The Elefant (German for "elephant") 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) and the ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 184.
Ferdinands first saw combat in the Battle of Kursk, where eighty-nine were committed, the largest deployment of the vehicle during its service.
The Ferdinand was optimized for destroying Soviet T-34 tanks and 76.2 mm anti-tank guns from behind the front lines with its 88 mm Pak 43/2 L/71 at a range of over 3 kilometres, a role which it performed well. Its most significant problem at Kursk was mine damage and mechanical failure. Any damage to the tracks or suspension negated the protection of the armor, as crews were forced to dismount and attempt repairs. The extreme weight of the Ferdinand made towing difficult: the standard armored recovery vehicle in German service at the time was the Bergepanzer IV, a variant of the Panzer IV that could tow a single Panzer IV without assistance. It was insufficient for larger vehicles, with a Tiger I heavy tank requiring three Bergepanzer IVs to be towed, and the Ferdinand requiring five linked in tandem to pull the vehicle off the field.
In addition, the Ferdinand was hampered by flaws such as the lack of peripheral vision blocks, or a machine gun as secondary defensive armament. Apocryphal reports say that Soviet infantry, quickly recognizing this flaw, could easily hide in their trenches until the Ferdinand advanced through their lines, then swarm the vehicle with grenades and Molotov cocktails from the sides. However, losses to Soviet infantry are disputed in after-action reports. On the other hand, Heinz Guderian himself complained that the Elefant, much as other failed designs, suffered from lack of close-range protection against infantry assaults.
In the initial stages of the Kursk battle, when the Germans were on the offensive, heavy vehicles could be recovered and repaired with relative peace at night; this at first allowed the majority of knocked-out Ferdinands to be rescued, repaired and returned to duty. However, once the tides had turned against the Germans and they fell back on the defensive, with fewer vehicles to spare, functional Ferdinands with minor damage to their tracks or suspensions had little hope of recovery, and crews were usually forced to destroy the vehicle to prevent a mostly intact Jagdpanzer from falling into the hands of the Soviets.
The units were deployed at a company level, sometimes sub-divided into platoons, with infantry or tanks in accompaniment to protect the flanks and rear of the vehicles. On the attack, this Jagdpanzer was a first-strike vehicle; while in defence, they often comprised a mobile reserve used to blunt enemy tank assaults.
A 3D Printed Board Game Miniature Piece for a variety of board games, such as;
- Battle of France 1940
- Axis and Allies
Approximate Weight: 1 gram
Color: Dark Gray
3D Printed German Elefant Heavy Tank
- Brand: I Will Never Grow Up Games
- Product Code: 3DPrint_GerElefant
- Availability: 25