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  • SdKfz 302 / SdKfz 303 leichte Ladungstrager Goliath Tethered Remote-Controlled Tracked Demolition Carrier

    The small German Goliath was one of the earliest useful battlefield concepts involving remote-operated weapons delivery.

     Updated: 8/1/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The small "Goliath" engineering vehicle was one of the most intriguing German land weapons of World War 2. Classified as a "tracked mine", the Goliath was intended primarily for use as a demolition vehicle suitable for removing heavy road obstructions, destroying strategic structures and even combating enemy forces directly. In the end, the type proved something of a novel weapon concept whose potential was never realize and whose design suffered in several key areas concerning self-preservation on the battlefield. Such an endeavor, however, served to provide the basis for future remote-controlled battlefield systems utilized by the militaries of today in its use of UAVs and bomb disposal robots.

    The automotive firm of Borgward of Bremen was charged by German authorities with design and development of the Goliath beginning in 1940 and followed the general idea set in a captured vehicle development by French engineer Adolphe Kegresse. The design was essentially nothing more than a low-profile hull housing the engine and the design was straddled along its sides by a tracked road wheel arrangement. There were four road wheels to a track side along with a suspension system. The track idler was fitted to the front of the hull with the drive sprocket located at the rear. To accept commands from its operator, a spooled communications tether made up of three wires was housed in a rear compartment that gradually released the line as the tankette made its way further ahead. The three lines allowed for simple commands intended to control both steering to the left or right and final detonation (of course, once the payload was detonated, the vehicle was rendered a total loss). Design culminated with a period of evaluation and, ultimately, serial production was ordered in 1942 under the German Army designation of "Sd.Kfz. 302 leichte Ladungstrager Goliath". The name selection of "Goliath" was rather consistent with the German nature of applying weapon systems a contrary name - for instance, the super-heavy tank Panzer VIII was called the "Maus" (translating to "Mouse") despite its sheer weight and size.

    The initial Goliath production form was the Sd.Kfz. 302 with production beginning in April of 1942. The type was fielded with a electrical propulsion system consisting of a pair of 2.5 kiloWatt motors allowing for a maximum speed of just 6 miles per hour. Coupled with the limited-reach tether system and two internal batteries, the Goliath could reach out to 0.93 miles on road and 0.49 miles off-road. The structure measured in at 1.5 meters long, 0.85 meters in width and 0.56 meters in height. Overall weight was in the vicinity of 814lbs necessitating the use of a transport wagon to port the Goliath to key fronts. Each Goliath was fitted with up to 132lbs of explosive content. The vehicle was controlled by its operator via electromagnetic clutches. Armor protection was just 6mm and this was only along the front, leaving the sides and rear extremely vulnerable to enemy fire - even from infantry small arms.

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    SdKfz 302 / SdKfz 303 leichte Ladungstrager Goliath Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Tethered Remote-Controlled Tracked Demolition Carrier
    National Origin: Nazi Germany
    Manufacturer(s): Borgward - Nazi Germany
    Production: 7,564

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 5
    Length: 4.92 feet (1.50 meters)
    Width: 2.79 feet (0.85 meters)
    Height: 1.84 feet (0.56 meters)

    Operating Weight: 0 tons (370 kg; 816 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None
    Nightvision Equipment: None

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): SdKfz 302: 2 x 2.5 KiloWatt electric motors; SdKfz 303: 1 x Zundapp 2-cylinder, 2-stroke gasoline engine delivering 12.5 horsepower at 4,500 horsepower.

    Maximum Road Speed: 6 mph (10 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 1 miles (2 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    SdKfz 302:
    1 x 132lb explosive charge

    SdKfz 303a:
    1 x 165lb explosive charge

    SdKfz 303b:
    1 x 220lb explosive charge

    1 x explosive charge

    Global Operators / Customers

    Nazi Germany

    Model Variants

    SdKfz 302 - Electrically-powered; appearing in April 1942; fitted with 2 x 2.5kW motors; 132lb explosive charge; 6mm frontal armor; 2,635 examples produced.

    SdKfz 303a - Gasoline-powered; fitted with 1 x Zundapp 2-cylinder engine of 12.5 horsepower; appearing in April 1943; dimensionally larger than SdKfz 302 series; 165lb explosive charge; 10mm frontal armor; 4,929 examples of both A and B models produced in all.

    SdKfz 303b - Gasoline-powered; fitted with 1 x Zundapp 2-cylinder engine of 12.5 horsepower; appearing in April 1943; dimensionally larger than SdKfz 302 series; 165lb explosive charge; 10mm frontal armor.