In 1812 Napoleon marched 680,000 men quickly across Russia in an attempt to bring the Russian Army to battle so that he could defeat them quickly and end his march. This victory he hoped would force Czar Alexander I to end Russian trade with the United Kingdom and therefore press them for peace.
In 1812 Czar Alexander I was able to render Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Russia useless by utilizing a scorched-earth retreat method, similar to that made by the Portuguese. As Russian forces withdrew from the advancing French army, they burned the countryside (and, allegedly, Moscow) over which they passed, leaving nothing of value for the pursuing French army. Encountering only desolate and useless land Napoleon's Grand Army was prevented from using its accustomed doctrine of living off the lands it conquered. Pushing relentlessly on despite dwindling numbers, the Grand Army met with disaster as the invasion progressed. Napoleon's army arrived in a virtually abandoned Moscow, which was a tattered starving shell of its former self due largely to the use of scorched-earth tactics by retreating Russians. Having essentially conquered nothing, Napoleon's troops diminished. Tragically, the effects of this policy on the civilian population in those areas in which it was applied was equally, if not more, devastating than they were on the Grande Armée.
Starvation, desertion, typhus and suicide would cost the French Army more men than all the battles of the Russian invasion combined.
Facing the coming winter Napoleon was forced to retreat and by November only 22,000 able soldiers remained. This was as the turning point of the Napoleonic Wars and one of the most lethal military operations in all of history.
How this applies to EVE ONLINE:
In the real world Scorched Earth can be applied both Offensively and Defensively. In EVE online it is primarily used in a offensive manner.
Unfortunately it is not possible to turn off an enemies Ratting, Mining, and Industry. But it is possible to seize control of the ISK Sinks like Moon Mining. By taking an enemies moons you can put pressure on their Alliance Level income, and thus their SRP. Enemies are much more active when their ships are free or subsidized. Wars that are fought on the individual pilots wallet result in much lower morale.
On a large scale Moons can be taken, however on a smaller scale a group of Guerrillas could find the enemies good moons and Siphon them. So long as they break even in this endeavor they are winning because of the lost income to the enemy.
An even smaller, but effective way to deny your enemy ISK is to destroy wrecks and cans after a battle. Many times you will have a battle behind enemy lines and not have time, or cargo space to loot and salvage the field. In this case you should destroy all wrecks and cans to deny your enemy access to them. That loot and salvage can add up so don't leave it for your enemy.
In EVE Online there are three main limited assets that can be attacked:
- Time - Game time is limited, activities that cost an enemy game time hurt your enemy.
- ISK - Without ISK enemies cannot afford to maintain battle. But don't underestimate their ability to buy ISK or use alts.
- Morale - The real strength of any group is Activity which is directly related to Morale. If pilots are having fun and in good spirits they will log in for fights. However, if they are bored from being blue balled, and demoralized from overwhelming losses, they will stop logging in.
An extension of this is Area Denial:
In real warfare Area Denial is done primarily with Land Mines (and sea mines) or historically with Spikes and Caltrops.
The purpose of this can be to deny access to resources (water, fields, roads, etc) or as a defensive measure as used by Henry V in the Battle of Agincourt. In this battle Henry defeated the French even though he was out numbered 5 to 1 by the French. His biggest advantage was the use of the English Longbow in very large numbers.
The English and Welsh archers on the flanks drove pointed wooden stakes, or palings, into the ground at an angle to force cavalry to veer off. This use of stakes may have been inspired by the Battle of Nicopolis of 1396, where forces of the Ottoman Empire used the tactic against French cavalry.
In EVE Online we have no spears or stakes, and even though it takes place in some distant future, they still haven't worked out how to build Space Mines, which I have suggested to many CSM members.
In fact, mines did once exist in EVE but they never got a good chance before they were removed. Unfortunately that was before my time in EVE so I can't speak to their effectiveness. However, today I believe that they could be a fantastic way to add tactical depth to the game.
As it stands now their are two primary means by which to perform Area Denial in EVE...
The first is Camping, which can be a station camp or gate camp. This isn't usually 100% effective and requires a fleet and a lot of man hours. As such if used improperly it can be just as boring for the campers as the camped.
In my opinion a rolling constantly moving camp is more effective for Guerrilla Warfare. This way the enemies intel is less effective and no one knows exactly where the camp is at any given time. As a result the entire area becomes unsafe.
Solo this can done to a small degree with a Cloaky Sabre (or even regular) but requires a lot of practice and very smart target selection.
The second way to do this is the dreaded AFK Cloaked Ship. This can be a hunter ship like the Pilgrim or a Black Ops Cyno ship. But no matter what it must strike fear into your enemies.
An example of how I do this is by moving a Covert Cyno Cloaky Loki into enemy space and Black Ops dropping them a few times to get them scared of my alt. Then I will simply leave him logged in and cloaked in the systems they use the most.
As the enemy begins to believe they are safe to rat, mine, camp, etc in the system my alt is in and venture out from station, I hit them again.
When done with a solo hunter Pilgrim, you can just check your system every time you happen to be near your computer and strike at random so that you enemies never know when you are there or sleeping/working/etc.
By making their space unsafe to PVE in, they are less able to make ISK and as a result spend more time in station getting upset about it. As a result this can be even more damaging to enemy morale than it is to their ISK.