History Podcasts

Goliath Tracked Mine, Anzio

Goliath Tracked Mine, Anzio

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Goliath Tracked Mine, Anzio

This Goliath Tracked Mine was destroyed by Allied troops in the Anzio beachhead. The Goliath was a wire controled remote demolition weapon, but it was too thinly armoured, too slow and vulnerable to small arms fire, and was a failure as a weapon.

Goliath tracked mine

The Goliath tracked mine - complete German name: Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b) - was a remote controlled German-engineered demolition vehicle, also known as the beetle tank Script error: No such module "Category handler". Script error: No such module "Category handler". [ citation needed ] to the Allies.

Employed by the Wehrmacht during World War II, this caterpillar-tracked vehicle was approximately Script error: No such module "convert". long, Script error: No such module "convert". wide, and Script error: No such module "convert". tall. It carried Script error: No such module "convert". 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.

IPMS/USA Reviews

Tamiya has recently released their own boxing of the diminutive Goliath tracked mine. The kit comes complete with two mines and control boxes, tethered by steel wire to one of three highly detailed figures. Molded in crisp, yellow plastic, the contents of the box are typical of Tamiya kits, and the three figures are just about as good as it gets in terms of detail and craftsmanship.


The Goliath tracked mine - (Leichter Ladungstrager Goliath or Goliath Light Charge Carrier) was a name given to two German unmanned, disposable demolition vehicles used during World War II. These were the electrically powered Sd.Kfz. 302 and the petrol-engine powered Sd.Kfz. 303a and 303b. The -302 is the version represented in the Tamiya kit.

Employed by the Wehrmacht during World War II. They carried 60 or 100 kilograms (130 or 220 lb.) of high explosives, depending on the model, and were intended to be used for multiple purposes, such as destroying tanks, disrupting dense infantry formations, and the demolition of buildings or bridges. Goliaths were single-use vehicles that were destroyed by the detonation of their warhead.

Initially fielded in early 1942, Goliaths were used by specialized Panzer and combat engineer units on all fronts where the Wehrmacht fought most notably in Anzio, Italy, during the Polish Uprising in Warsaw, and on the beaches of Normandy.

Although a total of 7,564 Goliaths were produced, the single-use weapon was not considered a success due to high unit cost, low speed (just above 6 miles per hour, poor ground clearance (just 4.5 inches), the vulnerable control cable, and thin armor which could not protect the vehicle from small-arms fire. The Goliath was also too big and heavy to be easily man-portable. Mostly, they failed to reach their target although the effect was considerable when they did.

Large numbers of Goliaths were captured by the Allies. Even though they were seen as having little military value, the Goliath did help lay the foundation for post-war advances in remote-controlled vehicle (ROV) technologies.

Opening the Box

This is a Tamiya armor kit - which means it can be described in five words: not many parts, perfect fit. The tiny track for each vehicle is produced using link-and-length plastic parts from the sprues. The contents of the box include:

  • 2 identical sprues if soft, yellow plastic, each containing one Goliath
  • 1 sprue containing parts for three fully equipped figures, also in soft yellow plastic
  • 1 plastic bag containing a round of very thin steel wire for use as control cables
  • 1 single, fold-out page of black and white instructions with 8 steps (including figures)

Paint callouts are provided for Tamiya Acrylic-Lacquers and represent a single finishing scheme in German Yellow (Goliath) and German Grey (Figures).


The instructions are excellent but curiously, do not include a parts map. Beginners will find the page full of quick hints and images showing where to trim, cut, use tweezers for small parts, etc.

The Build


Looking through the instructions for my notes I find that there is very little written besides the occasional 'Cool!' and 'Nice!'. You have a choice to build the front hatch closed or open (which exposes the spool of control wire). The only problems I encountered were with the track, some parts of which were very small. I am an experienced modeler and I still could not get the track completely around the running gear without leaving some minor gaps. The rest of the vehicle went together without a hitch.


The three figures come together very well and have separate parts typical for the scale separate head, arms, legs, torso and helmet. Each figure contains a full combat load of gear molded separately. One figure holds the control box while the other two figures come with personal weapons.


After priming everything with rattlecan Flat Black, I painted the vehicles using Model Master Enamels, starting with Dark Tan for the base coat, and lightening that with Model Master Flat White for the post-shade coat. I used AK Interactive Track Wash on the track and then weathered everything using several Mig pigments.

I have yet to do justice to a 54mm figure, so simply applied a light grey primer to these. Someday.


