Sd.Kfz 184 Elephant
Elephant – From failed tank prototype to heavy tank hunter.
During World War II, the Nazi war machine developed a wide variety of armored vehicles. It is said that this great variety brought a logistical problem of such magnitude that it ended up making them lose the war.
On this occasion, David Felipe Silva brings us the Sd.Kfz 184 Elephant. Originally named Ferdinand in honor of its designer, Ferdinand Porsche, it would later be renamed Elephant due to how slowly it moved across the battlefield. It is a heavy tank hunter, with the engine located in the middle of the hull, equipped with a Krupp PaK 43/2 cannon, housed in a fixed casemate and with a crew of six.
The Sd.Kfz 184 Elephant was developed from the unsuccessful Tiger I heavy tank prototypes designed by Porsche. Its thick armor and massive barrel made this tank destroyer a true monster weighing up to 70 tons, the same as a modern day main battle tank. The Ferdinands made their debut in the failed Battle of Kursk, where tank destroyers destroyed more than 300 Soviet tanks. During this battle, the Ferdinands showed their grave weaknesses.
This experience resulted in a series of corrections that would be implemented in the 48 surviving units, renamed Elefant (as we said before). Among them the incorporation of machine guns for defense against infantry, better optics for the commander and a new periscope for the gunner.
The operational history of the Sd.Kfz 184 Elephant and Ferdinand, shows their participation on the Eastern front, on the Italian front and even in the last days of Germany, fighting in the streets of Berlin. Currently of the 90 units originally built, only two survived, placing a Ferdinand in Moscow and an Elephant in the US.
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David Felipe Silva