The Elefant (German for "elephant") was a heavy tank destroyer used by German Wehrmacht Panzerjägers 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.
The Ferdinand was optimized for destroying Soviet T-34 tanks and 76.2 mm anti-tank guns from behind the front lines with its 88mm Pak43/2 L/71 at a range of over 3 kilometres, a role which it performed well. However, after advancing through the initial line of Soviet resistance, it was hampered by a variety of flaws, such as the lack of peripheral vision blocks, a rotating turret or even a single machine gun as secondary armament; Soviet infantry, quickly recognizing this flaw, could easily hide in their trenches until the Ferdinand advanced through their lines, then swarm the vehicle with grenades and Molotov cocktails from the sides.
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 rather ineffective as their weight of nearly 70 tonnes did not allow them to use most Italian roads and bridges. As at Kursk, most Elefant losses were not as a direct result from combat, but resulted when mechanical breakdowns and lack of spare parts compelled their crews to destroy and abandon them. 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.
Lets pop this mini beast open and take a look!!
If you want to pick one up you can head into your local model shop, or browse on over to my favourite online model store Arcane Scenery and models