What more can I say about Tamiya kits? There is something for every kind of modeler in each kit, the fit is usually perfect and the instructions are excellent. The tiny link-and-length track gave me some issues, however, leading me to recommend this kit only for modelers with a little experience.

Altogether, the contents can be made into an interesting vignette. The relatively tiny mines will also fit side-by-side in the back of a halftrack or truck, or perched on a German utility trailer.

I would like to thank Tamiya USA for providing this kit for review, and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to build it.


Goliaths were used on all fronts where the Wehrmacht fought, beginning in early 1942. They were used principally by specialized Panzer and combat engineer units. Goliaths were used at Anzio in Italy in April 1944, and against the Polish resistance during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. 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. Allied troops also encountered a small number of Goliaths in the Maritime Alps following the landings in southern France in August 1944, with at least one being used successfully against a vehicle of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. [ citation needed ]

Although a total of 7,564 Goliaths were produced, the single-use weapon was not considered a success due to high unit cost, low speed (just above 6 kilometres per hour (3.7 mph)), poor ground clearance (just 11.4 cm (4.5 in)), the vulnerable control cable, and thin armour which could not protect the vehicle from small-arms fire. The Goliath was also too big and heavy to be easily man-portable. Δ] Mostly, they failed to reach their target although the effect was considerable when they did. Δ]

Large numbers of Goliaths were captured by the Allies. Although they were examined with interest by Allied intelligence, they were seen as having little military value. Some were used by the United States Army Air Force as aircraft tugs, although they quickly broke down as the disposable vehicles were not designed for sustained use. Δ]

The Goliath did help lay the foundation for post-war advances in remote-controlled vehicle technologies. [ citation needed ]

Goliath Tracked Mine: The Beetle That Started the ROV Craze

Bremen-based Borgward built more than 7,500 Goliaths during World War II. (Illustration by Gregory Proch)

In late 1940, inspired by a French miniature tracked vehicle prototype it recovered from the Seine, the Wehrmacht Ordnance Bureau ordered Bremen-based automaker Carl F.W. Borgward to develop a similar vehicle, capable of delivering at least 100 pounds of high explosive to a target by remote control. In spring 1942 Borgward rolled out its SdKfz. 302, nicknamed Goliath, powered by two 2.5-kilowatt Bosch electric motors. Its limited range (less than a mile on flat surfaces) and high cost eventually led to its discontinuance. In late 1942 Borgward introduced the SdKfz. 303a, powered by a Zundapp two-cylinder gasoline engine with improved street range of more than seven miles. Two years later it produced the slightly larger 303b, which could carry a 220-pound payload. Borgward built more than 7,500 Goliaths during the war. The Allies called it the “beetle tank.”

Operators used a joystick control box connected to the vehicle by a 2,145-foot triple-strand control cable—two strands for steering, one for detonation. Issued to combat engineers and special armored units, the Goliath was designed to disable enemy tanks, disrupt infantry units or demolish strongpoints. Its control cable proved vulnerable to cutting, however, most notably when the Germans deployed it against the Polish Home Army during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Though the Goliath saw little use, it did serve as the precursor of the modern radio-controlled robotic vehicles.

Arms and Men: German Remote-Controlled Vehicles of World War II

On the outer wall of St. John’s Cathedral in the Stare Miasto, Warsaw’s Old Town, a peculiar memorial exists in the form of a miniature caterpillar track. This is a relic from some of the most unusual additions to Germany’s World War II arsenal: several tracked, remote-controlled vehicles that took their place alongside better-known vehicles like the Panther and Tiger tanks and helped lead the way toward modern robotic vehicles.

Development of radio-controlled military equipment began in World War I and the 1920s, when technicians in the United States and Great Britain experimented with radio-controlled “aerial torpedoes.” Between the wars, the British and French initiated research and development efforts for remote-controlled ground vehicles.

France’s programs produced two types of demolition carriers: the tanklike Véhicule Pommelet and a smaller vehicle invented by French tank designer Adolphe Kégresse that was demonstrated in early 1940. Near Sedan in 1940, the Germans encountered several of the eleven carriers Pommelet produced. The French ditched Kégresse’s prototype in the Seine River to keep it from the enemy, but the Germans found it and recovered it.

In the fall of 1939, the Wehrmacht ordered a semi-expendable mine clearance vehicle that would destroy mines by its own weight or via a trailing roller. The Carl Borgward Group responded with a concrete-hulled, radio-controlled tracked vehicle known as the B.I. This was followed in mid-1940 by the B.II, which retained the concrete carapace but dispensed with the mine roller, breaching minefields instead by detonating a built-in explosive charge.

