SdKfz 184 Panzerjager Tiger (P) (Ferdinand / Elephant) Heavy Tank Destroyer (HTD)
The limited production SdKfz 184 appeared under the name of Ferdinand in 1943 before Hitler himself had the name changed to Elephant in 1944.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
While the Panzer I and Panzer II light tanks were already in circulation within the German Army in the mid-1930s, it became clear that the future of warfare would involved better armored and armed vehicles. The Panzer I fielded a machine gun armament in a traversing turret while the Panzer II improved to a 20mm turreted cannon. However, both were ill-equipped to counter the threat posed by British and French systems most likely to be encountered in a war in Europe. This prompted development of the Panzer III and Panzer IV medium-class tanks, the former intended to combat enemy armor directly and the latter designed as an infantry support vehicle. Both went on to see widespread service in the years after 1939, 5,774 and as many as 9,000 of both produced respectively.
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941, and the introduction of the T-34 Medium and IS-2 Heavy tanks, it became painfully clear that the Germans required more formidable solutions and this, in turn, spurred development of the Panzer V "Panther" Medium
and Tiger Heavy
tanks. The Panther entered service in 1943 and saw service in the post-war years across foreign hands.
it was the development of the Tiger that proved interesting to the origins of the Ferdinand/Elephant tank killing vehicle. Henschel and Porsche were both charged with design of a new class of heavy tank with impressive armor protection and fielding the fabled 88mm field gun. For a period, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche and his "Porsche Tiger" were thought in the lead due to the doctor's close relationship with German leader Adolf Hitler. Porsche designed a new drivetrain for its heavy tank submission, one that coupled two conventional engines driving a pair of generators which, in turn, powered electric motors which drove frontal drive sprockets of the track gear. While innovative as a gas-electric drive, the technology in a tank was unrefined and posed technological challenges.