Operation Verbrannte Erde (i)

scorched earth

'Verbrannte Erde' (i) was a German policy for the Eastern Front enunciated by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, in his capacity as the vice-chancellor of Germany (7 September 1943 onward).

Issued to the German army high command, the decree ordered that during any retreat in the USSR all usable materials, buildings, livestock, grain, etc. were to be destroyed to a depth of at least 18.5 to 25 miles (30 to 40 km) in order to deny their use to the advancing Soviet forces.