Today’s dev diary contains the details of a few smaller features coming to the table in No Step Back. One of those is the addition of scorched earth tactics when applied to railways.
One of the enduring tactical practices of the Soviet defense during the German invasion was the use of scorched earth. In No Step Back, you’ll be able to spend Command Power on ordering the strategic disabling of railways in the event of a tactical retreat.
A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, which usually includes obvious weapons, transport vehicles, communication sites, and industrial resources. However, anything useful to the advancing enemy may be targeted, including food stores and agricultural areas, and water sources.
The way it will function in Hearts of Iron 4, from now on, is that it will be enacted on a state level, that every railway present receives full damage, and is immediately flagged, making sure that your eager workers do not attempt repairs.
The pending repairs will show up differently in your construction queue, and won’t be worked on. Rather than re-enable these all manually, you can toggle the state of Scorched Earth off on a state, in the same way, it was enabled. All affected railways will begin repairing at once.
Scorched Earth is a pretty simple mechanic here, but has potentially devastating effects on invaders. In addition to the rail conversion time that exists on the captured railway, the damaged rail must now be repaired in order to continue supply flow onwards. While devs considered extending some effects to factories, they determined that this was likely to affect balance far more than it was wanted.