Goliath tracked mine

Goliath tracked mine

The Goliath tracked mine was an unmanned German-engineered demolition vehicle, also known as the beetle tank to Allies.Fact|date=July 2008 Employed by the Wehrmacht during World War II, this caterpillar-tracked vehicle was approximately four feet long, two wide, and one tall. It carried 75–100 kg (165–220 lb) of high explosives and was intended to be used for multiple purposes, such as destroying tanks, disrupting dense infantry formations, and demolition of buildings.

Development and use

In late 1940, after recovering the prototype of a miniature tracked vehicle developed by the French vehicle designer Adolphe Kégresse from the Seine River, the Wehrmacht's ordnance office directed the Carl F.W. Borgward automotive company of Bremen, Germany to develop a similar vehicle for the purpose of carrying a minimum of 50 kg of explosives. The result was the SdKfz. 302 ("Sonderkraftfahrzeug", ‘special-purpose vehicle’), called the "Leichter Ladungsträger" (‘light charge carrier’), or Goliath, which carried 60 kg of explosives. The vehicle was steered remotely via a joystick control box, which itself was attached to the Goliath by a triple-strand telephone cable connected to the rear of the vehicle. Each Goliath was disposable, being intended to be blown up with its target. Early model Goliaths used an electric motor but, as these were costly to make (3000 "Reichsmarks") and difficult to repair in a combat environment, later models (known as the SdKfz. 303) used a simpler, more reliable gasoline engine.

Goliaths were used on all fronts where the Wehrmacht fought, beginning in spring 1942. They were used principally by specialized Panzer and combat engineer units. Goliaths were used most notoriously in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, as Wehrmacht and SS units were deployed to crush fierce Polish resistance by the Polish Home Army ("Armia Krajowa"). As the Poles had only a small number of antitank weapons, volunteers were often sent to cut off the command cables of the Goliath before it reached its intended target. A few Goliaths were also seen on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day, though most were rendered inoperative due to artillery blasts severing their command cables.

Although a total of 7,564 Goliaths were produced, the single-use weapon was not considered a success due to the high unit cost, low speed (only just above 6 mph, or 9.5 km/h), poor ground clearance (just 11.4 centimeters), vulnerable command cables and thin armour which failed to protect the remote bomb from any form of antitank weapons. However, the Goliath did help lay the foundation for post-WWII advances in remote-controlled vehicle technologies.Fact|date=February 2007

Surviving Goliaths are preserved at the Canadian War Museum, United States Army Ordnance Museum, the Bovington Tank Museum and Duxford in the UK, Dutch Cavalry Museum and the Deutsches Panzermuseum in Germany.

ee also



* Chamberlain, Peter, and Hilary Doyle (1999). "Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two", 2nd ed. London: Arms & Armour. ISBN 1-85409-214-6.
* Jaugitz, Markus (2001). "Funklenkpanzer: A History of German Army Remote-and Radio-Controlled Armor Units", trans. David Johnston. Winnipeg, Manitoba: J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-921991-58-4.
* Jentz, Thomas L. Panzer Tracts, No. 14: "Gepanzerte Pionier-Fahrzeuge" (Armored Combat Engineer Vehicles, Goliath to Raeumer). S. Darlington, Maryland: Darlington Productions. ISBN 1-892848-00-7

External links

* [http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/1167/egoliath.html Light demolition carrier Goliath]
* [http://wilk.wpk.p.lodz.pl/~whatfor/goliath.htm Polish language article on SdKfz 303 Leichte Ladungsträger Goliath, "Panzerwaffe 1939-1945"]
* [http://www.cavaleriemuseum.nl Dutch Cavalry Museum] has a Goliath-tank in its collection.

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