Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Goliath

Discussion in 'Armor and Armored Fighting Vehicles' started by Mussolini, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    5,734
    Likes Received:
    559
    Location:
    Festung Colorado
    I figure, since the Goliath was a tracked 'vehicle', it would fall under this category here.

    So, in reading my Cassino book, the author mentions that Goliaths were the new German Weapon used in their counterattack on the Anzio Beachead, but apart from the line about as long as the first half of this one, doesn't go into any more detail than this.

    I found the Wiki article on the Goliath but, well, its Wiki.

    I am wondering what the Germans initial plan was for the Goliath? Was it 'ahead of its time' in bomb/obstacle clearance as it could be operated from a safe distance accurately to hit its target?

    Or was it meant to be more of a weapon, driving (I assume) under a tank before detonating?

    It doesn't seem like it was very fast moving, and apparently didn't do well over rough terrain of any sort, but was it loud? It seems to be like the operator would have to be able to see the target and every step of the route to the target....if it was loud, like a tank, you'd probably be able to hear it coming, see it, and destroy it long before it arrived?

    Was it suspect to small arms fire, or did you need grenades/ATG type of thing to knock it out?

    Are there any first hand accounts about how it was used or if it was effectively used in combat? I've read a lot of WW2 books, from both sides, and can't recall a single instance where the Goliath was used or even mentioned apart from this one line in the 'Cassino: Portrait of a Battle' book I am reading right now.
     
    Otto likes this.
  2. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    All it needs was to cut the wire...
    A silly weapon. Why building a small tank to destroy a big tank?
     
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    6,228
    Likes Received:
    1,851
    Location:
    Perfidious Albion
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CRQC8g4lRk&app=desktop

    Quite speedy.
    Essentially, despite the fascination it and others in the 300 series/Borgward etc. engender (including myself in that. Always found them pleasing), it wasn't really particularly good, or more importantly; that useful outside of specialist engineering.
    Unreliable control systems, high visibility on the attack, vulnerable cables etc.

    As to what you do with it, theoretically whatever you can imagine with a large remote charge. Minefield clearance, direct attack, bridges, whatever. Though I always wondered how happy I'd have been under stressful battlefield conditions sending off multiple kilos of HE on a fast little device designed to change direction quite quickly...
    Similar remote devices now tend to be used to neutralise explosive threats rather than create them, which maybe says something.

    The British and French attempts along similar lines are very interesting, but solid info on them remains a tad sketchy. Not looked for a while though.
     
  4. Owen

    Owen O

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Messages:
    2,573
    Likes Received:
    628
    Here's the one at Bovington , my Mrs took the photo Monday.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    Was reading an account of the combats North of Rome by Sw. Pz. Abt.504 and it's 3rd company of Tigers was equipped with radio control equipment (so more likely Borgward not Goliath), seems like the Germans were "experimenting" in 1943/44 with "breakthrough" units equipped with heavy tanks and specialized mine clearing equipments, 656 Sw. Panzerjaeger. Reg. (specially formed to operate the Elephants) at Kursk also had mine cleating section (but the photos show Borgward IV not Goliaths). When you have that much armour around you probably you can afford to dedicate some attention to the remote controlled vehicles, don't think attempting to emplace a "bangalore torpedo" under fire is any fun either..

    IMO the idea was not bad but by the time the equipment came the Germans were mostly on the defensive and the overspecialized units (sturmtiger anyone ?) ended up being used for tasks they were not well suited for, Sw. Pz. Abt.504 ended up losing most of its vehicles to breakdowns.
     
  6. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,712
    Likes Received:
    810
    Very leading edge. Drones anyone-
     
  7. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    5,734
    Likes Received:
    559
    Location:
    Festung Colorado
    It seems...silly to develop something like the Goliath with armor on it if you don't plan on using it in combat situations.

    I can see it being effective in street fighting (pending on street debris) where, like in a case similar to the Red Devils in Arnhem, the entrenched have little by way of AT weapons (assuming that a Goliath can withstand small-arms fire) a Goliath could be driven into a strong point or building and detonate, blowing it up. That video shows that it packs quite a punch, amplified like all explosions in an enclosed space making it more destructive.

