US Army Observers Report: US Navy Task Force 68 – “Operation Highjump”

US Army Observers Report: US Navy Task Force 68 – “Operation Highjump”

SEPTEMBER 1 947 Distribution : 
OSW (2); WDGS Divs (5), except R&D (300); WDSS Divs (2); 
AAF (10); AGF (50); T (2); Dept (2); Base Comd (2); Def 
Comd (2); AAF Comd (5); Arm & Sv Bd (2); Adm Sv (2); 
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GH (1); RH (1); Disp (1); Sch (2), except Gen & Sp Sv Sch 
(5); USMA (5); Tng C (2); Class III Instls (1); A (5); CHQ 
(2); D (2); D (ATC) (2); D (A Tng Comd) (2); B (2); R (1); 
AF (5); W (2); G (1); Special distribution. 
For explanation of distribution formula, see TM 38-405. 
This report represents the combined observations of Army personnel assigned to 
Task Force 68, Operation “HIGHJUMP”, Naval Antarctic Development Project, 
December 1946 to April 1947. The War Department responded willingly to a Navy 
invitation to send observers on this important expedition and increased its represen- 
tation to sixteen, ten more than originally allotted by the Navy. (The personnel 
included four men with prior Antarctic experience.) 
The Army cooperated with the Navy in respect to materiel items, particularly 
in regard to Ordnance vehicles and Quartermaster items of issue including special 
rations, tents, skis, stoves, sleeping bags, and cold weather clothing. 
The Army observers were primarily a cross-section representing Army Air Forces, 
Army Ground Forces, and some of the technical services. The combined background 
permitted a general coverage of primary Army interests, particularly in the fields of 
polar research, engineering, communications, personal health and protection, surface 
transportation, meteorology, photography, air operations, emergency rescue, and 
various fields of scientific research. 
By Navy request, the Army observers’ activity was to be segregated specifically 
from expedition operations. However, they asked for or accepted voluntary work 
assignments which would permit better opportunities for military observations. 
The Army personnel therefore had an active part in many operational activities 
including exploratory flights, air operations, base construction, photography, over- 
snow travel, meteorology, emergency rescue planning, training, scientific projects, 
and other activities. 
The Army observers were concentrated for the most part with the Central Group 
which operated on the Ross Shelf Ice, as there was little of concern to the Army in 
respect to ship movements and seaplane activity of the Eastern and Western Groups. 
The War Department issued no special instructions to its observers, but appointed a 
senior observer who was well qualified as to the broad interests of the Army in high 
latitude operations and thoroughly cognizant as to Antarctic conditions. The senior 
Army observer organized the observation team and clarified fields of responsibility. 
The trip to Antarctica aboard the U. S. S. Mount Olympus, Flagship of the Task Force, 
was spent in frequent conference to prepare for maximum utilization of observation 
opportunities in the Antarctic. The plan worked smoothly while on the ice permit- 
ting the observers to work independently with only occasional coordination with the 
senior observer. On the return, the observers held daily conferences and prepared 
iii necessary joint logs and reports by means of dictation into a wire recorder. The 
specific topics for which the observers were individually qualified and responsible 
were prepared separately. 
Within one week upon return to the United States the Army observation reports, 
in rough draft, including illustrations, were submitted to the War Department and 
were made available in most instances to the agencies primarily concerned. The 
publication of the combined Army observers’ report was purposely postponed until 
the Navy’s much larger report could have prior release. It is felt that the Army 
observers’ report, although it does not attempt to cover ship operations or problems of 
primary concern to the Navy, does contain many valuable independent observations 
from an Army viewpoint that do not constitute a duplication of the Navy’s “Report 
of Operation Highjump”. (U. S. Navy Antarctic Development Project 1947.) 
The Army’s combined observers’ report has in no manner attempted to evaluate 
or criticize the Navy’s Operation Highjump. It has been a conscientious effort to 
report the operation as planned and executed. Each contributor was requested 
to consider the operation in the light of the problems with which the Army would be 
faced, were it to undertake a similar project, and to make recommendations as to 
how difficulties could be obviated. 
The War Department is indebted to the Navy for including Army observers on 
Operation Highjump under the commendable leadership of Rear Admiral R. E, Byrd 
and Rear Admiral R. H. Cruzen. The Army observers, and those who have assisted 
in production of this report, are to be commended for the very valuable contribu- 
tions they have made to the War Department research and development program. 
Major General, GSG 
Director of Research & Development 
War Department General Staff 
Section I. Planning of Operation “HIGHJUMP” 1 
IE Activities of U. S. Army Observers 5 
HI. Narrative Account of Operation “HIGHJUMP” 13 
Section I. Historical Comments 15 
II. Army Interest 16 
Section I. Introduction 18 
II. Construction Equipment 25 
III. Cargo Handling and Unloading 30 
IV. Buildings and Shelters 34 
V. Utilities 41 
VI. Airstrips and Snow Tests 44 
VIE Recommendations 57 
Section I. Introduction 64 
II. Cargo Carrier, M29C 66 
III. Tractors 70 
IV. Drawn Conveyances 78 
V. Landing Vehicle, Tracked (LVT) 81 
VI. Observations 96 
VII. Recommendations 99 
VIII. Comments by U. S. M. C. Observer 101 
Section I. R4D (C-47) Operations in the Antarctic 105 
II. Technical Observations 108 
III. Recommendations Ill 
IV. Log of L-5 in the Antarctic 113 
V. Comments on Air Operations by U. S. N. Observer 120 
VI. Air Operations Logs—Central, Eastern, and Western Groups 124 
Section T. Task Force 68 Search and Rescue Plan 129 
II. Aircraft Accidents 135 
III. Search and Rescue Equipment 145 
IV. Observations 154 
V. Recommendations 159 
VI. Plan and S. O. P. for Army Search and Rescue Unit in the Antarctic . . . 161 CHAPTER 7. MEDICAL. f°*‘ 
Section I. Plans, Objectives and Policies 168 
II. Technical Observations 176 
III. Environmental Sanitation 199 
IV. Survival and Rescue 208 
V. Recommendations 217 
VI. List of Medical Supplies Cached at “Little America III” 220 
VII. Comments on U. D. T. by U. S. N. Observer 222 
Section I. U. S. S. Mount Olympus 223 
II. Airstrip Control Station 229 
III. Aircraft 245 
IV. Emergency Base Station 247 
V. Trail Party 249 
VI. Clothing 251 
VII. Observations 252 
VIII. Recommendations 255 
Section I. Plans and Objectives 259 
II. Observations ' 259 
III. Recommendations 263 
Section I. Task Force Plan 265 
II. Personnel and Assignments 268 
III. Equipment 273 
IV. Operation of Equipment 273 
V. Cold Weather Problems 280 
VI. Recommendations 286 
VII. Comments by U. S. N. Observer 289 
Section I. Meteorological Plan 290 
II. Technical Observations 291 
III. Weather Processes Encountered 299 
IV. Recommendations 300 
Section I. Approaches to the Antarctic 324 
II. The International Scientific Plan 326 
III. joint Aerial Exploratory Program 327 
IV. The Antarctic Is Different 328 
V. Conclusion 328 
FORCE 68 379 
vii Top row: Maj, Crozier; Capt. Harrison/ Mr. Waite/ Dr. Siple/ Maj. Holcombe/ Capt. Wiener/ Lt. Col. Davis. Bottom row: T/5 Waltersdort; 
T/5 Shimberg/ Lt. Col. Love/ CWO Morency/ Mr. Davis/ Sgt. London/ Lt. Col. Johns 
Figure 1. Army observers assigned to U. S. Navy Task Force 68, Operation HIGHJUMP RESTRICTED 
SECTION I. Planning of Operation "HIGHJUMP" 
1. Command of Project. 
The United States Navy’s “Antarctic De- 
velopment Project, 1947,” identified by the 
code word HIGHJUMP, was established by 
the Chief of Naval Operations to be carried 
out by Task Force 68 of the Atlantic Fleet. 
This force, commanded by Rear Admiral 
Richard H. Cruzen, was under the opera- 
tional and administrative control of the 
Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet. 
Technical control was retained by the Chief 
of Naval Operations and exercised through 
Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN (Ret.), 
who was designated as the officer in charge 
of the project and during the conduct of 
operations exercised technical control. Tac- 
tical command at all times remained with 
the Commander Task Force 68. 
2. Assumptions. 
a. That ice conditions would permit access 
to the proposed operating areas. 
b. That weather conditions encountered 
would permit conduct of planned air and 
surface operations. 
c. That no vessels of the task force would 
spend the winter in the Antarctic. 
3. Objectives of Project 
a. To establish a temporary base and air- 
strip on the Ross Shelf Ice in the vicinity of 
Tittle America, Antarctica, and conduct 
systematic long range air exploration of the 
Antarctic Continent therefrom, and conduct 
naval operations and carry out specific proj- 
ects for training naval personnel, testing 
materials, and amplifying scientific knowl- 
edge of the Antarctic. 
b. To extend the area of exploration of the 
Antarctic Continent, utilizing aircraft based 
on tenders operating around the continental 
c. To examine the limits and character of 
the ice belt surrounding the Antarctic Con- 
tinent and the coast line where accessible by 
surface ships. 
d. To carry out assigned naval and scien- 
tific projects in order to—- 
(1) Train personnel and test materiel in 
the frigid zones. 
(2) Explore the largest practicable area 
of the Antarctic Continent. 
(3) Determine the feasibility of establish- 
ing, maintaining, and utilizing bases in the 
Antarctic, and investigate possible base sites. 
(4) Develop techniques for establishing, 
maintaining, and utilizing bases on ice, with 
particular reference to later applicability of 
such techniques to operations in interior 
of ice caps where conditions are comparable 
to those in the Antarctic. 
(5) Amplify existing stores of knowledge 
of hydrographic, geographic, geological, me- 
teorological, and electromagnetic propagation 
conditions in the area. 
(6) Supplement objectives of the 1946 
NANOOK operation. 
Figure 2. Bay of Whales area, January 1947. 
2 4. Task Force Composition. 
Task Force 68 was subdivided into four 
task groups with the following locations and 
a. Central Group, The Central Group was 
composed of the following vessels: 
1 Communications Ship (ACC), the U. S. S. 
Mount Olympus (Flagship). 
1 Ice breaker, “wind class” (WAG), the 
U. S. C. G. C. Northwind. 
1 Ice breaker (AG), the U. S. S. Burton 
2 Supply ships (AKA), U. S. S. Yancey and 
U. S. S. Merrick. 
1 Submarine (SS), U. S. S. Sennet. 
This task group was to proceed to the Bay of 
Whales, land and establish a temporary base 
and airstrip in the vicinity of Little America, 
conduct systematic long range air explora- 
tion and associated operations, carry out 
various training and test projects, and sup- 
port scientific investigations in the interests 
of amplifying our knowledge of the Antarctic. 
b. Western Group. The Western Group 
was composed of the following vessels: 
1 Seaplane tender (AV), the U. S. S. Curri- 
1 Tanker (AO), the U. S. S, Cacapon. 
1 Destroyer (DD), the U. S. S. Henderson. 
c. Eastern Group. The Eastern Group was 
composed of the following vessels: 
1 Seaplane tender, the U. S. S. Pine Island. 
1 Tanker, the U. S. S. Canisteo. 
1 Destroyer, the U. S. S. Brownson. 
This task group was to proceed to the vicinity 
of Peter I Island (69° S. latitude and 91° W. 
longitude) and from this location begin 
systematic air exploration of assigned areas 
of the continent and coast line. This area 
was to be covered by moving eastward along 
the continental perimeter, keeping just out- 
side of the ice pack. 
d. Carrier Group. In addition to the above 
one aircraft carrier, the U. S. S. Philippine 
Sea was to ferry the R4D aircraft and one 
H03S helicopter down to the limits of the 
ice pack from which point the R4D aircraft 
were to be flown southward over the Ross 
Sea to the airstrip on the ice shelf. The 
helicopter was to be carried within range of 
Little America aboard the ice breaker 
5. General Concept of Operations after 
The primary objectives of the expedition 
were: To explore and map by aerial recon- 
naissance and photography as much of the 
unexplored and unmapped portions of the 
interior as possible and certain unknown or 
improperly charted parts of the coast line; 
to test cold weather air operations from ice 
cap terrain with conventional wheel landing 
gear by constructing and using a matted 
airstrip; and to determine the feasibility of 
and develop techniques for establishing, 
maintaining, and utilizing air bases on ice. 
To these ends the various phases of the opera- 
tion were planned as follows: 
a. Base Site. The ice barrier was to be 
approached in the Bay of Whales area and a 
thorough investigation made to locate a 
feasible base site in that area. If the bay 
was found closed and the area unsuitable for 
landing, search was to be made along the 
barrier, aided by observation from the heli- 
copter carried aboard the U. S. C. G. G. 
Northwind. The site selected had to satisfy 
the following requirements: 
(1) The top of the barrier must be 
accessible from the ice, foot or bay ice. 
(2) The general area had to be one in 
which the ice showed minimal signs of a 
tendency to break off. 
(3) The terrain must present a level 
straightaway 1 mile long for the airstrip. 
b. Base Construction. The senior Civil En- 
gineer Corps officer was to be responsible 
for construction of the base and airstrip. 
All construction was planned to continue 
3 on a 24-hour basis. The following priorities 
were given to the various phases of establish- 
ing the base: 
(1) Priority One. Construct an access road- 
way from the ship’s side to a place of safety 
on top of the barrier, set up rigging to move 
cargo sleds from ship to barrier top, establish 
an emergency subsistence facility on the 
barrier top, and install communications for 
local control of unloading and construction. 
(2) Priority Two. Break a trail from the 
first supply and equipment depot on the 
barrier top (“place of safety” mentioned 
above) to the base camp site. 
(3) Priority Three. Erect a 300-man tem- 
porary tent camp. 
(4) Priority Four. Install air operating facil- 
ities such as quonset hut for service facilities, 
radio equipment, and the pierced plank 
landing mat 150 by 5,000 feet with parking 
area, fuel dump, and runway lights. 
(5) Priority Five. Erect 35-man emergency 
winter hut camp. 
(6) Priority Six. Special facilities for testing 
equipment under cold weather conditions. 
c. Carrier Group Operations. Upon comple- 
tion of the airstrip (estimated late January) 
two R4D aircraft were to be called from the 
carrier lying outside of the ice pack at about 
70° S. latitude and 175° W. longitude. 
These planes were to make the flight and 
test the landing strip before the balance of 
the R4D aircraft were called. The destroyer 
Henderson was to act as plane guard during the 
launching operation. After ferrying and 
launching the aircraft, no further role was 
planned for the carrier which was then to 
be released for return to the Canal Zone. 
The helicopter on the Philippine Sea was to 
be brought in to within flying distance of the 
base site aboard the U. S, C. G. C. Northwind. 
d. General Air Plan. (1) After the aircraft 
from the carrier had joined the central 
group the planes available at the main base 
would be the following: 
6 R4D (C-47)—based ashore. 
1 JA (G-64) on skis—based ashore. 
1 H03S (commercial type) helicopter— 
based ashore. 
2 J2F (amphibians)—one on U.S.G.G.C. 
Northwind and one on U.S.S. Burton Island. 
1 HOS (R~6) helicopter—based on the 
U.S.C.G.G. Northwind. 
1 H03S helicopter—based on the U.S.S. 
Burton Island. 
2 Or (L 5) based ashore. 
With this equipment systematic exploration 
within the limits of practicable flight by the 
specially modified R4D aircraft was to be 
carried out. The range of these aircraft with 
cabin tanks was estimated at 750 miles’ 
radius. It was intended to fly standard 
sector search tracks spaced so that adjacent 
plane tracks at the end of the sector would be 
no more than 60 miles apart. The planes 
were oxygen equipped and where possible 
were to fly at 10,000 feet altitude over the 
average terrain level while taking trime- 
trogon photographs. All R4D’s were to be 
modified to a combination ski-wheel landing 
gear. The smaller aircraft were earmarked 
for rescue and short range reconnaissance. 
(2) The Eastern and Western Task Groups 
each had available the following aircraft: 
3 PBM-5 seaplanes. 
1 HOS (R-6) heli- 
1 SOG seaplane 
1 H03S helicopter. 
Western—all on U. 
S. S. Currituck. 
Eastern—all on U. 
S. S. Pine Island. 
The helicopters and seaplanes were to be 
used for rescue and short range recon- 
naissance. The PBM aircraft were to be 
used in pairs to conduct exploration of as- 
signed areas. Each group was to move 
gradually in a direction away from the Ross 
Sea area along the continental perimeter. 
They were to concentrate on areas outside 
of a 750-mile circle from the Central 
Group’s base. Flights were to cover the 
coast line first in order to provide maximum 
geographical reference for succeeding flights 
4 into the interior. After photographing the 
coast line, flights were to be made into the 
interior up to 700 miles from the ships. 
General areas covered are indicated on map, 
appendix VIII. 
e. Withdrawal. When the season advanced 
to the more difficult weather of the Antarctic 
fall, making air operations unprofitable or 
impracticable (estimated late March) ships 
of the Central Group were to be loaded and 
cleared from the Ross Sea and the entire task 
force withdrawn from the Antarctic area for 
return to the United States. 
f. Emergency Base. It was planned that no 
personnel would remain in the Antarctic 
except to continue a rescue operation. If 
this became necessary the winter party of 
about 35 men and officers would be chosen 
insofar as possible from volunteers and would 
occupy the emergency camp mentioned 
above as fifth priority in the base construc- 
tion plan. If possible this camp was to be 
located so as to utilize the buildings left by 
the U. S. Antarctic Service Expedition in 
1941 (“3rd Byrd Expedition”). The com- 
plement of the emergency camp was planned 
to include one medical officer and one 
medical enlisted man. 
g. Scientific Research. As auxiliary activities 
many scientific projects were to be pursued 
in such fields as geology, meteorology, 
terrestrial magnetism, oceanography, radar 
propagation, etc. Certain of these projects 
were under the direction of civilian scien- 
tists from nonmilitary governmental agen- 
SECTION II. Activities of U. S. Army Observers 
1. Personnel. 
The personnel serving as War Department 
observers on Operation HIGHJUMP, to- 
gether with the agencies they represented 
were as follows: 
Dr. Paul A. Siple, civilian, WDGS, Research 
and Development (Assistant to Admiral 
Byrd on technical matters). 
