Germany’s secret World War II weapon revealed at the Museum of American Armor
(Old Bethpage, N.Y.) – A mini unmanned tank filled with high explosives that was one of Nazi Germany’s secret battlefield weapons is now on display at the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Old Bethpage, New York.
Nicknamed “Goliath,” it proved to be an operational failure when deployed against Allied forces during World War II, but it became the precursor to many of the remote controlled weapons used by modern 21st Century armies.
Carrying as much as 220 lbs. of high explosives, they were intended to be guided by remote control and directed to attack tanks, disrupting infantry formations, and demolish buildings or bridges. However, in use, they were found to be slow, cumbersome and controlled by cables that could be easily severed by shellfire.
Introduced in 1942, Goliaths were used at Anzio in Italy in April 1944, against the Polish resistance during the fateful Warsaw Uprising. A few Goliaths were also reported on the Normandy beaches during D-Day, though none were reported to have inflicted any damage. Battle records suggest that one Goliath managed to successfully destroy a vehicle of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion in Southern France.
“The Goliath was all about innovation on the battlefield,” stated Mark Renton, director of the Museum of American Armor. “It was not successful, but I am sure there were some G.I.’s who had plenty of anxious moments listening for the sound of a robot loaded down with hundreds of pounds of explosives trying to get into position for an attack.”
The Allies captured many of these weapons and they were subsequently examined by Intelligence officers. They were ultimately dismissed as having little military value. Effective remote controlled weapons would not appear until the 21st Century, but the Goliath reflects a stepping stone towards that goal.
The Museum of American Armor is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children (5-12), seniors (60+) handicapped, volunteer firefighters (firefighters please show ID).
For more information go to www.museumofamericanarmor.org or friend them on Facebook.