Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Panzerjäger "Elephant" (model)
Damaged "elephant" in Nettuno, Italy 1944
The Panzerjäger Tiger (P) "Elephant" ( Sd.Kfz. 184) was a heavy tank destroyer of the Wehrmacht in the Second World War .


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Development
    • 1.2 Production
    • 1.3 naming
  • 2 use
  • 3 Specifications
  • 4 references
    • 4.1 See also
    • 4.2 Literary
    • 4.3 Weblinks
    • 4.4 References



Based on a design by Ferdinand Porsche , the elephant was an improvisation again, and followed the only provisionally built on different chassis tank destroyer Marder I , II and III .Porsche had 100 chassis for his Tigers can build prototype, but his sample was in favor of Henschel's design ( Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger rejected), so that for the time being, the 90 remaining disks were no use. In February 1943, told Hitler that these chassis as the basis for a tank destroyer should serve.
A special feature of the vehicle petrol-electric drive was: Two driven by gasoline engines generators provided electricity for the two forces acting on the rear driving wheels electric motors, an idea that Porsche had first realized in 1901 as a car designer (patent 1896, more details here ). This complex hybrid drive it emerged as very vulnerable, and the problems caused by the drive system energy losses attracted a particularly high gas mileage by itself. As armament from the experience with the well in the bottom insert successfully employed was 8.8-cm Flak advanced 8.8-cm PaK 43 provided with their 71 caliber lengths achieved an enormous bullet velocity and by their penetrating power of the most powerful anti-tank guns of the World War II was one. As Hitler the new tank destroyer in the Battle of Kursk really wanted to use the hasty development was done without adequate testing by the Army Ordnance Department .


In November 1942, the Nibelungenwerk the order for the production of 90 in running chassis. The Tiger (P) chassis had to be modified extensively, however, to compensate for the overhang of the gun barrel over the long 88-mm cannon. Thus, the structure was placed very far back, which in turn attracted the relocation of the power plant by itself. Then should the further construction of the vehicles from the company Alkett be performed. By shortages delayed but the conversion so that the Reich Minister Albert Speer also awarded the construction contract for the construction of the Nibelungen works. This accounted for the expensive transport of the 90 chassis to Berlin for the company Alkett, which in turn now to the increased production of the assault gun III could not concentrate. On 8 May 1943 was the last justice plan "Ferdinand" in Nibelungenwerk of band and was in the army delivered. On 6 May 1943, the company received Krupp , who also supplied the 88mm L / 71-PaK, an order for the production of 90 additional spherical aperture . for the gun On 13 May 1943 Krupp could pass these additional armor to the troops. A total of 91 Ferdinands were built, of which 90 were issued to the troops. A separate vehicle that was not ordered by the construction contract was awarded, the weapons-testing authorization for testing.


On 6 February 1943 the name "Ferdinand" for the creative power of Ferdinand Porsche was officially confirmed on a conference leader. After the Battle of Kursk 48 of 50 remaining vehicles between October 1943 and early 1944 have been retrofitted and modernized. The retrofit included an MG 34 machine gun as a bug, changes or reinforcements in the armor protection, broader chains to reduce the ground pressure, install a cupola and improvement of the drive. After the conversion, the name was officially changed to "elephant". Thus, the name describes "Ferdinand" and the early version of the name "Elephant" the late version of the tank hunter Tiger (P).


The first came at the Ferdinand Operation Citadel used where the 90 vehicles produced each half of the Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion 653 and Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion 654 were divided. The trains company, to some extent and huge success, with battle tanks and infantry had to take the edge cover. The tank destroyers had because of their penetration power of cannon enormous firepower and could the Soviet battle tank T-34 at a distance of 3500 m destroy frontal, but this first outing came because of an incorrect use strategy to failure, because the vehicles not on the defensive, but used the offensive were:
  • Already after the first four days of the attack, about half of the used tank destroyer was canceled due to mechanical problems, since the new drive concept, the steering and the gearbox proved unreliable.
  • In addition, the mobility of the vehicle due to the very high ground by the weight and pressure of the high consumption of up to 1000 liters of fuel per 100 km at a maximum speed of only 10 to 15 km / h off was severely restricted.
  • The strong with 200 millimeters at the front and 80 millimeters at the side armored vehicles could indeed break through the enemy front and were hardly destroyed by artillery, under the barrage of enemy artillery them did not follow other units, and the isolated and alone in the enemy terrain wandering slow vehicles could then be specifically switched off.
Did you have melee, which Ferdinand had no chance because he did not have machine gun for close defense and his barely swivel guns for defense of individual infantrymen were totally inappropriate:
  • Pak could now take on sensitive areas such as the cradle, the fuel tank or the crawlers under fire
  • Anti-Armor crews worked to zoom in the blind spot of the gun to the tank and mounted on adhesive explosives or waited until the charging gunner to eject cartridges, the ejection hatch at the rear opened up to then a fire bottle to throw into the battle space.
In the wake of Soviet counter-attacks also had more than 20 of its own vehicles to be abandoned due to technical failures or any other reason, and blown up.
Used on the defensive was the fighting value of the Ferdinand, however very high, so could a single gun at Kursk destroyed 22 enemy tanks in one morning who mentioned due to the distance actually safe. Despite the high technical failure rate, for example, the severity Tank Destroyer Battalion 653 of the offensive was to 27 July achieve a total of 320 kills in 13 own losses.
Overall, the two departments destroyed more than 500 enemy tanks, 20 anti-tank gun and 100 guns.
The remaining tank destroyers were to fall 1943 on the Dnieper used front, but then deported to technical obsolescence. Despite upgrading and overhaul the technical problems could not be completely eliminated.
From February 1944, the tank destroyer came under the name of "Elephant" to Italy , where she, among other things against the Allied landing operation at Anzio / Nettuno were used. They proved to be true as more sophisticated, but had due to their size and weight 70 tons problems with roads and bridges, the large and slow vehicles were the target of enemy bombers , dedication suffered permanent lack of spare parts. Due to the constantly recurring disturbances in the power sector as well as for spare parts and fuel shortages, many vehicles were abandoned by their crews and blown up. Direct firings were due to heavy armor rare, frequent failures were due to mines or chain damage and air strikes.
In October 1944, the Heavy Tank Infantry Company 614 was formed, equipped with fourteen tanks elephant hunting the 2 / Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion 653 and transferred to the Eastern Front. The unit fought in April 1945 with four tanks elephant hunting near Zossen , south of Berlin and then went to the 9th Army under.
A "Ferdinand", the archetype of the "elephant" in Kubinka Tank Museum


German infantrymen pass a broken-down "elephant"

Technical data of the elephant hunting Panzers
0 Main Features
65 t
8,14 m
3,38 m
2,97 m
0 armament
Main armament
8.8-cm StuK 43/1 L/71
Secondary armament
1 × MG 34 (upgrade 1943)
Stuk: 55
mg: 600
100+100 mm
80 mm
80 mm
Front driver
200 mm
Two water-cooled twelve-cylinder - V-engines
type Maybach HL 120 TRM (each 265 hp at 2600 -1 )
Total output
530 hp (continuous)
zwei SSW AGV does mit 500 Volt
Electric motors (drive)
zwei SSW D1495a mit is 230 kW
Maximum road
30 km / h
Maximum terrain
15 km / h
Fuel storage
1020 l
Fuel consumption
700 l/100 km road
Driving range
150 km (road)
(off-road) 90
Ground clearance
48 cm
100 cm
max. Grave width
264 cm
Climbing ability
78 cm
up to 22 °