Sd Kfz 303 Leichte Ladungsträger V-Motor (E1951.42)
The German Army experimented with a number of remote controlled vehicles for demolition and minefield clearance, most of which proved to be impractical. The first type to enter mass production was the Goliath which came in two versions; with electric or petrol engine power. Our exhibit is the latter version, driven by a Zundapp 703cc, two-cylinder motorcycle engine.
Goliath was transported to the battlefield on a two-wheeled trailer. Once a target had been selected the machine was started and directed on its course by remote control. This consisted of a control box, linked to the vehicle by wire, which enabled the operator to steer the thing left or right, and blow it up.
Goliath could be used for minefield clearance, as it was on the Russian Front, for demolition of enemy defences or, in extreme cases, as an anti-tank weapon. In theory the vehicle was devastating when carrying a charge of up to 100 kg of TNT but it was too slow to catch a moving tank and often rolled upside down on uneven ground. Nearly 5,000 were produced between 1943 and 1945.
Precise Name: Leichte Ladungstrager
Other Name: SdKfz 303, V-Motor, Goliath, B V, Gerat 671, Gerat 672
The German Army experimented extensively with remote controlled, self-propelled, expendable demolition charges during World War II. At least six different types of vehicle were built; the Leichte Ladungstrager or ‘Goliath’ was the most produced of these.
Goliath was a small tracked vehicle, directed using a remote control box connected to the vehicle via a trailing wire. The vehicle carried about 650 metres of guidance wire. The operator could steer Goliath to the left or right and remotely detonate the onboard charge. It was produced in two versions: the first was powered by electric motors, the second by a 703cc Zundapp motor cycle engine. The Tank Museum’s example is one of the latter. These were larger than the first series and carried either a 75kg or a 100kg explosive charge. A specialised two-wheeled trailer was developed to carry each Goliath to the battlefront.
Goliath was originally designed as a minefield clearance device and was employed in this way on the Eastern Front, notably at the Battle of Kursk. They were also used to demolish enemy defences and in exceptional circumstances as anti-tank weapons. They weren’t very successful in this role, as they were too slow at 12km/hr to catch a moving tank and often tipped upside-down on uneven ground. Goliaths proved to be vulnerable to small arms fire, had trouble negotiating muddy ground and sometimes got stuck on steep hills. Despite these drawbacks they were manufactured in large numbers.
Goliaths were issued to specialised armoured and assault engineering companies. They were used on the Eastern Front, in Italy (at the Anzio beachhead) and in France following the Allied invasion in June 1944. The petrol-engined version was manufactured by the Zundapp and the Zachertz companies and a total of 4,929 were built between April 1943 and January 1945.
Summary text by Mike Garth V1.0