The Germans employed small quantities of both vehicles in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. The Germans issued a more refined model, the B.IV, to various Funklenkpanzer battalions and separate companies in April 1942. The steel-hulled B.IV was not intended to be expendable: It carried a 450- kilogram explosive charge in a detachable bin mounted on its front. It had a driver’s compartment, enabling an operator to drive the B.IV like a tank for a considerable distance before dismounting and activating its radio control.

Once radio control was initiated, an operator in a command tank, typically a Panzerkampfwagen Mark III or Tiger tank or a Sturmgeschütz III assault gun, steered the B.IV to its target. Using radio controls, the operator detonated explosive bolts securing the demolitions bin to the B.IV, depositing the bin on or near its target. After the vehicle made good its escape, the operator also detonated the charge by radio control. Borgward built 1,181 B.IVs before its Bremen factory was bombed out in October 1944.

After testing Kégresse’s recovered prototype in late 1940, the Wehrmacht directed Borgward to design a “light load carrier.” The result was the Goliath, which the Germans began issuing to armored engineer and assault engineer units in the spring of 1942. Unlike the B.IV, the wire-guided Goliaths were designed to be expendable, a species of caterpillar-tracked mobile mine. An operator controlled the vehicle via a telephone cable spooling out from the rear of the Goliath to a joystick control box. As the electric motors used in early-model Goliaths were expensive and their battery life was short, a later model was powered by a gasoline engine. Borgward produced 7,579 Goliaths, counting both versions.

For vehicles whose operations were typically conducted with utmost secrecy, B.IV and Goliath-equipped units nevertheless saw considerable action on every front where the Wehrmacht fought. The Germans first used Goliaths in combat at Sevastopol in 1942 British and American troops faced them in North Africa, then at Anzio and elsewhere in Italy, and in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. B.IVs successfully eliminated Soviet minefields and bunkers during the Kursk campaign in July 1943.

In addition to serving as countermine-demolition vehicles, the versatile B.IV could conduct reconnaissance, dispense smokescreens or chemical agents, or serve as chemical decontamination vehicles. B.IVs mounting Panzerschreck rocket-launchers (akin to the American bazooka) engaged Soviet tanks in last-ditch fighting near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in late April 1945. At least one B.IV was experimentally equipped with an early television camera.

These vehicles had significant limitations, however, especially the Goliath. One U.S. intelligence bulletin noted: “One of the drawbacks [of the Goliath] is that the operator must have direct observation both on the vehicle and the target….The vehicle cannot travel over very rough terrain, and [with a speed of five to twelve miles per hour] is definitely vulnerable to small-arms fire.”

The Goliath’s cable length limited its range to 2,000 feet the cable itself presented another fatal weakness once Allied soldiers and resistance fighters learned how easily they could sever it. It also took five or six men to prepare a Goliath for use, thus attracting enemy attention—and enemy ordnance.

If any battle made these vehicles notorious, it was the bloody Warsaw Uprising of August 1 to October 2, 1944. Facing fierce opposition from the Polish Armija Krajowa (AK), or Home Army, resistance fighters, the Germans used virtually every weapon available—from obsolete Junkers Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers to Nebelwerfer rocket launchers, railroad guns, and the mammoth Karl siege mortar—to annihilate Warsaw and its inhabitants. Alongside the infamous SS Dirlewanger and Kaminski brigades, SS generals Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski and Heinz Reinefarth deployed Wehrmacht and SS Panzer units. However, Warsaw’s narrow and debris-clogged streets resulted in some 270 German tanks being lost by the Uprising’s end. Enter the remote-controlled Panzer and combat engineer units.

The Wehrmacht used large numbers of Goliaths in Warsaw, beginning August 11 in attacks in the Wola district three days later it deployed a B.IV-equipped battalion, Panzer Abteilung (Funklenk) 302. In the assault on the Stare Miasto that began on August 19, fifty Goliaths went into action alongside a Tiger company and twenty assault guns, an armored train, and heavy artillery.

A history of Panzer Abteilung 302 records: “It soon became apparent that committing assault tanks, assault guns, and demolition-charge carriers piecemeal was ineffective. Therefore, it was necessary to change tactics and concentrate all available heavy weapons, including divebombers, on [each] objective….In keeping with this tactic, clearing parties cleared the streets for the demolitions-charge carriers, which were guided to barricades and detonated.”

