Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank / Casualties in Perspective

Marker ID:  
Location: 1345 Eastern Flank Cir, Franklin, TN
County: Williamson
Coordinates: N 35° 54.344    W 086° 51.609
  35.90573333    -86.86015
Waymark: None


Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank
Casualties in Perspective

How costly was the Battle of Franklin? More Americans became casualties in this five-hour battle than were lost in the first twenty-four hours of the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the largest amphibious assault in history.

In both battles, there is still no “final” casualty count, largely because both engagements were part of massive and continuing campaigns. At Franklin as well as in France, many officers in charge of tracking losses were themselves kill in combat. Records were damaged or misplaced. Reports were often incomplete. As a result, it may never be known exactly how many fell on either side.

Most of those listed as “missing” at Franklin were actually prisoners of war. At the time, there was no formal requirement to provide names and numbers of opponents captured in battle. During World War II, the Geneva Convention of 1929 required each side to report all prisoners in its possession. On D-Day, few Americans were captured, and a large proportion of the missing men had drowned off the beaches of Normandy. In both battles, there were many instance where artillery and other weapons simply destroyed bodies beyond any hope of identification.

When American soldiers disembarked from landing craft onto Omaha Beach (shown here) and Utah beach on June 6, 1944, long- and short-range artillery, automatic rifles, hand grenades, land mines, and machine guns were just some of the lethal devices that raked them. They suffered a lower percentage of casualties than those who fought at the Battle of Franklin.

Erected Tennessee Civil War Trails.

[This marker may also be found on HMDB.org]