The Great War in Numbers

Seventy-million men from 40 countries, were mobilised to fight around the world, from the trenches of the Western Front to the Middle East and Africa. There were more bullets fired, more bombs dropped, more men killed, more money borrowed and spent than in any war before. 

It was a war of numbers: men, ammunition, food – quantity was the difference between victory and defeat, and for the first time in human history, everything was recorded in exacting detail: 762,000 Britons enlisted in the first four weeks of the war; 980,000 ‘war’ horses shipped to Europe from America; the life expectancy of a WW1 pilot was only 15 flight hours; the cost of bullets for one day of fighting in 1918 was £3,800,000 – in today’s money that’s £237,500,000. The first World war was the first war fought in the air, the first war to use tanks and the first war to deploy chemical weapons on a mass scale. For the first time, battle wounds accounted for more deaths than disease, until the arrival of the ‘Spanis Flu’. By 1918, 60% of US deaths were attributed to flu and more than 40% of the US Navy had fallen ill. Below are some other WW1 facts in numbers:- 

SOLDIERS DIED: 9.7 million

SOLDIERS WOUNDED: 21.2 million

6,500 soldiers, died every day of the war, on average

70% of all battle casualties were caused by artillery weapons.

6.6 million civilians died in the war, including 2 million in Russia alone

Prisoners of War and Missing Soldiers: 7.5 million

240 Men took six hours to build a 250 meter trench.

25,000 miles of trenches dug on the Western Front.

£100 million lent to Britain by America for the war.

2 Billion letters sent between British families and soldiers fighting.

9 million food parcels sent to prisoners of war by the British Red Cross.

627 Servicemen were awarded the Victoria Cross.

185,000 British Troops taken Prisoner.

1 million men shipped back to Britain due to serious illness.

240,000 British Soldiers had limbs amputated.

80,000 British soldiers suffered shell shock.

20,000 British soldiers suffered ‘Trench Foot’

100,000 soldiers gassed in fighting.

110,000 tons of poison gas was used, resulting in 500,000 casualties.

6 weeks – life expectancy of a Junior Officer in the trenches

60,000 British Casualties on the the first day of the Battle of the Somme – 1st July 1916.

3,600 British soldiers killed per day in the five month Somme offensive

400 rounds per minute fired by a German machine gun.

150 yards – typical width of ‘No-Man’s’ land.

2,000 British war cemetries on the old Western Front.

53 British villages suffered no war deaths. They were called ‘Thankful Villages’

8.9 million British Troops deployed.

30,000 aircraft built by UK factories per year.

8,200 Tanks produced bythe war’s end

500,000 carrier pidgeons were used to carry messages along the front.

1 million men enlisted in the British Army by January 1915.

250,000 soldiers lied about their age to enlist in Britain.

1 in seven weeks spent by a British soldier on the front line.

2 weeks a year leave was given to soldiers in the British Army.

5p basic daily pay for soldiers.

16,000 Conscientious Objectors refused to fight.

11 German Spies were executed by Britsih authorities.

1.5 million Armenians were killed by Turkey’s Ottoman Empire in genocide.

3.5 million standard Lee Enfield rifles were built in Britain.

5,554 Allied ships were sunk by U-Boats.

190,000 mines laid in waters around Britain.

1 billion artillery shells fired on the Western Front.

1 tonne of explosives fired, per square meter, of Western Front territory.

812 tonnes of cordite produced per week in Gretna factory, Scotland.

160 tonnes of munitions found in the fields on the old Ypres front in 2012.

400 female factory workers died from over exposure to TNT explosives.

6,000 Belgium civilians killed in 1914 by the German army.

200,000 Belgian refugees came to Britain.

557 people killed by German Zeppelin raids.

3 million acres of farmland created in Britain to prevent famine.

 1,000  Daily average caloric intake for German adult civilians Jan 1918.

103 German airship and bomber raids on Great Britain.

675 Allied air raids on Germany

1.3 million Indian troops served in the war, including 100,000 Sikhs, 800,000 Hindu troops and 400,000 Muslims. 62,060 were killed in action. More than 1,000 of them lost their lives at Gallipoli and nearly 700,000 sepoys fought in Mesopotamia. 8 VC’s were won by the Indian Army.

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