AK fighters attacked the vehicles with grenades and filipinki gasoline bombs (Molotov cocktails), small-arms fire, and British-made PIATs (projectors, infantry, antitank) they had received through Allied airdrops. Taking advantage of the Goliaths’ poor ground clearance and difficulty in navigating rough terrain, the Poles placed simple barricades of scrap and street pavement in front of key positions. Appropriately nicknamed “Little Davids,” these barriers effectively kept the low-slung Goliaths from reaching their targets.

A few hardy souls dared to crawl through the ruins with wirecutters or axes to halt Goliaths dead in their tracks by severing their control cables. Polish and German sources suggest that to thwart these tactics, Goliath, B.IV, and other panzer crews occasionally marched civilians as human shields in front of their vehicles.

Polish sources hold Goliaths and B.IVs accountable for causing significant damage to—or the destruction of—such Warsaw landmarks as St. John’s Cathedral, the Warsaw Fire Brigade Building, the Bank Polski building, the Poniatowski High School, and the Mostowski Palace. Polish sources have identified at least 56 attacks by some 92 Goliaths, not including other missions accomplished by the B.IVequipped Panzer Abteilung 302.

Despite the vehicles’ relatively small size, their explosive charges were potent. One Goliath attack survivor reported: “The vastness of destruction was indeed unbelievable….This corner section of the solidly constructed edifice [where he and an AK team manned a bunker] was reduced to little more than a one-story heap of rubble.”

If they were only marginally effective on other battlefields, both Goliaths and B.IVs warranted lasting hatred by the Varsovians. The inscription accompanying the caterpillar track on the wall of St. John’s Cathedral urges passersby not to forget the destruction these mobile bombs wrought on the city of Warsaw.

Postwar experiments with more sophisticated remote-controlled vehicles followed, led by British and Israeli research on remote-controlled bomb disposal vehicles. Those advances led in turn to true robotic vehicles like the Buffalo mine-clearance vehicle currently deployed in Iraq by U.S. Army engineers, Northrop-Grumman’s Remotec surveillance vehicles, and Talon vehicles used for explosive ordnance disposal, reconnaissance, communications, sensing, security and rescue. Today’s robotic crawlers are quite different from the Goliath and B.IV, but they are the linear descendants of vehicles that, some sixty years ago in the ruins of Warsaw, provided a grim harbinger of one future mode of mechanized warfare.

JACK H. MCCALL, JR., a former captain in the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, wrote Pogiebait’s War about his father’s service with the U.S. Marines in World War II.

Originally published in the Winter 2007 issue of Military History Quarterly. To subscribe, click here.

The only thing you can do to this unit is to detonate it - an expendable unit with no manpower to lose. In a dire situation where a defensive emplacement is under attack by heavy armor, it would be useful to have one or two on station, as it can easily destroy a tank's main gun or engine. Because it has little armor, use it as an ambush weapon in conjunction with high-profile German units like Panthers to cover their movement.

In an offensive, it can be used on its own. If used in hordes, an enemy would simply be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of these bombs exploding at an enemy formation, even more destructive when used in an enemy base.
But remember to cover it if used sparingly, as its detonation can also damage friendly units and kill friendly infantry. Also, if they are in a group and one Goliath explodes, it will cause a chain reaction and blow up other nearby Goliaths if they are in the radius of the explosion.

Another interesting point is the fact that a Goliath will camouflage if left in cover. The Goliath must be in Heavy cover in order to camouflage. It only takes a few seconds for it to conceal itself. This camouflage will cease as soon as the Goliath is moved. One useful scenario is to hide the Goliath in light forest or behind sandbags on a bridge or a chokepoint. This way the enemy won't notice them until it is too late.

Goliath Tracked Mine

The Goliath Tracked Mine (German: Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath), known as Beetle Tanks by the Allies, referred to German unmanned disposable demolition vehicles that were used by the Wehrmacht during World War II. Powered by Sd.Kfz. 302, these single-use vehicles carried 130 or 220 pounds of high explosives and were used to destroy enemy tanks, disrupt infantry formations, destroy buildings or bridges, etc. Beginning in 1942, the Wehrmacht used the vehicle on all fronts. 7,564 Goliaths were produced during the war but they were considered unsuccessful due to their high cost, low speed, poor ground clearance, armor vulnerabilities, and difficult portability. These combined factors prevented a majority of Goliaths from reaching their intended targets.

