List of battles with most United States military fatalities

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Arlington House also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. Section 32 of the cemetery is in the foreground.

The following is a list of the most lethal battles fought by the military of the United States of America. This list shows battles, sieges and offensives where the number of U.S. soldiers killed was higher than 1000. The battles that reached that number of deaths in the field are so far limited to the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and one battle during the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive (January 30 to September 23, 1968). The battle that resulted in the most U.S. military deaths was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (September 26 to November 11, 1918) where 26,277 soldiers were killed fighting against the German Empire. The bloodiest single day in American history was during the Battle of Antietam when 3,654 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed on September 17, 1862.[1][A 1][2] However, for the United States military specifically, the bloodiest single day is June 6, 1944.[citation needed]

The origins of the United States military can be traced to the Americans' fight for independence from their former colonial power, Great Britain, in the War for independence (1775–83). The three bloodiest conflicts have been American Civil War (1861–65), World War I (1917–1918) and World War II (1941–45). Other significant conflicts involving the United States ordered by casualties include,Korean War (1950–1953), Vietnam War (1964–1973), the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) and various conflicts in the Middle East. For most of its existence, America has been involved in one or another military conflict.[3]

The term Casualty in warfare can often be confusing. It often does not refer to those that are killed on the battlefield; rather, it refers to those who can no longer fight. This can include disabled by injuries, disabled by psychological trauma, captured, deserted, or missing. A casualty is just a soldier who is no longer available for the immediate battle or campaign, the major consideration in combat; the number of casualties is simply the number of members of a unit who are not available for duty. For example, during the Seven Days Battles in the American Civil War (June 25 to July 1, 1862) there were 5,228 killed, 23,824 wounded and 7,007 missing or taken prisoner for a total of 36,059 casualties.[4][A 2] The word casualty has been used in a military context since at least 1513.[5] In this article the numbers killed refer to those killed in action, killed by disease or someone who died from their wounds.

Battle, siege, or offensive Conflict Date Estimated number killed Opposing force References
Meuse-Argonne Offensive World War I September 26 to November 11, 1918 26,277 killed German EmpireGermany [6]
Battle of the Bulge World War II December 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945 19,276 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [7]
Northern France Campaign World War II July 25 to September 14, 1944 17,844 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [8]
Invasion of Normandy World War II June 6 to July 24, 1944 16,293 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [8]
Central Europe Campaign World War II March 22 to May 8, 1945 15,009 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [8]
Battle of Okinawa World War II April 1 to June 22, 1945 Over 14,000~ killed Empire of JapanJapan [9][10]
Battle of Hürtgen Forest World War II September 19, 1944 to February 17, 1945 Over 12,000~ killed Nazi GermanyGermany [A 3]
Battle of Luzon World War II January 9 to August 15, 1945 10,640 killed Empire of JapanJapan [12]
North Apennines Campaign World War II September 10, 1944 to April 4, 1945 8,486 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [8]
Operation Dragoon World War II August 15 to September 14, 1944 7,301 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [11]
Guadalcanal Campaign World War II August 7, 1942, to February 9, 1943 7,100 killed Empire of JapanJapan [13]
Alsace Campaign World War II November 13, 1944 to February 19, 1945 7,000 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [14]
Battle of Iwo Jima World War II February 19 to March 26, 1945 6,821 killed Empire of JapanJapan [15]
Lorraine Campaign World War II September 1 to December 18, 1944 6,657 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [16]
Battle of Anzio World War II January 22 to June 5, 1944 5,538 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [8]
Battle of Pusan Perimeter Korean War August 4 to September 18, 1950 4,599 killed North KoreaNorth Korea [17]
Chinese Second Phase Offensive in North Korea Korean War November 25 to December 15, 1950 4,538 killed[A 4] ChinaChina [18]
Battle of Saint-Mihiel World War I September 12 to 15, 1918 Over 4,000~ killed German EmpireGermany [19]
Battle of Leyte World War II October 17 to December 26, 1944 3,593 killed Empire of JapanJapan [A 5]
Battle of Saipan World War II June 15 to July 9, 1944 3,426 killed Empire of JapanJapan [21]
Tet Offensive Vietnam War January 30 to September 23, 1968 3,178 Killed North VietnamNorth Vietnam [A 6]
Battle of Gettysburg American Civil War July 1 to July 3, 1863 3,155 killed[A 7] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [23]
Battle of Chosin Reservoir Korean War November 27 to December 13, 1950 2,840~ killed[A 8] ChinaChina [24]
Tunisian Campaign World War II November 12, 1942 to May 13, 1943 2,838 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [11]
Battle of Sicily World War II July 9 to August 17, 1943 2,811 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [25]
Battle of Leyte Gulf World War II October 23 to 25, 1944 2,800 killed Empire of JapanJapan [26]
Battle of Spotsylvania American Civil War May 8 to May 21, 1864 2,725 killed[A 9] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
D-day (first day of Operation Overlord) World War II June 6, 1944 2,499 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [28]
Pearl Harbor Attack World War II December 7, 1941 2,403 killed[A 10] Empire of JapanJapan [29]
Battle of Peleliu World War II September 15 to November 25, 1944 2,336 killed Empire of JapanJapan [30]
Battle of the Wilderness American Civil War May 5 to May 7, 1864 2,246 killed[A 11] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Battle of Antietam American Civil War September 17, 1862 2,108 killed[A 12] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Battle of Aachen World War II September 12 to October 21, 1944 2,000 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [31]
Second Battle of the Marne World War I July 15 to August 6, 1918 1,926 killed[A 13] German EmpireGermany [33]
Po Valley Offensive World War II April 5 to May 8, 1945 1,914 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [11]
Battle of Cold Harbor American Civil War May 21 to June 12, 1864 1,844 killed[A 14] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Battle of Guam World War II July 21 to August 10, 1944 1,777 killed Empire of JapanJapan [34]
Battle of Tarawa World War II November 20 to November 23, 1943 1,759 killed[A 15] Empire of JapanJapan [35]
Battle of Shiloh American Civil War April 6 to April 7, 1862 1,754 killed[A 16] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Second Battle of Bull Run American Civil War August 26 to August 30, 1862 1,747 killed[A 17] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Seven Days Battles American Civil War June 25 to July 1, 1862 1,734 killed[A 18] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [4]
Battle of Stones River American Civil War December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863 1,730 killed[A 19] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Operation Undertone World War II March 15 to March 24, 1945 1,680~ killed[A 20] Nazi GermanyGermany [36]
Battle of Chickamauga American Civil War September 19 to September 20, 1863 1,656 killed[A 21] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Battle of Salerno World War II September 9 to September 16, 1943 1,635~ killed[A 22] Nazi GermanyGermany [37]
Battle of Chancellorsville American Civil War April 30 to May 6, 1863 1,606 killed[A 23] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [27]
Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River Korean War November 25 to December 2, 1950 1,489 killed[A 24] ChinaChina [38]
Task Force Faith Korean War November 27 to December 2, 1950 1,450~ killed[A 25] ChinaChina [39]
Operation Grenade World War II February 23 to March 10, 1945 1,330 killed Nazi GermanyGermany [40]
Battle of Fredericksburg American Civil War December 11 to December 15, 1862 1,284 killed[A 26] Confederate States of AmericaConfederacy [41]
Battle of Belleau Wood World War I June 1 to June 26, 1918 1,062 killed German EmpireGermany [42]
Battle of Mindanao World War II March 10 to August 15, 1945 1,041 killed[A 27] Empire of JapanJapan [43][44]

