Goliath Sd. Kfz. 303a
Germany’s “tracked mine” remotely carried explosives forward on the battlefield. The concept was introduced in World War I in order to maneuver across “No Man’s Land” and attack enemy trenches. World War II designs expanded its application to combat enemy tanks, pillboxes, or infantry strongpoints, the weapon’s design was inspired by a captured French invention. Wehrmacht versions soon followed, with electric motors and tank-like tracks. The explosive-toting machine was controlled from afar, using a cable that unraveled from a spool at the back of the vehicle.
Allied soldiers found many ways to defeat Germany’s “beetle tanks.” The tracked mines were relatively slow and only lightly armored. They often became hung up on difficult terrain and would not function at all if the control cable was severed by gunfire, artillery, or a quick-moving and industrious infantryman.
This version of the Goliath represents a later model, equipped with a gas engine, slightly thicker armor, and bigger explosive payload. Though it is debatable how effective the weapon was in combat conditions, the Goliath paved the way for future generations of post-war remotely operated vehicles used on the battlefield and in law enforcement.
Did you know?
Some 7,500 Goliaths were built from 1942 to the end of World War II.