The Eastern Front: Casualties

In June 2009, I took a class at Montreal University titled Canadian Military History which brought me to France (as a part of the class) to visit battlefields where Canadian forces engaged either forces of the Hohenzollern monarchy during the Great War or of the Third Reich during the Second World War. During my visit of La Somme, one of the bloodiest battle of the Great War, we could walk in the fields and still find bullets, weapons, shells, helmets, belts and all sorts of military remnants (picture here of me with a cannon shell of unknown origin). This gives you an image of how extensive the destruction was. Well, imagine that rather than finding fields of spent ammunitions and supplies, we had instead found fields of human bones…

Then you can imagine how peasants in the Western part of Russia feel when they find human bones in what are now called “bonefields“. Posting data here on this blog on military history (amongst other things) is not sufficient to convey how terrible some realities are. In fact, it took only one single battle – the battle of Kursk in 1943 – for German casualties(201 000 according to Michael Carver’s The Warlords) to exceed those suffered in the campaign to conquer France and the Africa Campaign (154,740 and 102,000 according to McNab). After detailing this, you can now see this graph which illustrates the extent of German Losses (and Soviet losses) on the Eastern Front. You think this is terrible? Consider that at the same battle of Kursk, the Russians lost over 800,000 soldiers against the German. Overall, 27 millions Russians lost their lives during World War II according to Constatine Pleshakov’s Stalin’s Folly and the some 900,000 of those in the first twenty days of the German offensive…

Add-on (July 28th 7h45 PM) – My friend P-A Beaulieu sent me this link with illustrations of findings on the Eastern front (weapons, bones, various accessories of both German and Soviet origin)

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