Magic eye cameras, magic-ear recorders, motion picture machine guns are modern adjuncts for jungle expedition.Source: Harverster World, august-september 1949, by Joseph P. DanelukReprinted by Wino, PA0ABM
Many interesting stories have been written about the performance of motor trucks under adverse weather and road conditions, but to date relatively few are as fascinating as the recent safari by Cmdr. Attilio Gatti to the "Mountains of the Moon" in British East Africa.The Gatti-Hallicrafters Expedition, co-sponsored by the Hallicrafters Co., of Chicago, was the eleventh such venture for veteran explorer Gatti into the interior of Africa, and the first radio-monitored expedition carrying powerful transmitting equipment to keep in touch with short-wave receiving sets throughout the world. It will be remembered Cmdr. Gatti and his wife astonished the Pygmies of the Belgian Conga during the 10th Gatti African Expedition same eight years ago with their Jungle Yacht "dream" trailers designed by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky.Provided with eight International trucks by the International Harvester Company of Chicago--two KB-l's, four KBR-3 's and two KB-5's-the eleventh expedition carried such modern adjuncts as a radio 'shack-on-wheels'; a rolling laboratory; a floating island based on PT-boat adaptation; a diving eye with strobolights for underwater observation; magic-eye cameras and magic-ear electronic-mirror recorders; motion picture machine guns; various types of still cameras; and a host of other photographic devices and lights.AFTER SOME 25 MONTHS of preparation the expedition sailed from New York in November 1947, arriving in Mombasa, British East Africa, some 46 days later.Here began the real tasks of proving how the International trucks could withstand the rigors of African terrain and of getting the expedition under way. Moving same 700 packages and parcels through British customs was incidental compared to the monumental task of assembling all the units, hiring native personnel, and getting everything in readiness for the first jump to an open plateau near Kwale, where the expedition established its first main camp.From there, as from all successive main camps, the expedition made numerous minor safaris to observe and photograph natives, scenery and game; to hunt for fresh meat; and to follow a tip or hunch about rare animals, strange ceremonies or a witch doctor's hideaway Before the expedition moved from its first campsite, however, myriads of details on procedure, which had to be repeated at each successive camp, had to be drilled into the minds of all of the expedition's 49 men so that it would be a smooth-running organization en route.Having established the rigorous, daily routine of African life, Gatti started the expedition toward Kilema, reaching it only after many difficult miles through mountains and over rocky, muddy and often virgin terrain. Here the camp had a magnificent view of the Kilimanjaro's two highest peaks, the 17,000-foot Mawenzi and the 19,860-foot Kibo, with its perennial cap of ice and snow. Decision was made to climb the latter peak and conduct shortwave experiments from the loftiest point of Africa's equatorial zone, as well as of the entire continent, in communication with the 'shack-on-wheels' at the 5,000-foot camp, which in turn relayed broadcasts and reports to short-wave radio "hams" throughout the world. Both the climb and the experiments were accomplished during the following month, and daily contacts with the outside world made.AFRICAN SAFARI Upon completion of the high-altitude radio experiments; the expedition settled in its third main camp, near Arusha, just under Mt. Meru. Days out of this camp were among the most thrilling and exciting of the entire expedition. The slopes of Mt. Meru teemed with rhino, while the plains to the west were crammed with game, particularly zebra, giraffe, eland, oryx, ostrich, buffalo, Thompson's gazelle, lions and cheetah.At this point the expedition had a rich opportunity to observe the various kinds of wild game in its native habitat and make numerous color and monochrome still and motion pictures for future use.However, it also was a time of serious decisions. The season of heavy rains was approaching. Ahead of the expedition was the immense Serengeti Plain, difficult in the dry season, impassable at other times.Picking up stakes, the expedition moved as fast as the terrain permitted and as steadily as physical endurance allowed. Chief regret was that too little time was devoted to the game paradise of the Serengeti and of the Ngorongoro crater. But it would have been worse had the expedition been caught by the rains anywhere along the journey to Loliondo, a tiny outpost with but two white inhabitants.Not far from there, the fourth main camp was established at Narwa, in the heart of Masai-land. Presence of International trucks in this vicinity immediately raised the curiosity of the natives, and Masai warriors trouped in from all nearby sections to watch in awe the miracle of this extraordinary camp.Just as plans were being completed for another photographic charter at this point, the rains which had missed the expedition earlier arrived. Falling with redoubled vigor just to the northwest of the campsite, the rains flooded entire districts along the war the expedition had to follow to reach the "Mountains of the Moon." These, however, were reached anyway by the radio section of the expedition, which completed its work in Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda with a total of some 4,000 contacts with all the states in America and with every single country in the world except Tibet, which did not answer its calls. The slopes Mt Meru were thick with rhino; and the plains to the west were crammed with game. And our collection of unusual pictures advanced by leaps and bounds. The result was that our crop of observation on game was a rich one.Camerawork on the Masai and other nearby tribes having been finished, with good results, the expedition 's photographic and cinema sections then proceeded toward the lake region, establishing three additional camps respectively at Nanga Point, on the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria, Nakuru (Lake Nakuru), and on the grounds of the Destro Plantation near Nairobi.Much additional interesting still and motion picture material, in both color and black and white, was gathered in each of these locations, particularly the full coverage of the hundreds of" thousands of flamingoes which live and breed on the waters of Nakuru Lake. Pictures of these red-eyed birds and other African bird and animal life were reproduced recently in Life magazine. Other experiences were related in the Saturday Evening Post, and subsequent stories are scheduled for release in Collier's, True, Coronet, Mechanix Illustrated, Argosy, and other leading national magazines. We knew for sure where to find herds of whatever game we wanted to photograph and-once a week or so-to shoot for 'pot.' For now the pot was a large one. The only fresh meat we could get for ourselves and for our native boys was by means of hunting.Pictures taken during the expedition also have been featured in the national advertising of a number of well-known corporations. At present the International Harvester Company is preparing a full-color movie of Gatti's eleventh expedition to Africa to supplement pictures taken during his previous African venture-which already have been shown to some 3,000,000 people, and are still in demand by company dealers for their family parties. Internationals star in jungle jauntExplorer Gatti puts transportation to a tough test. After disappointing experiences with everything from camles to a dozen different makes of trucks, he "discovered" Internationals, uses them exclusively now. Of African natives, he remarks: "Those fellows were always interested when a hood was raised, and well might they be. Those sturdy engines powered us mile after mile never needing more than routine service."Finding the right trucks for his highly specialised jobs was no problem for this African traveler. Ther are 22 basic Internationa trucks, 1,000 different truck-combinations, for efficient truck specialisation.
Around that curve lies East Africa! Commander Attilio Gatti, veterean of 11 African safaris, is shown at the jump-off the Gatti-Hallicrafters expedition in 1948, a 5,000 mile, 9-month safari described in this issue. A fleet of light and medium-duty Internationals provided horsepower for his jungle jaunt.
No trip for a tenderfoot!."As we progress toward "The Mountains of the Moon", says commande Gatti, "we are not misled by those level plains. We know that ahead lies tortuous terrain and rugged going that will test the stamina of men and equipment." A tough trek-test, but the machines were ready.
Look who dropped in for lunch! Commander Gatti reports: "It wasn't uncommon to find giraffe grazing nearby, certainly the giraffe didn't seem suprized to find International trucks in the veldt!". Ad man's note: Inernationals are at home next to giraffe, next to coal mines, next to oil fields, next to anything!.