4K Casualties in Iraq & Afgan


British forces have suffered more than 4000 casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the equivalent of one in 24 of all trained soldiers in the Army, The Herald can reveal.

The roughly 4% attrition rate includes 263 dead and 635wounded in action between the two war zones and 2876 hospitalised with non-battle injuries and disease. It does not include frontline troops with minor shrapnel wounds who have been patched up by their own unit medics and remained on duty.

Of the fatalities, 197 have died by enemy hands and the rest in accidents or from other causes such as disease, heart attacks or suicide.

The casualty toll rises to between 10% and 11% for the average infantry unit fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, about the same level as that experienced by British troops at the height of the Second World War.

The frightening intensity of combat in Helmand was exposed last year when the Royal Anglians revealed that they had fired one million rounds, killed 1,028 Taliban and lost nine of their own men in a six-month tour of duty.

The 650-strong regiment sustained a further 135 wounded or seriously injured in the fighting in the Sangin Valley, having to "winkle out the Taliban at the point of a bayonet", according to Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Carver, its commanding officer.

By the end of the tour, the Anglians had lost almost 22% of their manpower to enemy action, over twice the "going rate" for battle casualties.

One officer who spoke to The Herald said: "The real story lies in the number of wounded with life-threatening injuries. It's more than half of those listed as sustaining battlefield wounds. At least 50 men have had limbs amputated, lost the use of arms or legs or lost eyes since 2003."

Although the Ministry of Defence is reluctant to release details of individuals' wounds unless forced to do so by a compensation claim, more than 30 soldiers are known to have lost legs. Four or five have suffered double amputations and another five have had arms amputated. At least two soldiers have lost the use of limbs and 10 have also lost eyes, while another six have been diagnosed with irreparable brain damage.

The Herald has learned that one soldier serving with 52(Scottish) Brigade in Helmand as part of the current deployment has lost both legs.

The official MoD figures concede that 323 of the 635 wounded by hostile action have been seriously or very seriously hurt. This denotes life-threatening wounds and covers everything from a bullet impact to the traumatic amputation of legs or arms in a roadside bomb blast.

However, the killed-in-action rate for US troops in the Iraq-Afghanistan wars is half what it was in the Second World War and one--third less than Vietnam and Desert Storm, according to the Pentagon, largely due to battlefield medical teams stabilising the wounded and getting them to doctors faster than their predecessors.

Briefing papers show the American battlefield death rate is 12.5% for current wars compared with 25.3% for the Second World War and 18.6% for Vietnam/Desert Storm.

Slightly misleading headline as 2800 are non battlefield casualties but still big figures.
Sickness as opposed to battlefield injuries has always been the main remover of troops from the battlefield.
I understand that 'Trenchfoot' was the main culprit back in the Falklands.


I agree John.
My father in law, a Chindit, told me how malaria got more of them in the jungle than the Japs, so nothing changes.
My father, Gunner, Burma 43-45, eventually passed away in his late 70's. His kidneys where ate away by Malaria contracted in Burma in 44, Kawba Valley.

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