The Great European War. The Battle of Augustów. German Troops Crossing the Neman


This print showing German troops crossing the Neman River at the Battle of Augustów (in present-day Poland) is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “From the report from the headquarters of the Chief of Staff. The Battle of Augustów ended with a victory on September 20. The Germans' defeat was complete, and now they are retreating to the borders of East Prussia in a disorderly manner. Our valiant troops vigorously pursued the enemy, who is leaving behind wagons, guns and ammunition, and the wounded. On September 10 the last echelons of the retreating army of General Rennenkampf crossed to the right bank of the Neman. On the same day in the evening the German advanced units reached the river and proceeded with crossing it. On September 12 in the morning, the enemy sappers began to install pontoon bridges without any resistance from us. It seemed that there was no one on the right bank. After installing the artillery, the Germans started to ferry troops near Seredžius. First, with all precautions, and then more confidently, the Germans safely reached the middle of the river, without firing a single shot. Then suddenly rattling and thundering sounds were heard. Carefully hidden and well-camouflaged on the right bank of the Neman, Russian artillery and machine guns greeted the enemy with grenades, shrapnel, and bullets. Within a few minutes the Germans were swept away. The enemy's artillery responded, fiercely shelling our batteries. A fierce artillery battle began. The Germans tried in vain to find our well-camouflaged batteries. Firing from the right bank of the Neman did not stop for a minute. The Germans made a second attempt to get to the other bank of the Neman over the pontoon bridge. Once again, they were mistaken in their calculations. None of the daredevils who stepped on the bridge survived. Their mutilated bodies were thrown into the murky waters of the Neman. The enemy pulled all their artillery together and continued firing furiously at the right bank of the Neman. The firing lasted six hours. The Prussians bombarded the Russian battery with shrapnel. Finally at the end of sixth hour the Germans made their last attempt to cross the river. Dense rows of German infantry men began walking on the pontoon bridge, but this time again they were chased away by the terrible fire from the machine guns. By evening, firing from the German batteries began to subside. One after another, destroyed by our precise artillery fire, the German batteries quieted down. And soon they turned completely silent. The enemy army retreated by 12 versts, pursued by the Cossacks, who used the German pontoon bridge to chase the enemy.”

Date Created

Publication Information

A. P. Korkin & A. V. Beideman & Company Printing and Lithographic Firm, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Великая европейская война. Бой под Августовым. Переход немецких войск через Неман

Type of Item

Last updated: April 27, 2015