John N. Davis, Lt. Col., Inf., Infantry 
School (Airborne). 
Willis S. Johns, Lt. Col., A. C., AAF Com- 
R. C. Love, Lt. Col., M. C., AAF, The Air 
James H. Holcombe, Maj., C. E., AAF, The 
Air Engineer. 
Dan Crozier, Maj., M. C., Brooke Army 
Medical Center. 
Mr. A. H. Waite, civilian, Chief Signal Corps 
and Signal Corps Engineering Laboratory. 
Murray A. Wiener, Capt., A. C., AAF 
Rescue Service. 
Chas. H, Harrison, Capt., A. C., AAF, 
Weather Service. 
Mr. Robert Davis, civilian, Strategic Air 
Command (radar mapping observer). 
S. A. London, 1st Sgt., AAF Rescue Service 
A. J. L. Morency, C. W. O., Amphibious 
In addition to the above, four U. S. Army 
enlisted photographers were on the expedi- 
tion as participants under Navy direction. 
They were: Cpl. J. M. Waltersdorf and 
Gpl. J. Shimberg, central group; Cpl. H. G. 
Foster, Western group; and Cpl. E. Zinberg, 
Eastern group. 
2. Policies of the Commander, Task Force 
The policies of the Commander Task 
Force 68 with reference to the activities of the 
Army observers were as follows: 
a. Army observers were not to participate 
5 in the operation or the projects set up for 
accomplishment by the Navy Department. 
Their capacity as observers only was main- 
tained except as requested by the task force 
b. In order that the final report on HIGH- 
JUMP might be as complete and compre- 
hensive as possible, it was directed that ob- 
servers submit their official reports to or via 
the Task Force Commander. If desired, 
observers were given the choice of submitting 
advance copies of their reports to interested 
addressees. The Task Force Commander 
was to be informed of advance copies so 
c. Commanders were directed to furnish 
the Army group with all information and 
assistance possible in the furtherance of their 
d. Complete photographic coverage of all 
aspects of the operation was planned, and 
any additional photographic work desired 
by Army observers was to be made available. 
3. Planning of Activities. 
Planning of observers’ activities was initi- 
ated after departure from Balboa, C. Z. 
Regular meetings of all Army personnel were 
scheduled three times a week, and plans 
were drawn up for coverage of all task force 
projects and activities. 
a. A master chart listing all major activi- 
ties and subdivisions thereof was prepared in 
such a way as to indicate the primary, 
secondary, and minor interests of each ob- 
server in the various phases of the operation. 
The master chart included official Navy test 
and research projects and in addition many 
routine phases of the operation which it was 
believed would yield valuable information. 
The medical officers submitted a jointly 
prepared outline of subjects to cover which 
became the medical section of the Army 
project list. 
b. It was decided that a final consolidated 
report to the War Department would be 
written on the return journey from material 
assembled by the various observers. Each 
Army observer wrote the sections for which 
he had been originally assigned and con- 
sidered best qualified. These assignments 
carried with them the responsibility for 
detailed observation and final preparation 
of material for the consolidated report. 
c. It was believed preferable that most 
Army observers live ashore from the earliest 
possible date in close contact with the opera- 
tion. Accordingly, a memorandum was sub- 
mitted to the Chief of Staff, Task Force 68 
requesting that this be authorized. Subse- 
quently the task force commander directed 
that during the early phase of unloading 
supplies and building the airstrip, only per- 
sonnel essential to the actual progress of the 
work would be quartered on the ice. All 
other personnel, both Navy and Army, were 
to sleep aboard ship. During this period 
the presence of these officers on the ice was 
to be permitted insofar as it did not place a 
burden on the shore party in erecting tent- 
quarters, expanding the mess to accommo- 
date them, etc. See Task Force Memoran- 
dum, this subject, appendix II. Exception 
to this policy in connection with the War 
Department observers was made in the case 
of Maj. Holcombe, Aviation Engineer ob- 
server, who was invited to assist by partici- 
pating in the operation in his field and was 
authorized to quarter ashore at any time at 
the discretion of the senior naval engineering 
officer. Other Army personnel were to be 
quartered ashore after the landing and con- 
struction phases. 
d. In view of the detailed and complete 
photo coverage of all kinds planned for the 
expedition it was the hope of the medical 
observers that a moving picture covering 
the medical support of the operation might 
be assembled. The privilege of requesting 
photographic coverage was extended to the 
Army group and a comprehensive list of 
medical subjects was submitted. 
6 e. It was foreseen that many of the data 
assembled by various observers would re- 
quire interpretation and correlation with 
the weather conditions prevailing when the 
observations were made. The AAF Weather 
Service observer was assigned the responsibil- 
ity for obtaining and recording daily informa- 
tion on temperature, wind, cloud cover, etc. 
4. Activities Ashore. 
Most Army observers made daily visits 
ashore until 23 January when tent quarters 
were made available and were occupied 
from that date until the shore party was 
evacuated on the U. S. C. G. C. Burton Island. 
Information was gathered principally 
through the medium of daily contact with 
personnel of the base camp. Press confer- 
ences were not attended by Army observers, 
with the exception of a few instances. Each 
air crew member was interrogated after all 
major flights. Engineering officers, crew 
chiefs, and line mechanics were also con- 
tacted on matters relating to their work 
activities. Permission was obtained from the 
base commander and senior officer of the 
flight echelon to attend aircrew briefings, and 
this was done whenever possible. Major 
Dan Crozier, M. C., and C. W. O. Anthony 
J. L. Morency were members of the party 
which made a week’s trip to the Rockefeller 
Mountains in tracked vehicles. 
5. Recommended Assignments of Army 
The following memorandum from Dr. 
Paul A. Siple, Senior War Department 
Observer, to Capt. R. S. Quackenbush, 
USN, Chief of Staff, Task Force 68, outlined 
the recommended assignments for the Army 
observers while with the Task Force on 
Operation Highjump: 
18 December 1946 
Aboard USS Mount Olympus 
MEMORANDUM TO: Capt. R. S. Quackenbush, U. S. N., Chief of Staff, 
Task Force 68, Operation “HIGHJUMP”. 
FROM: Dr. Paul A. Siple; Senior War Dept. Observer, U. S. 
SUBJECT: Recommended assignments of Army Observer per- 
sonnel during phase I of Ice Operations (Prior to 
arrival of R4D aircraft). 
1. The following recommendations are summarized from detailed observa- 
tion plans now under preparation to be submitted at a later date. Army 
Observer personnel are sincerely interested in the success of Operation “HIGH- 
JUMP” and are willing, individually or collectively, to be of such assistance 
to the Task Force Commander as he might desire, insofar as they are capable, 
providing, of course, that such possible assignments permit ample opportunity 
to carry out observations of their specifically assigned fields by the War Depart- 
ment. The following list of Army Observer Personnel is given by name, showing 
individual primary interests and personal choice of location: 
A. Dr. Paul A. Siple, W. D. G. S.: 
(a) To be available at all times for advice as desired by the Officer 
in Charge and the Commanding Officer of Task Force 68, on subjects pertaining 
7 to Antarctic Geography, safety of personnel and general operations ashore, 
including scientific research program. 
(b) To be available to assist the Task Force Commander in selection 
of suitable safe sites for various operations on the ice. 
(c) To observe physical factors related to the construction of the airstrip. 
(d) When not occupied with (a), (b), and (c) above, to accompany 
members of the scientific group concerned with studies and surveys of the defor- 
mation of the Ross Shelf Ice. 
(e) To observe factors of human adaptations, acclimatization, accus- 
tomization, clothing protection, climatic effects and carry out personal experi- 
mentation on radical clothing designs. 
(f) To take such opportunities as may be provided to carry out visual 
observations from the air, to continue previous studies of the morphology of the 
glaciation of Antarctica and its general geographic structure. 
(1) As desired by Admiral Cruzen. 
(2) At the airstrip camp. 
(3) With the bivouac camp for scientific group, planning to study 
ice deformation. 
(4) Aboard ship. 
B. Lt. Col. Robert C. Love, M. C.: 
(a) Primary interest concerns general and specific problems of aero- 
medical and general medical nature. This latter will include all phases of health, 
sanitation, preventive medicine, casualties, acclimatization, clothing protection, 
accustomization, psychological factors, fatigue and endurance, food and water 
supply, observation of medical facilities and methods used ashore, including 
evacuations, etc. In order to make these observations during phase I of the Ice 
Operations, prior to the arrival of the R4D aircraft, it is desired that Col. Love 
and Major Crozier, listed below, be permitted to live with the shore party, so 
that they may experience the actual living conditions on a twenty-four hour basis. 
To this end, they are both willing to accept physical assignments to maintain close 
contact with working and construction parties who are subjects of their observa- 
tions. It is assumed that if such assignments are made, they will be of such 
nature as to permit adequate time to make and record observations. Of special 
regard to Col. Love and Major Crozier, commuting from the ship daily will inter- 
fere with their personal acclimatization and accustomization, thus making poor 
observers and, as well, remove them for important hours each day from their 
(b) After the arrival of the R4D aircraft, Col. Love desires to transfer 
his primary interest to subjects of aero-medical nature, while Major Crozier 
will continue to have a primary interest in human and medical problems of 
shore based personnel, 
(1) At the airstrip camp. 
(2) Self-provided bivouac near the airstrip camp. 
(3) Aboard ship. 
8 C. Lt. Col. John N. Davis, Inf.: 
(a) Primary interest concerns all types of operations to be carried on 
ashore, especially landing and tracked vehicles’ performance; obsenations of 
Ordnance and Chemical Warfare tests, portable field communication equipment, 
and general utilization of manpower and techniques for meeting problems for 
operations of the Ice. He will be assisted in observations of performance of 
automotive vehicles and transportation problems by C. W. O. Anthony Morency, 
Ord., after Mr. Morency’s arrival on the Ross Shelf Ice. 
(b) Desires permission (verbally indicated to Task Force Commander) 
to make a short flight for the purpose of testing airborne troop type parachutes 
in vicinity of the base airstrip. Col. Davis will be assisted and joined in actual 
parachute jump by Ist/Sgt. Jack London, USAAF, ATG. 
(c) Included in Col. Davis’s field of interests covering observations for 
the Army Ground Forces are tests on landing force equipment, BUORD 
PROJECT 1 (i) and technique and principles of dog sledging. 
(1) At airstrip base camp. 
(2) At ship 
D. Lt. Col. Willis S. Johns, Air Corps: 
(a) Primary field of interest is that of communications, including all 
aspects generally and many specifically. Some observations will be made 
jointly with Mr, Amory Waite, Signal Corps. Because of the nature of the first 
phase, being primarily communications between ship and shore, Lt. Col. Johns 
can probably best carry out his observations by living aboard ship, with occa- 
sional trips ashore. 
(b) After arrival of R4D aircraft, Lt. Col. Johns’ primary interest will 
shift to communication problems and tests related to the flight operations. 
(c) Of special interest are problems of task force organization and per- 
sonnel handling, commands, and assignments. 
(d) Observations to include general operations of aircraft, including 
cold weather techniques of flight preparations, aircraft performance, communi- 
cations, and navigation. 
(1) Aboard ship. 
(2) At base camp after arrival of R4D aircraft. 
E. Major James H. Holcombe, Air Corps Engineer: 
(a) Observe and participate in construction of airstrip and advanced 
air base on Ross Shelf Ice. It has been indicated informally that Major Hol- 
combe’s services as an air engineer consultant and as an officer to assist in con- 
struction of the airstrip may be requested, and to this end he is willing to cooperate 
to the fullest extent. This would permit him to be billeted ashore where he can 
best observe while helping in his primary field of interest. 
(b) Observe tests, performance, and suitability of standard construction 
equipment, materials, vehicles, fuels, and lubricants. 
(c) Observe cargo handling and unloading. 
(d) Determine physical characteristics of possible future air base sites. 
9 (e) Observe demolition operations in icefields if such prove necessary, 
or are attempted for test purposes. If such procedure is contemplated. Majoi 
Holcombe would appreciate being placed on the ship most likely to carry out 
this work, providing that such temporary assignment would not interfere with 
other observation activities listed above, in order of their importance to this 
(1) At airstrip base camp. 
(2) Self-provided bivouac near airstrip base camp. 
(3) Aboard ship 
F. Major Daniel Crazier, M. C.: 
(a) Primary observation interests are the same as listed for Col. Love, 
with the exception that primary interest concerns ice based personnel. 
(1) At airstrip base camp. 
(2) Self-provided bivouac near airstrip base camp. 
(3) Aboard ship. 
G. Capt. Charles H. Harrison, Air Corps: 
(a) Meteorological observations, analysis, interpretation, and predic- 
tions. To this end, it is understood that Capt. Harrison will work in close 
coordination with the meteorological program and is willing to assume such 
responsibilities as may be assigned to him in this field. 
(b) To observe and record physical characteristics of the environ- 
ment of Antarctic conditions which produce effects upon man, equipment, and 
(1) Aboard ship. 
(2) At the airstrip base camp. 
H. Capt. Murray A. Wiener, Air Corps: 
(a) To observe all aspects of search and rescue operations, including air, 
sea, and ice. These observations will include problems concerning communica- 
tion and aids, transportation study, to include land and ski-type aircraft, heli- 
copters, small boats, over-snow vehicles and utilization of dogs and sleds; 
evacuation and care of personnel and casualties, emergency equipment and use 
of equipment. 
(b) To offer assistance to the Task Force Commander and advice, as 
requested, based upon prior experience on above-mentioned subject and experi- 
ence gained on former polar expeditions. 
(c) To observe and record aspects of clothing protection and general 
personnel requirements for operations in Antarctica. 
(d) To aid scientific group, when not occupied with higher priority 
(1) At airstrip base camp. 
(2) Self-provided bivouac near airstrip base camp. 
10 (3) With bivouac camp for scientific group. 
(4) Aboard ship. 
I. Mr. Amory Waite, Signal Corps: 
(a) To observe installation, operation, and maintenance of all radio 
equipment, particularly as affected by cold weather and Antarctic environmental 
(b) To observe the same factors in regard to meteorological and photo- 
graphic materials and equipment. 
(c) To observe generally and specifically the technical performance of 
all types of communications, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, and 
items of issue by the Signal Corps, as utilized by the Task Force. 
(d) To be available as desired by the Commanding Officer of the Task 
Force for advice and assistance on subjects listed above and general problems 
concerning Antarctica operations as previously experienced. 
(e) In the early phase of the operation, temperatures will not be suffici- 
ently low to make most of the desired observations listed above. He has there- 
fore offered his services to the scientific group studying the deformation of the 
shelf ice. As an alternate to this suggestion, Mr. Waite has suggested he accom- 
pany the ship, if approved, which will erect the automatic weather station, 
possibly at Coleman Island, to cover observations of meteorological equipment 
and communications. 
(1) Bivouac camp with scientific survey party. 
(2) On ship, erecting automatic weather station and resultant shore 
(3) At airstrip base camp. 
(4) Aboard ship. 
J. C. W. 0. Anthony B. Morency, Amphibious Engineers: 
(a) To observe all phases automotive equipment and to assist Col. 
Davis in general observations of specific interest to U. S. Army Ground Forces. 
This is contingent upon his transfer from the U. S. S. Cacapon to the Mount 
Olympus and the Central Group. 
(b) His services based upon past Antarctic experiences are available as 
may be desired by the Task Force Commander. 
(1) At airstrip base camp. 
(2) Aboard Mount Olympus. 
K. 1st Sgt. S. A. London, Air Corps: 
(a) To assist with observation program concerning search and rescue 
listed above under Capt. Wiener. 
(b) To assist the program of testing Army type paratroop equipment as 
listed above under Col. Davis. 
(c) Services available as so desired by Task Force Commander for search 
and rescue operations as based upon specific training under the Army Air Trans- 
11 port Command for this type of work, including parachuting, trail work, and dog 
driving and driving of over-snow vehicles. 
(d) When services not required as listed above, Sgt. London is available 
to assist scientific party studying deformation of shelf ice. 
(1) Airstrip base camp. 
(2) Self-provided bivouac with scientific party. 
(3) Aboard ship. 
L, Pvts. J. Shimberg and J. M. Waltersdorf, Signal Corps: 
(a) Assigned to Photographic staff of Task Force 68. 
(b) To observe performance of photographic equipment and materials 
under operating conditions. 
(c) Maintain photographic record of subjects in official files of specific 
interest to the Army observation program. 
(1) As determined by Chief, Photographic Staff. 
(2) Airstrip base camp. 
(3) Aboard ship. 
M. Mr. Robert L. Davis, Air Corps: 
(a) It is anticipated that Mr. Davis will join the Central Group from 
the U. S. S. Philippine Sea by accompanying Rear Admiral R. E. Byrd or by 
P2V’s. If in the latter case, he will have specific assignment of radar member 
of crew under Commander Davies. If in the former case, his interests will be 
as follows: 
(la) Observation and consultant on all aspects of radar and electronic 
(lb) Observation on all phases of high latitude aerial navigation, 
aerial photography, mapping, and interpretation. 
(lc) Observation on all phases of physical research and test performed 
by the Task Force. 
(1) With aviation detachment at airstrip base camp. 
(2) Aboard ship. 
Senior War Dept. Representative 
12 SECTION III. Narrative Account of Operation 
<ITT' 1 ■ //* 
The flagship of the task force, U, S. S. 
Mount Olympus, sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, 
with the U. S. S. Pine Island, U. S. C. G. C. 
Northwind, and U. S. S. Browson on 2 Decem- 
ber 1946. The voyage of 5 days to the 
Panama Canal was uneventful. Transit of 
the Canal was made in the afternoon and 
early evening of Saturday, December 7th 
and shore leave in Balboa and Panama City 
was authorized over the week end. Depar- 
ture from the Canal Zone was made Decem- 
ber 10th, and the equator was crossed on the 
12th. The passage from latitude 40° S. to 
Scott Island (near 180° W. longitude and 
the Antarctic Circle) was relatively calm 
considering the reputation these waters have 
for extremely heavy weather. Naval foul 
weather gear was issued to all hands at 
about 45° S. but was used very little until the 
force turned south from Scott Island. Talks 
on subjects relating to living and operating 
on the Antarctic continent were given to 
both officers and men by personnel with 
experience on previous Byrd Expeditions. 
