Thursday, May 16, 2024


Casualties - US vs NVA/VC

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Note: NVA casualty data was provided by North Vietnam in a press release to Agence France Presse (AFP) on April 3, 1995, on the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The entire press release is reproduced below.

US casualty information was derived from the Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, and The Adjutant General's Center (TAGCEN) file of 1981, available from the National Archives. Additional information was derived from the sources listed at the end of this document.

Entire War

US Forces47,378 1304,704 22,338 3766 4
South Korea4,40717,060NANA
New Zealand55212NANA
NVA/VC1,100,000600,000NA26,000 5

Note 1: there were an additional 10,824 non-hostile deaths for a total of 58,202
Note 2: of the 304,704 WIA, 153,329 required hospitalization
Note 3: this number decreases as remains are recovered and identified
Note 4: 114 died in captivity
Note 5: Does not include 101,511 Hoi Chanh

Legend: KIA = Killed In Action WIA = Wounded In Action MIA = Missing In Action CIA = Captured In Action

1968 Tet Offensive

US Forces1,5367,76411unknown

Casualties By Year


US Forces1,8647,33718unknown


US Forces5,008 129,99261unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 1,045 non-hostile deaths for a total of 6,053


US Forces9,378 156,013113unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 1,680 non-hostile deaths for a total of 11,058


US Forces14,594 187,388176unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 1,919 non-hostile deaths for a total of 16,511


US Forces9,414 155,390112unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 2,113 non-hostile deaths for a total of 11,527


US Forces4,221 124,835101unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 1,844 non-hostile deaths for a total of 6,065


US Forces1,380 118,10916unknown

Note 1: there were an additional 968 non-hostile deaths for a total of 2,348


US Forces300 13,93611unknown

Legend: KIA = Killed In Action WIA = Wounded In Action MIA = Missing In Action CIA = Captured In Action

Note 1: there were an additional 261 non-hostile deaths for a total of 561

Troop Levels

As of 1 January 1968

ForceTotal StrengthSupportCombat Arms
US Forces409,111346,26062,850
ARVNNot AvailNot AvailNot Avail

As of 1 January 1969

ForceTotal StrengthSupportCombat Arms
US Forces440,029372,42967,600
ARVNNot AvailNot AvailNot Avail
The figures for relative strengths assume the following: On January 1, 1969 there were 110 battalions in Vietnam (98 Infantry, 3 tank, and 9 artillery). An Infantry battalion had 656 infantrymen (4 companies per battalion with 164 men per company). An armor battalion had 204 tankers (3 companies per battalion with 68 tankers per company). An artillery battalion had approximayely 300 men. Therefore, the number of actual "trigger pullers" added up to 67,600. Note that this was "authorized strength". Most battalions were not even close to their TO&E strength during the war, with many infantry companies operating with 80 men. This was true despite the fact that the parent divisions reported being at, or slightly over, authorized strength. There were a large number of REMFs in Vietnam.

U.S. Army KIA by Unit

Source: National Archives and Records Administration

1st Cavalry DivisionFirst Team5,464-
25th Infantry DivisionTropic Lightning4,561-
101st Airborne DivisionScreaming Eagles4,022-
1st Infantry DivisionBig Red One3,151-
Various Individual Units-2,872See Note 1 below
9th Infantry DivisionOld Reliables2,629-
4th Infantry DivisionIvy Division2,541-
173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate)Sky Soldier1,758-
1st Aviation Brigade-1,706-
196th Light Infantry Brigade-1,188-
11th Light Infantry Brigade-1,109-
Military Assistance Command VietnamMACV1,017Advisors to ARVN
198th Light Infantry Brigade-987-
United States Army VietnamUSARV847Headquarters - includes advisors
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)Green Berets834-
23rd Infantry DivisionAmerical809non-brigade units
199th Light Infantry BrigadeRedcatchers757-
11th Armored Cavalry RegimentBlackhorse729-
1st Logistical Command-598-
5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)Red Diamond5301st Brigade only
I Field Force VietnamIFFV353-
82d Airborne DivisionAll American2283rd Brigade only
1st Signal Brigade-193-
II Field Force VietnamIIFFV80-
Engineer Command-64-
Unit unknown-6-

Note 1: This group is comprised of the following individual units with no further breakdown

17th Field Hospital (An Khe)
22nd Surgical Hospital (Phu Bai)
71st Evacuation Hospital (Pleiku)
91st Evacuation Hospital (Tuy Hoa)
95th Field Hospital (Qui Nhon)
3rd Field Hospital (III Corps)
7th Surgical Hospital (III Corps)
45th Surgical Hospital (III Corps)
93rd Evacuation Hospital (III Corps)
80th Engineer Group
121st Assault Helicopter Company
18th Military Police Brigade
89th Military Police Brigade
8th Transportation Group
48th Transportation Group
11th Aviation Group
12th Aviation Group
23rd Artillery Group
108th Artillery Group
35th Engineer Group
45th Engineer Group
34th General Support Group
506th Field Depot

Additional Casualty Statistics

Source: Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, National Archives

All US Forces KIA in Vietnam = 58,169

US Army Soldiers KIA in Vietnam = 38,190

US Army Infantrymen (MOS 11B, 11C, etc.) KIA in Vietnam = 20,460

US Army Helicopter Crewmen KIA in Vietnam = 3,007

US Army Scouts KIA in Vietnam = 1,127

US Army Tankers KIA in Vietnam = 725 (equals 27% of all tankers ever assigned to Vietnam)

US Marines Killed In Action in Vietnam = 14,836

The highest loss-rate for any MOS was 11E (Armor Crewman) 27% KIA

U.S. Army KIA by Province

Source: Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93, National Archives

