When you think of the best German-made tanks, you think of the Panzerkampfwagen V, the Tiger or Panther tanks. These tanks were among the feared armored vehicles ever to take to the battlefield. These tanks were generally superior to anything made by any of the allied countries during WWII. But the Germans also designed and employed a tiny tank that functioned as a tracked anti-tank weapon operated by remote control with a name that contradicted its small size, the Goliath Tracked Mine., also known as the Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath, or the “beetle tank”!

The Precursor of the RC cars

Remote-controlled cars being used as toys by children across the world today owe something to the Goliath tracked mine vehicle used by the Germans in WWII. In fact, many would argue that these vehicles are responsible for the modern-day RC cars, only without explosives and Soviet tanks to drive it under.

Goliath tracked mine displayed at the Bovington Tank Museum. SkudsCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you ever had an RC car before, then think of the same principle – only this time the RC car can blow a thirty-ton tank into the air. These Goliaths were made to be a scout of some sort, advancing ahead of the troops to look for mines and destroying highly fortified positions and vehicles so that their troops wouldn’t have to risk their life trying to do so. They evolved into anti-tank weapons to give infantry an effective weapon against Soviet tanks on the Eastern Front.

How Was It Made?

The Goliath isn’t actually the first remote-controlled demolition vehicle used in the war. In World War I, the French actually designed vehicles known as the Crocodile Schneider Torpille Terrestre (or the Torpedo Crocodile Schneider) and the Aubriot-Gabet Torpille Électrique (or the Aubriot-Gabet Electric Torpedo) in 1916.