Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goliath Tracked Mine

The Goliath tracked mine - complete German name: Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath (light charge carrier Goliat) - was a remote controlled German-engineered demolition vehicle, also known as the beetle tank to Allies.

Employed by the Wehrmacht during World War II, this caterpillar-tracked vehicle was approximately 1.2 meters long, 0.61 meters wide, and 0.30 meters tall. It carried 75–100 kilograms (170–220 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 and bridges.

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. The vehicle was steered remotely via a joystick control box that was attached to the Goliath by a 650 meter long triple-strand cable. Two of the strands were used to move and steer the Goliath, the third was used for detonation.

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. 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.