The Military Aviation Accident Rate
Although aviation accidents involving military personnel usually make headlines, in fact over the past few years the accident rate per 100,000 hours flown has declined markedly.
|"Class A" Aviation Accidents in the Armed Forces, 1999-2001|
|Year Ending|| Overall|| Army|| Marines|| Navy|| USAF|
|April 15, 2000|| 1.23|| 0.99|| 2.63|| 1.75|| 1.04|
|April 15, 2001|| 1.22|| 1.75|| 1.91|| 0.99|| 1.06|
A "Class A" aviation accident is one that results in a death or more than $1 million in damage to an aircraft. The accident rate per 100,000 hours flown for the year ending April 15, 2000, was the lowest in the history of military aviation, and yet was superceded by that for the year ending April 15, 2001
By the way, the significance of the use of April 15th as the terminal date for compiling annual statistics is unclear, unless perhaps the Armed Forces chose to use that date so that the citizens, being distracted by Income Tax time might not notice the accident rate at all.
German and French Military Manpower Availability on the Eve of World War II
The number of men a country has available for war has always been a critical factor in military planning. Never was this truer than in the period immediately before World War II, when France worried about her increasingly slender manpower resources compared to those of Germany. Indeed, the French draft calls from 1936 through 1940 were so poor that the period was termed "the empty years."
There were two reasons for this poverty of 20-year old males. One was the French birthrate, traditionally lower than that for most other powers. The other was the effects of World War I, which killed millions of fine young potential fathers. Germany also suffered from a relative manpower shortage due to the war, but the loss was proportionately smaller, as Germany has a much larger population base to begin with, and a higher birth rate.
The accompanying table illustrates the differences.
|Draft||Year Pool(thousands)|| Ratio|| Birth Year|
|Year|| Germany|| France|| Ger:Fr|
|1935|| 602.0|| 323.0|| 1.86:1|| 1915|
|1936|| 464.1|| 205.0|| 2.26:1|| 1916|
|1937|| 345.0|| 165.0|| 2.09:1|| 1917|
|1938|| 310.0|| 171.0|| 1.81:1|| 1918|
|1939|| 321.0|| 197.0|| 1.57:1|| 1919|
|1940|| 473.8|| 217.0|| 2.18:1|| 1920|
|Average || 419.3|| 213.0|| 1.97:1|
Men reaching draft-age in 1935 were born in 1915, and therefore mostly conceived in 1914, either before the outbreak of World War I or before mobilization had reached its fullest extent. Men reaching draft age in the period 1936 through 1939 were mostly conceived during the war years, from early 1915 through late 1918, when millions of the finest young French and German men were in the trenches, unable to perform their lectal duties for the fatherland, if not already dead. Since Germany was operating from a superior population base, about 3:2 statistically, her birthrate was naturally higher, supplemented by a traditionally larger family size. In addition, German Army leave policies during much of World War I were much more liberal than those prevailing in the French service, so that marginally more males were produced during the war. Only in 1919 did the difference between the German birth rate and that of France narrow, and that largely because during 1918 German manpower resources had finally reached their limit, with enormous casualties, great numbers locked up in POW camps, and still more men tied down on far flung fronts. Nevertheless, even in that year, the birth rate at least kept pace with population ratio between the two powers.
These figures are of more than statistical interest. For France they confirmed a position of numerical inferiority which had developed over three generations. A draft class as small as that of 1937 was not even sufficient to maintain 75 divisions, the number with which France had entered the First World War, and which was shortly increased to about 100. France’s poverty in manpower was one of the factors that confirmed her in her commitment to a defensive strategy and her continued reliance on the Maginot Line.