See also[edit]

Annotations[edit]

  1. ^ Union and Confederate numbers added together
  2. ^ Union and Confederate numbers added together
  3. ^ 50,410 Americans died in the Rhineland from September 1944 - March 21, 1945 [11]
  4. ^ U.S. Army KIA+Army POW died+Army MIA died+Marine KIA+Navy KIA
    1183+1167+1410+763+15=4,538
  5. ^ 16,233 died in Leyete, Luson, and Southern Philippines during October 17, 1944 - July 4, 1945 [20]
  6. ^ 16,592 American died in 1968 [22]
  7. ^ 3,155 Union and 3,903 Confederate
  8. ^ 836 Marines killed + 2,000 US Army killed[24]
  9. ^ 2,725 Union[27] and 1,515 Confederacy
  10. ^ 2,008 Navy KIA + 109 Marines + 218 Army + 68 civilians
    2008+109+218+68 [29]
  11. ^ 2,246 Union[27] and 1,495 Confederacy
  12. ^ 2,108 Union[27] and 1,546 Confederacy
  13. ^ 12,000 casualties including KIA, WIA, POW [32]
  14. ^ 1,844 Union[27] and 788 Confederacy
  15. ^ 984 Marines + 88 MIA + 687 Navy
    984+ 88+ 687 [35]
  16. ^ 1,754 Union[27] and 1,728 Confederacy
  17. ^ 1,747 Union[27] and 1,305 Confederacy
  18. ^ 1,734 Union and 3,494 Confederacy[4]
  19. ^ 1,730 Union[27] and 1,294 Confederacy
  20. ^ 3rd Army lost approximately 5,200 men, including 681 killed + 7th Army lost about 12,000 men including fewer than 1,000 killed [36]
  21. ^ 1,656 Union[27] and 2,312 Confederacy
  22. ^ 5th Army 788 killed + US Navy 296 killed + 551 missing presumed drowned [37]
  23. ^ 1,606 Union[27] and 1,724 Confederacy
  24. ^ 676 killed + 813 Missing presumed dead
  25. ^ Of the 2,500 soldiers in Task Force Faith only 1,050 made it back. Of those only 385 were able-bodied[39]
  26. ^ 1,284 Union and 608 Confederacy[41]
  27. ^ Operation VICTOR IV, the seizure of Mindanao's Zamboanga Peninsula occurred at the same time as Battle of Mindanao.
    221 killed and 665 wounded on Zamboanga Peninsula[43]
    820 killed and 2,880 wounded on E. Mindanao [44]

Bibliography[edit]

Notes

References