Wilhelm Filchner’s ship, the DEUTSCHLAND, was built in Norway specifically for work in polar seas. Under the command of Captain Richard Vahsel, the DEUTSCHLAND left Grytviken December 11,1911 to make a landing at the southern limit of the Weddell Sea. His plan was to make the first Antarctic crossing and determine if Antarctica was a single piece of land.
None of the explorers had any previous polar experience. Filchner wrote: “None of us knew if we would ever come back alive”.