This phrasing, with different terms for the army and the local population doing the exact same thing, reminds me of the famous Onion take on Hurricane Katrina:
>NEW ORLEANS—Throughout the Gulf Coast, Caucasian suburbanites attempting to gather food and drink in the shattered wreckage of shopping districts have reported seeing AfricanAmericans "looting snacks and beer from damaged businesses." "I was in the abandoned Wal-Mart gathering an air mattress so I could float out the potato chips, beef jerky, and Budweiser I'd managed to find," said white survivor Lars Wrightson, who had carefully selected foodstuffs whose salt and alcohol content provide protection against contamination. "Then I look up, and I see a whole family of [African-Americans] going straight for the booze. Hell, you could see they had already looted a fortune in diapers." Radio stations still in operation are advising store owners and white people in the affected areas to locate firearms in sporting-goods stores in order to protect themselves against marauding blacks looting gun shops.
The victorious force does own captured movable state-owned equipment and are acting within the law when they take it and are not looting - rule 49 of customary international humanitarian law, which has ancient precedence and is reinforced implicitly in both the Hague Regulations, Geneva Conventions, and pretty much any state's own military laws.
The local population have no such right - that's what makes it looting when they do it.
Since when are products in stores or the stores itself property of the state? Or personal property inside and outside houses?
I don't think they are. Why do you think they would be? The laws of war specifically exclude personal property.
That paragraph in the article is referring to for example 'musket, sabre, bayonet or ammunition pouch' on the battlefield. They're state-owned and aren't personal property. (Well, historically an officer's equipment might be personal purchase but I don't think the law would interpret any fighting equipment as being legitimately a personal effect.)
But the examples specifically given in the article from the battlefield aren't looting, and that's why the article doesn't say they're looting. But I won't keep arguing.
Also of note is soccer fields. Note where the most worn areas of the field are: the two areas where the goalies stand. The thing that the goalies do on the grass that the rest of the players do not: they jump, and most often laterally. Again, movements that change direction quite quickly.
I can understand why grass doesn't turn muddy on modern battlefields where guns are the primary weapons. But I wouldn't doubt for a second that a medieval battlefield would be a muddy mess. It may take a long time to get rid of the grass by marching or walking, but try fighting on it with horses while ground forces collectively stampede each other. Those aren't normal movements on the grass...they're going to dig in and uproot grass quite easily. And since guns aren't involved, physical proximity is closer, and therefore the impacts are more localized and intensified.
We had no horses, no armor making us heavier and were a small group of maybe 20 people. When there was a tournament with some rain and more use of one field that field suffered a lot, in my recollection.
Though maybe his judgement is still correct if fighting really mainly involves some people in formation repositioning and trading blows on one front line? On a bigger area mostly?
On the other hand, what the author here criticizes is the depiction of battlefields as no man's land. Hard to assume he is not correct there. This total deconstruction of the landscape is not the same as some muddy patches.
The Gondor and Sparta collections that have been posted were both very illuminating and I look forward to browsing more posts for the sheer curiosity.
What I find a bit distracting though is the author's overuse of parentheses. For example:
> (Obviously, I don’t mean just Flanders, but rather World War One generally, but since I am writing in English, and we are generally thinking about fiction produced in English (if not always by native English speakers), the experience of the BEF in Flanders tends to dominate the memory of the war.)
It seems like every 1 in 3 paragraphs is parenthesised, and it unfortunately disrupts the overall flow of the post.