99Province unknown6,276Military Region unknown
02Thua Thien2,893I Corps - Hue, etc.
23Binh Duong2,742III Corps
22Tay Ninh2,648III Corps
05Quang Ngai2,342I Corps - Border w/II Corps
07Binh Dinh2,211II Corps - Bong Son, An Loa Valley, etc.
04Quang Tin2,068I Corps - Tam Ky, etc.
01Quang Tri1,683I Corps - south of DMZ
06Kontum1,641II Corps - Dak To, Ben Het, etc.
42Hua Nghia1,424III Corps - Khiem Cuong, etc.
25Bien Hoa1,147III Corps
24Gia Dinh1,064Capital Special Zone - Saigon
08Pleiku1,015II Corps - Hwy 14, Ia Drang, etc.
27Long An1,002III Corps
03Quang Nam971I Corps - Da Nang, etc.
21Binh Long909III Corps
30Dinh Tuong794IV Corps - My Tho, etc.
14Phuoc Long679III Corps - Phuoc Binh, etc.
19Long Khanh558III Corps - Xuan Loc, etc.
**Unknown Code467NARA error
33Kien Hoa416IV Corps - Truc Giang, etc.
17Binh Thuan300II Corps - Phan Thiet, etc.
09Phu Yen282II Corps - Tuy Hoa, etc.
11Khanh Hoa275II Corps - Nha Trang, etc.
26Phuoc Tuy204III Corps - Vung Tau, Phuoc Le, etc.
18Binh Thuy176III Corps - Ham Tan, etc.
13Quang Duc171II Corps - Gia Nghia, etc.
10Darlac163II Corps - Ban Me Thout, etc.
35Phong Dinh146IV Corps - Can Tho, etc.
15Lam Dong143II Corps - Bao Loc, etc.
32Vinh Long142IV Corps
28Kien Tuong140IV Corps - Moc Hoa, etc.
16Ninh Thuan97II Corps - Phan Rang, etc.
36Kien Giang77IV Corps - Rach Gia, etc.
12Tuyen Duc76II Corps - Da Lat, etc.
29Kien Phong65IV Corps - Cao Lanh, etc.
47Unknown code60Possibly Saigon Area
38Ba Xuyen56IV Corps - Khanh Hung, etc.
34Vinh Binh49IV Corps - Phu Vinh, etc.
43Go Cong40IV Corps - Go Cong, etc.
93Province unknown34Military region 3 - III Corps
39An Xuyen33IV Corps - Quon Long, etc.
37Chuong Thien30IV Corps - Vi Thanh, etc.
92Province unknown25Military region 2 - II Corps
46Sa Dec25IV Corps - Sa Dec, etc.
41Phu Bon24II Corps - Hau Bon, Song Ba River, etc.
99Province unknown22Military region 1 - I Corps
31An Giang17IV Corps - Long Xuyen, etc.
81Offshore19Military Region 1 - I Corps
89Offshore unknown19Province & Military Region unknown
44Bac Lieu14IV Corps - Bac Lieu, etc.
82Offshore11Military Region 2 - II Corps
NZUnknown Code10NARA error
94Province unknown9Military region 4 - IV Corps
83Offshore2Military Region 3 -III Corps
84Offshore2Military Region 4 - IV Corps
20No code provided1NARA error, possibly Cam Ranh Bay
40Con Son Island1IV Corps
45Chua Doc1IV Corps - Shau Phu, etc.
48Unknown code1NARA error
49Phu Quoc Island1IV Corps
50DMZ0Demilitarized Zone


A Bright Shining Lie, Sheehan, Neil, New York: Random House, 1988

After Tet, Ronald H. Spector, New York: Random House, 1993

Code Name Bright Light, Veith, George J., New York: The Free Press, 1998

Inside The VC And The NVA, Lanning, Michael, New York: Random House, 1992

The Rise And Fall Of An American Army, Stanton, Shelby L., Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985

The Vietnam War, Nalty, Bernard C., New York: Smithmark Publishers, 1996

Vietnam: A History, Karnow, Stanley, New York: Viking, 1983

Vietnam At War: The History 1946-1975, Davidson, Phillip, New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1988

The Agence France Presse (French Press Agency) news release of 4 April 1995 concerning the Vietnamese Government's release of official figures of dead and wounded during the Vietnam War.

HANOI (AP) - April 4. Cinq millions de morts: 20 ans apregraves la fin de la guerre du Vietnam, le gouvernement de Hanoi a reacute veacute leacute, lundi, le bilan d'un conflit dent le nombre de victimes avait eacute teacute minore a l'eacutepoque pour ne pas affecter le moral de la population.

Selon Hanoi, il y a eu pres de deux millions de morts dans la population civile du Nord et deux autres millions dans celle du Sud. Quant aux combats proprement dits, les chiffres sent d'un million cent mille militaires tueacutes et de 600.000 blesseacutes en 21 ans de guerre.

Ce dernier bilan comprend a la fois les victimes de la guerilla vietcong et les soldats nord-vietamiens qui les eacute paulaient. Les preacute ceacute dentes estimations de source occidentale faisaient eacute tat d'un bilan de 666.000 morts parmi Ies combattants Vietnamiens.


The Hanoi government revealed on April 4 that the true civilian casualties of the Vietnam War were 2,000,000 in the north, and 2,000,000 in the south. Military casualties were 1.1 million killed and 600,000 wounded in 21 years of war. These figures were deliberately falsified during the war by the North Vietnamese Communists to avoid demoralizing the population.

End Translation

Note: Given a Vietnamese population of approximately 38 million during the period 1954-1975, Vietnamese casualties represent a good 12-13% of the entire population. To put this in perspective, consider that the population of the US was 220 million during the Vietnam War. Had The US sustained casualties of 13% of its population, there would have been 28 million US dead.

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