    I do wonder if there is a direct line of 'descendants' from the 'robotics' that the Germans/French developed during WW2 (like with Rocket Science) to modern-day robotics, or if it was a one-off sort of thing. The video shows it being surprisingly maneuverable - I was expecting it to turn at a much slower rate but it acts like a modern day RC tank etc.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,510
    Likes Received:
    1,176
    The Goliath is, in my opinion, just one of the numerous weapon systems deployed by Germany that were cutting edge, yet not fully developed enough to be effective. The V-1, V-2, Guided munitions, Jets etc. all showed much promise but failed strategically and often in a real sense tactically. In most cases it was a matter of technology not being advanced enough to support the device or idea.
     
  9. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    Goliath is not a robot, that term assumes some sort of autonomous decision making capability by the system and it has none. The German failures are not usually due to not sufficiently advanced technology, but, especially for late war weapon systems, lack of raw materials and shoddy production quality. There is little engineers can do when they do not get the right alloys for critical parts.
    .
     
  10. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    And what about the noise of the Goliath?
    How many Panzerfausts you can fire at a building for the price of one Goliath?
    Everybody could learn how to aim and fire a Panzerfaust in 5 minutes, but to operate a Goliath needs training.
    In theory a good idea but in reality?

    Some concepts of the "Wunderwaffen" were pursued after the war: Jet fighters, Rockets, Cruise Missiles, Assault rifle, Anti-aircraft rockets...for a reason.
     
    Poppy likes this.
  11. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    90
    belasar likes this.
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    452
    Not sure this proves anything, some of the modern weapons systems make the even the more complex German weapons look like underengineered low cost designs, hate to think what would happen if we have to mass produce them. High tech designs often fail dramatically, the "urine bags" used by the Viets to counter US air dropped "people sensors" is an extreme example of a low tech counter to a high tech weapon but there are many instances.

    BTW the V1 was an "intermediate step" as far as cruise missiles go, the British Larynx is a lot earlier and you could even go back to Sperry's WW1 experiments.
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,706
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    The Goliath, or a very similar weapon, was heavily deployed in the street fighting in Aachen. The GIs there called them "doodlebugs" and I haven't read a single account of them being used successfully at Aachen. The vehicle tended to get blocked by street rubble, and when they didn't small arms fire stopped them before they could get close enough to any damage.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,706
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    It just occurred to me why the Germans dubbed this little thing "Goliath." In the Bible, Goliath is of course the giant Philistine killed by David, so the mechanism should properly be dubbed "David" except that David was Jewish, so they couldn't called it "The David." :)
     
  15. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    7,208
    Likes Received:
    1,260
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Loons
    Just being ironic? Not sure they were big on irony. Delusions of grandeur, maybe?
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,706
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    No, I think it was a real conundrum for them. David is the giant killer, so these doodlebugs designed to kill tanks should properly be called Davids. At any rate, I suspect that since they couldn't name them after a Jewish hero, they named them after the giant Philistine opponent.

    I wonder if they got the idea from the trained Russian dogs that were supposed to dart under panzers, but couldn't tell a panzer from a T-34?
     
  17. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    They called it the Goliath for the same reasons they called the super heavy tank "Maus" or even "Mäuschen" (little mouse).
     
  18. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,712
    Likes Received:
    810
    Yeah, off the top- it would seem Goliath was a reference to David.
    I don't know. We need a smart guy, like Mrkenny to add his contributions, other than free fire snowflake zone.
    Step up, (edit).
    - hurtful word. Wish i wasn't goaded.
     
  19. m kenny

    m kenny Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,645
    Likes Received:
    225
    The names 'Borgward' and 'Goliath' are taken from subsidiary firms of the company that built them. They had a 'car' named the Goliath Pioneer on sale in the 1930s

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_Pioneer
     
    KodiakBeer and Poppy like this.
  20. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,712
    Likes Received:
    810
    Good bit there Mrk.
    You should stick to facts.
     

Share This Page