Late March 1912: Trouble in Filchner’s icebound Deutschland in the Weddell Sea

–from “German Exploration in the Polar World” by David Thomas Murphy–

“On March 15, after battling increasingly dense fields of ice, the ship [Deutschland] was frozen in and would remain so until the end of November.  An effort was now made to use the Deutschland as a floating base, much as had been done with the Gauss [1901-3], and to a certain extent a scientific program was pursued.  But a smoldering anger was poisoning shipboard life.  [Captain] Vahsel, according to Filchner, ‘wants to shove all the blame for not landing on me,’ and his men reported that Vahsel spread ‘slanders’ and ‘lies’ about Filchenr.  Vahsel tried systematically to draw the naval officers into a united front against Filchner, in which he had a great deal of success.  While Vahsel indulged in ‘abundant consumption of whiskey,’ he insulted Filchner openly at table, verbally abused his scientific subordinates, and encouraged his officers to do the same.”


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