French 7th Mountain Battalion receives first Polaris quads on tracks


The 7th Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins (which could be appromitaly translated into « Battalion of Alpine Hunters ») of the 27th French Mountain Infantry Brigade received a first dozen four-seater Polaris Ranger 1000 XP and twin-seater Sportsman Touring 1000 XP quads mounted on removable tracks.
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Quad Polaris Ranger XP 1000 mounted on tracks. The wheels can easily be put back in place (Picture source: Twitter account of 27 Brigade d’Infanterie de Montagne / French army)


The new Polaris quads - four-seater Ranger XP 1000 (SSV, Side by Side Vehicle) and two-seater Sportsman Touring 1000 XP - mounted on removable tracks have arrived at the 7th Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins.

These first copies foreshadow the constitution of a brigade-wide pool from which each regiment or battalion can draw following its needs. The rapid interchangeability between wheels and tracks will make it possible to respond with maximum flexibility to the requirements of the field encountered during missions in France or in external deployment, whether in Guyana or the Sahel (Operation Barkhane), for example.

The Sportsman (two-seater) comes with various storage kits and boxes for transporting skis, weapons and other equipment weighing up to 110 kg which can also be installed in place of the rear seat. This is complemented by an 88 hp Prostar engine and a trailer socket, giving it a hitch potential of 170 kg on the road and 680 kg off the road. Quads on removable tracks complete the skidoos / snowmobiles already provided in French mountain units.


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Quad Polaris Ranger XP 1000 mounted on tracks. The wheels can easily be put back in place (Picture source: Twitter account of 27 Brigade d’Infanterie de Montagne / French army)


A practice in force since the operational deployment, from 1944, of the remarkable Studebaker M29 Weasel designed in 194 to transport small groups of commando troops of the U.S.-Canadian 1st Special Service Force across snow in Norway, this type of vehicle allows skiers to be towed to avoid unnecessary fatigue. during long journeys.


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In December 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge taking place in Belbium, a Studebaker M29 Weasel carries wounded soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Regiment, 1st Infantry Division to an aid station. The Weasel performed in multiple roles during and after World War II (Picture source: U.S. National Archives)


The Weasel idea was introduced in 1942, when the First Special Services Force needed transportation into Norway to knock out strategic power plants. The vehicle needed to move quickly and easily through the winter snows of Norway. It needed to be air transportable and be able to withstand the effects of being dropped by parachute and would also be able to carry arms, explosives and minimal resupply stocks.

The Norwegian mission was cancelled and therefore the Weasel was never used for its original intention. However, as it was amphibious and could cross terrain too soft for most other vehicles, it was used widely in both Italy and on the Western Front. It went ashore on Normandy, it was with the U.S. Army during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô, the Battle of the Bulge, in flooded Holland and in the mud of the Roer and the Rhine. M29 was a Cargo Carrier but was also used as a command center, radio, ambulance and signal line layer. US soldiers soon realized the Weasel could be used as an ambulance, as it could get to places not even Jeeps could. Another use was for crossing minefields, as its ground pressure was often too low to set off anti-tank mines.


 

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