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Home > Vehicles> Tanks
This model depicts a fully poseable SDKFZ 184 Elefant WWII German Self-propelled Gun.
The Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Elefant (Sd.Kfz. 184) was a Panzerjäger (tank hunter) of the German Wehrmacht in World War II. They were originally built under the name Ferdinand, after their designer, Ferdinand Porsche.
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 defense, they often comprised a mobile reserve used to blunt enemy tank assaults.
All but two of the 91 available Ferdinands were put to use in the Battle of Kursk, the first combat the Ferdinand saw. Although they destroyed many Russian tanks, they performed quite poorly in other respects. Within the first 4 days nearly half of the vehicles were out of service, mostly due to technical problems and mine damage to tracks and suspensions. Actual combat losses to direct Soviet action were very low as the Ferdinand`s very thick armor protected it from almost all Soviet anti tank weaponry. However, at this point in its development the Ferdinand lacked a machine gun or any secondary armament, making it vulnerable to attack by infantry. Most total losses of the Ferdinand occurred during the Soviet counter-offensive after the Kursk offensive, many damaged Ferdinands had to be abandoned as they were too heavy to tow and others were lost to mechanical breakdown during the retreat. The surviving vehicles saw further limited action on the Dniepr front during late 1943.
At this point they were recalled and modified at the works in Austria and received the name Elefant. While the 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 tons didn`t 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 Ferdinands 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.
In terms of kills per loss, the Ferdinand/Elefant might well have been the most successful tank-destroyer employed during the war, reaching an average ratio of approximately 10:1. However, this impressive ratio is primarily due to its extreme relationship between firepower and protection which gave it an enormous advantage when used in a defensive role. Its mobility and mechanical reliability, left, as described, a lot to be asked for, giving its crew only limited possibilities to move across the battlefield, outmaneuver its enemies and fire from excellent positions.
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