Type ‘Goliath Tank’ into your image search engine and hit enter and the resultant images will probably be similar to this one.
What does this picture of a ‘Goliath’ put you in mind of? The Mark 1 tank perhaps? What era does it put you in mind of? World War 1 or World War 2?
Certainly it has a WWI tank kind of feel about it doesn’t it? But what if I was to tell you that it wasn’t a WWI tank at all? What if I was to tell you that actually it could be argued that it wasn’t even a tank!
So for all of you who have reached for your phones in order to check out the Tankapedia in your WOTX Assistants, don’t bother. It isn’t there and isn’t likely to be.
How about I show you a different – more revealing – picture…
That picture certainly puts a different perspective on them doesn’t it? Did I mention that it could be argued that they weren’t even tanks?
But the ‘Goliath’ tracked mines always carried the names ‘Beetle Tanks’ or ‘Doodle Bug Tank’ and were very real and at times very effective! They were also ‘remote controlled’!
So, if you are of a certain age and remember being introduced to remote control cars and thinking to yourself how awesome and even ‘super-modern’ or even ‘futuristic’ they were. Think again! The even had remote control ‘tanks’ in the second world war. And actually the ‘Goliath’ came about around 1940 as a result of a similar vehicle of french origin and designed by Adolphe Kégresse which was recovered near the Seine.
With its full name of ‘Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b)’ it was used by the German ‘Werhmacht’ during World War 2 and carried between 60 – 100 kg of high explosive depending on the model. Deployed on all the fronts where the German ‘Werhmacht’ fought it (in its predecessor form) was originally controlled by a joystick control box (they never had xbox controllers back then) attached via a tripple strand cable coming out of the back of the vehicle. One strand to steer left one to steer right and the third for detonation.
The ‘Goliath’ itself had some 650 meters of cable and was, of course, disposable due to the nature of it’s purpose. Being designed to ‘blow up’ along with it’s target.
Although a reported 7,564 units were produced they were costly, had a low speed (just over 6 miles per hour), had extremely limited ground clearance and cumbersome and limited and very thin armour as well as poor control via the cabling. So no they were not considered to be a huge success. However their influence in future similar military technology cannot be disputed.
Used principally by specialised Panzer and engineer units they even featured during the D-Day landings on the beaches at Normandy. And also used during the Warsaw Uprising against the Polish resistance.
So yes, as the title of this article states, the Goliath was not such a giant and not such a tank. But it did serve its purpose and did have some successes.
Personally I am considering buying a couple, having them adapted, putting one on each foot and using them to get around town and do my shopping. But then I am a fairly big guy and more importantly it would mean I could get home to play World of Tanks™ quicker!
I have to admit that I personally wasn’t even aware that they had such things during the second world war. Which is why I thought, when I saw one on QI the other night, that I would write about them. And I hope it has been of some interest to you.
So, for those of you who are interested, I leave you with a two or three videos featuring this not so giant ‘tank’, ‘tracked vehicle’, ‘drone’…