Monday, August 22, 2016
Jean-Baptiste Charcot (2)
After their first Antarctic expeditions, Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot had realised the advantages the new methods of traction on snow could offer.
They decided to test the new automotive sleds, complete with mechanical transmission and air-cooled engines, built by Dion-Bouton, at the Lautaret pass (2,058m) On 13 March 1908 Jean-Baptiste Charcot, his wife, Captain Scott, Lieutenant Michael Barne, Engineer Officer Reginald Skelton, a Dion-Bouton Engineer Edmond Coursier, and Lieutenant Labesse, along with a dozen Chasseurs Alpin, all gathered at the Lautaret pass.
The trials were held in temperatures of -12°C, but the prototypes were too heavy (200 - 750 kg unloaded) and their performance was disappointing. Transported to the Antarctic the results obtained were mediocre at best. Once again the polar explorers ended up being accompanied by their trusted companions of traditional dog sleds.