Borgward IV

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Borgward IV
Borgward B IV
Borgward IV at the German Tank Museum in Munster, Germany,
with releasable ordnance container in place.
Type Demolition vehicle
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Specifications
Weight 3.45 tonnes (3.40 long tons; 3.80 short tons)
Length 3.35 m (11 ft)
Width 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Height 1.25 m (4 ft 1 in)
Crew 1

Armour up to 20 mm (0.79 in)
Main
armament
450 kg (990 lb) explosive charge
Engine Borgward water-cooled 4-cylinder gasoline engine
49 PS
Power/weight 14.2 PS/tonne
Transmission 1 forward, 1 reverse ratio
Suspension torsion bar
Fuel capacity 108 L (28.5 US gal)
Operational
range
120 km (75 mi)
Speed 40 km/h (25 mph) road

The Borgward IV, officially designated Schwerer Ladungsträger Borgward B IV (heavy explosive carrier Borgward B IV), was a German remote-controlled demolition vehicle used in World War II.

Design[edit]

During World War II, the Wehrmacht used three remotely operated demolition tanks: the light Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b), the medium Springer (Sd.Kfz. 304) and the heavy Borgward IV (Sd.Kfz. 301). The Borgward IV was the largest of the vehicles and the only one capable of releasing its explosives before detonating; the two smaller vehicles were destroyed when their explosive charges detonated.

Borgward originally developed the B IV as an ammunition carrier, but it was found unsuitable. It was also tested as a remote minesweeper, but was too vulnerable to mines and too expensive. During the Battle of France, German engineers from the 1st Panzer Division converted 10 Panzer I Ausf Bs into demolition and mine clearing vehicles, using them to place timed charges on bunkers or minefields without losing the vehicle. The Waffenamt found the idea valuable, and ordered the B IV's development as a remote-controlled demolition vehicle. The first vehicles were delivered in 1942.[1]

The Borgward IV was much heavier than the Goliath, and carried a much larger payload. The Borgward IV was operated by radio and the Goliath was wire guided, due to the Borgward IV's much longer range a driver in the vehicle would bring it independently to its destination before dismounting and conducting it to its target by radio. When it reached the target, the vehicle would drop the charge and leave the danger area. This put Borgward IV operators in great danger. While the Borgward IV was armored, its armor was inadequate by 1942-43, and its larger size than the Goliath made it much easier to spot.

Variants[edit]

Three models of the Borgward were produced, Ausführung (abbreviated to Ausf.) A, Ausf. B and Ausf. C, primarily differing in armor, weight and radio equipment.

The Borgward IV Ausf. A, the first model to enter serial production, was equipped with a 49 horsepower 4-cylinder water-cooled gasoline engine. Ausf. A was the most produced model, with approximately 616 produced between May 1942 and June 1943.[1]

In June 1943, production shifted to the similar Borgward IV Ausf. B. The Ausf. B weighed 400 kg (880 lb) more, the radio antenna was moved and better radio equipment was used. From June to November 1943, 260 of this model were produced.[1]

The final Borgward IV to see production, the Ausf. C, saw greater changes. The chassis was lengthened to 4.1 metres (13 ft 5 in) and the weight further increased. The armor on the Ausf. C was thicker than the previous variants, new tracks were used, the driver's seat was moved to the left of the vehicle and a new 78 horsepower six-cylinder engine was used. The Ausf. C was produced from December 1943 to September 1944 when production ended, with 305 examples built.[1]

Near the end of World War II, approximately 56 Ausf. Bs and Cs were converted to the Panzerjäger Wanze, armed with six RPzB 54/1 anti-tank rockets. In the last days of the war, these vehicles fought some minor skirmishes against Soviet armor and saw some action at the Battle of Berlin.[2]

At least one Ausf. B was rebuilt as an amphibious vehicle, and in 1943 one Borgward IV was equipped with a television camera for observation.[1]

Borgward IV production was relatively small: only 1,181 were produced, as compared to the 7,564 of the much smaller Goliath. Like Germany's other remote-controlled demolition vehicles, the Borgward IV was not considered a success; it was unreliable and expensive, although unlike the Goliath and Springer it could be used multiple times.

Survivors[edit]

Surviving examples of the Borgward IV are displayed in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna,[3] the Kubinka Tank Museum[4] the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation and the German Tank Museum in Munster.

On 31 March 2010, demolition work and excavation at Wien Südbahnhof uncovered a relatively well-preserved Borgward IV along with other relics from the Vienna Offensive. The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum salvaged and restored it for display there.[3] Another unit was excavated near the Eukirchen train station in February 2014.[5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Thorleif Olsson. "Borgward IV - SdKfz. 301". Achtung Panzer. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Thorleif Olsson. "Wanze - Borgward B IV Ausführung mit Raketenpanzerbüchse 54". Achtung Panzer. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Kampfzone Südbahnhof" (in German). Wiener Zeitung. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "WWII German tanks and carriers". Kubinka Tank Museum. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  5. ^ 2014-02-10, Weltkriegs-Panzer bei Bauarbeiten entdeckt, Express.de

References[edit]

  • Thomas Ilming: Die „Wunderwaffe“ unter dem Südbahnhof: Borgward B IV c, in: Viribus Unitis, Jahresbericht 2010 des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums. Wien 2011, S. 150-156, ISBN 978-3-902551-19-1
  • Alexander Lüdeke, Waffentechnik im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Infanteriewaffen, ungepanzerte Fahrzeuge, gepanzerte Fahrzeuge, Artillerie, Spezialwaffen, Flugzeuge, Schiffe. Parragon Books, Bath 2007, ISBN 978-1-4054-8584-5.
  • Markus Jaugitz: Die deutsche Fernlenktruppe 1940–1943. Podzun-Pallas, Wölfersheim-Berstadt 1994, ISBN 3-7909-0502-X, (Waffen-Arsenal Special 10).
  • Markus Jaugitz: Die deutsche Fernlenktruppe 1943–1945. Podzun-Pallas, Wölfersheim-Berstadt 1995, ISBN 3-7909-0529-1, (Waffen-Arsenal Special 12).