Training films on a wide variety of medical 
subjects were shown in the sick bay to 
medical and other interested personnel al- 
most every day between the equator and the 
Ross Sea. 
The first whales were sighted on Christmas 
day and the first iceberg the following day at 
about 60° S. latitude. 
The ports of departure and sailing dates of 
task force vessels and necessary refueling 
operations precluded all vessels’ making the 
trip in their assigned groups. Some vessels 
of the Eastern and Western Task Groups 
went almost direct to their assigned operating 
areas. Others met at Scott Island, and the 
final disposition by groups as planned was 
made subsequent to this rendezvous. In the 
vicinity of Scott Island a refueling operation 
was carried out, some personnel and equip- 
ment were exchanged between vessels, and 
the U. S. G. G, C. Northwind made an ice 
reconnaissance to the south. A relatively 
open area was found and after a day and a 
half at the island the central group turned 
southward on December 31st. Extremely 
heavy ice pack was encountered on the 
second day south of Scott Island. Many 
huge bergs of barrier ice were interspersed 
among large, closely adjacent floes of thick 
bay ice. Virtually no progress was made for 
5 days in this area—about 69° S. latitude. 
When the pack was finally cleared on De- 
cember 14th, 10 days more than planned for 
had been expended in reaching the barrier. 
The Bay of Whales was reached on the 
15th and on that day and the next, small 
reconnaissance parties were sent into the 
bay on the ice breaker to estimate the land- 
ing possibilities and locate a base site. On 
the 17th unfavorable wind and ice conditions 
for entering the bay prevailed. At about this 
time it was thought that operations ashore 
would have to be curtailed. First, due to the 
width and heaviness of the ice pack—the 
most extreme conditions ever reported in 
this area—an early freeze-up of the Ross Sea 
appeared likely. Second, the flagship and 
the two cargo vessels had received varying 
degrees of damage in the passage through the 
ice. For these reasons a tentative departure 
date of 5 February was considered. Having 
arrived 10 days later than planned, and with 
departure by the end of the first week in 
February a possibility, there remained only 
3 weeks for unloading, construction of the 
base, and shore based air operations. Ac- 
*For expanded daily activities, see Chapter 13 "Combined 
Observers’ Log." 
13 cordingly, the construction of the metal 
airstrip was deleted from the plan, although 
short sections were to be laid for testing pur- 
poses. The R4D aircraft would then fly from 
plain ice shelf surface and would all be on 
skis throughout the operation. 
The flagship entered the bay and tied up 
to the ice on January 22nd. Camp con- 
struction, including mess facilities was com- 
pleted and the camp fully occupied on the 
23rd of January. At this time work on the 
aviation facilities was accelerated, and by 
the 25th the Central Group was ready to 
receive the planes from the carrier. Weather 
conditions were not satisfactory at both the 
Philippine Sea and the Bay of Whales until the 
evening of 29 January, when the planes were 
called. The first two took off shortly before 
midnight and arrived at about 0500 hours on 
30 January. The others arrived the same 
day around noon. The ice breaker, return- 
ing from its rendezvous with the Philippine 
Sea, reported much improved ice conditions 
in the Ross Sea. Accordingly, it was de- 
cided to finish unloading the ships, leave a 
200-man air party ashore, escort the ships out 
through the pack, and send the ice breaker 
U. S. G. G. C. Northwind and U. S. S. Burton 
Island (the latter to arrive soon from the States) 
back to the bay for subsequent evacuation of 
the shore party. This plan had been con- 
sidered previously and now appeared feasible 
due to improved conditions in the ice pack. 
March 1st was set as the latest date for final 
evacuation of the shore party aboard the ice 
breakers. The ships departed the Bay of 
Whales on 6 February. 
In the meantime the R4D aircraft were 
modified by removal of the wheels to plain 
ski (retractable) landing gear, loading plans 
were modified in accordance with final oper- 
ational requirements, and aircrews made 
trial flights, checking out on the modified 
landing gear and JATO on plain snow sur- 
face. A trail party of seven men in two 
LVT’s (“alligators”) was prepared to journey 
southeast to approximately longitude 139° 
W. and latitude 82° S. to establish a weather 
observation point in support of the flights 
to be made. This party was out from 12 to 
19 February, reaching the Rockefeller Moun- 
tains 90 miles from the base camp. At mid- 
night on the 13th of February, the weather 
had cleared sufficiently to permit extended 
flying operations. Several days of clear 
weather followed, during which time most of 
the major flights were made. Up to 16 
February most flights were made with JATO, 
but thereafter most were made unassisted 
due to improvement in the surface of the 
strip. The last major flight took off late on 
the 21st and returned the 22nd of Febru- 
ary. Operations were discontinued with this 
flight and the camp closed on 23rd of Feb- 
ruary. The approximately 200 personnel 
left were evacuated on the U. S. S. Burton 
Island, and the majority of them were trans- 
ferred to the flagship after passing through 
the ice pack. 
On the return journey the vessels of the 
task force were routed both separately and 
in small groups so that various liberty ports 
were visited in Australia, New Zealand, and 
South America. The flagship passed through 
the Panama Canal on the 6th of April and 
arrived at Washington Navy Yard on 14th 
of April, completing a voyage of 22,000 
SECTION I. Historical Comments 
Navy Task Force 68 (Operation 
“NANOOK”) sailed into northern waters 
in the summer of 1946. Basically this opera- 
tion permitted a trial of ice breakers and 
other types of vessels maneuvering in the 
ice floes between Greenland and the Cana- 
dian archipelago. This operation served a 
useful purpose in addition to personnel 
training and tests of equipment. It trans- 
ported supplies and aided in the building of 
a weather station at Thule, Greenland, and 
other weather bases would have been con- 
structed in cooperation with the U. S. 
Weather Bureau, the Air Forces, and the 
Canadian government had not the speed 
of negotiations been so slow. At the end 
of the summer’s operation (1946) in the 
north, it was clear to the Navy that the task 
of training and testing its equipment in 
ice-filled waters would require a long, 
patient period, because of the impending 
darkness and treacherous ice-filled seas. 
Task Force 68 (“NANOOK”) returned to 
the United States in early fall 1946. The 
importance of continuing the “NANOOK” 
type operations was apparent to the Navy. 
It would be nearly 9 months before the Task 
Force could again return to the arctic 
waters safely. It therefore appeared desir- 
able, in the meantime, to utilize these 
same ships and partially trained personnel 
to carry out a similar operation in other 
ice-filled areas. Antarctica, from December 
to March, would fit ideally into this program 
and permit this same Task Force to return 
again to Arctic Seas in July 1947. 
It also appeared wise to the Navy to give 
its Task Force specific problems to carry out 
incidental to its normal polar problems and 
operations. These problems form an incen- 
tive which is both interesting, and at times 
sufficiently difficult to force the Task Force 
into conditions which give a battle-worthy 
test of equipment. Rear Admiral Richard 
E. Byrd conceived of a problem, namely 
exploration and scientific investigation of the 
world’s least known continent, Antarctica. 
Because of his long experience and leadership 
in the field of Antarctic exploration, he was 
logically selected as a personal representative 
of Fleet Admiral Nimitz to serve as officer 
in charge of the project designated as 
“HIGHJUMP”. The derivation of this 
name came from a whimsical change from a 
previous code name “POLE VAULT” 
which was somewhat too revealing at a 
time when the expedition’s plans were in the 
classified state ot preparation, thus implying 
at the start that flights would be made over 
the continent ot Antarctica, including the 
South Pole itself. Task Force 68 continued 
under its previously organized pattern with 
Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen in com- 
mand under the Commander in Chief of the 
Atlantic Fleet. Task Force 68 was inform- 
ally discussed as a possible joint Army-Navy 
Task Force; however, no formal discussions 
concerning the Navy’s Antarctic Operation 
were held with the War Department until 
after the Navy had decided to keep it strictly 
a Navy enterprise. The Navy invited six 
Army observers to join the expedition; how- 
15 ever, they later agreed that this number of 
Army personnel was too small for so large an 
operation and the number was increased to a 
total of 16. Army assignments included 
three lieutenant colonels, two majors, two 
captains, one warrant officer, five enlisted 
personnel, and three civilian representatives 
of the War Department. Four of the enlisted 
men were Signal Corps photographers as- 
signed to operational duties. Four of the 
Army observers were men with previous 
Antarctic experience, whose experience had 
been gained on previous Byrd Expeditions. 
Dr. Siple of the War Department, associate 
of Admiral Byrd on all of his previous 
Antarctic Expeditions, was asked for by 
name to assist the expedition leaders in an 
advisory capacity and was further designated 
by the War Department as the Senior War 
Department representative. 
SECTION II. Army Interest 
The following points are listed as the 
principal reasons why the Army considered 
that it had a basic interest in the Navy’s 
Antarctic Expedition: 
A. National defense requires that the 
United States military forces must become 
proficient and capable of carrying out war 
operations in areas of high latitude, a situa- 
tion in which the Army has had little or no 
experience. Antarctica is an unpopulated 
area with a wide diversity of conditions 
which would serve as a suitable proving 
ground with unlimited maneuvering areas. 
Seasonal timing permits the use of Antarctica 
for continuous operations when the Arctic 
area is in total darkness. 
B. Conditions comparable to those on other 
icecaps are represented in Antarctica with 
comparatively easy access to the sea. The 
use of Antarctica is not complicated seriously 
by questions of sovereignty prohibiting re- 
search and operations. 
G. There is so little known of Antarctica 
that incidental scientific investigations car- 
ried on by military forces are of a tremendous 
value toward unveiling the potentials of a 
continent largely opened up in recent years 
through the efforts of private United States 
citizens, even though no official claim to the 
territory by the United States Government 
has ever been made. There is no proof, 
to date, whether there are or are not mineral 
resources in the Antarctic which would be 
of value to this Nation. With the exception 
of the discovery of the basic mineral coal, 
the continent has been so little prospected 
that it is reasonable to assume from the 
meager geological information gleaned that 
mineral deposits in economic quantities 
probably do exist there. Although the prime 
responsibility of determining the potential 
value of Antarctica is not necessarily a 
responsibility of the Armed Forces, they 
are the best equipped Government agency 
to perform such investigations at a minimum 
cost incidental to its program of training and 
research and development. 
D. The isolation of Antarctica would per- 
mit greater opportunities for research and 
development and testing of long range 
military weapons without danger to popu- 
lation or interference with the sovereignty 
of other nations. It is also sufficiently 
isolated to permit reasonable security of 
operations, which might not be true of the 
Arctic. The principles involved in such 
operations could be worked out conveniently 
in the Antarctic in cooperation with nations 
16 most closely approaching the Antarctic con- 
tinent. These nations no doubt would 
welcome an international approach to the 
scientific unveiling of Antarctica. 
E. Although the Arctic Sea is a basin 
enclosed by a ring of land masses with a 
fenced-in ice pack which is subjected to 
melting temperatures in the summer, the 
Antarctic continent, by contrast, is roughly 
circular, lying mostly within the Antarctic 
Circle and surrounded by a reef of ice pack 
which breaks up and flows outward in the 
summer until it is subjected to melting in 
warmer waters. The ice pack character- 
istics are therefore not identical, but are 
sufficiently similar to promote a study of 
maneuvering of ships and other vehicles 
through or over the surface which can con- 
ceivably figure strongly in the condition 
of Arctic warfare. 
F. The average temperature for the Ant- 
arctic region is considerably lower than for 
the Arctic region, so that equipment which 
will stand up under the winter conditions 
of the Antarctic would generally be satis- 
factory for the coldest temperatures and 
conditions of the Arctic (actually the coldest 
surface temperatures recorded are those in 
Subarctic Siberia). The summer period in 
Antarctica rarely rises above freezing, which 
permits research work to be carried out at low 
temperatures under continuous conditions 
of daylight, thus permitting more rapid 
development than would be possible under 
the cold-dark conditions in the Arctic. 
Antarctica does not present summer Arctic 
conditions comparable to the tundra and 
muskeg country; however, in Alaska and 
through cooperation with Canada, wide 
areas of this nature are available for military 
investigation. Because of the difficult ap- 
proach to the Arctic icefields, research and 
development of military methods of opera- 
tions in these areas are greatly inhibited. 
The approach to Antarctica is much more 
open in this respect despite its greater 
distance from the United States. 
SECTION I. Introduction 
1. General. 
This chapter is an account of Operation 
“Highjump” submitted by an observer from 
the Office of The Air Engineer who accom- 
panied the expedition. It summarizes engi- 
neering operations and conditions encoun- 
tered, presents problems of special interest 
to the Corps of Engineers, and makes 
a. The staff work and planning of Bureau 
of Yards and Docks was directed by Com- 
mander G. O. Reinhardt, U. S. N. (CEC). 
They had only 3 months prior to the sailing 
date to draw up all plans and specifications, 
fabricate special items, organize the Seabee 
detachment, and assemble materiel and per- 
sonnel at the proper port of embarkation. 
b. The Seabee unit was charged with all 
construction work, cargo handling and un- 
loading, transportation, and messing while 
on the barrier ice. A 200-man temporary 
tent camp (fig. 3), two Quonset huts, three 
Wannigan Huts, three ski runways, and a 
PSP test strip were the main items con- 
structed or assembled. Snow conditions and 
characteristics were studied in relationship 
to its supporting power. Even though the 
study of snow mechanics has hardly started, 
a considerable amount was learned and one 
would be safe in stating that the loose granu- 
lated snow of the Antarctic can be compacted 
within 1 month’s time to carry the load of a 
C-47 on wheels without any wearing surface, 
such as PSP, on the runway. 
c. It was learned on the expedition that 
there are three main groups of items or 
subjects which should be given considerable 
thought and study—they are housing, trans- 
portation and construction equipment, and 
snow compaction. If the Army is contem- 
plating future operations in regions similar 
to the Antarctic, further development of 
these subjects is a necessity if the operations 
are to be successful. 
2. Staff Work and Planning 
It was not until the first of September 1946 
that the Staff Officer from Bureau of Yards 
and Docks was able to start organizing 
available data and planning for Operation 
“Highjump”. About the middle of Septem- 
ber the planning got underway on a large 
scale and in less than 4 weeks drawings and/or 
specifications were ready to leave Washing- 
ton, D. C. This meant that all equipment, 
other than standard items, had to be fabri- 
cated and brought to the ship’s side for 
loading in less than 6 weeks. The majority 
of this work was performed by the Advanced 
Base Depot, Construction Battalion Train- 
ing Center, Port Hueneme, California. Other 
items such as the c‘Go-devil” sleds were 
manufactured by private concerns. Two 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars was 
allotted by Bureau of Yards and Docks for 
all their supplies, labor, materials, pre- 
fabrication, etc. The rest of their total cost, 
which was approximately five times that 
large, was required to come from surplus 
property. At the time when the planning 
commenced there were no organized con- 
struction battalions available. The first of 
27 MARCH, 1947 
Figure 3. Map of 200-man tent camp on Ross Shelf Ice. 
19 November two officers, one warrant officer, 
and approximately 175 men were ordered 
to the unit at Port Hueneme, California. 
Of the entire enlisted personnel only about 
25 or 30 were Seabee personnel; the rest 
came from general service organizations and 
without construction knowledge other than 
that which they would normally receive 
while aboard ship. The month of November 
was spent organizing the unit, training, 
drawing clothing, etc. 
3. Responsibilities. 
The senior Civil Engineer Corps Officer 
(Commander C. O. Reinhardt) was to be 
responsible, subject to the military control of 
the senior officer present afloat, for all con- 
struction ashore and the discharge of cargo 
and its transportation from ship’s side to the 
base camp. Officers charged with the com- 
mand and operation of facilities ashore were 
to be responsible for advising Commander 
Reinhardt of their requirements and were to 
be available for consultation during the 
erection of facilities under their jurisdiction. 
He was to arrange for additional personnel 
from ships present through the Senior Officer 
Present afloat. 
a. Commander P. D. Davis was to super- 
vise all construction ashore and expedite 
the erection of facilities in accordance with 
the established priority. He was to be re- 
sponsible for the distribution of personnel and 
equipment assigned to construction and for 
supervision of construction. 'He was to be 
the Officer in Charge of the Construction 
Battalion Detachment and was to have the 
following Officers under his supervision: Lt. 
V. B. Peller (CEC) U. S. N., Capt. V. D. 
Boyd, U. S. M. G. (while working with con- 
struction equipment and transportation), 
Ens, C. B. Mallory, Chief Warrant Officer 
Ulan, and any other officers who might be 
attached for construction work, cargo han- 
dling, or transportation within the camp area. 
b. Lt. V. B. Peller was to coordinate the 
unloading of cargo and its movement to a 
position of safety at the foot of the barrier. 
He was to be responsible for discharging 
cargo at the maximum safe rate and for assur- 
ing that cargo would be discharged in accord- 
ance with the established priority. 
c. Capt. V. D. Boyd, U. S. M. C., was to 
report to Comdr. C. O. Reinhardt for ad- 
ministrative direction and was to be respon- 
sible for the operation of all equipment 
assigned, and for the movement of supplies 
and personnel from the ship’s side to the base 
d. After the first stages of unloading cargo, 
Ens. C. B. Mallory and 12 men were to have 
the sole assignment of performing such tests 
as those which would not normally be run 
during construction. These men are not 
included in the Seabee unit, but were to 
work only for Bureau of Yards and Docks. 
e. Chief Warrant Officer Ulan, who has 
had considerable experience with construc- 
tion equipment, was to be the heavy equip- 
ment and transportation expert. 
/. Other officers were to be designated to 
supervise the storage of materials at the base 
camp, to assist in controlling the movement 
of supplies from the barrier to the base 
camp, and to assist in that construction which 
was deemed necessary. These officers were 
to be taken from the observer group and were 
to be those who were most interested in this 
phase of the expedition. 
4. Cargo Discharge. 
Immediately upon arrival the discharge 
of cargo was to have the highest priority. 
All personnel not required for the security of 
the Task Force were to be assigned to assist 
in the discharging of cargo and later in the 
construction of the base camp. All construc- 
tion and cargo handling was to be on a 24- 
hour basis. Personnel required for construc- 
tion were to be released from discharging 
27 MARCH 1947 
Figure 4. Emergency base radio and Little America ill. 
