In this balance sheet we shall recapitulate the losses that the belligerents suffered during the battle of the Netherlands (10-18 May, 1940) and its aftermath.
The figures given are from the most reputed sources [E.H. Brongers, Volksbund, NIMH] and count as the most recent ones available. Figures include executions, accidents, friendly fire incidents, suicides and natural death during combat situations.
The German losses given by these reputed sources (2,032 Germans killed) are partially disputed by the author (ca. 1,700 Germans killed). The figures of the reputed sources are compared to those of the author. The reader may follow the lead of his choice.
For good order sake it is important to know that this balance incorporates the figures and losses in the province Zeeland (10-18 May) too, as well as navy and airforce losses.
The Dutch army [including airforce and navy] had lost 2,332 men, almost all killed in action. Out of a strength of about 280,000, the loss of 2,332 men represents 0,85 %.
This total loss could be further broken down into the following parameters:
|Army||Incl. coastal arty and air defences||2,114|
|Army airforce||Flying units and ground-support||79|
|Navy||Off shore units, incl. brown water||101|
|Navy||On shore personnel, incl. marines||32|
|Navy airforce||Incl. ground-support||6|
Of the non-fataly wounded around 7,000 had been wounded to a degree that they had to undergo treatment. Of these 5,900 had suffered medium to light wounds or injury. Around 1,100 had suffered severe wounds. Obviously mortally wounded or severly wounded who had eventually succumbed their wounds are included in the total death toll number. Quite a considerable number of wounded would remain disabled to some degree. A few hundred were severly disabled, missing one or more substantial limbs.
Many wounded and non-wounded would suffer from lasting effects such life long lasting psycho-shock [extreme PTSS] or traumatic stresses not diagnosed as PTSS.
Although, in comparison to the casualties that this world war would still demand of the fighting nations, the Dutch sacrifice can be diminished to a fraction, the figure was relatively high when one would compare it to the German Westfeldzug period.
The Belgian army - that was more than twice as large as the Dutch army - suffered almost 6,000 men KIA in 18 days of war [exactly 1% of its strength]. Percentage-wise a remarkable match. But the Belgian army fought more than triple the Dutch period, hence [in comparison] the Belgian army 'only' suffered one-third of the Dutch losses.
Over 2,000 Dutch citizens had paid the highest price and many thousands had suffered wounds. Nearly half that figure had fallen victim in Rotterdam and vicinity, during the fighting and especially as a direct or indirect result of the 14 May bombardment. Elsewhere civilians had suffered in basically all disputed areas as well as at locations where the tactical Luftwaffe had been extremely active, such as the provinces Brabant and Zeeland. But it were not only German projectiles that cost civil lifes. Also Dutch, British and French doing took some toll.
Over 125,000 Dutch civilians had lost their homes permanently. Especially cities like Rotterdam, Middelburg, Vlissingen and Wageningen had suffered immensely under the war efforts of all parties, but also other communities like Scherpenzeel, Barneveld, Den Helder, Kapelle, Valkenburg, Breda, Etten, Zevenbergen, Rhenen, Mill, etc. had seen a lot of destruction. The damage and loss due to inundations also contributed to the high price the Dutch civil sector had paid.
Again the remarkable fact that the Belgian civilians lost 6,000 dead during 18 days of war. That was a comparable relative figure in this instance, for both countries had about the same number of inhabitants.
About the French losses in the Netherlands there are no exact figures, only guestimates mostly related to the ones buried in Dutch soil during or shortly after the German campaign.
The French army fought its most intens battles on Dutch soil in the province Zeeland. It leads to 154 registered French KIA, including Général de Brigade Deslaurens [commander of 60.DI] and 3 men of the l'Armee de l'Air. In the province Noord-Brabant one comes to 62 registered KIA, including four men of the l'Armee de l'Air. In total 216 men killed.
Casulaties on board French navy ships and possibly on board planes that either crashed on Belgian soil or returned to base (multiple crew planes) are not listed.
The British involvement in the battle for the Netherlands was obviously very limited. The losses are also not exactly known (particularly vague are those on board of planes and vessels that returned home), although a probably rather complete picture can be given.
Of the largest British land-force in Holland, that had landed (and stayed) at Hook of Holland, in total 11 men perished. It were nine Irish Guards and two Welsh Guards. They fell victum to Luftwaffe bombs around the Hook of Holland harbour. Three British sailors (including Commander J.A.C. Hill, HMS Pembroke) died on board the Dutch tug BV-19A that ran on a magnetic mine while transporting Dutch Gold of the National Reserve. There are no further casualties known from, for example, the XD raiding parties in Ymuiden, Amsterdam and Flushing.
