History: During the development of the Tiger(P) and Tiger(H), Hitler had agitated for a turret design which would be large enough to mount the 8.8cm KwK L/71. This had not materialized and on 22 September 1942 it was decided that a StuG with 200mm frontal armour and the long 8.8cm gun should be immediately designed, with the Tiger( P) as the basis, and part of the Tiger( P) production diverted for the vehicle. Alkett was to design and produce the Ferdinand, with Nibelungenwerke supplying the completed chassis. Despite the shortage of suspension parts and lack of test runs, on 6 February 1943 Hitler ordered that 90 Ferdinands were to be supplied for the front as quickly as possible by all available means. This resulted in the order for Nibelungenwerke to complete the Sturmgeschutz Ferdinand instead of Alkett. All 90 were completed by the end of May 1943, in time for use in the summer offensive at Kursk.
Specific features: The hull of the Ferdinand was that of the Tiger(P), but with 100mm plates bolted to the front, and an addition to the rear to support the superstructure and vent cooling air for the electric motors. The superstructure housed the long 8.8cm gun in a limited traverse mount. No secondary armament was mounted until late 1943, when those returned from the front were modified to carry a hull machine-gun. The superstructure was also changed at this time to provide the commander with a cupola. Forty-eight Ferdinands were so modified.
Combat service: Ferdinands were issued to Panzerjagerabteilungen 653 and 654 in April and May 1943. These units fought at Kursk during the limited offensive and helped plug holes in the line for the rest of the summer and autumn. The units were pulled out late in 1943 to overhaul the vehicles, after which, the 653rd Panzerjagerabteilung was re-equipped and a separate company was attached to the 614th Panzerjagerabteilung.
|Type||Heavy tank destroyer|
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
(modification into Elefant October–November 1943)
|Weight||65 tonnes (143,000 lb)|
|Length||8.14 m (26 ft 8 in) with gun|
|Width||3.38 m (11 ft 1 in)|
|Height||2.97 m (9 ft 9 in)|
|Crew||6 (driver, radio-operator, commander, gunner, two loaders)|
|Armor||200 mm (7.87 in) maximum|
|8.8 cm Pak 43/2 L/71, also known as StuK 43/1|
|7.92 mm MG 34 machine gun (Elefant only)|
|Engine||2 × Maybach HL 120 petrol
600 PS (592 hp, 442 kW)
|150 km (93 mi) road
90 km (56 mi) cross-country
|Speed||30 kilometres per hour (19 mph)|