21 5 days, including tents, rations, and fuel, was to be 
unloaded and a cache established in a safe place. 
b. Priority Two. Ten days’ supply of diesel 
fuel and operating supplies for transportation 
and construction equipment. 
c. Priority Three. Communication equip- 
ment for local control of unloading and con- 
d. Priority Four. Materials required for the 
erection of a 300-man temporary tent camp, 
including 10 days’ supply of fuel for heating 
and cooking, 10 days’ rations for 300 men, 
and medical supplies. 
e. Priority Five. Materials for construction 
of air operating facilities, including pierced 
plank, one Quonset hut, radio, GCA, GPM2, 
15-kw generator, aviation field lights, shop 
and maintenance equipment. 
/, Priority Six. Five days’ supply of avia- 
tion gasoline and operating supplies for air- 
craft, gasoline truck, oil truck, fire fighting 
g. Priority Seven. Initial supplies of diesel 
oil, aviation gasoline, rations, and other 
operating supplies were to be maintained at 
a constant level by daily replacement. 
h. Priority Eight. Daily replacement of 
shore stores of aviation gasoline, diesel fuel 
oil, and other operating supplies to maintain 
a safe reserve ashore. 
i. Priority Nine. Material and equipment 
required to erect a 35-man emergency 
winter hut camp. 
Note. Base radio and communication equipment 
to be discharged as soon as radio hut was erected. 
;. Priority Ten. Special gear submitted 
for test. 
k. Priority Eleven. Rations, fuel, and oper- 
ating supplies for 35-man emergency hut 
camp for 14 months to be discharged only 
in the event that it was necessary to occupy 
that camp. 
/. Priority Twelve. Duplicate aviation oper- 
ating supplies. 
Figure 5. Bay of Whales area looking at about 135° 
with camp area in background. Mess hall and 
motor pool to the right of tents. Base operations 
down and a little to left of tents. Beginning of PSP 
test strip above the far ship. (24 Jan 47) 
cargo as soon as possible. After cargo 
priorities 1, 2, and 3 had been discharged 
men were to be released in such numbers and 
skills as to enable the construction of facilities 
to keep pace with the rate of discharge of 
materials. Skilled personnel other than Sea- 
bees were to be released from both cargo 
handling and construction as soon as possible 
after facilities were available for any pro- 
jected operation. 
5. Cargo Discharge Priorities. 
Each ship was loaded so that it could be 
discharged in accordance with the established 
priority for equipment and materials ashore. 
All the cargo in the first six priorities was 
loaded on the U. S. S. Yancey with priorities 
seven through eleven on the U. S. S. Merrick. 
a. Priority One. Transportation and cargo 
handling materials and equipment (tractors, 
fork lifts, sleds, lashing, cargo slings, tarpau- 
lins, trail markers, slings, etc.). 
Note. As soon as possible after the first sleds were 
ashore, an emergency subsistence kit for 25 men for 
22 6. Construction Priorities. 
The following priorities were assigned to 
construction with the assumption that the 
two AKA’s and the AGC would be moored 
in the Bay of Whales from early January 
until all operations had been completed, 
first of March, and that communications 
and Flight Control would be handled by 
the U. S. S. Mount Olympus. 
a. Priority One. Construction of an access 
roadway from the ship’s side to a place of 
safety on top of the barrier, rigging to move 
cargo sleds from the ship to the top of the 
barrier, establishing an emergency subsistence 
facility on top of the barrier, and installing 
communications for local control of unload- 
ing and construction. 
b. Priority Two. Breaking a trail to the 
base camp. 
c. Priority Three. Erection of 300-man tem- 
porary tent camp. The facilities actually 
installed were to be sufficient to accommodate 
personnel actually ashore and were to be 
expanded to the ultimate 300-man camp as 
it became necessary to quarter additional 
personnel ashore. 
d. Priority Four. Installation of air opera- 
tion facilities. 
(1) Quonset hut for service facilities, 
(2) Radio equipment. 
(3) Pierced plank landing mat 150 by 
5,000 feet, with parking area, fuel dump, and 
runway lights. 
e. Priority Five. Erection of 35-man emer- 
gency winter hut camp. 
(1) Radio hut with additional insulation. 
(2) Power plant. 
(3) Radio antenna. 
(4) Galley and mess. 
(5) Quarters. 
(6) Connecting structures. 
(7) Additional insulation in huts. 
f. Priority Six. Special facilities for testing 
equipment under cold weather conditions, 
g. Of the items listed above the most 
difficult to be constructed was the runway. 
It was planned to first construct a parking 
area to determine the best method to use 
during this operation. Such materials and 
special designed equipment as calcium chlo- 
ride, snow drags, snow rollers, oil burners 
under a hood (snow melter), and dark 
objects (PSP) laid on the surface, were to 
be experimented with. After the most feasi- 
ble method had been found, and if time and 
personnel permitted, a 150 by 5,000 foot 
runway was to be constructed to accommo- 
date plane wheel loads of at least 60 pounds 
per square inch on the tire contact area. 
7. Collection of Data. 
A large part of the technical and scientific 
information which would normally be ob- 
tained by an engineering unit should be 
gathered from field experience of this unit 
in the construction operation. Additional 
tests which the Bureau of Yards and Docks 
wished to run were as follows: 
a. Field Loading Test. Purpose—To esti- 
mate the plane wheel load capacity of the 
‘‘pavement” which is understood to be either 
compacted snow or compacted snow covered 
with steel mat. 
b. Snow Penetration Test. Purpose—-To de- 
termine the supporting power of the com- 
pacted snow. 
c. Density in Place Test of Compacted Snow. 
Purpose—To determine the density of com- 
pacted snow at different depths. 
d. Field Shearing Tests. Purpose—To de- 
termine the in-place shearing resistance of 
compacted snow. 
e. Tests on Ice and Frozen Materials. Pur- 
pose—To determine the bending, shear, and 
compression characteristics of compacted 
snow and/or ice. 
f. Tests on Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers. 
Purpose—To determine suitability of ex- 
tinguishers for use in extremely low tem- 
23 g. Test on “Little Giant Tractor Saw.” Pur- 
pose—To determine ability of subject saws 
to cut natural ice and snow into blocks. 
8. Operations. 
a. Due to the heavy ice pack the ships 
were not able to get through and start un- 
loading until 18 January. The two AKA’s 
and the AGG departed from the Bay of 
Whales on 6 February which resulted in 
their being available for unloading and 
assisting the expedition less than 3 weeks 
instead of the previously planned 8 or 9 
weeks. This necessitated the changing of 
unloading priorities to meet changed con- 
struction priorities which placed the con- 
struction of the 150- by 5,000-foot pierced 
steel plank runway last instead of immedi- 
ately after the construction of the tent camp. 
After inspection of Little America III, it was 
decided to enlarge and improve it instead of 
constructing an entirely new 35-man emer- 
gency winter camp. 
b. The operation plans for both loading 
and discharge of cargo, and construction of 
the base showed a considerable amount of 
staff work and gathering of information. 
They were well prepared, presented to sub- 
ordinates so that they were easily followed, 
and flexible enough to cope with the over-all 
change in plans of the Central Group. 
c. The general construction plans, even 
though priorities were changed, were fol- 
lowed throughout. Until such time as the 
ships left, construction work and unloading 
continued on a 24-hour basis, with the men 
quartering and messing on the ships which 
were moored in the Bay. Until 6 February 
the actual working hours were from about 
0700 to 1730, with an hour and a half for 
the noonday meal for the day shift. The 
actual working hours for the night shift were 
from about 1830 to 0530 the following day 
with 1hours for the midshift meal. The 
evening meal on 23 January was the first to 
be served in the camp and from this time on 
the men working in or near the camp area 
ate the midshift meal on the ice. 
9. Personnel. 
The Bureau of Yards and Docks was rep- 
resented by an excellent team of officers 
who planned and supervised their work. 
The staff was headed by an officer who was 
efficient and definitely gifted in that type 
of work and in gathering information from 
experiments which will be the basis for 
Antarctic construction for years to come. 
The other was especially qualified and 
efficient in the details of field construction 
and the handling of personnel. The effi- 
ciency with which the project was carried 
out reflects the cooperation between those 
responsible for its planning and those charged 
with its execution. Cdr. Davis was in charge 
of the day shift with Lt. Col. Partridge 
(U. S. M. C. observer) assisting in caching 
of cargo and construction of facilities, and 
Lt. Peeler and Ens. Mallory assisting in 
unloading cargo and transportation. Cdr. 
Reinhardt was in charge of the so-called 
night shift with Major Holcombe (U. S. A. 
observer) assisting in caching of cargo and 
construction of facilities, and Captain Boyd, 
U. S. M. G., and Chief W. O. Ulan assisting 
in unloading cargo and transportation. 
From time to time Capt. Wiener and other 
officers helped for short periods. 
a. Of the approximately 175 enlisted 
men, 15 held a chief’s (master sergeant) 
rating, one was in the motor pool, one 
similar to the 1st sergeant, one was master- 
at-arms, and the other 12 were on camp 
construction. The approximate distribution 
of personnel, including chiefs, was: 
Overhead 3 
Cooks and KP’s 24 
Repairmen and operators. ... 35 
Camp detail 106 
24 The camp detail personnel, plus additional 
personnel from the ships, did all construction 
work on the tent camp, Quonset and Wanni- 
gan huts, handling of cargo from the ship’s 
side up the barrier, and until it was properly 
cached, construction of the 35-man emer- 
gency winter camp, construction of the ski 
runway, and the test PSP runway. 
b. When the ships departed from the Bay 
of Whales on 6 February, the following en- 
listed personnel were left on the ice: 
Cooks and KP’s (24 hrs) 18 
Repairmen and operators (24 
hrs) 12 
Camp detail 16 
This camp detail was necessary to finish 
construction of connecting tunnels, etc., at 
the 35-man emergency camp and maintain 
the 200-man tent camp. 
c. Even though the majority of the Sea bee 
personnel were unskilled in construction 
work of this type, their efficiency was very 
high considering climatic conditions. It is 
believed this was due to their high morale 
which was maintained by excellent leader- 
ship and abundance of good and well pre- 
pared rations, 29 percent over and above the 
normal Navy ration. 
SECTION II. Construction Equipment 
1. Performance of Equipment. 
The main items of equipment which were 
used lived up to expectations even though 
they are by no means the answer for Antarc- 
tic work or transportation. They were D-6 
Caterpillar tractors, TD-9 International fork 
lift tractors, “Go-devil” sleds, QM 1-ton 
sleds, Weasels (Cargo Carrier—M29G), the 
wooden snow drag, and the pontoon snow 
drag. The efficiency of these items depended 
upon the hardness and supporting power of 
the snow, which was governed by the 
temperature and climatic conditions in that 
the higher the temperature the softer the 
snow became resulting in low efficiency, 
whereas the lower the temperature the 
harder the snow became, thus raising the 
efficiency of track-laying vehicles. Wheeled 
vehicles were out of the question and con- 
sidered not satisfactory for normal Antarctic 
2. Conditions Encountered. 
The vehicles on this operation encountered 
pressure ridges, shear cracks, crevasses up to 
3 feet across, slopes or grades up to 20 
degrees, surfaces from those that would 
support only a few pounds (2 to 4) per 
square inch to sea ice several years old, 
temperatures from 30° F. to — 22° F , and 
winds up to 38 knots. 
3. Tractor, D-6 Caterpillar. 
a. This tractor (fig. 6) was modified with 
the following: hardwood track extensions 
which decreased its bearing pressure from 
around 8 to about 5 pounds per square inch; 
winterized cabs which protected the opera- 
tors from low temperatures and strong winds; 
canvas winterized hoods for engine protec- 
tion; and track support blocks which re- 
placed the support rollers. The extensions 
lived up to expectations, even though they 
required replacing frequently. A number 
would break off at the edge of the grouser 
plates. Others would split, this being caused 
by the bending of the C washer which was 
used in securing the extensions. The cabs 
caused no noticeable trouble, but in time 
25 would have shown wear from vibration. 
The canvas hood shrank, becoming difficult 
to fasten properly. The track support blocks 
functioned as expected without giving any 
b. The tractor as manufactured gave very 
little trouble and only minor adjustments 
were necessary. All tractors were equipped 
with Hyster winches which proved very use- 
ful. All the D-6’s were used for the first 2 
weeks of the operation. All but three with 
extensions and one with a dozer blade were 
loaded back aboard ship on 5 February so 
that they could be returned to the States. 
The efficiency of this tractor was reduced 
considerably during high temperatures (20° 
to 30° F.) and soft neve. Later on when the 
temperature dropped and the surface would 
support more, the tractors with extensions 
functioned better. The tractors without ex- 
tensions operated satisfactorily on the bay 
ice even though at times it was hard to obtain 
a foothold; on the undisturbed snow at high 
temperature, the tractor without extensions 
was useless, but did manage to travel across 
undisturbed snow when the temperature was 
down to about —15° F. The tractor seemed 
to hold its footing better while traveling in 
reverse, i. e., while pulling heavy loads in a 
forward gear, the rear of the tractor often 
buried itself; whereas when pulling back- 
ward the tendency was not so great. All 
tractors either worked or idled 24 hours a 
day except for a period each day when they 
were being serviced. By the end of the 5- 
week period on the ice, the tractor hour me- 
ters averaged slightly over 500 hours. 
4. Tractor, D--7 Caterpillar. 
Only one of these was taken on the expedi- 
tion and it was loaded back aboard after 
2 weeks to return to the States. While in 
the Antarctic, it was used only as an anchor 
at the top of the barrier as explained in 
section III. No observations were made, 
but it is believed it would have performed 
very similarly to the D-6 tractor. 
5. Carrier, Cargo, M-29 (Weasel). 
This item was used without modification 
and proved very useful in that it was the 
only light piece of transportation on the 
ice with the exception of dog teams. It 
was used mainly for communications and 
to transport personnel. Occasionally small 
quantities of supplies were moved when it 
became necessary to expedite their move- 
ment. The two main difficulties that arose 
in the Antarctic that would not arise in 
another theatre of operations were— 
a. Track stiffness. 
b. The difficulty encountered while enter- 
ing, operating, or leaving the vehicle. 
After the vehicle had stood for some time 
it was difficult to start it moving smoothly 
Figure 6. Winterized D-6 caterpillar tractor. 
26 even though the engine had been idling. 
It seemed as though a heavy load was tied 
on behind and the engine was lacking 
power. After the vehicle had been traveling 
for some time it operated much more 
efficiently. It is believed this was caused by 
the rubber tracks becoming cold and stiff 
while standing and then loosening up as they 
were used. While in the Antarctic one is 
required to wear considerable clothing in 
order to remain comfortable. This makes it 
difficult to climb in and out of the amphib- 
ious Weasel and extremely difficult to 
operate with the close quarters around the 
steering brake levers, clutch, and accelerator. 
6. Forklift (Hughes-Keeman Model TD- 
Modifications for the two International 
tractor forklifts were the same as for the D-6 
tractors: hardwood track extensions, winter- 
ized cabs, winterized engine hood, and track 
support blocks. The modifications acted 
the same as those for the D-6 tractor. The 
main operational difficulty was met as the 
machine tried to turn or back around while 
moving cargo from the sleds to the cache, 
Figure 8. Track extension on D-7 caterpillar tractor, 
Figure 9. Wooden snow drag 
Figure 7. Escape hatch in winterized cab, D-7 
caterpillar tractor. 
Figure 10. Package shot (disassembled) wooden snow 
27 which would be only a few feet. The track 
under the driving sprockets would often be- 
come buried, requiring help to get out. The 
operator had to be extremely careful to 
avoid disturbing the snow surface. Cargo 
handling equipment is extremely valuable 
in regions similar to those encountered. 
7. Go-Devil Sleds. 
This is a specially modified item of which 
20 were manufactured by the Michler Sleigh 
and Wagon Company, for Operation “High- 
jump”. It was the main cargo sled and was 
used throughout the stay on the ice, (See 
sec. III.) Even though it proved satisfac- 
tory, more changes can be made in its design. 
The over-all structure seems to be a little 
heavy for its pay load. The runner contact 
area is small, causing the sleds, when loaded, 
to sink with snow piling up in front of the 
entire sled. The undercarriage is not de- 
signed to keep the sled from becoming buried 
in soft snow as is the toboggan undercarriage 
of the QM l-ton sled. The side board re- 
cesses which were above the floor level of 
the sled made it difficult to secure large and 
awkward-shaped cargo and boxes. 
8. QM 1-Ton Sled. 
This sled was very satisfactory and when 
used in the manner for which it was designed 
gave little or no trouble. It is believed that 
a large runner contact area would help in 
Antarctic use. 
9. Snow Drags. 
Two types of drags were tested; the 
wooden snow drag, and the pontoon snow 
drag. The purpose of the wooden drag was 
to level the sastrugi, which it did very satis- 
factorily, even though a lighter drag could 
have been used to better advantage on soft, 
undisturbed, snow. As the snow became 
compacted it is possible that an even heavier 
one could have been used. The pontoon 
Figure 11. Steel snow drag (not used) 
Figure 12. Package shot (disassembled) steel snow 
Figure 1 3. Package shot (disassembled) pontoon snow 
28 drag was used to iron out the snow and leave 
a smooth finish which definitely expedited 
the construction of the three ski runways. 
The results with the pontoon drag are very 
similar to those with a steel wheeled roller 
on earth in that the top inch or two is well 
compacted with a “burnish” finish, leaving 
the snow farther down relatively undisturbed. 
10. Grader, MTZ, with 12-Foot Mold Board 
This machine was not unloaded because 
it was believed it could not have been towed 
to the camp site. If runways are to be con- 
structed in areas similar to Antarctica some 
type of grading machine will be essential. 
11. Snow Surface Heater. 
This heater was unloaded, but due to cir- 
cumstances beyond control, was not tested. 
12. Other Items. 
a. The “Cle-track tractor” as used by the 
Air Corps to tow planes was taken on the 
expedition, but proved unsatisfactory due to 
Figure 15. Snow surface heater with extra burners. 
Figure 14. Compressor mounted (D-6 caterpillar 
tractor) For snow surface heater (40 cfm at 25 lb./ 
sq. in). 
