign total approximately 65,000 killed, missing, or wounded. The total number of British troops killed in Normandy is around 11,000. 54,000 were wounded or went missing. This number does not include naval or air force casualties under British command. Adding these in, the total number of British servicemen killed during the Normandy Campaign to over 22,400.


By number, Canada deployed the lowest number of troops of the major attacking forces on D-Day, but as a result, took a much higher proportion of losses.
14, 000 Canadians came ashore on D-Day, resulting in roughly 1,100 casualties including roughly 380 killed. Many thousand more Canadians would flood into Normandy as the Allies forged inland. At the forefront of some of the most savage battles of Normandy, the Canadians had taken 18,700 casualties by the end of August 1944. Over 5,000 were killed.


The United States, proportionally, lost the largest number of Men on D-Day of any single Allied nation. Of the 4,400 or so Allied soldiers killed during the Normandy Landings, 2,500 were American. The Americans had to face Omaha Beach, the toughest and most well-defended landing zone and it was here where they took the most casualties. Conversely, Utah Beach saw the lowest loss of life of the five Normandy Beaches. Initially, Commonwealth troops outnumbered US personnel in Normandy, but by August and the closing of the Falaise Gap, they were the most numeric force. This meant US losses were second highest of all combatant nations in Normandy. By the campaign’s end, 29,000 US servicemen had been killed. A further 106,000 were wounded or were missing.


German casualties of D-Day and the whole Normandy campaign are higher than the attacking Allies. While the Allies were able to push off the landing beaches and breach the Atlantic Wall on D-Day, the Wehrmacht was able to keep the Allies bottled up in Normandy for two full months before capitulation. At this time, the German troops in Normand were under near-constant attack. Allied Aircraft prowled the skies with impunity, while the Allies had enough men and armour to keep pressing attacks. By the end of the Normandy Campaign, Germany had committed some 640,000 troops to Normandy. 30,000 had been killed and another 80,000 wounded. 210,000 were either taken prisoner or went missing. German D-Day casualties are estimated at between 4,000 and 9,000 men killed, wounded, or missing.


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