Thursday, May 22, 2008

Goliath: The Nazi Remote-Controlled Bomb

The Goliath was designed to be an expendable, mobile bomb. In other cases, it was used to clear mines and bunkers. Early models used batteries, but the life-span was short. Later versions were powered by a gasoline engine.

Quick Stats:
  • First Battle: Sevastopol - June 7, 1942
  • Total Production: 7,579 units
  • Speed: 5-12 miles


A German pioneer prepares to guide a Goliath remove-controlled vehicle against an enemy bunker.


An operator controlled the vehicle via a telephone cable spooling out from the rear of the Goliath to a joystick control box. The length of the cable was 2,000 feet. This proved to be one of the its fatal flaws. Once Allies learned of the vehicles, they could easily sever the wire.

It took 5-6 men to prepare a Goliath for use. In Poland, an easy defense was discovered by putting simple blockades in the streets that would stop the Goliaths from moving forward.

Goliaths were used on every front fought by the Nazis.


German soldiers prepare Goliaths on October 1, 1944, the day before the Warsaw Uprising collapsed. Poles had such success against full-size tanks that the Germans used their remote-controlled miniatures most extensively - and most successfully - in Warsaw.



A close view inside an uncovered Goliath shows a simple, dependable, and ultimately expendable remote-controlled vehicle.

Sources:
McCall, Jack H., Jr. (Winter 2007). Arms and Men: German Remote-Controlled Vehicles of World War II. MHQ: the quarterly journal of military history, 19(2), 45-47.

2 comments:

Mike said...

I have a friend who is 83 now and he built the engines for the Goliath in Nuremberg, Germany before he joined the Waffen SS. It was a 750cc Zundapp (with an umlaut above the u) two stroke engine. This was in 1942-1943 timeframe. He started as a apprentice for 1 Reichsmark a 60 hour week and ended up making 12 at the end.

vēer said...

Imagine, so many years ago they made something of this kind, and then, for decades nothing moved forwards in this, id say, robotic field :) Now we finally have something usable again :)!