The Elefant (German for "elephant") was a so called "schwerer Panzerjäger" or heavy tank destroyer of the German Wehrmacht used in small numbers in World War II. It was built in 1943 under the name Ferdinand, after its designer Ferdinand Porsche. In 1944, after modification of the existing vehicles, they were renamed Elefant. The official German designation was Panzerjäger Tiger (P) and the ordnance inventory designation was Sd. Kfz. 184.
| VK4501(P) (Early Model).jpg|
Porsche Typ 101
|General Historical Information|
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Debut in FHSW|| v0.42 (Can only be found in the FHSW0.42 CustomMapPack 07).
Beginning of the end (Custom Map)
|Main armament||1 x 88 mm KwK 36 L/56|
|Coaxial weapon||7.92mm MG34|
|General Ingame Information|
|Seat 2||7.92mm MG34|
In May 1941, Hitler ordered a new heavy tank design. The request went to Henschel and Porsche. The Porsche design, the VK4501(P), was based on his earlier VK3001(P). It had the same hull but heavier armoured and some other details were removed or replaced. The chassis was a new designed chassis. It have six roadwheels but no return wheels. The engine are two 320 HP heavy Porsche Typ 101/1 10-cylinder engines, like those from the VK3001(P). There were two designs. The early design was presented in April 1942. It have the Turm Nr.1, 500 mm wide tracks and 600 mm wide track guards. After some modifications the Late model was presented in July 1942. It have a new turret, the Neuer Turm mit hoeher Decke Nr.11 or Nr.12, 600 mm wide tracks with 700 mm wide track guards. The planned gun was a 88mm KwK 36 L/56. But after trials, mechanical problems canceled the development. However, one tank saw service during the war. Tiger(P) No.003 was modified with armor plates which had been bolted on the front of the tank, had a zimmerit coat and it was used as Panzerbefehlswagen VI(P) under the turret number 003 by Hauptmann Grillenberg, commander of the schwere Heeres Panzerjager Abteilung 653, on the Eastern Front in the summer of 1944.
The tank has never been adopted in FHSW. However, via a FHSW0.42 Map Pack you can find this tank with bad texture on the map "The Beginning of the END". The tank is an early production model. It was built for version 0.42 but after test you can still use it. We hope in the future the predecessor of the VK4502(P) will been adopted in FHSW.
From VK4501(P) to Panzerjäger(P) FerdinandEdit
The engines had already been placed in the middle of the hull to accommodate the Krupp-designed turret that both the Porsche and Henschel contenders used for the initial Tiger tank contract, and that placement for the Porsche-designed contender gave room on the Ferdinand for the anti-tank main gun armament at the rear. The gun was mounted in a simple, casemate-style box structure, with slightly sloped sides, on top of this chassis. The driver and radio operator were in a separate compartment at the front. As the engines were placed in the middle, the radio operator and the driver were separated from the rest of the crew and could be addressed only through radio.
Add-on armor of 100 mm was bolted to the front plates, increasing the plate's thickness to 200 mm and adding another 5 tons of weight.
The two Porsche air cooled engines in each vehicle were replaced by two 300 PS (296 hp, 221 kW) Maybach HL 120 TRM engines. The engines drove electric generators, which in turn powered electric motors connected to the rear sprockets. The electric motors also acted as the vehicle's steering unit. This so called "petro-electrical" drive delivered 0.11 km/l off road and 0.15 km/l on road at a maximum speed of 10 km/h off road and 30 km/h on road. Besides the high fuel consumption and the poor performance the drive system was also maintenance-intensive; the sprockets needed to be changed every 500 km. Porsche had experience of this form of petrol-electric transmission extending back to 1901, when he designed a car that used it. Suspension consisted of six twin bogies (three per side) with longitudinal torsion bars. What appears to be two sets of drive sprockets, at either end of the vehicle per side, actually comprises a front sprocket that engaged the track with a drum brake unit built into its hub to act as the track brake, with the electric drive motor at the rear on each side, powering the track's rear drive sprocket.