WATCH: US Troops Captured Nazi Drone Tanks and Rode Them Like Toys

When it comes to drone warfare, the Nazis were early innovators.

In World War II, the Germans had an arsenal of technological weapons systems that were used against the Allies, but one of their most surprising ideas was the Goliath Tracked Mine, sometimes referred to as the Nazi midget demolition tank.

In 1940, the Wehrmacht Ordnance Bureau asked Carl F.W. Borgward , a visionary automaker who made miniature mail-delivery cars, to develop a similar vehicle capable of transporting more than 100 pounds of high explosives to a target.

The unmanned vehicle had a 2,145-foot cable spool on its rear, which limited its range to less than half a mile on flat surfaces. Operators generally had to maintain line of sight while using a joystick controller to steer it onto targets, and having to maintain close proximity was less than ideal. Eventually, the high cost of the early design of the beetle tank led to its discontinuance.

The initial design was powered by batteries and an electric motor. In late 1942, Borgward upgraded his previous model with the SdKfz. 303a, which replaced the electric motor with a two-cylinder gasoline engine, vastly expanding its range to more than 7 miles and making it more reliable when operating in the field. The final model called the SdKfz. 303b was introduced to the battlefield in 1944. With a max payload of more than 220 pounds of explosives, it was the largest and most advanced Goliath.

The Allies captured a handful of what they called the “ beetle tank ” or the “doodle bug” in Italy and France. The Americans sat on top of these doodle bugs and rode them around for fun, but for one sailor, his first experience was on the receiving end at Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Dennis Shryock, a 21-year-old US Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) frogman, the precursor to modern day Navy SEALs , was among the first troops to hit the beach around 5 a.m. The frogmen’s job was to clear obstacles with explosives ahead of the rest of the amphibious assault force.

“There was stuff blowing up all over the place,” Dennis Shryock told Stars and Stripes . The Germans were so close that he could hear their voices as he moved to the next obstacle to emplace more demolitions. Then he paused in the middle of the chaos to watch one of the doodle bugs roll through the sand like a remote-controlled toy ready to detonate.

The Germans used them against obstacles and threats, including barbed wire, bunkers, landmines, tanks, and antipersonnel. The hesitation on the beach nearly cost Shryock his life, yet somehow through all of the violence and bloodshed, he only suffered a chipped tooth from flying shrapnel.

Rare Goliath tracked mine the latest addition to the Wheatcroft Collection

There is good news from Donington where a rare Goliath tracked mine has gone on display. The Goliath, used by German forces in World War Two, is the latest addition to the ever-expanding Wheatcroft Military Collection at Donington Park, Derbyshire, England.

The new addition is a petrol-driven derivative, and joins an electric powered version already on display at the collection. Having been unearthed in Germany, the Goliath has been restored to full working order, and it is believed that Donington Collections is the only museum to have versions of both the petrol and electric driven machines on public display.

For more information about the Wheatcroft Collection, visit www.donington-collections.co.uk

British soldiers with captured German Goliath tracked mines (Public Domain)

Goliaths were used from 1942-1945 and could carry up to 100 kilograms (220lbs) of high explosives, and were capable of destroying tanks or demolishing buildings and bridges. They were controlled remotely using a joystick control box attached to the rear of the machine by 650 metres (2,100 feet) of triple strand cable. Given their purpose, each Goliath was disposable built specifically to be blown up to damage enemy targets.

Only around thirty original examples are now believed to remain in existence from over 7,500 produced during the war. With just a handful to be found in the UK, this addition is another rare artefact on display in the Wheatcroft Collection.

Kevin Wheatcroft commented: “I get immense personal satisfaction in sharing more and more of my collection with the public. This Goliath now joins its sister and spare display engine and we are now working on the ultra-rare trailer to complete the ensemble”.

Having made a number of visits to Donington, the WHO team can attest to the outstanding quality of restoration work and the fascinating range of vehicles and equipment on view, in addition to a vast number of fabulous racing cars. The place has to be seen.

The Wheatcroft Military Collection is a world-renowned assortment of memorabilia and artefacts from World War Two and pays tribute to Donington Park’s military past. The collection includes a range of tanks, armoured vehicles and incredibly rare motorcycles. As well as the Wheatcroft Military Collection, the Donington Collections also house the Grand Prix Collection, the world’s largest display of Formula One and Grand Prix cars.

Watch the video: The Goliath tracked mine - Normandy 1944 (May 2022).