The Second World War became not only a place of loss and destruction, but also a huge testing ground for the creation of a wide variety of weapons. And sometimes it looked quite unusual, while it worked flawlessly and efficiently. Among the German developments was one very curious machine - the Goliath self-propelled tracked mine.
The German manufacturer of automation "Burgward" made a real "robot" - this is what was sometimes called "Goliath". The invention was a self-propelled tracked mine that could work from an electric drive, and from gasoline, and was controlled remotely.
Directly during the hostilities "Goliath" was used as an anti-tank weapon, but nevertheless the main type of its "activity" was the destruction of engineering fortifications of enemy defenses.
It was not immediately possible to launch the robot after delivery to the front - its small size made it easy to hide it in an ambush. The very same principle of operation of the mine was as follows: the target was selected for defeat, the "Goliath" approached the object and, being close to the target, was undermined.
However, in reality, everything did not work out so easily: the most vulnerable point of the mine was the remote control cable, damage to which led to the loss of control over the robot, and it could stop too far from the target. In addition, the same cable could reveal the location of the operator to the enemy.
There were other shortcomings, which showed the low effectiveness of the "Goliath" as an anti-tank weapon. So, the battery charge of a self-propelled mine was only enough for 800 meters of travel, after which it simply stopped. In addition, the robot could develop a relatively low speed, which did not always allow it to get to the tank and at the same time made it an easy target. And the armor of the "Goliath" was only 5 mm thick, so it was not difficult to destroy it.
In this regard, mines were used more to undermine engineering structures. And yet the Germans tried to modernize their brainchild to expand its functionality. So, in 1944, a self-propelled mine on a gasoline engine was released, which could cover a distance of up to ten kilometers on a single battery charge, and transported more explosives in mass. Such robots were used, for example, as minesweepers and as anti-tank weapons. But the most effective "Goliath" showed during the suppression of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto.
In total, over the entire period of hostilities, about 7, 5 thousand units of robots were manufactured. In this not very effective way, the Germans in the last stages of the war frantically tried to defend themselves against a huge mass of enemy armored vehicles. But this idea did not work - the Third Reich lost the war, and a huge number of self-propelled mines "Goliath" became trophies for the Allied troops.
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