Figure 16. Unloading cargo from ship direct onto 
“Go-devil” sled 
29 the rubber tracks which caused the same 
trouble as did the rubber tracks on the 
“Weasel”, plus the fact that they would not 
support the hard wooden track extensions. 
b. Wheeled vehicles such as truck 2b-, 
and 4-ton were unloaded, but are definitely 
not suited to the snow surface which will sup- 
port only a few pounds per square inch. All 
except a couple of Jeeps were reloaded 
aboard ships and returned to the States. 
SECTION III. Cargo Handling and Unloading 
1. Equipment. 
a. Standard stevedore equipment was used 
to discharge the cargo from the ships onto the 
bay ice which floated about 18 inches to 2 
feet above the water. This operation was 
carried on by the ships’ personnel and with 
priorities as requested by Commander Rein- 
hardt from day to day or whenever it became 
b. The “Go-devil” sled was used almost 
throughout for transporting supplies and 
equipment to the base camp. As D-6 trac- 
tors would return to within a hundred feet 
of the ship’s side with two or three sleds, a 
towline from the ship would pull a sled 
alongside, this being practiced so as to 
eliminate any danger of excess weight crack- 
ing the bay ice. The cargo was loaded 
direct from the ships onto the sleds and a 
tractor would tow them one at a time about 
1 mile to the foot of the barrier. The sleds 
were then hooked to a towline’ and pulled 
up the barrier slope by a tractor hauling on 
a cable, the cable running through snatch 
blocks at the top of the barrier. The D-7 
tractor with blade was used as an anchor. 
From this point the sleds were pulled to the 
proper cache by D-6 tractor with track 
2. Bridges. 
a. It was necessary to build two bridges 
between the ships and the barrier. One 
crossed a pressure ridge while the other 
crossed a sheer crack in which the two sides 
were moving in opposite directions at a rate 
of slightly over 4 feet per day. 
b. These two bridges were more or less 
of a standard type, the same as would span 
any deep crack in soft dirt. The bridges, 
being one vehicle wide, were constructed 
by placing 8- by 8-inch sills in one case and 
40-foot piling in another, across the ridge 
or crack. They were then tied together with 
Figure 17. Unloading lumber from ship directly onto 
“Go-devil” sled (lumber to be used to construct 
bridge across cracks in bay ice). Note tractor 
staying away from ship's side in order to pevent 
danger of cracking edges of ice. 
30 cable with approximately 1-foot spaces be- 
tween each sill. Three-inch flooring was 
well spiked, with treadways of 1-inch dun- 
nage going on top. PSP was placed on one 
of the bridges but soon became bent, which 
necessitated its removal. These bridges 
served their purpose and lasted until the ships 
departed from the Bay. Later on, about 
the last of February, when the time came to 
evacuate the camp, the bridge which 
crossed the sheer crack required replacing. 
During the time of our stay another crack 
developed about two-thirds up the barrier 
slope, but did not cause any great difficulty. 
Only one footbridge and one weasel bridge 
were necessary, 
3. Caches. 
The three main caches were: 
a. Near base operations which included all 
aircraft parts, equipment, fuel, etc. 
b. Near the mess hall and motor pool 
which included all Seabee supplies, equip- 
ment and fuel, housekeeping equipment, 
rations, etc. 
c. At Little America III which included 
rations, fuel, some construction material and 
those other supplies which were to complete 
the 35-man emergency camp. 
4. Cargo Segregation. 
Due to the large amount of cargo which 
arrived at the port late and was loaded 
aboard the ships during the last few days 
before leaving the States, all cargo was not 
stowed as set up in the Naval Operation 
Plan No. 2-46, which resulted in the segre- 
gation of supplies on the ice, causing some- 
what of a problem. This problem was 
Figure 18. Tamping snow on a bridge with a tractor. 
Figure 19. Bridge crossing crack in bay ice (PSP was 
put on top of one of the two bridges as wearing 
Figure 20. Tractor without 
track extensions towing 
“Go-devil” sled loaded 
with supplies across bridge 
on bay ice. Note bend- 
ing of PSP. 
31 Figure 21. Damaged PSP on bridge which crossed 
crack in bay ice was later removed. 
Figure 24. Removing supplies from cache which had 
been covered during a blizzard. 
Figure 22. Footbridge and weasel bridge crossing 
crevasse which developed two-thirds of the way up 
barrier slope. 
Figure 25. Aviation gasoline tank on skis was used to 
refuel R4D’s (D-47’s). 
aggravated because of improper or incon- 
spicuous markings and the change in plans 
which required the ships to leave the Bay of 
Whales earlier than originally planned. A 
considerable number of man-hours was spent 
restacking boxes and looking through dumps 
Figure 23. Snowdrifts at aviation gasoline dump after a 
32 Figure <26. Bay of Whales Area looking at about 315°. Mess hall and motor pool to left of tents,- base 
operations beyond and to right of tents. Roadway leading from tent area to the left leads to Little America 
ill (35-man winter emergency camp). 
for missing items. Occasionally a sled would 
arrive with some of its cargo going to each 
of the three dumps, resulting in “tying up” 
sleds which were required to transport more 
a. All fuel, 100-octane gasoline, 72-octane 
unleaded gasoline, aviation oil, motor oil, 
Diesel fuel, and kerosene were shipped in 
55-gallon drums, which were clearly marked. 
The aviation fuel and oil was cached half- 
way between base operations and the tent 
camp in piles of about 100 drums each with 
33 the piles being about 100 feet on center. 
The other main fuel cache, which was south- 
west of the tent camp and near the motor 
pool, was stored in the same manner. 
b. The smaller planes, OY (L-5) and JA 
(Norseman), taxied in between the piles for 
refueling. The gas for the R4D’s (C-47) 
was pumped from the drums into a tank sled 
and pulled by a D-6 tractor to the planes for 
c. All fuels were standard, the same as 
would be used on any cold weather operation 
within the continental United States, except 
the Diesel fuel which had a —40° F. pour 
point. Specifications USA 2-102, C AM 3, 
NGS X-4205. 
SECTION IV. Buildings and Shelters 
1. Temporary Tent Camp. 
The first construction to take place on the 
barrier was the erection of a 200-man 
temporary tent camp (figs. 27, 28, and 29). 
Fifty pyramidal tents were erected to house 
personnel, four officers or five men per tent, 
and were arranged in five rows, tents being 
approximately 40 feet on center and the 
rows 200 feet apart with the kitchen and 
mess hall being about 300 feet,on the exten- 
sion of the first row. Eleven other tents were 
erected around camp mostly at base opera- 
tions and were of the same type construction. 
a. At the time the tent camp was being 
erected the temperature was only slightly 
below freezing and the surface would hardly 
support the weight of a man on foot. Quite 
often an individual would sink down to his 
ankles, and if he stepped into an already 
disturbed area he would often go in up to 
his knees. For this reason, care was taken 
not to disturb that area which the tent 
would occupy. 
h. Eighteen pieces of 2- by 6-inch lumber 
12 feet long came bundled together so that 
one bundle would furnish the sills for one 
tent. The 2- by 6-inch pieces were scabbed 
together and placed flat on the snow so that 
there were nine 24-foot members lying ap- 
proximately 2 feet on center. After the first 
few tents this was changed to five sills 
lying 4 feet on center which were scabbed 
together with the remaining 2- by 6-inch 
pieces instead of 1-inch lumber. 
c. All floors had been prefabricated into 
4- by 8-foot sections and bound together so 
that one bundle made a complete floor. 
Figure 27, Tent camp area looking at about 315°. 
Latrines are between tent rows,- GPN lower right. 
Mess hall area to left of first row of tents; above 
mess hall area is Seabee cache area. Just beyond 
tents is aviation gas dump. In upper right corner 
of picture is base operations area and aviation 
supply cache. 
34 Figure 28. Tent camp area looking east. Motor pool, gasoline, and Diesel dump in foreground. 
The bundles for the 17- by 20-foot wall tents 
were the only ones that varied in number of 
floor sections in that they contained ten 
instead of the standard eight. These floor 
sections were placed so that the joists sup- 
porting the plywood flooring ran perpen- 
dicular to the sills and were 2 feet on center. 
Each section of flooring contained a loose 
2- by 4-inch piece, 8 feet long which was 
nailed on to the joist so that it extended out 
4 feet beyond the floor’s edge for outriggers, 
furnishing an anchor for the tent ropes. 
The tent was erected in the normal fashion 
with a tent stove being installed and ready 
for use. As is normal in any tent camp, 
inside frames, plywood doors of various 
types, etc., were added by the occupants. 
Some went further and put in ceilings and 
inside walls; anything to help as insulation 
and to make home more comfortable. 
d. The tent camp was adequate in this 
case and would be for any other operation of 
this kind, provided it is to be only for a very 
short period and will not encounter tempera- 
tures lower than from 0° F. to —10° F. 
2. Kitchen and Mess Hall. 
a. The kitchen and mess hall (fig. 32) were 
made up of three 17- by 20-foot wall tents, 
one pyramidal tent, and one 16- by 50-foot 
35 hospital tent all tied together. They were 
constructed in the same manner as were the 
living quarters with the exception that inside 
framework and doors were constructed by 
Seabee personnel. 
b. As one entered the pyramidal tent he 
picked up his metal tray and silverware, 
passed through the chow line at the far end 
of the tent where the field ranges were 
arranged in a line perpendicular to the line 
Figure 29. Officers’ row. Note snowdrifts which hove blown in between each tent/ note also that each tent 
has a different type entrance which was built by occupants. 
Figure 30. Floor panel bundles (one bundle was 
required per pyramidal tent). 
Figure 31. Assembling pyramidal tent floors. Note 
piles in background. Each is the required material 
for one pyramidal tent. 
36 Figure 32. Erecting mess hall and kitchen tents 
Figure 33. Detail refueling tent camp. Average 
pyramidal tent used 8.3 gallons per day. 
Figure 34. Advance base camp, Ross Shelf Ice: galley and mess hall. 
of entry, and on to the mess hall (men to the 
hospital tent on right, officers to the wall 
tent on the left). The actual kitchen reached 
from the back of the pyramidal tent (chow 
line) to the end of the first wall tent. The 
second wall tent, still farther back, sheltered 
a store or break-out room. About one- 
third of the officers’ wall tent was used as a 
37 range storage and repair room. The mess 
gear washing was done at the far end of the 
hospital tent. This construction and ar- 
rangement worked very satisfactorily. 
3. Headquarters Building. 
There was really no headquarters building 
for the base camp. The Seabees used a tool 
tent at first and later moved their tools, etc., 
to the motor pool tent. The standard 
Quonset hut (fig. 41) at base operations, 
which was erected with a little more diffi- 
culty than were the tents, carried on more 
administrative work in one of its corners than 
did the rest of the whole camp. 
4. Quonset Huts. 
a. The huts were also erected while tem- 
peratures were slightly less than freezing, 
which caused quite a problem in leveling and 
squaring the floor frame. In order to aid in 
this operation, 1-inch dunnage was first laid 
on about 2-foot centers and perpendicular to 
the 2- by 10-inch and 4- by 4-inch sills which 
went on top. After the floor frame (fig. 42) 
Figure 35. Mess hall and kitchen. 
Figure 36. Garbage pit in snow which was at far end 
of mess hall. All kitchen waste was dumped in this 
hole, which grew deeper as it was used. 
Figure 37. Digging hole for frozen food storage. 
Note snow being sawed into blocks for easier 
38 Figure 38. Framework for frozen food storage house 
Figure 39. Storing food in frozen food storage house. 
Figure 40. Tarpaulin being pulled over framework of 
frozen food storage house. It was weighted down by 
putting dunnage and snow blocks on top 
Figure 41, Quonset hut floor at base operations just 
after a blizzard. 
had been assembled, it was trued by the use 
of an engineer’s chain and level, which took 
about four times as long as it would have 
under normal conditions. The other major 
difficulty in the erection was that the small 
nuts, bolts, and plates required bare hands 
to put into place. With the exception of 
these two difficulties, the latter hardly being 
an exception, the work progressed the same 
as it would have during any operation with 
the same temperature and wind conditions. 
The only difference between this hut and 
the standard Quonset hut is that there were 
two %-inch plywood floors which were sep- 
arated by 1-inch dunnage furring. Shortly 
after the hut had been completed a bliz- 
zard arose causing snow to blow in at the 
joint between the bulkhead and the cor- 
rugated sheet metal, leaving the snow lodged 
between the inner masonite wall and the 
outer corrugated sheets. Later heat from 
the inside of the building melted the snow 
causing the masonite to become wet and fall 
out of place. This incident could hardly be 
called a fault in the building design but 
should be credited to faulty construction. 
39 Figure 42. Floor frame assembly for Quonset hut. 
Note near left corner metal sills are resting on 4- 
by 4-inch members, which are resting on 2- by 
10-inch pieces, which are resting on and perpendicu- 
lar to floating dunnage foundation. 
Figure 43. Quonset hut at base operations under con- 
struction. Note inside wall of Quonset hut at 
far end, outside corrugated sheets on left end and 
insulation which goes between the two surfaces 
being applied in the middle of the building. 
b. A double hut 20 by 96 feet was erected 
at Little America III in very much the same 
fashion and encountering the same difficul- 
ties. This hut enlarged the old base so as to 
make it adequate if it became necessary to 
leave a party through the winter night. It 
had the following additions over and above a 
standard Quonset: 
(1) Double bulkheads approximately 4 
feet apart. 
(2) Double “Kima!” insulation between 
inner and outer walls. 
(3) Double floors, 3 inches apart, and so 
constructed that air circulated between them. 
(4) Waterproof paper and %-inch Celotex 
which was inside and separated from the 
metal outside wall by a dead air space. 
Once erected, it is suitable for Antarctic and 
Arctic use, but the difficulty encountered in 
constructing it warrants a different design. 
5. Wannigan Huts. 
Three prefabricated Wannigan huts having 
about 6-inch walls and inside dimensions of 
approximately 7 by 14 by 7 feet high with a 
door at one end, were taken on the expedition 
Figure 44, Looking southwest. Excavation for con- 
necting tunnel leading from double Quonset hut in 
background to Little America III, which is beneath 
the photographer who took the picture. 
40 Figure 45. Southwest end of double Quonset hut at 
Little America III (35-man winter camp) showing es- 
cape hatch, short connecting tunnel, and generator 
house on right end. 
Figure 46. Inside of Quonset hut at Little America 
III. Note gap in floor on right side so that warm air 
can circulate to the left and come up through cracks 
in center of floor (cracks not visible). 
to be used as sled houses to transport men to 
and from the airstrip so they might have a 
place to warm themselves while drinking 
their midshift coffee. Instead, the six sec- 
tions—two ends, two sides, one sled bottom, 
and a top—were bolted together without 
much difficulty and used as quarters for the 
three ranking officers. This type of structure 
is suitable for Antarctic and Arctic use. 
6. Construction Time Required. 
The construction of the 200-man tent 
camp required approximately 1,200 man- 
hours, the single Quonset hut at base 
operations required approximately 600 man- 
hours; and the double Quonset at Little 
America III required approximately 1,400 
SECTION V. Utilities 
1. Water. 
Water requirements for the kitchen and 
mess hall were furnished by snow melters. 
Water for personal cleanliness, washing of 
clothes, etc., was obtained by the individuals 
concerned by using a bucket or large can and 
his own tent stove. The snow melters were 
protected on a wood floor with a tarpaulin 
windbreaker which was located about 100 
feet east and to the rear of the kitchen and 
adjacent to an area which had been marked 
off with flags and maintained free from 
contamination (figs. 47, 48, and 49). 
a. During the first couple of weeks, two 
Aeroil No. 98 Steam Thawing Units were 
used as melters, the steam lines were in- 
serted into a full G. I. can of snow and as the 
snow melted it was replenished until there 
was obtained a full 32 gallons of water. 
When the units were functioning properly 
it required from 10 to 15 minutes, depending 
upon the temperature, to produce 32 gallons 
of water. The heat for these melters was 
furnished by a gas generator type burner 
which used kerosene and did not prove to be 
entirely satisfactory, the main trouble being 
41 merits. The G. I. cans were maintained about 
one-third full of hot water. As snow was 
added and became water, it was dipped out 
and poured into a covered container which, 
when full, was carried by hand to the kitchen. 
This operation was carried on by two men 
using four heaters who started to work at 
about 8:00 a. m. and by 3:00 p. m. (no 
time out for lunch) had obtained 14 or 15 
32-gallon G. I. cans of water (448 to 480 
gallons), the kitchen and mess hall require- 
ments for 200 men (2.2 to 2.4 gal. per man 
per day). 
c. The snow which was porous and had a 
specific gravity of about 0,35 at the top, was 
usually cut into blocks and carried less than 
100 feet to the melters which were on the 
downwind side. Apparently, this snow had 
no mineral content and was free from harm- 
ful bacteria. The water was not chlorinated 
or treated in any way. Occasionally soot 
was found to be floating on the top of water 
cans, but did not hinder the production of 
potable water. 
2. Waste Disposal. 
Sanitation in the Antarctic where snow is 
extremely deep presents no problem so long 
as waste is not disposed of in snow melting 
a. Three latrines for the men and one for 
officers were suitably located throughout the 
camp. They were housed within 16- by 
16-foot pyramidal tents and built similar to 
the ones for living quarters, with the boxes 
forming a U next to the back and two side 
walls. Urinals were not furnished and as a 
result conditions in front of tents became 
b. Garbage was disposed of by dumping it 
into a hole which was started by pouring hot 
dishwater onto the snow. All kitchen waste 
was disposed of in this hole, which was about 
3 by 2 feet and became deeper the more it 
was used. 
Figure 47. Pontoon snow melter which was designed to 
be used at 35-man emergency winter camp. Note 
exhaust from internal combustion engine furnishes 
heat for melter. 
Figure 48. Inside snow melting shelter. Behind steam 
is Aeroil No. 98 Steam Thawing Unit. Man on 
left is holding steam pipe in G. I. can partly full of 
snow; man on right is pumping air into tank for 
burner which is bottom of steam thawing unit. 
that it required considerable time to start 
the burners, especially in lower temperatures, 
and they required an excess of maintenance. 
b. Army field immersion type heaters 
were used the majority of the time while on 
the ice and functioned properly without any 
mentionable trouble other than requiring 
a longer time to produce the water require- 
42 3. Heat. 
