I'm wondering whether a 'march across the ice' has ever ended in a catastrophe. These events are typically described as "risky", "daring", "bold", and "exceptional" (various sources), and yet all the examples I know of (noted below) were successful. This success seems to have been a direct consequence of the planning that went into these events, so it is perhaps not unsurprising that the events succeeded. Therefore, instead of wondering whether a 'march across the ice' has failed, I'd like to know which one ended in the worst results: which 'march across the ice' had comparatively the most casualties due to the nature of the endeavour?
'March across the ice': an endeavour where a military force decides to cross a frozen body of water.(1)
Comparative casualties: percentage-wise of the whole force involved in the crossing (as these may be very problematic, descriptive answers are welcome without specific casualty counts).
Nature of the endeavour: Something that can only have happened because of the march happening on a frozen body of water, either related to natural causes, such as ice breaking up or a snowstorm, or human-devised causes which take advantage of the natural environment, e.g. by causing the ice to break up.(2)
The examples I know of (but it is likely there are more such events, especially in non-European places):
- De La Gardie's crossing of the Gulf of Finland in 1580 against the Russians in Wesenberg and Tolsburg—detail is lacking;
- The March Across the Belts in 1658 where Karl X Gustav sent Dahlberg to check the ice who confirmed that the cavalry and artillery could pass, after which the Swedish crossed the frozen sea and forced the Danish surrender—mention is made that the army actually marched through water (that must have been... scary);
- Washington's Third Crossing of the Delaware in 1777 which seems to have gone very well despite adverse weather;
- De Tolly's march against Umeå in 1808 was part of a three-pronged Russian advance against Sweden in which de Tolly crossed the frozen Gulf of Bothnia and took Swedish Umeå—a source I've been unable to track down qualified this as 'very harsh' with several problems;
- Kulnev's march against Stockholm was another part of the three-pronged Russian advance, but was cut short—no specific detail is given.
There is an example of a Swedish force being scattered and destroyed in a regular winter storm—the Carolean Death March—but that was an on-land retreat so it doesn't count.
To compare these frozen marches with desert crossings, for all the successful ones there's Herodotus' narrative of the Persian army lost in a desert (at 100% casualty rate in Herodotus' book), which, even if apocryphal, is a good warning.
(1) We should have sources that indicate the march actually took place across the ice, so that I'm reluctant to consider the Lithuanian force which engaged its opponents on the frozen Moon Sound as we don't know where they started out from. (2)However, merely having two armies meet and slaughter each other on a frozen sea is not sufficient.