One day, French President Gaston Doumergue mentioned to André Citroën and Georges-Marie Haardt that a regular rail link between the North African French colonies and Madagascar, a French territory isolated in the Indian Ocean, would be advantageous to France.
André Citroën organized the "Black Cruise", to survey rail routes, and no doubt, to publicise his automobile company. After 10 months of preparation, 8 Citroën half-tracks left the southern terminus of the Algerian Railway on 28 of October 1924. It appears that the half-tracks were based on Model "B" Citroëns.
The expedition was again led by the general manager from Citroën, Georges-Marie Haardt, and each half-track carried three men. A motion picture producer and a camera operator, an artist, a medical doctor who also took care of taxidermy, scientists, nine factory driver/mechanics, and other staff (some military) were on the expedition. http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/antique-machinery-history/ot-crawler-tractors-196276/index13.html
Georges-Marie Haardt authored a book about the second African trip (The Black Journey: Across Central Africa with the Citroën Expedition) and a National Geographic Magazine article in the June 1926 issue
So, it is a very long story, started by 1910 in St. Petersburg, where the Kégresse track was invented, continued in the twenties and thirties in Africa and Asia with the great Citroën expeditions, opening car routes across Sahara and on the Silk Road, immortalized in the two movies that were rediscovered by Jack Goelman in the fifties, then by the two German directors that created the documentary for ARTE in 2006, and finally published on youTube by the passionate Zagrebians from the Citroën Klub.
some info and the videos from http://updateslive.blogspot.com/2010/11/la-croisiere-noire-1926.html
in 1923-25 the Renault company was also trying to get publicity and accomplishments http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2013/05/1923-1925-renault-10cv-type-mh-6x6.html
above from http://www.citroen.co.nz/citroen-universe/history/adventure/
To bring attention to his half-track vehicles launched in 1922, André Citroën organised a trans-Saharan expedition from 1922 to 1923.
This success was followed by the Croisière Noire expedition, which crossed the African continent from north to south, travelling from Colomb-Béchar to Cape Town, between 1924 and 1925.
Citroën subsequently supplied Admiral Byrd with three half-track vehicles for his Antartic expedition (1933 – 1935). It also supplied five vehicles for the Croisière Blanche expedition organised from July to October 1934 in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2009/12/failed-1934-expedition-acorss-canada-in.html
for a good over view of cross country pioneering motorists in Africa, see http://www.londoncapetownrally.com/history.html
The Croisière Jaune expedition crossed Asia, from Beirut to Beijing, between 1931 and 1932.
Unlike the previous two expeditions, which had seen Citroën's half-tracks cross the Sahara Desert and Central Africa, the Central Asian crossing would be attempted by two separate groups: one travelling west-east from Beirut in the Lebanon; the other east-west from Peking in China, the plan being to meet at Kashgar on the ancient Silk Road. Lightweight four-cylinder autochenilles would be used by the former (six P17s and one P14); seven heavier six-cylinder P21s by the latter.
Known popularly as the 'Croisière Jaune', this was the third such venture undertaken by Citroën using autochenille half-tracks, which had been developed following its acquisition of the sole rights to an ingenious form of caterpillar-tracked drive system invented by engineer Adolphe Kegresse (chenille = caterpillar).
The enterprise was dogged by misfortunes from the start, commencing when the planned route through the southern USSR had to abandoned because of the prevailing political situation, forcing a diversion through Afghanistan and into Northern India (now Pakistan). This new route took the expedition through the Karakoram Mountains (part of the Himalayas), a region with terrain so severe even a handcart would have been considered useless, let alone a motor vehicle.
Led by Georges-Marie Haardt, leader of Citroën's two previous croisières, the west-east group faced some of the toughest challenges imaginable, even being forced to completely dismantle its vehicles and load their components onto pack horses on one occasion in order to traverse a landslide. On 4th August 1931 the reassembled autochenilles rolled into Gilgit where Haardt learned that the expedition's China group was way off course, detained at Urumchi by a local warlord, Marshal King. He had no option but to abandon the original mission and travel onwards to Urumchi on horseback to try and secure the release of his colleagues.
Haardt and the China group eventually arrived back in Peking on 2nd February 1932, 315 days after the departure from Beirut, having travelled some 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles).
Of the two autochenilles that had made it to Gilgit, Pakistan, one (the 'Silver Crescent') remains on display there while the other (Haardt's 'Golden Scarab') was taken back to France and is currently displayed in the Musée Automobile de la Sarthe at Le Mans.