Published on: July 1, 2019
The Elefant was a heavy Jagdpanzer (tank destroyer) used by German Wehrmacht Panzerjäger during World War II. Ninety-one units were built in 1943 under the name Ferdinand, after its designer Ferdinand Porsche, using tank hulls produced for the Tiger I tank design abandoned in favour of a Henschel design.
In January to April 1944, Ferdinands received modifications and upgrades. They were renamed Elefant in May 1944. The official German designation was Panzerjäger Tiger (P)[Note 1] and the ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 184.
Porsche GmbH had manufactured about 100 chassis for their unsuccessful proposal for the Tiger tank, the "Porsche Tiger", in the Nibelungenwerk factory in Sankt Valentin, Austria. Both the successful Henschel proposal and the Porsche design used the same Krupp-designed turret—the Henschel design had its turret more-or-less centrally located on its hull, while the Porsche design placed the turret much closer to the front of the superstructure. Since the competing Henschel Tiger design was chosen for production, the Porsche chassis were no longer required for the Tiger tank project. It was therefore decided that the Porsche chassis were to be used as the basis of a new heavy panzerjäger, Ferdinand, mounting Krupp's newly developed 88 mm (3.5 in) Panzerjägerkanone 43/2 (PaK 43) anti-tank gun. This precise long-range weapon was intended to destroy enemy tanks before they came within their own range of effective fire.
The Ferdinand was intended to supplant previous light panzerjägers, such as the Marder II and Marder III, in the offensive role. A similar gun was used in the lightly armored Hornisse (later known as Nashorn) tank destroyer, built at the same time.
Last Updated on: July 1, 2019