World War I - Facts, figures and Trivia

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It was called ‘The Great War’ and ‘The War to end all Wars’. Later it became known simply as World War I.

From 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918 more than 70 million military personnel were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.

It was a war fought on a global scale and would result in the deaths of over nine million combatants and seven million civilians.

It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved. It would also contribute to the start of the Second World War only twenty-one years later.

Here are some facts, figures and trivia from World War I.

Largest armed forces of World War I

1. USSR - 12,000,000

2. Germany - 11,000,000

3. British Empire - 8,904,467

4. France - 8,410,000

5. Austria-Hungary - 7,800,000

6. Italy - 5,615,000

7. USA - 4,355,000

8. Turkey - 2,850,000

9. Bulgaria - 1,200,000

10. Japan - 800,000

Smallest armed forces of World War I

1. Montenegro - 50,000

2. Portugal - 100,000

3 .Greece - 230,000

4. Belgium - 267,000

5. Serbia - 707,343

6. Romania - 750,000


Greatest military losses of World War I

1. Germany - 1,773,700

2. Russia - 1,700,000

3. France - 1,357,800

4. Austria-Hungry - 1,200,000

5. British Empire - 908,371

6. Italy - 650,000

7. Romania - 335,706

8. Turkey - 325,000

9. USA - 116,516

10. Bulgaria - 87,500


Greatest merchant shipping losses in World War I

1. UK - 2,038 ships sunk

2. Italy - 228 ships sunk

3. France - 213 ships sunk

4. Germany - 188 ships sunk

5. Denmark - 126 ships sunk

6. Sweden - 124 ships sunk

7. Greece - 115 ships sunk

8. USA - 93 ships sunk

9. Netherlands -  74 ships sunk

10. Spain - 70 ships sunk


Top Air Aces of World War I

1. Rittmeister Manfred von Richthofen (Germany) 80

2. Capitaine Rene Fonck (France) 75

3. Major William Bishop (Canadian) 72

4. Major Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock (British) 68

5. Major Raymond Collishaw (Canadian) & Oberleutnant Ernst Udel (Germany) 62

6. Major James McCudden (British) 57

7. Captain Anthony Beauchamp-Proctor (South African), Captain Donald MacLaren (Canadian) & Capitaine George Guynemer (France) 54

World War I Trivia

PROTOTYPE: “Little Willie” was the first prototype tank. It carried a crew of three and could travel as fast as 4.8 km/h.

HOME SWEET HOME: Life in the trenches was often muddy and miserable.


IN FLANDERS FIELD: No Man’s Land, the area between the trenches was littered with shellholes, barbed wire, and bodies.

GOING OVER THE TOP: Attacks on opposition trenches would normally lead to heavy casualties. Most men were cut down before they had gone more than a few steps.

DOGFIGHT: British SE5 fighter planes swoop down to attack a German formation.

CASUALTIES OF WAR: British troops that have been blinded by gas are led to a first aid station.

REST IN PEACE: More than nine million combatants died during World War I. As did seven million civilians.

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