Naval Historical Center / Public Domain
As an aviation site and being fascinated with the subject from our early days, we know a lot of facts and statistics pertaining to the subject. We know that flying over German-occupied territories during World War II was a nightmare, the skies filled with flak and incoming interceptors picking off planes one by one. It was a tough job for sure but submariners during that time knew they were probably going to die for sure.
If you’d like to read more in-depth about the subject, here’s a link to the official Wikipedia page.
When it comes to the United States Army Air Forces, almost 90,000 airmen lost their lives during World War II which accounted for about 10% of the Army’s total casualties. Although that number is massive and somber, submariners had it much worse and unlike a downed bomber crew which had a chance to bail out if they were lucky, once your submarine was hit, it was a lonely and dark way down to your death.
Although the number of deaths is significantly lower when it comes to the actual body count of airmen (3,506 submariners were killed), statistically the job had the highest death rate of any American armed forces. That number was 20%, so for every five submariners, one was lost. Think about what that meant for a second. With a crew of 50 to 100 depending on what sub you served on, your numbers were certainly not in your favor.
During the 6 deadly years of World War II, a total of 52 submarines were sunk.