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"What is the difference between total war and scorched earth?" Topic

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472 hits since 29 Nov 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2017 11:36 a.m. PST

"Total war is neither a tactic nor a strategy. Rather it is a state in which the entirety of a nation's resources, population, and energies are directed to the winning of the war without limitation on the weapons or tactics used against the enemy. In other words, Total War is war waged by the whole nation, with all its might, using any and all weapons at its disposal, employed against any target that can advance the war effort (civilian or military), without regard for the conventional rules of war, anywhere the enemy may be found. See the Wikipedia article on the subject—the buzzwords of the definition are a bit different but the concept is the same. I think my definition is more precise. Total war

Essentially, one can think of total war as war without limitation: a society devoted entirely to war, using every weapon it can make, employing any tactic it finds useful, against any and all targets that are calculated to lead to victory…"
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SeattleGamer Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 10:20 a.m. PST

Scorched Earth is a policy where you destroy whatever you are passing over/through as you advance or retreat.

On the advance, you are setting fire to the crops and villages and houses and farms and killing the livestock. Anything that the enemy can use to sustain themselves you are destroying, to weaken them in any way possible (Sherman's March to the Sea in the ACW being an example).

On the retreat, you are doing exactly the same thing, in an effort to give the advancing enemy little of value for food or shelter (Russians retreating to Moscow as the Germans advanced in 1941 being an example).

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 12:10 p.m. PST

And Total War…? (smile)


grtbrt Inactive Member30 Nov 2017 10:43 p.m. PST

Total War is a turn-based strategic level PC game with resource management

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 11:06 p.m. PST



donlowry01 Dec 2017 2:49 p.m. PST

Total War is where at least one side faces virtual annihilation if it loses, or thinks it does, and so will do just about anything to avoid defeat.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2017 11:38 a.m. PST



RudyNelson02 Dec 2017 5:01 p.m. PST

Total war is an offensive doctrine. Scortched Earth is a Defensive strategy. No comparison.

Cleburne186303 Dec 2017 7:35 a.m. PST

Total war is when a country focuses the complete resources of its economy, population, and infrastructure on the war. All non-essential functions are suspended or severely curtailed. Rationing, conscription (or severe conscription if service is already in mandatory).

It may surprise you, but Germany didn't enter a total war economy until 1942.

Total war is a national economy level term. Scorched earth is tactical level, though you could argue strategic level if its theater-wide.

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