Casualty Rates

Having done a few test games now the casualty rates of the battles seems a little off. So to get to a more realistic casualties per hit ratio I’m going to go through some battles and show the casualties and their percentage against the starting number of men in that battle. From here we can then tweak our hit numbers as testing continues to make them more realistic.

BattleArmyStarting StrengthCasualties% Killed or Wounded
CorunnaBritish16,0009005.6%
CorunnaFrench16,0007004.4%
MarengoFrench24,0004,70019.6%
MarengoAustria31,0006,00019.3%
TalaveraFrench46,1007,40016.0%
TalaveraAnglo-Spanish55,6007,50013.5%
AusterlitzFrench75,0008,30011.1%
AusterlitzRusso-Austrian95,00016,00016.8%
BorodinoFrench190,00040,00021.1%
BorodinoRussian160,00045,00028.1%
WaterlooFrench73,00019,00026.0%
WaterlooCoalition118,00024,00020.3%
Jena-AuerstadtFrench66,00012,00018.2%
Jena-AuerstadtPrussian117,00041,00035.0%
LeipzigFrench195,00038,00019.5%
LeipzigCoalition365,00054,00014.8%
BailénFrench24,4003,00012.5%
BailénSpanish30,0001,0003.3%
WagramFrench172,00040,00023.3%
WagramAustrian173,00041,30023.9%
TOTAL2,042,100409,80020.1%
Casualty Rates from Various Battles

From the table above we can see that casualties would equate to roughly 20% of an armies strength, which we can then use in our games in the future. The next step is to establish how many hits are made during an average game, so that the 20% can be spread out across these to give a more representational figure of the number of casualties.

There’s a lot more work to do on this via play testing, but it should yield fairly accurate results for those wanting to re-fight and compare to historical engagements.

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3 thoughts on “Casualty Rates

  1. Some of those casulty figures look very odd. It looks like Allied prisoners are generally counted (e.g. Jena) but French prisoners aren’t (Leipzig, Waterloo). The figures for Talavera look about 1000 too high for the Allies, even if one includes the Spaniards who deserted before the battle. The Waterloo figures look wrong in any case. The Corunna figures look very low for the French. Napoleonic historiography has been bedevilled with very inaccurate estimates of the other sides’ losses (by all sides) and deliberate falsification of own casualties (specifically by the French).

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    1. That’s very interesting, I just admit that the data came from Wikipedia itself without any further research being carried out (I realise Wikipedia isn’t that reliable). Would you disagree with an estimate of 20% casualties in general?

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      1. No, 20% looks okay generally (not including post-battle prisoners). Archer Jones looked at this in his “History of the Art of War in the Western World” and found something like an average of 13% casaulties for the victors and 22% casualties for the defeated as an average (although this would include prisoners in the immediate aftermath – this was also relatively stable throughout the C18-early C19). Not inclusive of those, 25-30% casualties spread across an Army looks like about the maximum possible for the victors, although some individual units might lose more.

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