Restoring a Ferdinand/Elephant German Heavy Tank Destroyer from WW2

Elefant/Ferdinand Restoration

The Elefant (German for “elephant”) was a heavy tank destroyer used by German Wehrmacht Panzerjäger during World War II. It was built in small numbers in 1943 under the name Ferdinand, after its designer Ferdinand Porsche, using tank hulls that had been produced for the Tiger I tank requirement, which was rejected in favour of a Henschel design.

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.
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 counter infantry anti-tank threats, a commander’s cupola (modified from the standard StuG III cupola) for improved vision, and the application of Zimmerit paste. The frontal armor was thickened and the tracks widened, increasing the weight from 65 to 70 t. The improved vehicles were called Elefant; this became the official name by Hitler’s orders of May 1, 1944.[citation needed] Possibly as a stopgap before the Elefant modifications were available for the original Ferdinand vehicles, the rarely seen Krummlauf curved barrel upgrade for the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle was allegedly meant to allow crews of Ferdinands to defend their vehicle without exposing themselves.[citation needed] Three Bergepanzer Tiger or Bergetiger armoured recovery vehicles were built in Autumn 1943 from Tiger prototypes, and one battle-damaged Ferdinand not suitable for the Elefant modification was converted into a Rammpanzer Tiger or Rammtiger, an experimental breakthrough vehicle.