Blenheim crews lost (at least) 23 KIA in crashes involving multiple planes from 40 squadron, 57 squadron, 235 squadron and 600 squadron on 10 and 11 May 1940.
Two Hurricane pilots were killed from 17 Squadron on 12 May 1940.
Defiant air-men of B-Flight 264 squadron lost 4 men on 13 May 1940.
These RAF losses are most likely incomplete. We are working on optimizing these numbers with confirmed and proven documents.
Losses on board mutiple-crew planes that returned or crashed off-shore or beyond the Dutch borders are not included nor are Royal Navy casualties on board ships, although it is certain that losses were suffered.
The count for British KIA on Dutch soil from the above account, accumulate to a total of 43 men.
The Germans probably lost around 2,000 men KIA in The Netherlands. This figure may be slightly lower when it comes to genuine losses during the battle for the Netherlands. Many treated wounded in the southern provinces were treated in Dutch hospitals, whereas their wounds had been inflicted during fights on Belgian soil. Also some German pilots crashed on Dutch soil while suffering the causes of such crash in Belgian airspace. Finally, most of the originally registered number of MIA (in old records) have been identified after all, without striking the MIA status of those individuals. This website considers the remaining number of German MIA over the studied period to one or two dozens at the most, whereas the original counts go to into a range of about 150.
Registered German KIA during (or as a result of) their campaign in the Netherlands amount to 2,053 men, but this figure is poluted. It contains many dozens MIA which have been identified (and added) without scrapping their MIA status. Besides perhaps as many as a few hundred are added being actual victims of fighting on Belgian soil. The estimate of the author is that the actual German loss figure in the Netherlands shall be closer to 1,700 men. That is not worked out yet, so therefor we hold on to the figure of 2,053 until we have sorted out our own records to a more reliable figure.
German registered losses still continue to be linked to the Dutch theatre as a consequence of contineous research on either side of the border. In this phase of the war the registration was quite well organised, but it has become clear that particularly wounded men that were repatriated after or during the battle and that eventually succumbed to their wounds in their home country were not always registered as died from injuries inflicted during the campaign in the Netherlands.
Of the vast majority of the regular Heer units it is almost certain that loss registers are accurate and reliable. There is no reason whatsoever to suggest that German losses were substantially higher than the 2,053 registered KIA, but more reason to believe that they were substantially lower, as said hereabove.
The German losses (army and airforce) could be roughly devided into theatres, like below (excluding MIA). The reader should be aware that the losses mentioned on the individual pages may slightly differ. That is caused by the rougher division of the casualties in the below table in comparison to the specific in-focus description of the individual pages:
|Ypenburg airlanding||Ypenburg, Delft, Hague (south)||193|
|Ockenburg airlanding||Ockenburg, Hague (west), dune area||62|
|Valkenburg airlanding||Valkenburg, Katwijk, Leiden, dune area||97|
|Rotterdam area||Rotterdam, Waalhaven, Hook||128|
|Dordrecht area||Dordrecht, Island of Dordrecht||98|
|Battle of the Yssel-line||Westervoort, Arnhem, Zutphen||37|
|Battle of the Grebbeberg||Wageningen, Rhenen, Achterberg, Betuwe||238 (*)|
|Battle of the Grebbeline||Battle Grebbeline, exclusive Grebbeberg||93|
|Battle of the northern provinces||Northern provinces, Enclosure dike||34|
|Maasline||From Maastricht to Nymegen||254 (**)|
|Battle of Peel-line||Battle of Mill, skirmishes elsewhere||62|
|Battle of Zeeland province||Entire battle 10-18 May 1940||86|
|Balance of German losses elsewhere||Compared to the 2,032 figure of E.H. Brongers||619|
|Balance of German losses (alternatively)||[compared to the 1,700 estimate of the author]|||
(*) Battle of the Grebbeberg, excluding MIA. The exact number is hard to assess, but there are only 190 detailed (name and number) KIA and 25 WIA that later succumbed to their wounds that are linked to the battle and another 23 that fell in the Betuwe area (south of the Rhine). Another position of 25 MIA for the Westervoort and Grebbeberg battles is excluded by the author. The number of 215 for the plain battle of the Grebbeberg (excl. Betuwe) may be too low, but the basis of the resource and publishing of this website are confirmed numbers, added with probable estimates where this is hard to avoid. The 25 MIA figure that some researchers add has not been substantiated with convincing source material. Elsewhere one may find this figure added though.