Two types of heaters were used to heat the 
tent camp. Each pyramidal tent was equip- 
ped with one Army tent stove, Model 1941, 
and the standard oil burner, the mess hall 
and Quonset huts used 60,000-B. t. u. space 
heaters most of which were manufactured by 
The American Gas Machine Company, 
Albert Lea, Minnesota. Housing facilities 
remained comfortable at all times, except 
that the tents during high winds with low 
temperatures were uncomfortable even 
though the stoves were red hot. This was 
no hardship. Heating on Operation “High- 
jump” was adequate. 
a. In order to reduce fire hazard, Diesel 
fuel instead of gasoline was used throughout 
and worked satisfactorily even though some 
of the stoves smoked at times. In case of 
the tent stoves, cleaning became necessary in 
about one-third of the cases. The average 
fuel consumption was about 8.2 gallons per 
day per tent stove and 125 gallons per day 
for the kitchen and mess hall (one tent stove, 
three 60,000-B. t. u. space heaters, and about 
seven kitchen ranges). 
b. Standard hand type 15-pound C02 fire 
extinguishers were used throughout without 
any noticeable difficulties. They were dis- 
tributed throughout the tent area so that 
one extinguisher served three tents, six or 
seven were around the kitchen as well as 
on the crash fire fighting sled. Others were 
placed around dumps and such places where 
they might be needed. No serious fires re- 
sulted although a number of tent poles 
became scored, with a couple of them 
4. Electricity. 
The kitchen and mess hall were supplied 
electricity by two 5-kw., 120-v., single-phase 
generators driven by Wisconsin air-cooled 
motors which were housed in a tarpaulin 
.shack beside the kitchen. The generators 
Figure 49. Package shot (disassembled) snow melter. 
Figure 50. Two 5-kw. generators which were used for 
lighting kitchen and mess hall. Note they are resting 
on the base for a tarpaulin which was later erected. 
ran alternately in about 6-hour shifts and 
worked very satisfactorily. With the excep- 
tion of those tents which required electricity 
for special projects, no power was furnished 
within the tent area. Most occupants of 
tents modified their quarters with one or 
two plastic windows or skylights which pro- 
vided enough light for normal use. 
a. It was originally planned to use two 
75-kw. generators at the 3 5-man emergency 
winter camp, which was reconstructed at 
Little America III. Instead two, 25-kw., 
200- to 400-volt, 3-phase, GM generators, 
43 Model 1-398 driven by 1,200 r. p. m. GM 
Diesel engines Model 3016 were installed 
and until date of departure furnished power 
for the high frequency radios. These genera- 
tors were moved from the ship to the sites 
while still in the heavily constructed box- 
type house. 
h. It was not planned to use these gen- 
erators on the expedition other than to fur- 
nish power for six large reefers (675 cu. ft. 
each) which were constructed on the deck 
of the U. S. S. Merrick in order to furnish 
more cold storage space while en route to 
SECTION VI. Airstrips and Snow Tests 
1. Airstrip. 
An airstrip, as originally planned, was not 
constructed, although three ski runways 
were prepared as well as a 150- by 350-foot 
plus 45- by 455-foot pierced steel plank test 
strip. The R4D (C-47) planes operated off 
the ski runways very successfully and with 
less drag than normally would be encoun- 
tered with tires on concrete. 
2. PSP Test Strip. 
a. The PSP test strip (figs. 51, 52, 53, 54, and 
55) was laid in the following sequence: 
23 Jan 
24 Jan Laid 150 by 75 feet of PSP on undis- 
turbed snow. 
25 Jan Laid 150 by 75 feet of PSP on burlap 
which was on undisturbed snow. 
Laid 150 by 75 feet of burlap on un- 
disturbed snow. 
1 Feb 
3 Feb 
150 by 250 feet, 2 rounds with D-6 and 
snow drag over area where burlap 
had been. 
Laid 150 by 40 feet of PSP on partially 
compacted snow. 
Detail of about 15 men started breaking 
open bundles and established center 
Night shift started 1830 and finished 
0530 on the 25th. 
Inspection of mat at 2200 hours revealed 
that PSP on undisturbed snow settled 
about 1 % inches, whereas mat on 
burlap did not settle. Most settling 
took place between 1030 and 1430, 
while sun was out, with light winds. 
Later inspection revealed no more 
Started to remove 150- by 75-foot section 
of burlap. 
Removed burlap. 
44 5 Feb Laid 150 by 160 feet of PSP on partially 
and compacted snow. 
6 Feb 
17 Feb 150 by 800 feet, 2 rounds with snow drag 
and D-6; 1 round with pontoon draa: 
and D-6. 
18 Feb 150 by 800 feet, 1 round with pontoon 
drag and D-6. 
Laid 40 by 180 feet of PSP on partially 
compacted snow. 
19 Feb Laid 40 by 275 feet of PSP on partially 
compacted snow. 
20 Feb Removed snow from 150- by 350-foot 
Runway extension had about 2 rounds 
with snow drag and 1 round with 
pontoon drag 
High was —8° F. witli 16-knot wind, 
7 men for 2){ hours! 114 sq. ft. 
13 men for 3){ hours [man-hour 
14 men for 6 hours equals 130 sq. 
Fork lift with 3-inch lumber as a dozer 
pushed the snow to the sides. 
b. The first 150 linear feet were laid about 
25 January when temperatures were rela- 
tively high (25° to 30° F.) and the following 
difficulties were encountered: 
(1) The small clips were difficult to handle 
in cold weather with gloves or mittens. 
(2) Care had to be taken not to disturb 
the surface when the mat was to be placed 
(same as for construction of camp). 
(3) The time required to carry each panel 
by hand from the runway shoulders to its 
final position was doubled, which was due 
to the soft neve. This work was performed 
mostly by the U. D. T. and ships’ personnel 
who had no previous training in this type of 
work. Later this mat required a dozer (for 
lift with 3-inch lumber as blade) to remove 
snow drifts which were caused by miscel- 
laneous bundles and odd pieces of PSP that 
were left within that area. 
c. When the 40- by 455-foot section was 
laid on partially compacted snow the only 
difficulty encountered was the handling of 
the small clips, temperatures being about 
— 10° F. with winds up to 16 knots. This 
Figure 51. Laying PSP on burlap which was laid on 
undisturbed snow. 
work was performed by about 13 Seabees 
from the motor pool whose morale was very 
high. During the 2-day period approxi- 
mately 125 square feet per man per hour were 
45 Figure 52. Junction of PSP direct on undisturbed snow (left) and PSP on burlap which is on undisturbed snow on 
right. Twelve hours after junction was laid, mat on left had settled from IV2 to inches while mat on right 
did not settle at all. 
3. Ski Runways. 
The three ski runways were arranged more 
or less as an equilateral triangle, all work 
being performed by equipment, with no 
hand labor. The 4 days of construction for 
runway No. 1 (100 by 4,500 feet) started 
during the evening of 13 February and con- 
sisted of the following; 
Runway No. 1 {fig. 58) 
13 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor pulling heavy 
13 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor only. 
1 round, D-6 tractor pulling light 
1 round, D-6 tractor pulling T-7 
section of pontoon drag. 
14 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor pulling light 
1 round, D-6 tractor pulling pon- 
toon drag. (7% short tons, incl. 2 
bdls. PSP). 
15 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor pulling pon- 
toon drag (a. m.). 
46 15 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor pulling light 
drag (p. m.). 
16 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor pulling pon- 
toon drag (a. m.). 
17 Feb 1 round, D-6 tractor pulling drag 
(far end only). 
1 round, D-6 tractor pulling pon- 
toon drag (far end only). 
The average temperature during this period 
was — 10°F. with winds at about 12 knots. 
Even after the first evening of work the sur- 
face furnished an adequate runway for skis. 
By 23 February this strip would almost sup- 
port an R4D (C-47) on wheels. Runways 
Nos. 2 and 3 were constructed alike in that 
their 2-day construction period started 15 
Figure 53. Same junction as in figure 52, showing that 
difference in elevation at this point is 2V2 inches. 
Figure 54. Cylindrical snow pillars were left standing 
from 1 V2 to 2V2 inches high as PSP, which had been 
laid direct on undisturbed snow, settled. They 
could be kicked over or scraped off very easily. 
Mat apparently did not settle any more after the 
first 36-hour period. 
Figure 55. PSP test strip after a blizzard. Note drifts 
which were caused by bundles and odd pieces of 
mat left within area. This shows the runway areas 
must be policed as work progresses. 
Figure 56. Tractor pulling pontoon drag on ski runway 
47 Figure 58. Ski runway No. 1 running east and west. 
Picture was made before ski runways Nos. 2 and 3 
were constructed. 
Figure 57. Track left after R4D (C-47), with wheels, 
had been towed from PSP test strip to ski runway 
No. 1. Tracks were almost waist deep in places. 
Figure 59. OY (L-5) taking off from PSP test strip. 
Note that very little snow is blown up by the 
Figure 60. OY (L-5) stuck in newly compacted snow 
at end of PSP test strip. 
February and consisted of only the following: 
1 round with a D-6 tractor pulling a wooden 
snow drag, and 2 rounds with a D -6 tractor 
pulling the pontoon drag. These were sat- 
isfactory for skis. 
4. Taxi, Take-Off, and Landing Tests. 
a. OT {Army L-5 on PSP, Subbase Partially 
Compacted, 20 Feb 47, -10° F., Wind 11 Knots. 
(1) Several landings and take-offs were 
made from the 40- by 455-foot end as well 
as taxiing on part of the 150-foot wide end. 
From all appearances no failure occurred. 
It is believed the weight was being carried 
by the mat instead of the snow base; there- 
fore, very little or nothing was learned. 
The props seemed to kick up very little snow 
from beneath the mat, although a little loose 
snow which was on top was blown back. 
(2) The plane taxied out over freshly com- 
pacted snow (2 rounds with D-6 tractor 
pulling snow drag, 1 round with D-6 
tractor pulling pontoon drag) which, due 
to the surface failure, took considerable 
48 power. When the plane tried to turn, 
one wheel went down and help was required 
to start plane moving again. 
b. OT {Army L—5) on Ski-Runway No. 7, 20 
Feb 47, +10°F, Wind 7 7 Knots. Several land- 
ings and take-offs were made with quite a 
bit of taxiing. With one exception no dam- 
age was noted. The surface acted the same 
as any prepared surface would be expected 
to act, except that tires could easily be 
skidded by applying brakes. Once for dem- 
onstration purposes, the plane taxied back 
and forth with one wheel skidding about 
80 percent of the time. The damage noted 
was on the first landing. As one of the tires 
touched the snow, it broke the surface, 
leaving a strip the tire’s width, about 10 
feet long and 1 to 2 inches deep, of loose 
Figure 61. OY (L-5) taxiing on ski runway No. 1 
Figure 62. R4D (C-47) taxiing on PSP test strip. 
Note that very little snow is blown up by the 
Figure 63. Indentations up to 2 inches left in PSP after 
R4D (C-47) taxied on test strip (PSP laid on 
undisturbed snow). 
Figure 64. R4D (C-47) stuck in partially compacted 
snow as it left PSP test strip. Fifty inches of mercury 
on both engines would not move plane. Note 
that no snow is blowing back as propellers rotate at 
high velocity. 
49 granulated snow that could be raked out by 
hand. The snow beneath this was still com- 
pacted and no breaking through was noted. 
Apparently compacted snow will not stand 
abrasion. The tire pressure during these 
tests was 13 pounds per square inch and the 
total weight of the plane was about 2,100 
c. R4D (C-47) 19,000 to 20,000 Pounds on 
PSP Test Strip, 22 Feb 47, T10°F., Wind 5 
Knots. (1) The plane taxied over the entire 
PSP test section. The mat which was laid 
on the burlap had the greatest failure. In 
places it was bent up to 2 or 3 inches. The 
mat which was placed on partially compacted 
snow bent to about 1 or 2 inches. This 
should show that, in this particular case, 
the tan and loosely knitted burlap acted as an 
insulator rather than a conductor, therefore 
losing the qualities which it was hoped it 
might possess. Had the burlap been canvas 
similar to that of tents, the results might have 
been slightly different, but it is still believed 
that best results would be obtained without 
using any material between the PSP and the 
snow. It was interesting to note that very 
little snow was picked up or blown out of 
place by the prop blast, even while both en- 
gines were pulling 50 inches of mercury. 
This also leads one to believe that no ma- 
terial similar to burlap is needed beneath 
the mat. It was also noted the tires had a 
tendency to skid easily where the mat was 
partially covered with snow. 
(2) After taxiing on the PSP had been 
completed the plane tried taxiing off the end 
of the mat test strip and onto the partially 
compacted snow, but without success. The 
plane immediately sank about three-fourths 
of the way to the hub. Fifty inches of mer- 
cury on both engines would not move the 
plane. Later on during the night two D-6 
tractors towed the plane over undisturbed 
snow to ski runway No. 1. This was accom- 
plished in the same manner that a plane 
would be dragged through any muddy held. 
At one time one of the wheels went down to 
the point that loose snow, which piled up in 
front of the wheel, touched the oil cooler at 
the bottom of the cowling. 
d. R4D (C-47) on Ski Runway No. 7, 23 Feb. 
47, +7° F., Wind 4 Knots. (1) The plane 
taxied about 100 feet before the left wheel 
went down. In trying to get out, the plane 
made about a 300-degree turn with the wheel 
going down to the hub. At times while 
Figure 65. R4D (C-47) tracks on ski runway No. 1 
which show that it was not evenly compacted. 
Figure 66. R4D (C-47) wheel after plane became stuck 
and had turned about 300°, using left wheel as 
50 Figure 67. R4D (C-47) taxiing on main camp road leading to mess hall. No failure whatsoever was noted in 
Figure 68. Plane taxied into close quarters. Men 
pushing it backward while engines still running 
shows that there is very little drag between tires and 
Figure 69. Chocks were required to keep R4D (C-47) 
from rolling down main roadway, which had very 
little slope. This shows that there is very little 
friction between tires and surface. 
51 taxiing the wheels would appear to ride on 
top, then one would break through and after 
running the engines up would come back on 
top. The surface definitely failed, but one 
could see that the minimum compaction for 
this type plane had almost been reached. 
(2) During the noonday meal hour, the 
plane was towed over a connecting road to 
the mess hall road. 
e. R4D {C-47) on Mess Hall Road, 2J Feb. 
47, +7° FWind 4 Knots. (1) The mess hall 
road was part of the main camp road leading 
from the ships to the camp and had traffic 
continuously from 18 January through 23 
February. The traffic consisted of every 
piece of equipment on the expedition, and 
no artificial compacting was done. There 
were occasional rounds with the snow drag 
which aided in keeping the area level. 
(2) The plane was taxied up and down the 
roadway without showing any signs of failure 
whatsoever. The only markings or tracks 
left were formed by the tire tread and the 
loose snow which was on the surface. Twice 
the plane taxied in too close to the flagpole 
and was easily pushed back around by eight 
or ten men. 
Figure 70. Plane with ski landing gear leaves from ski 
runway No. 1 for long mission. 
Figure 71. Ski track left by R4D on ski runway No. 1 
Tracks are not usually this distinct. 
Figure 72. Ski track as R4D (C-47) left ski runway 
No. 1. Note difference in track depth on runway 
and on shoulder. 
Figure 73. Tracks on ski runway No. 1 left by a Jeep 
as it started from a halt. 
52 'igure 74. R4D (C-47) with skis, parked on plywood 
covered with Diesel oil to prevent skis from freezing 
to surface. 
Figure 75. Removing 
snow sample for den- 
sity measurements. 
5. Snow Tests. 
a. In-place density measurements, Proctor 
needle tests, and field load test were made on 
the following areas: 
(1) Undistributed snow. 
(2) Mess hall roadway. 
(3) Snow after PSP had been removed. 
(4) Ski runways Nos. 1 and 2. 
During the short period on the snow, condi- 
tions varied from a soft sandlike consistency 
53 with hardly any supporting power (while 
temperatures were near freezing) to a dense 
hard crust which would allow a D-6 tractor 
to travel without track extensions (tempera- 
ture being near —10° F.). Due to circum- 
stances beyond control, controlled tests were 
not started until the first part of February; 
therefore, no data was obtained during the 
warmer days. 
b. The density measurements were made 
by weighing a carefully measured block of 
snow sawed from the neve. Successive seg- 
ments, 1 to 3 inches thick, were sawed from 
the block as it sat on the scale. The residue 
was again weighed and measured and the 
reduction in weight and volume was used to 
calculate the density of the segment which 
had been removed. When crusts were ob- 
served in a specimen, segments were cut so 
that one segment was composed entirely of 
the crust. It was found that compaction 
went to a depth of about 20 inches and that 
immediately after compaction the surface 
would not have the supporting power that 
it would after it had had a couple of days to 
freeze into place. Facilities were not avail- 
able to make a microscopic study of the 
crystal arrangement, but it is the belief of 
the observer that the original grains of snow 
were broken down into smaller ones and 
compressed and vibrated into place, leaving 
a more dense surface. 
c. In order to compare density measure- 
ments, the results of different tests were cal- 
culated and the value used in plotting specific 
gravity against depth. The average specific 
gravities for undisturbed snow, partially 
compacted snow (ski runways Nos. 1 and 3), 
9 FEB. 1947, TEMP. 11° F. 
8 FEB. 1947, TEMP. 19°F 
8 FEB, 1947, TEMP. 19° F. 
16 FEB. 1947, TEMP.-10°F. 
15 FEB. 1947, TEMP.-12°F.— 
Figure 76. Comparison of density measurements 
22 FEB. 1947, TEMP. 11° F. 
16 FEB. 1947, TEMP. 11° F, 
9 FEB. 1947, TEMP. 11° F. 
Figure 77. Further comparisons of density measurements. 
55 and the mess hall road were used in plotting 
a graph. 
d. Insufficient data was obtained to de- 
termine the degree of correlation between 
the bearing power indicated by the load 
applied to the small area under the Proctor 
needle bearing plate and the actual bearing 
power of the snow surface under working 
conditions, but it did indicate that a tech- 
nique could be developed to utilize the 
Proctor needle to determine the uniformity 
of the results of any compacting operations 
and the relative bearing power of the snow. 
e. Direct loads were applied to the snow 
by means of hydraulic jack using a D-6 
caterpillar tractor to supply the load. The 
load was measured by means of a pressure 
Figure 78. Truing specimen for density measurement. 
figure 79. Weighing carefully measured specimen for 
density measurement. 
