Offloading the Ships

"Men swarmed down the gangway as soon as it was lowered. Cargo crews hoisted all 'topside' cargo by boom to waiting crews on the bay ice. Among the first items to be landed were huge sleds to carry freight and huge tractors to pull the sleds. Thus freight could be loaded direct from the ships' holds onto waiting sleds and rushed to a temporary supply dump almost halfway between shipside and campsite. While this 24-hour-a-day cargo shuttle was running, crews bridged crevasses between the supply dump and the base sites. Surveyors worked to lay out a five-acre site that would spring up as Little America Five."--Operation Deep Freeze, The Story of Task Force 43

Click the image for a larger view.

Offloading U.S.S. Arneb
Robert Charles Haun #28
Pencil & watercolor, 30 December 1955

Loading palettes onto sleds. Sketched from U.S.S. Arneb.


Robert Charles Haun #33
Oil on canvas paper, 31 December 1955

Sketched from U.S.S. Arneb.



Offloading Site, Kainan Bay
Robert Charles Haun #4
Oil on canvas, 1956



Offloading Site, Kainan Bay
Robert Charles Haun #34
Watercolor, 31 December 1955

Study for 88-192-D (above). Sketched from the Quarterdeck of U.S.S.



M Boats Coming In
Robert Charles Haun #62
Watercolor & pencil, 1956

On 19 January during a storm, a fifty-foot slab of ice broke off from Kainan Bay, transforming what had been the supply dump into open water. In the days following, big heavy, razor-sharp cakes of floating ice threatened to rupture the sides of the ships. "Mike Boats" positioned themselves between the U.S.S. Arneb and the edges of the bay ice and plied their bows into the floating pack, shoving it clear of the U.S.S. Arneb's stern.



M Boats Moving Ice
Robert Charles Haun #32
Watercolor & pencil, 1955

Artist inscribed on reverse: "Men in M Boats with colorful Mae Wests--glistens like silver in light."


Untitled (Three Men in Mae Wests)
Robert Charles Haun #23
Oil on canvas paper, 1955

Beginning in World War II, Allied soldiers called their inflatable life jackets "Mae Wests," in honor of the popular Hollywood star with the hourglass figure.


Offloading D8 (Caterpillar)
Robert Charles Haun #29
Watercolor & pencil, 30 December 1955

Sketched 200 feet from the ship. The D8 is being lifted from the U.S.S. Arneb and a D2 tractor is in the foreground.


Southwest Blow in McMurdo Sound
Standish Backus #50
Watercolor on paper, 1956

"First signs of Antarctic autumn wreathed Mt. Erebus in wind-filled clouds which blew vast loose snow flurries from the ice surface hampering efforts to unload the cargo vessels. These in turn had to keep on steaming to maintain their hold on the ice and to shift quickly as ice floes would break off and drift toward them. Temperatures near the zero mark served notice that time was running out for the intruders in their puny ships from the north."--Commander Standish Backus

Mount Erebus (elevation 12,444 feet) is the most active volcano in the region of Antarctica


Setting the Trail Markers
Standish Backus #54
Watercolor on paper, 1956

This was one of the men's first tasks upon arrival. With the danger of shifting ice and hidden crevasses, a safe, clearly marked walking trail was essential.


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