German Chancellor says Russia using ‘scorched-earth tactics’: What is this strategy

Source: The post is based on the article “German Chancellor says Russia using ‘scorched-earth tactics’: What is this strategy” published in Indian Express on 20th October 2022.

What is the News?

The German Chancellor has said that the Russian President was using “energy and hunger” as weapons but his “scorched earth tactics” would not help Russia win the war over Ukraine.

What are scorched earth tactics?

Scorched earth tactics form part of a military strategy which seeks to destroy anything that could be of use to the enemy, including energy supplies, bridges, provision stores, agricultural fields, road and railway links etc. 

The destruction could be carried out by the enemy or by the retreating army of a country which does not want invaders to use its resources. 

Harming civilians as part of this strategy has been banned under the 1977 Geneva Convention.

What are examples of scorched earth tactics?

Globally: A notable example of the use of this tactic came during the American Civil War in 1864 when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and his soldiers burnt everything in sight as they marched through Confederate areas. The campaign, known as the March to the Sea played a major role in breaking the will of the Confederacy and hastening the end of the war.

India: In India, the armies of Maratha leader Chhatrapati Shivaji were known for their scorched earth tactics. Some historians have said that while the Maratha leaders looted and burnt enemy towns, they were under orders to not harm civilians or desecrate religious sites.

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