The vehicle was fitted with an 88 mm Panzerabwehrkanone (Pak) 43/2 L/71 gun. The L/71 had originally been developed as a replacement for the famous 88 mm anti-aircraft gun that had been used against Allied tanks in the Western Desert Campaign. The L/71 had a much longer barrel than the L/56 guns, which gave it a higher muzzle velocity. It also fired a different, longer cartridge. These improvements gave the 88 mm L/71 significantly improved armor penetration ability over the earlier 88 mm. Although it lost the competition to 8.8 cm Flak 41 and it never became an anti-aircraft weapon, it was turned into a very successful Pak 43 anti-tank gun. As fitted, the gun was capable of 25° traverse and a similarly limited elevation. Ninety-one existing "Porsche Tiger" chassis were converted (chassis number 150010 to 150100). The work was completed in just a few months from March to May 1943.
From Ferdinand to ElefantEdit
| Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Elefant|
|General Historical Information|
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Debut in FHSW||Debut in FH Mod|
|Main armament||1 x 88 mm Pak 43/2 L/71|
|General Ingame Information|
|Ammunition|| ↑ AP|
|Seat 2||1x MG 34|
|Seat 4||Pistol ports back|
|Seat 5||Passenger Seat|
|Seat 6||Passenger Seat|
In September 1943 all surviving Ferdinands were recalled to be modified based on battle experience gained in the Battle of Kursk. During October and November 1943, 48 of the 50 surviving vehicles were modified by:
- addition of a ball-mounted MG 34 in the hull front (to improve anti-infantry ability). Not ingame!
- a commander's cupola (modified from the standard StuG III cupola) for improved vision
- and the application of Zimmerit paste.
This and other minor armor changes increased the weight from 65 to 70 t. These improved vehicles were then unofficially called Elefant, and this became the official name by Hitler's orders of May 1, 1944.
Five Bergepanzer Tiger (P) armoured recovery vehicles were converted in Autumn 1943, using three from Tiger (P) prototypes and two more from battle-damaged Ferdinands not suitable for the Elefant modification.
Ferdinands first saw combat in the Battle of Kursk, where eighty-nine were committed. Reputed to be able to knock out a T-34 at a range of over 3 miles with its 88mm Pak43/2 L/71, it was a strong opponent for the Allies. Although effective at destroying Soviet tanks, they performed quite poorly in other respects. In its original configuration, the Ferdinand lacked a machine gun as secondary armament, making it vulnerable to attack by infantry. While this was a disadvantage, most combat losses were from mine damage and mechanical failure. Within four days nearly half of the vehicles were out of service, mostly due to technical problems and mine damage to tracks and suspension. Combat losses to enemy action were very low as the very thick armor protected the Ferdinand from almost all Soviet antitank weaponry; in fact, most of the vehicles destroyed or captured had been abandoned by their crews after mechanical failure.
Many of these immobilized Ferdinands had to be permanently abandoned, as they proved too heavy to tow for most German recovery vehicles. Others were lost to mechanical breakdown during the retreat following the Soviet counter-offensive in the latter stages of the battle. The surviving vehicles saw further limited action on the Dniepr front during late 1943. The units were deployed at a company level, sometimes sub-divided into platoons, with infantry or tanks to protect the vulnerable flanks 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.
Although the Elefant modifications improved the vehicles, some problems could never be fully fixed. In 1944 the Elefants served on the Italian front but were rendered rather ineffective, as their weight of nearly 70 tonnes did not allow them to use most Italian roads and bridges. Due to a permanent lack of spare parts most of the units were not destroyed in battle, but abandoned and blown up by their own crews. One company of Elefants saw action during the Soviets' January 1945 Vistula-Oder offensive in Poland, and the very last surviving vehicles were in combat at Zossen during the Battle of Berlin.
The Ferdinand/Elefant may have been the most successful tank destroyer employed during the war in kills per loss, reaching an average ratio of approximately 10:1. During the Battle of Kursk, the 653rd Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion (German: schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung, sPzJägAbt) claimed to have knocked out 320 enemy tanks, for the loss of 13 Ferdinands. This impressive average ratio was due to its extreme firepower and protection, which gave it an enormous advantage when used in head-on combat or a static defensive role. However, poor mobility and mechanical unreliability greatly diminished its operational capability.