Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Augezd is a small village on the south east edge of the battlefield. It is famous as the site of the frozen Satschan pond, which feature in most descriptions of the battle. Our objective was to find the small church on the hill overlooking the village.

The church is on a steep hill overlooking the village, and the area over which the allied army retreated at the end of the battle. It is here that Napoleon ordered his artillery to fire on the allies as they retreated over the frozen ponds.

The church is not easy to find. It is quite close to the Pratzenberg monument, but the path leading south runs alongside a large collection of concrete buildings which was a Russian army communications base during the Cold War. We felt a little uneasy walking so close to the buildings, but no one stopped or questioned us. We eventually found the church, clinging to the side of a steep hill.

With the Pratzen in French hands, the allies fighting for Telnitz and Sokolnitz could only retreat to the south of the high ground between the villages of Augezd and Satschan. In 1815 this area was covered in a large pond. It was frozen, and the allies retreated over the hard ice. Napoleon ordered his artillery to fire on the ice, which broke up and he claimed that 20,000 allied troops drowned there. However when the ponds were drained some years later the remains of only two men and a handful of horses were found.

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