How Well Do You Know the Numbers and Statistics of WWI?

John Miller

How many American troops died during the Great War?

America was late to the party in Europe, and you know, being late isn’t always a bad thing. The Americans lost more than 115,000 men in the war, but as you’re about to see, those numbers were a pittance compared to the losses of other nations.

The first day Battle of the Somme was the deadliest single day of the war. How many casualties did the British suffer on that ONE day?

The horror of the first day of the Somme cannot be overstated. The British alone suffered more than 57,000 dead and wounded on that day.

The Battle of the Somme lasted from July until November 1918. How many total casualties did the British suffer during that battle?

In the 140 days of fighting on the Somme, the British alone endured a mind-reeling 420,000 casualties. That’s about the total number of American fatalities in all of World War II.

Which of the following weapons caused the greatest number of casualties during WWI?

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Imagine being trapped in a trench on the front lines as artillery shells rain down, not for hours, but for days on end. It’s no wonder that artillery was the deadliest weapon of the war.

Which country had the most troops killed in WWI?

Germany’s aggression in the Great War did not go unpunished. The country lost nearly 1.8 million troops, more than any other single nation in the war.

How many total military deaths were there during the Great War?

From the trenches to the tank traps, WWI was a meat grinder that killed perhaps 11 million military men and women. Some historians peg the number at closer to 9 million, but you know, by the time you get to this level of casualties, who’s really counting an extra million or two?

Both sides used homing pigeons to ferry messages from place to place during the war. How many pigeons were in WWI?

Half a million homing pigeons carried vital messages around the front during the war. They are often (inaccurately) called carrier pigeons.

Which Central Powers country suffered the SECOND-most number killed during the war?

Like Germany, Austria-Hungary was bloodied horribly in the war. About 1.2 million troops were killed in the conflict.

By the end of of the 140-day Battle of the Somme, how far did the British advance?

The Somme was a lesson in the rigors of trench warfare — no one goes anywhere. After months of fighting and hundreds of thousands of casualties, the British advanced a lousy 6 miles.

How many countries were involved in the Great War?

Forty countries and many colonies participated in the war, which lasted from 1914 to 1919. By the time it was over, human beings would never look at war the same way again.

Which Allied nation had the most troops killed during the war?

Russia always seems to get the worst of things in terms of casualties. Of the Allies, Russia had the most troops killed in action, with about 1.7 million deaths.

The self-powered machine gun became a common weapon in WWI. What was the weapon’s effective range?

As if the artillery wasn’t bad enough, huge self-powered machine guns blasted no man’s land from every angle ... and from a tremendous range of 1,000 yards.

The Western Front stretched for about 470 miles. How many miles of trenches were there along this front?

In desperation, both sides dug trenches hoping to protect their troops. By the end of the war, the Western Front featured about 2,500 miles of trenches ... and it still wasn’t enough.

About how many civilians perished during the war?

Civilians stuck in the line of fire had zero luck in WWI. As many as 6 million innocents were killed by the strife of the war, due to everything from starvation to massacres.

The French suffered mightily in the war. What percentage of its total population did the country lose during the conflict?

France fought valiantly and suffered greatly. By the time the bombs stopped, 11% of the country’s population was dead and gone.

The first airplane was flown by the Wright Brothers 15 years before the war. How many planes were built by both sides in WWI?

Military leaders knew planes were going to be a tool of war ... so they set about building as many as possible. Both sides manufactured about 65,000 planes for the war effort.

True or false, did most military deaths in WWI result from diseases?

Nope. Prior to the 1900s, disease was a primary killer during war. But medical advances meant that battle itself was the number one killer in WWI.

Which disease caused about one-third of military deaths during the war?

When it rains, it pours. During WWI, a terrible Spanish flu pandemic swept over Earth, killing incredible numbers of people. That includes a third of the people who suited up for the war.

About how many casualties did chemical weapons cause?

Poison gases were en vogue during this industrialized killing party. About half a million troops were hurt or killed by chemicals ... and often these gases drifted the wrong way and injured the attackers.

Artillery-style weapons caused about ____ of all casualties.

And you wonder why shell shock was a thing. Trenches just weren’t enough to protect against the rain of steel and lead from artillery. About 70% of battlefield deaths resulted from artillery.

How many "kills" did a pilot have to notch to be considered an "ace"?

Fledgling air forces deployed thousands of men to the skies to murder their enemies. Those who tallied five or more kills were considered "aces," the best pilots around.

How many kills did the famous Red Baron of Germany tally during the war?

When the Red Baron was around, the sky was a hazardous place to be. The German superstar downed 80 enemy planes before being shot down himself in 1918.

Germany deployed about 400 U-boats in the war. How many ships did those U-boats sink?

Packs of U-boats caused mayhem all over the Atlantic, often running wild and unopposed. That’s how 400 German subs were able to sink about 5,500 Allied ships.

How many United Kingdom soldiers are buried at the site of the Battle of the Somme in unknown graves?

Imagine the quagmire of blood and mud at the Somme, along with the endless artillery fire. More than 70,000 U.K. soldiers died at the Somme and were buried, never to be placed in marked graves. Many of them were simply blasted to pieces, forever erased from this mortal realm.

The first British tanks in the war had a maximum speed of about _____.

WWI was the first war to see the use of tanks. The first British tanks could only go about 4 MPH, a moderate walking speed.

By 1918, what percentage of the U.S. Navy had contracted the Spanish flu?

The Spanish flu raged across the world infecting people in incredible numbers. By 1918, 40% of the entire U.S. Navy had contracted the disease. Many of those people died from the awful disease.

How many zeppelin airships did Germany deploy for bombing raids during the war?

Germany was sold on airships for war, making about 120 of zeppelins for bombing efforts. Many of those airships attacked England.

What percentage of American military personnel in Europe contracted sexually-transmitted disease during WWI?

Venereal disease was a major problem during WWI, and Americans weren’t exempt — about 10% of them caught VD while serving in Europe.

Which Allied nation had the FEWEST killed in action during the war?

Montenegro mobilized about 50,000 troops for the war. Three thousand of them did not make it home.

How many combined total casualties, including civilians, were there in WWI?

They don’t call them "world wars" for nothin’. The Great War was an unexpected bloodbath that left 41 million humans dead or wounded. And less than a generation later, things would get even worse.

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Image: British Official Photographer

About This Quiz

When the Central Powers and Allies sauntered in to World War I, they had no idea what they were really getting into. What started as a gentleman’s adventure quickly devolved into the world’s first truly industrialized killing fields, laying waste to men and machines in fits of gore that were — and still are — unimaginable. Do you know you know the bloody statistics of the Great War?

World War I wasn’t really the first global war, but it certainly brought murder and mayhem to new lows. Do you know which Central Powers country suffered the most casualties in the war? How about on the side of the Allies?

WWI featured newfangled killing machines paired with outdated military strategies … and the result was depressingly predictable. What’s more, civilians suffered by the droves, too. Do you know how many innocent people lost their lives as the war set their lives on fire?

Do you think you understand how effective the tools of death were during this conflict? The war introduced terrible new technologies that snuffed out lives from miles away. What do you really know about the misery of these weapons?

Millions of lives were lost and countless families were broken in World War I. Let’s see if you have any idea just how bad the Great War really was. Take our WWI statistics quiz now!

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