Figure 80. Running Proctor needle tests on snow after 
PSP had been removed. 
Figure 81. Field loading test 
using 50-ton jack and D-6 
caterpillar tractor on snow 
after PSP had been removed. 
56 gage. Knowing the pressure and the area calculated. The following table is a com- 
of the base of the jack (72.07 sq. in.), the parison of load supporting power, Proctor 
unit load in pounds per square inch was needle pressure, and density measurements. 
Proctor needle 
Specific gravity 
Lbs./sq. in. 
Lbs./sq. in. 
Under PSP without burlap. . . 
1 .Ox 
Under PSP without burlap. . . 
Ski runway No. 3 
0 396 
1 2 
Ski runway No. 1 
Mess hall road 
Note. Reasonable average va 
lues, utilizing all 
available data. 
*C-47 wheel load calculated 
as 60 Ib./sq. in. 
over base area of jack (72.07 sq. in.). 
SECTION VII. Recommendations 
1. General. 
The recommendations herein are based on 
assumption that an Army engineer aviation 
battalion would be given relatively the same 
task with the same period of time as was 
originally planned (24 hours per day for 8 
weeks). In many instances the recommen- 
dations will be in line with that which was 
practiced on this expedition. Others, of 
course, will be from experience gained by 
officers, men, and observers while carrying 
out the mission. 
2. Staff Work and Planning. 
a. It is recommended that planning be 
started far enough in advance to allow 
fabrication of special items and shipment, so 
that each unit will have ample time to 
familiarize itself with the items with which 
they are to work. 
b. The unit chosen for the operation 
should be a well organized and experienced 
c. It is recommended that the staff officer 
who is responsible for the planning be a 
member of the expedition. He will be able 
to note his own mistakes, and pass on to 
others to follow, more complete information 
as to how future operations should be planned. 
d. Plans should be flexible so that if at any 
time the over-all plan is changed, the 
operation could proceed uninterrupted. 
e. A large amount of extra small tools, 
such as hammers, saws, wrenches, etc., 
should be taken since they become lost or 
misplaced very easily in the soft snow. 
/. An extra amount of plywood, 2- by fl- 
inch, and 1-inch lumber should be taken, 
since additions must always be made. 
3. Construction Equipment. 
The most essential item for Antarctic work 
is specialized construction and transporta- 
tion equipment. A certain amount was 
learned during the short 4-week period on the 
ice and it is felt that some of the answers were 
obtained, but there is still far more to be 
learned. No one or two pieces of equipment 
will answer all purposes. Each piece will 
vary in design depending upon the job it has 
to do. Some of the purposes for which equip- 
ment must be designed are as follows: 
765274—48 5 
57 a. A heavy duty tractor or prime mover 
capable of pulling large quantities of supplies 
on sleds over great distances. The tractor 
should have living accommodations for its 
crew and should have a fuel capacity to carry 
it long distances. 
b. A tractor similar to the ones used on this 
expedition which would be used in and 
around camp and on hauls for relatively 
short distances should be designed with 
following modifications: 
(1) The power unit should need no changes 
other than a winterized hood. 
(2) A cab that will protect the operator 
from low temperature and high winds. 
(3) Tracks with a maximum unit bearing 
pressure of 3 pounds per square inch. 
(4) Long tracks in order to prevent rough 
riding while going over the sastrugi as well as 
to aid in going over small cracks and cre- 
(5) Attachable grouser plates, or some- 
thing to give the tractor a foothold while 
working on ice, 
(6) Winches on tractors are highly desir- 
(7) Correct the tendency of the tractor to 
mire itself while pulling heavy loads, possibly 
by moving the center of gravity forward. 
c. Some type of light, fast-moving trans- 
portation suitable for transporting small 
numbers of personnel, etc., as the truck, 
%-ton 4x4. It should have sufficient room 
to allow the operator to function properly 
while wearing bulky clothes and it should be 
easy to enter and leave. A winch on the 
front would be desirable. 
d. Some type of cargo handling equip- 
ment, similar to a crane is most desirable. 
It is believed that a tractor crane would have 
been more suitable than was the forklift 
in that it would not be required to move 
around as much while unloading cargo. 
The 5-ton crane (Byer’s Model 65), taken 
on this expedition, or one of its type would 
not be suitable in that the center of gravity 
is too high and there would have been a great 
danger of its tipping over in the soft snow. 
e. It is believed that compaction equip- 
ment will necessitate a complete change in 
design. It is felt that the tractor with the 
combination of weight and vibration did 
90 percent of the compacting on the expe- 
dition. Various types of rollers were not 
used enough to determine their usefulness, 
but the consensus is that they act similarly 
to the way they would while rolling washed 
gravel or sand. Some type of equipment 
mounted on tracks will vibrate the granulat- 
ed particles of snow into place, and after 
given time, the particles will freeze into 
position giving the desired results. Thought 
might be directed to something along the 
lines of a wagon, dirt or rock, bottom-dump, 
with a built-in vibrator and flat top so that 
weight could be added as the surface be- 
comes more compact. Something on the 
order of a combined pontoon drag and snow 
surface heater should be considered, but not 
for compaction in depth. 
/. Grading equipment will be necessary 
if airfields are to be built for extensive use 
by heavy planes. Several things have been 
Figure 82. Open snow roller. 
58 Figure 83. Modified sheepsfoot roller (not used). 
Figure 84. Closed snow roller which proved 
discussed such as a towed grader mounted 
on skis instead of wheels, and motorized 
graders 4x4 with large dual tires front and 
rear. The skis would have the disadvantage 
of side slippage, and attachable skis would 
have to be furnished the motorized grader 
to transport the machine to the compacted 
surface where it is to work. Personally, the 
observer would like to try the latter. Due 
to the belief that it would be easier to grade a 
runway after it is partially compacted it is 
felt that the motorized grader would be 
more satisfactory even if assistance had to 
be given by a tractor towing for the first 
few gradings. Once the surface became hard 
(before ready for planes) the grader could 
work as it normally would as well as travel 
back and forth to the motor pool under its 
own power. 
g. The main suggestion on the sleds is 
that the runner contact area be increased 
so that when fully loaded there will be a 
unit bearing pressure of from 2 to 3 pounds 
per square inch. This, of course, will present 
a problem in that the larger the runner 
area the harder it will freeze in when left 
standing, A runner might be designed for 
a higher unit bearing pressure so that shoes 
could be attached which would bring the 
unit bearing pressure down to that which is 
desired during high temperature when the 
neve is quite soft. The QM 1-ton sled, 
which is definitely a good one, could be 
supplied with a tarpaulin similar to those 
on trucks so that while transporting personnel 
they would be protected from wind and snow 
which is kicked up by the weasel or towing 
vehicle. The “Go-devil” sled, as used on 
this expedition, could be redesigned with a 
toboggan undercarriage so that, when mired, 
snow would not pile up in front. The 
side-board recess could be lowered in order 
to allow large and awkward-shaped cargo 
and boxes to rest flat on the bed. 
4. Cargo Handling and Unloading. 
a. Each unit should definitely check all 
items prior to leaving its home base or port. 
As before an invasion during the war years, 
the unit should assure itself that all items 
are present and that the boxes and crates 
have been properly and conspicuously 
marked with some color or symbol. 
b. Ships should be loaded in accordance 
with an established priority and with each 
unit’s supplies together, in order that one 
59 permanent or semipermanent building in 
regions similar to those in the Antarctic. 
This design should provide the following: 
(1) Rapid and easy assembly, possibly with 
clamps or some type of fastener other than 
small items such as nails and bolts which are 
hard to manipulate while wearing gloves or 
(2) Maximum insulation, yet the panels 
should be light enough to allow three or 
four men to handle with ease. 
(3) Panels or sections of such size and 
weight for minimum shipping weight and 
(4) Floating foundations. 
(5) Double floors with air circulation 
between the two. 
(6) Plenty of headroom in order to allow 
for double bunks. 
(7) Skylights or windows to provide light 
until such time as they become covered with 
Figure 85. When camp was evacuated caches were 
left well marked with high poles and identification 
on top so that they may be found if needed for later 
group may be unloaded without disturbing 
the others. 
c. Men and officers should be transported 
on the same ships as their supplies and equip- 
d. During the first stages of the operation 
each unit should cache its own supplies; that 
is, engineer troops should unload their own 
supplies as they arrive at the camp site, air 
corps personnel should unload their supplies, 
etc., for all branches of the service and their 
units. Within each unit it would be advis- 
able for cooks and KP’s to cache their own 
kitchen supplies, mechanics unload their 
supplies, etc. This would familiarize each 
person with location of his supplies and how 
they are stored. 
5. Buildings and Structures. 
a. It is thought that the temporary camp 
construction could possibly have been a little 
more complete, even though it furnished 
adequate shelter. Inside framework and 
doors could have been erected by the Sea- 
bees which would in turn save individuals 
from taking time off to construct on their own. 
b. It is recommended that some new type 
of prefabricated building be designed for 
Figure 86. Early stages of crevasse in barrier slope 
Later it became about 5 feet wide in places. 
60 water could be continuously circulating to 
prevent freezing. For large or more per- 
manent types, heat could be supplied from 
the exhaust of an internal combustion engine 
as was planned for in the 35-man emergency 
winter camp. 
As a morale factor and for convenience 
it would be advisable to furnish electric 
lights to all tents and buildings. 
7. Airstrips and Snow Tests. 
The following recommendation for con- 
struction of an airstrip is by no means the 
cheapest or most expedient, but is a method 
which it is known will supply the needs. 
Future research and study of snow char- 
acteristics will undoubtedly develop tech- 
niques of construction which will enable 
units to prepare surfaces in less time and to 
carry heavier loads. The method suggested 
would probably not be carried out in its 
entirety, but would change as construction 
progressed, depending upon knowledge 
gained during this period. 
a. Suppose the specifications called for one 
runway 100 by 5,000 feet to accommodate 
C-47 type planes 1 month after starting date 
and heavier type planes later. Two areas 
side by side 500 by 7,000 feet each could be 
compacted by the use of tractors and drags 
running back and forth over the surface as 
was the method in compacting the ski run- 
ways. If a track laying type compactor 
were available it would aid considerably. 
In about 1 month the center 100 feet of these 
strips would be compacted to its maximum 
density, specific gravity of about 0.65 to 0.70 
at the surface down to about 0.40 or 0.45 at 
20 inches below the surface. It would be 
ready for C-47 type aircraft. The object of 
having two runways would be that while 
one was being used the other could be main- 
tained and worked for heavier type planes. 
The runways would then be strengthened by 
dozing snow from the ditch lines onto the 
100-foot center strip and compacting in the 
Figure 87. Looking up from down in a crevasse. 
Cracks such as these are obstacles which may be 
(8) Strength to withstand winds up to 100 
m. p. h., and snow and ice pressure which 
will be from the sides as well as from the top. 
c. If possible it would be advisable par- 
tially to compact the construction area be- 
fore erecting any buildings or even tents. 
This would enable the working parties to 
move around with greater ease, afford 
better footings for building, as well as 
keeping the construction area level. 
6. Utilities. 
a. Water supply is the only utility which 
requires serious thought. The area from 
which snow is to be taken should definitely 
be on the windward side of the entire camp 
area and must remain a restricted area so 
that it will not become contaminated. Some 
type of semiportable snow melter is needed. 
It should be designed so that the water will 
be maintained at a given level. The water 
from the time the snow enters the hopper 
until it is ready for use should be in closed 
containers and changed from the melter to 
storage tank through pipes in which the 
61 Figure £8 Crevasses such as these are encountered in the Antarctic. 
same manner. After this operation had been 
accomplished two or three times the run- 
ways should be capable of carrying the C-54 
type aircraft. 
b. Total construction time for this opera- 
tion should take approximately 6 weeks. Due 
to surface winds and snow the ditch lines 
would become filled by drifts affording addi- 
tional material which could be dozed up on- 
to the 100-foot center strip. It is thought 
that eventually the depth of compaction 
would become great enough to afford ade- 
quate bearing pressure for larger aircraft in 
the heavy bomber type group. The reason 
for compacting the 200-foot shoulders on 
both sides of the runways at beginning of 
construction is that the undisturbed neve will 
not otherwise support construction equip- 
ment. Due to the fact that after compaction 
the snow requires a period in which to re- 
freeze it might be well to bear in mind that 
doubling the construction force does not 
necessarily mean cutting construction time in 
62 c. Prefabricated landing mat should be 
available, even though it would not be 
planned to use it, due to the fact that once 
it is in place the depth of compaction could 
hardly be increased. It would also afford 
quite a problem in keeping the runway clean 
after blizzards, in that snow piles would ac- 
cumulate on each side of the runway which 
would cause drifts to grow larger the more 
the strip is cleaned. Even though a runway 
without a mat surface might show wear and 
become damaged during heavy operations 
it is believed that maintenance would be a 
relatively simple proposition. 
d. At this particular stage it is felt that the 
most important thing in connection with 
runway construction in regions similar to the 
Antarctic is that more experimental work be 
carried on similar to that which was carried 
on during Operation “Highjump.” The 
snow should be studied by constructing run- 
ways and performing such tests as those per- 
formed and planned to be performed on this 
e. For more detailed information on this 
operation, it is suggested that the Navy’s 
BuDocks report on the operation “High- 
jump” be studied. 
SECTION I. Introduction 
1. Plans and Objectives. 
The plans and objectives of Operation 
“Flighjump” in the field of Transportation 
are set forth in paragraph III-B, Annex “J”, 
Commander Task Force 68, Operation Plan 
No. 2-46, Projects: 
(1) Performance and tests of powered 
vehicles under Antarctic conditions. 
2. Scope. 
a. At the end of the shore based operations 
on the Antarctic Continent, the personnel 
who actually operated and maintained the 
motor vehicles used there returned to the 
United States in a different ship than that 
which carried the Army observers; hence, con- 
siderable valuable data which should logi- 
cally be contained in this chapter are not now 
available, but will undoubtedly be included 
in the final reports of Task Force 68. 
b. The time spent in the shore based phase 
was so short that it scarcely constituted a 
proper performance test for the vehicles con- 
cerned. The vehicles were placed ashore 
commencing about 18 January 1947, and 
final evacuation of the base camp was com- 
pleted on 23 February 1947, a period of only 
36 days. 
3. Vehicles. 
Powered vehicles placed ashore at the Bay 
of Whales for operational use and testing 
were as follows: 
a. Wheeled vehicles: 
8 Trucks, %-ton, 4x4 (Jeep). 
4 Trucks, 2%-ton, 6x6. 
1 Truck, 1%-ton, 4x2. 
b. Amphibious vehicles: 
8 Cargo carriers, M29C (Weasel). 
2 Landing vehicles, tracked. 
c. Tractors: 
10 Tractors, D-6. 
1 Tractor, D-7. 
2 Tractors, TD-9-6G (Fingerlift). 
3 Tractors, MC-1 (Cle-track). 
Note. The vehicles listed in a, b, and c above were 
all new vehicles. 
d. The following drawn conveyances were 
used and are considered in this report: 
20 sleds, 10-ton (Go-devil). 
8 sleds, Army, 1-ton. 
3 trailers, tank, 800-gallon capacity, mounted 
on skis. 
e. Also included were the following dogs 
and dog sleds: 
27 dogs and 4 dog sleds. 
4. Unloading Vehicles. 
The ships moored direct to the bay ice in 
the Bay of Whales, and all vehicles were 
unloaded direct onto the ice in the conven- 
tional manner by cargo slings. 
5. Surface Conditions Encountered. 
a. The bay ice in the Bay of Whales was 
covered by hard packed snow (neve) varying 
in thickness up to 18 inches. There were 
two tide cracks or crevasses in the bay ice 
which had to be crossed. These tide cracks 
64 were several feet wide and the interval was 
choked with pressure ice; the pressure ice in 
places was piled up 12 to 15 feet high over 
the tide cracks. These cracks were bridged 
for safety. Bulldozers pushed away the sur- 
plus pressure ice and the bridges were con- 
structed of planking, pierced planks (airfield 
matting) and other available materials. 
These bridges had to be constantly main- 
tained because of the heavy traffic over them 
and because of movement of the ice at the 
tide cracks. At the site selected for the as- 
cent of the barrier, the barrier was about 
70 feet high and sloped down to the bay ice 
at an angle of 20 degrees from horizontal. 
This slope was about 200 feet long (fig. 89). 
The slope consisted of hard packed, drifted 
snow, covered with soft snow. On this 
barrier incline there were later discovered two 
crevasses, originally only about 2 feet wide 
but later opening up to about 5 feet. In- 
itially these crevasses had been covered by a 
natural snow bridge which gave way under 
the pounding of heavy traffic. 
b. The top of the barrier was covered 
with neve snow which was considerably 
softer than that found on the bay ice. The 
surface in some places was smooth; in others 
it was crossed by ridges and hard snow 
(sastrugi) varying in height from 5 inches 
Figure 89. D-6 in reverse towing working party up barrier incline on five Army sleds. 
765274—48 6 
65 to several feet. The spacing and height of 
these ridges varied from day to day. The 
surface texture, bearing power, and other 
physical characteristics of the neve vary 
with temperature, wind, sun, and other 
climatic influences; thus, conditions of opera- 
tions may change within a few hours. The 
general surface contours of the Ross Ice 
Barrier in the vicinity of the Bay of Whales 
are quite gradual; slopes of over 10 to 15 
degrees are rare. The surface of the barrier 
contains many crevasses up to 10 feet wide 
and wider. These crevasses frequently are 
covered by a bridge of crusted snow which 
will give way under a heavy vehicle. Of 
the vehicles considered in this report only 
the LVT’s participated in an overland trail 
operation. Ability to cross crevasses must 
always be considered for a vehicle designed 
for Antarctic operations. 
