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The SdKfz 184 Ferdinand, also known as the Elefant, was a tank destroyer that was used by Germany during World War II.

Description

The chassis itself was based on the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) prototype. It had two Maybach HL 120TRM engines that were capable of propelling it at speeds of up to twenty kilometers per hour. In order to operate, the vehicle required a crew of six men and it was armed with a single PaK 43 and a single MG 34.[1]

The total weight of the Ferdinand was around 65,000 kilograms while its total length was 8.1 meters. Armor protection on the Ferdinand was nearly 200 mm thick in some areas. This protection made the Ferdinand feared in the battlefield and gave it a very big advantage coupled with its heavy armament. Though, whatever advantages given by this protection and offensive armament were diminished by the fact that the platform was highly unreliable mechanically and often lead to its abandonment.

Used in the vehicle was a 3 speed forward, 3 speed reverse transmission system and a Torsion bar suspension. Operational range was 150 kilometers and up to fifty rounds of ammunition for the main gun could be carried on board at any time. 600 rounds meanwhile could be carried for the MG 34.[2]

Variants

The SdKfz 184 had several variants created of it during the war. However, the only variant that was made to improve the original model was known as the Elefant. This model, developed immediately after the Battle of Kursk was dedicated to improving the various faults discovered during combat. These included the addition of another MG 34, the addition of the same commander's cupola as the StuG III, wider tracks to deal with the Russian mud, and improved armor.

Technically, the Elefant also had the ability to use the Krummlauf attachment for the StG 44; though it is unknown if this feature was actually used.Also produced was the Bergetiger (P) armored recovery vehicle and the Rammtiger, an attempt to make a vehicle that could ram through obstacles and buildings. This model, though only having one prototype, was developed after the Battle of Stalingrad based on experiences of rubble and debris blocking up tank movements.

History

The SdKfz 184 was first developed in 1942 with the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) project being ordered to be converted into heavy tanks and self-propelled guns.[3] Most of these finished Ferdinands were shipped off to elite units in preparation for the Battle of Kursk. Early experiences thus showed most of the obvious problems existing in the Ferdinand program such as mechanical unreliability. Surviving models were then redirected to other units serving in other theaters, most notably in Italy countering Allied troops advancing through Anzio and Salerno. In total, 91 examples were produced during the war with several surviving to be displayed in museums today.

References

  1. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=635
  2. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/tank-hunters/elefant.asp
  3. http://www.achtungpanzer.com/panzerjager-tiger-ferdinand-elephant.htm


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