Wednesday, January 26, 2005

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Panzer - The "Elephant" was yet another way for the Panzerwaffe to put the hard hitting power of the "88" on the battlefield, but unlike the "Nashorn" it came with a fully armoured fighting compartment, classifying it as a "tank hunter" or Panzerjäger.

Designed by the Porsche factories (led by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche who also designed the famous VW beetle) the tank was originally entered in the competition for a new heavy tank. The competition ended with the introduction of the Tiger designed by the rivaling Henschel factories, but Porsche had felt certain to win the contract and had already finished 90 chassis for the new heavy tank.

Instead of cutting them up for scrap the industrious Porsche persuaded the German Army to have them converted into heavy tank destroyers for the upcoming Kursk offensive in Russia.

During the battle many of the Elephants were disabled by mines and either captured (like the one in the photo) or set on fire by Russian infantry since it lacked weapons for close-in defence.
The survivors were retro-fitted with machine guns in the front armour plate and sent to fight on the Italian front with the new name of "Ferdinand".
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