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StonehengeMaid

I would like to know if there were official criteria that dictated whether a soldier was KIA or Died of Wounds. For example, if he died within 24 hours of being injured was that KIA and if he survived to the next 24 hours would that be classed as Died of Wounds?

Of course there must have been instances where this was not an issue but again soldiers could be hospitalised and even return home but still die perhaps weeks, months or years later from the effect of serious wounds. 

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I believe this may not be accurate in the Great War, but in previous wars it could be said that those KIA were killed by the enemy, while those DOW were killed by the doctors....

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This topic has been debated before on the Forum, and the consensus was that these was no hard and fast rule. The general view was that if a man died before being transferred to the care of a medical unit he was KIA, whereas if the medics already had care of him when he died, it was DOW. Broadly, this tallies with the previous post.

 

Ron

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StonehengeMaid

I am surprised that there is not an exact definition for this considering how the military is so exact in its rules and regulations. Perhaps something ,'they' couldn't agree on?  However I thank you both for your answers

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phil andrade

You will find more meticulous compilations, which did go to trouble to differentiate.

 

The Prussians made this effort in their war against the French in 1870, and provided caveats to their total number posted as killed, indicating that a certain percentage of them were mortally wounded men who succumbed within a day of being taken into medical care.

 

There was then another - larger- category of men posted as died from wounds : these were also fatally wounded, but took a longer time to die.

 

The reason for this clarification was, I suppose, didactic : a feature of the Staff Officers’ determination to glean as much information as possible in order to prepare for the next war and get medical services up to scratch for prompt evacuation and treatment.

 

I am convinced - but cannot prove - that the elaborate statistics presented in the German Medical History of the Great War  - the sanitatsbericht - are much more specific than most casualty compilations.  Here, the men posted as killed are - as far as it is possible to discern - men who are  confirmed as killed outright, while those who are dying are kept within the wounded category, even if they die within a short time.  They are then reported as died of wounds.  This is why,  at Verdun in 1916, the Germans posted nearly six men wounded for every one confirmed as killed, while the French posted only three and a half.  No account is taken here of the missing, who were - all too often - dead.

 

I think that British statistics conflated the dying during evacuation with the killed ; the died of wounds probably allude only to those who succumbed after reaching CCS or hospitals.  That’s supposition on my part. For some reason, though, there is an exceptional return for British casualties at Gallipoli that does make a separate category for died of wounds during evacuation .

 

Phil

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