(**) The figure only represents German KIA on 10 May 1940. Most of the KIA of later date that are registered are so on hospital locations. Of those most were mortally wounded due to the fighting on Belgian soil. Those figures are left out from the total number given. There are also 29 men reported as MIA. These are not included either. The total number of 254 men is therefore too low, but all that can be substantiated with registrations.
(***) This figure is excluding any MIA, which were quite high during this battle (taken from the KTB of 256.ID).
Basically one could say that the German losses were only slightly lower than the Dutch losses. That tells a lot about the Germany strategy of attacking the enemy at selected weak spots and concentration of force at such a location. A few decades before the attacker usually lost factors more than the defender, by bluntly storming or marching into the enemy's defence-line in large numbers, getting mowed away. In WWII this evident slaughter ceased to exist, albeit only on the west front in Europa and Afrika. The Russian and Asian theatres would still witness the total sacrificial attacks of old days. The entire Westfeldzug showed that the German losses did not exceed their opponents'. On the contrary, the Germans lost considerably less men. The Allies lost 136,000 men KIA (1) against 30,093 German confirmed KIA and 16,560 men MIA. The last figure contained mainly men captured and shipped to the UK or elsewhere beyond German reach.
(1) During Operations Yellow and Red: 123,000 French, 5,000 British, 6,000 Belgian and 2,300 Dutch.
It is not exactly known how many Germans got wounded. The general figure of the entire Westfeldzug (117,615 WIA) shows a KIA:WIA ratio of (30,093:117,615=) 1:4. Figures of local fights in Holland show a large variation. Should we follow the Westfeldzug benchmark of 1:4 it would worked out into a German WIA loss of around 6,000-7,000 men WIA. That figure is about the same as the Dutch figure, but not quite as reliable.
Last but not least, the Germans lost about 1,350 men due to the fact that these were transported to England as POW's during the five days' war. These men were all lost for the duration of the war, were eventually transported to Canadian POW-camps later in 1940.
Altogether the German losses during and as a consequence of the battle of the Netherlands amounted to around 10,000 men, or slightly less. The entire Westfeldzug loss would be 164,264 men so one could conclude that the German losses in the Netherlands were around 6% of their total loss suffered during the Westfeldzug.
The German sacrifice in men and material in The Netherlands can be considered modest although relatively high on the bigger picture of the entire Westfeldzug. There is one exception: The Luftwaffe.
We won't elaborate too much (again) on the Luftwaffe losses, since it was already addressed under the section describing the general balances of the airforces.
The Luftwaffe lost about 525 airplanes during the campaign in Holland. Of those 525 about half could be recovered, repaired or used for reassembly of other damaged planes within six months after the Dutch capitulation. The figures about airplanes considered total losses vary between 225 and 275. German sources are inconsistent about this.
The vast majority of this quite staggering loss was composed from the transport fleet. The German researcher Werner Haupt stated that by the end of the first day about 250 Ju-52 planes had been put out of action (in all degrees). Indeed the massive airlanding operation had demanded an extremely high toll of the German transportfleet, particularly during the first day when they found themselves jammed on the captured airfields in the West of Holland. Many of the sitting ducks were damaged or destroyed from subsequent artillery barrages, aerial bombardments or other means of destruction. After the May War the transportfleet appeared to have been decimated and had also lost numerous precious pilots and instructors, many of which had either been killed or transported to the UK as POW's.
The Luftwaffe had suffered considerable losses during the campaigns in Poland and Scandinavia. During the campaigns in the West they lost about 25% of their striking fleet and about 50% of their transport fleet. Bearing in mind that the Luftwaffe started the campaign with about 4,000 able airplanes, the loss of about 1,500 planes was substantial. These losses would be hard felt throughout the entire war because they caused a back-log that was in fact never truly overcome. Von Speidel - in his extended after-war study - confirmed this conclusion. Obviously one could argue that these losses could have easily overcome had Germany only had its priorities straight, but the air transport fleet was of low priority, particularly when operation Seelion was called off.
Nevertheless, the losses in the transport fleet had been painfull. It was first felt during the initial phase of the air-war over the United Kingdom and the Channel only a few months later in 1940 and again a year after when the Sovjet Union was invaded. When Germany invaded Crete [May 1941] by means of yet another large scale airborne operation, the recently compensated losses in the transport fleet were yet again lost. Those losses would afterwards never be overcome again. The Stalingrad air-bridge would show how much the transport fleet - that had enjoyed no priority in production anymore - had suffered in the first three years of the war and had ever since only received replacements rather than (substantial) expansion.
One could say that the only true losses the Germans suffered during their campaign in the Netherlands, were those related to the transportfleet and its skilled core of very seasoned air-men.