6. Wheeled Vehicles. 
No wheeled vehicles were able to operate 
efficiently ashore. All had to be towed 
from shipside to motor park. The larger 
trucks were never able to operate, although 
the Jeeps were able to operate to a limited 
degree on well packed areas when equipped 
with heavy chains on all four wheels. The 
Jeeps were so unreliable, however, from a 
transportation standpoint that they were 
useless. The snow acted very much like 
soft sand, causing the wheels to dig out great 
holes when power was applied. Four of the 
Jeeps were equipped with power generator 
units and were finally towed to the top of the 
barrier and used as power generators for the 
air operations office. Wheeled vehicles of 
conventional type are entirely unsatisfactory 
for personnel or cargo carrying purposes in 
the Antarctic. 
SECTION II. Cargo Carrier, M29C 
1. General.* 
a. No trials were run in water, the Weasels 
operating exclusively on snow and ice 
throughout the operation. They were used 
as liaison vehicles and for towing the 1-ton 
Army (QM) sled. They were in almost con- 
tinuous operation and turned in a very 
creditable performance. They towed the 
Army sled with a 1 -ton load of cargo or per- 
sonnel with ease on the bay ice, up the bar- 
rier incline, and on top of the barrier itself. 
The principal complaint against the Weasel 
was that there were not enough of them. 
Eight Weasels could scarcely perform all the 
tasks desired of them. The demand for 
Weasels was never satisfied during the oper- 
b. The following table shows the total 
number of miles of operation by each Weasel 
for the period 19 January 1947 to 23 Febru- 
ary 1947: 
Weasel No. Mileage 
1 1,464 
2 1,099 
3 1,201 
4 1,571 
5 Lost in crevasse—figures not available. 
6 38—Front suspension damaged and track 
broken shortly after landing. Never 
repaired or replaced. 
7 1,464 
8 1,027 
2. Method of Use. 
Init'ally Weasels were assigned to various 
individuals or departments for use. There 
were, however, more interested agencies than 
there were Weasels. This resulted in a 
*See TM 9—772 for general description and technical data 
concerning Cargo Carrier, M29C. 
66 Figure 90. Weasel in trouble in soft snow. 
Figure 91. Weasel comes in handy for photographic 
Figure 92. Weasel advertising cancer drive. Note 
QM 1-ton sled in rear. 
Figure 93. Photographic Weasel on airstrip. Note how 
tracks conform to irregularities of surface. 
bottleneck on these vehicles and controversy 
over the priority of the projects concerned. 
About 27 January 1947 the Weasels were 
placed in a common pool operated by the 
motor maintenance officer. Thereafter all 
requests for Weasels were handled by a dis- 
patcher, who, by coordinating individual 
requests, was able to maintain a much more 
efficient use of the vehicles. A scheduled 
“run” was instituted on a 30-minute basis 
between the ships, the base camp, and the 
airstrip. This greatly relieved the strain and 
operated as accommodation to observers, 
civilian scientists, correspondents, and other 
casuals. One exception to this arrangement 
was in the case of the Weasel permanently 
assigned to the camp surgeon. This Weasel 
remained on call at the air operations office 
near which the surgeon’s headquarters was 
located. This vehicle and an Army sled 
were used as an emergency ambulance and 
crash truck (fig. 94). The equipment in- 
cluded fire fighting equipment, stretchers, 
and other first aid and medical gear. This 
Weasel was the only one equipped with a 
radio. 3. Tracks. 
All Weasels were equipped with the con- 
ventional track. These tracks proved quite 
satisfactory in most respects. The only time 
a Weasel was deadlined because of track 
failure was in the case of one which was 
broken. However, it was noted that when 
a Weasel was parked on a rutted or uneven 
surface, wrinkles or ridges in the rubber 
belts would appear as the tracks conformed 
to the irregularities of the surface. After one 
or two hours in the same position, these 
wrinkles or ridges tended to stiffen in that 
position. It was feared that a break in the 
steel cables embedded in the rubber belts 
might occur if the vehicles were driven off 
immediately. It was therefore deemed ad- 
visable to move the Weasel a few feet 
forward and backward, repeating this move- 
ment several times until the wrinkles or 
ridges were ironed out. Further study into 
the possibility of cable breakage from these 
conditions is recommended. If such break- 
age might result, the feasibility of individual 
block type tracks with connectors might be 
4. Serviceability and Performance. 
a. Of the eight Weasels placed ashore on 
or about 19 January 1947, six were service- 
able and in operation when the base camp 
was evacuated on 23 February 1947. As 
stated previously, No. 6 was disabled after 
38 miles of operation by a broken track and 
a damaged support tube and carrier arm, 
resulting from a collision. As no spare parts 
were available this vehicle remained out of 
operation. No. 5 Weasel was lost in a tide 
crack, or crevasse, in the bay ice on 15 
February 1947. After the cargo ships de- 
parted on 6 February the bridges were not 
maintained and soon became unuseable due 
to ice movement. The driver of No. 5 
Weasel attempted to cross one of these 
crevasses near the bridge site. As the Weasel 
passed over the crevasse the pressure ice 
between the edges of the crevasse gave way 
and permitted the vehicle to drop into the 
water. For some reason the drain plugs had 
never been installed and the hull began to 
fill with water. Every effort was made to 
save the Weasel. Water was bailed out of 
the hull, planks and empty gas drums were 
lashed to the sides and eventually a tractor 
arrived at the scene. When the tractor 
arrived a cable was attached to the capstan 
of the Weasel and an attempt was made to 
drag the Weasel onto the bay ice This 
attempt failed when the capstan tore loose. 
The towing pintle could not be used be- 
cause by the time the tractor arrived the 
hull was almost full of water and the towing 
pintle was out of reach. Shortly thereafter 
the Weasel sank in over 200 fathoms of 
water. It is recommended that drain plugs 
be installed in all Weasels which have 
occasion to travel on bay ice. 
b. Two Weasels were temporarily disabled 
by damaged transmissions during the first 10 
days ashore. In one case a tooth was broken 
from the low range gear. A new tooth was 
built up by welding and filed as near to size 
as possible. This enabled the vehicle to 
resume operation to a limited degree; how- 
Figure 94. Weasel and 1-ton Army sled used at 
airfield as combination ambulance and crash 
truck. Note fire extinguishers. 
68 ever, the transmission could be shifted into 
low range gear only with difficulty, so to 
prevent further damage to this gear a lug 
was welded to the axle transmission lever in 
such manner that the transmission could not 
be shifted into low gear range. Thereafter 
the vehicle was limited to high range only. 
In the other case of a damaged transmission, 
the nature of the damage is not known, 
other than it rendered the vehicle inopera- 
tive. It was reliably reported that this trans- 
mission was replaced by the transmission of 
No. 6 Weasel (with the broken track). In 
any case the Weasel was placed back in 
5. Transmissions. 
As stated in the paragraph above, two 
Weasels were disabled by damaged trans- 
missions although both were repaired or re- 
placed quickly and placed back in operation. 
The general opinion of most individuals who 
worked with the Weasel is that it has a weak 
transmission. However, when operated by 
a trained driver it appears the transmission 
seems to perform satisfactorily. Weasels on 
the operation were frequently driven by 
amateur drivers with little or no previous 
experience. It is possible that the two 
damaged transmissions were caused by inex- 
perienced drivers placing undue strain on 
the transmissions by selection of wrong gear 
range, clashing the gears in shifting, or 
“jerky” take-offs. 
6. Speed. 
Weasels operated at speeds up to an 
estimated 15 miles per hour both on the 
well packed roads and on the open snow 
of the bay ice and the barrier. It was a 
common tendency to drive the Weasel too 
fast, the speed being regulated more or less 
by the comfort of the driver and passengers. 
It is recommended that 10 miles per hour 
be considered as the maximum speed con- 
sistent with smooth operation. Beyond that 
speed the vehicle has a tendency to bob up 
and down quite forcibly from the axis of 
the drive sprockets. During this motion the 
rear part of the tracks maintains a more or 
less constant contact with the snow while 
the forward part of the tracks rises off the 
snow from a few inches to more than a foot. 
This “down buck” results in jolting the 
passengers and a jerking motion to a towed 
sled. It seems logical to assume that addi- 
tional strain is also placed on the tracks, 
track suspension, and power drive. It was 
observed that this “down buck” was more 
pronounced on uneven surfaces. Actually, 
there are no absolutely level surfaces in the 
Antarctic; even though a surface appears 
to be perfectly flat to the naked eye it is 
usually full of minor dips and swells. It is 
believed that the intermittent strain caused 
by high speeds over uneven surfaces causes 
a torque component to be built up which 
definitely aggravates the normal bobbing 
motion imparted to the vehicle in passing 
over these uneven surfaces. It is possible 
that if the drive sprockets were in front 
rather than in rear a smoother operation of 
this vehicle could be obtained. The feasi- 
bility of front drive should be investigated. 
7. Engine. 
There was no ignition trouble, no carbure- 
tor trouble, and no trouble with engine 
starting. S. A. E. 10 oil was used in the 
crankcase. Sixty percent prestone was used 
in the cooling system. The electrical system 
functioned normally. No differential failures 
were encountered. 
8. Feasibility of Use in Prolonged Opera- 
No prolonged trips were made with the 
Weasels. The longest trip was to Little 
America I (1929), a distance of approxi- 
mately 12 miles. However, observations of 
the vehicle in operation indicate that it 
might be feasible for use in extended oper- 
69 a dons, limited only by fuel, oil, maintenance 
supplies, and extremely unfavorable terrain, 
especially wide crevasses. 
9. Drivers. 
There were regularly assigned drivers for 
each Weasel from the Seabee detachment. 
These drivers had had previous experience 
and were reasonably well trained. Flowever, 
quite frequently the Weasels would be oper- 
ated by individuals who had little or no 
previous experience. The performance of 
Weasels chauffeured by the regularly assigned 
drivers was much superior to that when 
chauffeured by amateurs. The chief char- 
acteristics of amateur driving were jerking 
the vehicle in starting off, selection of im- 
proper gears and driving range, a tendency 
to drive too fast and “lugging” the engine. 
10. Observations. 
Several observations were made concerning 
possible modification of the Weasel: 
a. The high sides of the hull resulting from 
its amphibious feature make it rather difficult 
for driver and passengers to enter and leave 
the vehicle. If the amphibious feature can 
be considered unnecessary for operation on 
the Antarctic mainland, a portion of the hull 
could be cut out and doors installed. 
b. Present side curtains provide scant 
visibility to the occupants. The feasibility 
of a rigid cab with glass or plexiglass windows 
should be investigated. 
c. None of the Weasels were equipped with 
defrosters for the windshield. Frost did not 
form on the windshield except when the side 
curtains were tightly fastened. For pro- 
longed trips in extremely low temperatures 
requiring the side curtains to be closely se- 
cured for warmth, a windshield defrosting 
unit is indicated. 
d. When traveling at moderate to high 
speeds, the tracks kick snow very forcibly 
over the towed sled. This is a most uncom- 
fortable sensation for personnel riding on the 
sled. The feasibility of some type of guard 
over the rear of the tracks to prevent this 
from occurring might be investigated. 
e. The driver was definitely handicapped 
by the narrow space between the right 
steering brake lever and the engine cover. 
With heavy clothes and shoes it was very 
difficult to reach the foot throttle and the 
driver’s leg was pinched by the steering 
brake. This space should be made wider to 
accommodate the bulkiness of Antarctic 
11. Conclusion. 
The Weasel proved to be a most satisfactory 
vehicle for operation on the Ross Ice Barrier. 
The expedition could have efficiently used 
more of these vehicles. The four chief fail- 
ures of these vehicles, i. e., one broken track, 
one vehicle lost in a crevasse, and two 
damaged transmissions, cannot be directly 
attributed to inherent weakness in the vehicle. 
SECTION III. Tractors 
1. General. 
Tractors were the mainstay of the shore 
based phase of the operation as far as trans- 
portation was concerned. Over 3,000 tons 
of cargo were moved from the ships to the 
airstrip, the base camp, and the 35-man 
emergency camp. The great bulk of this 
cargo was hauled by tractors. Except for 
the Cle-tracks, all tractors were found to 
perform with reasonable efficiency under all 
conditions encountered. 
70 2. Fingerlifts (Figs. 95, 96, 97, and 98). 
The two fingerlifts were so seldom used as 
transportation in the sense of towing drawn 
conveyances that they are considered in this 
report only from the standpoint of their 
performance under prevailing conditions 
in view of their similarity in many respects 
to the D-6 and D-7 tractors. The finger- 
lifts were equipped with wooden track ex- 
tensions and operated most efficiently both 
on the bay ice and on the barrier. They 
were extremely valuable in unloading cargo 
from sleds at the various caches. The 
fingerlifts were too light for some of the heavy 
loads they had to handle. The tracks on 
both fingerlifts became slightly sprung due 
to bending of the bogie and idler shafts. 
This was probably due to leverage exerted 
by the track extensions when heavy loads 
were lifted. Both fingerlifts continued opera- 
ting throughout the operation. 
Figure 95. Fingerlift distributing pierced plank on the 
Figure 96. Load of lumber and tarpaulins on fingerlift. 
Figure 97. Fingerlift digging out pierced plank buried 
in snow. 
Figure 98. Laying out cache with fingerlift, 
71 3. D 7 Tractor. 
The D-7 Tractor would probably have 
turned in a much more creditable perform- 
ance than it did, had it been given a proper 
trial. Its chief contribution to the trans- 
portation cause was in being used as an 
anchor or “deadman” (fig. 99) at the top 
of the barrier. The bulldozer blade was 
dropped and forced into the snow and two 
large timbers were thrust into the snow to 
assist in firmly anchoring the tractor. To 
the firmly anchored tractor were attached 
two snatch blocks. By means of a 1,200- 
foot length of cable operating through the 
snatch blocks a D-6 tractor at the base of 
the barrier was able to tow loaded sleds up 
the face of the barrier incline (fig. 101). 
The D-7 tractor was used as a “deadman” at 
the top of the barrier from 20 January 1947 
until the cargo-hauling from the ships was 
completed on 6 February 1947, when it 
was evacuated. The wooden track exten- 
sions provided for the D-7 were 60 inches 
long (fig. 102). Although not given a 
thorough test it was considered that these 
extensions were longer than necessary. 
4. D 6 Tractor. 
The 10 D-6 tractors were the work horses 
of the entire shore based operation, and from 
the transportation standpoint they were 
responsible for the success of the operation. 
5. Winterization. 
All the tractors had been winterized at 
Port Hueneme, California, prior to embarka- 
tion. This winterization included enclosing 
the driver’s compartment in a cab, covering 
the hood and radiator with sailcloth, 60 
percent prestone in the radiator, and winter 
oil (Naval equivalent of S. A. E. 10). In 
anticipation of traction difficulties in the 
snow, wooden track extensions were prepared 
for installation after the landing in Ant- 
artica (fig. 102). 
Figure 99. D-7 as "dcadman’’ for hauling loaded sleds 
up barrier. 
Figure 100. Looking down barrier incline. Tractor 
on bay ice is towing loaded sled up barrier w ith 
cable towing device. 
Figure 101. D-6 in reverse towing Norseman plane up 
the barrier. 
72 6. Cab. 
The driver’s cab was a wooden frame and 
top with safety plate glass puttied in in front 
and with plexiglass bolted in on the sides 
and rear. The door opened on the left side. 
The door was rather poorly made, especially 
the latch, which failed to hold the door 
closed until field expedients were utilized. 
The cab provided ample vision for the driver. 
Very little difficulty was experienced with 
glass frosting over but occasionally visibility 
would be lessened by snow or sleet. The 
plexiglass on the sides and rear would fre- 
quently tear loose from the bolts which 
secured it. An escape hatch 2 feet square 
was built into the top of the cab. All in all 
the cabs were satisfactory. Certainly a cab 
of some type is needed for Antarctic opera- 
7. Track Extensions. 
All tractors could operate efficiently on the 
bay ice without track extensions, although 
occasionally one would stick from turning too 
sharply or in starting a heavy load (fig. 104). 
Tractors which operated exclusively on the 
Figure 103. Parked tractors. Note broken and missing 
track extensions. 
bay ice were therefore not equipped with 
track extensions. They were able to tow 
two Go-devil sleds each carrying 3 or 4 tons 
of cargo with ease. 
a. In general, none of the tractors could 
operate on top of the barrier without track 
extensions. The snow on the barrier was 
much softer and deeper than on the bay ice. 
After track extensions were installed a D-6 
tractor could tow three Go-devil sleds each 
carrying 4% tons of cargo with ease (fig. 105). 
All tractors operating on top of the barrier 
were therefore equipped with track ex- 
b. The incline from the bay ice to the top 
of the barrier was quite a different proposi- 
tion. The 20-degree incline approximately 
200 feet long proved to be a major obstacle. 
Tractors without track extensions were not 
able to climb this incline even without loads. 
Tractors with track extensions could climb 
the incline without a pay load but experi- 
enced the greatest difficulty in towing a 
single loaded Go-devil sled. When these 
initial attempts were made on 19 January 
1947 the snow on the incline was quite soft. 
The tractors tended to mire in on one side 
and corkscrew about at right angles to the 
Figure 102. Layout of track extensions, showing both 
60-inch and 30-inch types. D-6 tractors used only 
30-inch extensions on Operation Highjump. 
73 original direction, then being unable to 
resume the original direction. By reversing 
the tractor and pulling backward, better 
results were obtained. An experiment with 
two tractors in tandem, both pulling back- 
ward, proved that one Go-devil sled with 
2l/2 tons of cargo could be hauled up the 
c. Before any appreciable amount of cargo 
had been hauled up the incline, the tractors 
had badly chewed up the surface, gouging 
out deep holes in the snow. This activity 
broke the natural snow bridge, or snow 
crust, over the two large crevasses which ran 
parallel to the barrier across the track. 
These crevasses were about 2 feet wide when 
discovered, but had widened out to about 
5 feet at the end of the operation. Hauling 
cargo witti tractors was suspended after 
one tractor bogged down in one of these 
crevasses and had to be towed out. Then 
the prearranged plan of using a cable 
towing device was used. The D-7 tractor 
was installed on top of the barrier as a 
deadman and by means of two pulleys 
attached to the deadman and 1,200 feet 
of wire cable, the loaded sleds were towed 
up the incline by a tractor operating on the 
bay ice. The crevasses were filled up with 
snow by bulldozers. This snow supported 
sleds and Weasels. Tractors were kept off 
the incline for some time because it was feared 
they would break through the snow filled

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