During the development of the Tiger, Henschel and Porsche each made a different chassis.3 Porsche had begun production on his chassis but the Henschel version was chosen for the Tiger.3 Porsche had 90 Tiger prototype chassis (Porsche VK4501 (P)) already finished.3,5,6,9,10,11 On September 22, 1942 it was decided to build a StuG with 200 mm armor and an 8.8 cm gun built on the Tiger(P) chassis.
It was originally named after it's designer, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.4,6,8,12
The fighting compartment was accessed by a large circular round hatch in the rear.4
The driver's compartment (with radioman) was cut off from the fighting compartment because the engine room was located between them. Power went to the rear sprocket.
The hull was that of the Tiger(P) with 100 mm plates bolted on the front and an addition to the rear to support the superstructure and vent the air from the engines.
Initially the Elefant had no machine guns, but after experience at the Battle of Kursk a hull machine gun was installed.12
On February 6, 1943, Hitler ordered 90 Ferdinands to be made available as soon as possible to be ready for the summer campaign.3,11 This resulted in the Ferdinand to be completed at Nibelungenwerke. The conversions were done at the Steyr-Daimler factory at Nibelungenwerke and completed by May 8, 1943.
Alkett was to design and produce the Ferdinand with Nibelungenwerke supplying the completed chassis.
Elefant, Ferdinand: 902,10,12
Production: April 1943 - May 19432
Chassis: Porsche KG7
Bergepanzer Tiger (P): 3 converted
Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Ferdinand für 8.8cm Pak 43/2 oder StuK 43/1;
8.8cm Pak 43/2 L/71 auf PzJäg Tiger (P) Elefant früher Ferdinand;
Jagdpanzer Tiger(P) Elefant mit 8.8cm Pak 43/2 L/71; Sturmgeschütz mit 8.8cm PaK43/2; SdKfz 184:
Bergepanzer Tiger (P): In September 1943, 3 chassis were converted by moving the engines to the center of the chassis and the superstructure was added to the rear. A 7.92 MG34 in a ball mount was it's only defense and was mounted in the superstructure. A derrick crane, rams, and timber beams were fitted for vehicle recovery.
"Ram Tigers": Hitler ordered that three vehicles on the Tiger (P) chassis be built for ramming enemy tanks or buildings.9
First saw action at Kursk.4,5,12 They were part of the Jagdpanzer Regiment 656 (Panzerjägerabteilungen 653 and 654)4. It saw service with the XXXXXI Panzer Corps on the north side of the battle. 502 Russian tanks, 20 antitank guns, 100 other guns were destroyed by July 27, 1943. Within the first four days several dozen broke down.3,5 However, a big weakness was the lack of a machine gun which allowed around 20 Elefants to fall victim to Russian anti-tank teams.3,5,11,12
They continued to fight until the end of 1943 at the Nikopol bridgehead and the Dniepr where they destroyed more than 200 Russian tanks.
During the winter of 1943-44 the remaining 50 (48 from another source) were recalled to Nibelungenwerke. At that time a MG34 bow machine gun was installed in the hull as well as a commander's cupola.12 Were issued to the 653rd Panzerjäger and the 614th Panzerjägerkompanie. Used mostly in Italy after the upgrades.3 Suffered from shortage of spare parts and were put out of action more by mechanical failures than battle damage.3,11
Long Range Kill
It is reported that an Elefant was able to destroy a T-34/76 at a range of 3 miles / 4.82 km.12
Ferdinand / Elefant
Commander, driver, radio operator, gunner, loaders(2)