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"Remote-Controlled Demolition Vehicles" from Intelligence Bulletin

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   An article on German WWII remote-controlled demolition vehicles ("Goliath") from the July 1944 issue of the Intelligence Bulletin.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy equipment published for Allied soldiers. More accurate data on German weapons and equipment is available in postwar publications.]



In Italy the Germans have used several types of small, remote-controlled, tank-like vehicles containing demolition charges. (The enemy also has used similar devices in Russia.) These vehicles appear to have been designed principally for use against tanks and pillboxes. The control is effected by means of a three-wire cable which unwinds from the miniature tank as it moves forward.

The specifications of the several models of this contraption vary somewhat, although not appreciably. One type has an approximate over-all length of 5 feet 4 inches, an approximate over-all width of 34 1/2 inches, and an approximate over-all height of 20 inches (see fig. 1). The body of the vehicle is made of thin steel, and is divided into three compartments. One contains the explosive charge (reported as about 80 pounds in a recent instance), another houses four relays for controlling the two electrically driven motors and for detonating the charge, and a third contains the drum of three-wide control cable. A cable guide made of steel is mounted on the rear of the vehicle.

[Figure 1. A German Remote-controlled Demolition Vehicle, "Goliath"]
Figure 1.—A German Remote-controlled Demolition Vehicle.

The machine can travel at a rate of speed which is equivalent to a fast walk. The operator at the control panel can direct the vehicle forward, to the left, or to the right, and can detonate the charge at whatever time he considers appropriate.

One of the drawbacks of this demolition vehicle is that the operator must have direct observation both on the vehicle and the target. It is believed that the preferred German method of operation is to direct the vehicle in a zigzag manner toward its target. The vehicle cannot travel over very rough terrain, and is definitely vulnerable to small-arms fire.  

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