Orbital bombardment occurs during the blockade of a planet by a hostile force. Effectiveness is based on the naval capacity of the fleet in orbit, reaching its peak at a fleet of 200 naval capacity, and its damaging effect depends on the orbital bombardment stance, which is limited to the orbital bombardment policy.
Orbital bombardment does not damage enemy armies on the ground, but it prevents them from healing between attacks. The main goal is to damage fortifications, which in turn controls how much damage the defending army takes during a ground invasion. Waiting for bombardment to destroy the defenses that greatly reduce the damage defenders take in combat makes an invasion much easier, but there are times when invading is too urgent to wait and the landing troops can be given bombardment support only when already on the planet.
||Not available if fanatic pacifist|
||Available only if militarist or fanatic militarist|
Orbital bombardment can trigger the "Terror Bombing" opinion modifier and Pops happiness modifier for your empire. This happens whenever your orbital bombardment successfully kills any pop.
The opinion modifier "Terror Bombing" applies to all empires that are not militarist, fanatic militarist nor having the Full Bombardment policy. Fallen Empires also ignore it, with the exception of the Benevolent Interventionists.
Both effects do stack with themselves, quickly causing severe diplomatic and happiness issues with pacifist empires and pops. As it stops killing pops once the fortifications are at 0 and has the lowest relative chance (even considering the longer time to get to 0), Light stance is the best choice to avoid this.
It is possible to purge a planet of its native population entirely via orbital bombardment, given enough time. Each bombardment stance has some chance of inflicting a population casualty, and all options prevent population growth, though planets are purged faster the more severe an empire's bombardment stance is. Though not as efficient as the purging policy at removing undesirable populations, it doesn't incur the influence point cost nor the political repercussions in angering foreign empires associated with normal purging. This alternative also makes purging available to pacifist and individualist empires as a result. This option's value may be somewhat offset by the Terror Bombing modifier, depending on how important relations with pacifistic empires are to you.
- Paradox Forums, additional text.