Panzerjäger Tiger (P) "Ferdinand"/"Elefant"(SdKfz.184)
|The Jagdpanzer Ferdinand - Massive front armor of up to 200 mm and the powerful 8.8 cm PaK 43/2 L71 as main gun. Kursk, 1943.
Although the Porsche prototype
had lost the Tiger production competition to the Henschel
VK 4501(H) prototype, ninety Porsche vehicles were ordered
from Nibelungenwerke, a Steyr-Daimler extension factory in Austria, as a hedge against
possible delays in production of the Henschel-built Tiger.
The VK 4501(P) prototype had been developed from Porsche's
earlier VK3001(P) project and used the same basic powertrain
which consisted of two air-cooled gasoline engines driving
electrical generators. These generators drove two electric
motors which provided power to the tracks. In the event,
the air-cooled engines proved to be a source of continual
problems, while the electric motor drive system used an enormous
amount of copper (which was a critical war material). These
factors, as well as the superior handling and more familiar
mechanical layout of the Henschel prototype, had resulted
in Henschel receiving the Tiger production contract. Because
of the problems in the Porsche powertrain design, the German
Army did not want to put the vehicle into service. The prototypes
were relegated to the training role; however, some use had
to be found for the ninety chassis in storage in Nibelungen.
It was determined that these chassis were suitable for conversion
into the tank destroyers; mounting a long-range, high powered
During 1942, eighty-five of
the Porsche chassis were scheduled to be moved from Nibelungen
to Alkett for conversion to the tank destroyer role. Dr.
Porsche personally supervised the design work and the resulting
vehicle was nicknamed Ferdinand (Porsche's
first name) in his honor. The vehicle's official designation
was Panzerjäger Tiger (P) "Ferdinand" (SdKfz.184) ,
although it was better known as the Jagdpanzer Ferdinand .
The troublesome air-cooled
engines of the VK 4501(P) were discarded and replaced with
300 hp Maybach HL120 water-cooled engines, while the electric
drive system was retained. The engines were moved from the
rear of the hull to the hull center so that the superstructure
for the anti-tank gun could be set at the rear of the vehicle
along with the track drive sprockets. The frontal armor on
the hull was increased to 200 mm with the addition of bolted-on
armor plates, and the new superstructure had 200 mm of frontal
armor. Side armor was 80 mm except for the lower hull which
had 60 mm armor. The rear armor was 80 mm thick. The main
armament consisted of an 88 mm PaK 43/2 L/71 cannon,
which was a longer and more powerful version of the main
gun used on the Tiger I Ausf E.
| 88 mm PaK 43 L/71
|| PzGr. 39/43
| PzGr. 40/43
| Gr. 39/3 HL
| Shell Weight:
|| 10.2 Kgs
|| 7.3 Kgs
|| 7.65 Kgs
| Initial velocity:
|| 1000 m/sec.
|| 1030 m/sec.
|| 600 m/sec.
| 100 m
|| 202 mm
|| 238 mm
|| 90 mm
| 500 m
|| 185 mm
|| 217 mm
|| 90 mm
| 1000 m
|| 165 mm
|| 193 mm
|| 90 mm
| 1500 m
|| 148 mm
|| 171 mm
|| 90 mm
| 2000 m
|| 132 mm
|| 153 mm
|| 90 mm
| Source: JENTZ, Thomas
L.; Kingtiger Heavy Tank: 1942 - 1945; ISBN 185532 282 X
|The 88 mm PaK ( Panzerabwehrkanone, or anti-tank gun) 43 L/71.
Originally there was no secondary
machine gun armament installed for protection from enemy
infantry. The driver and radio operator sat at the front
of the hull and the commander, gunner, and two loaders were
located in the new superstructure. A large round escape hatch
was fitted in the rear plate, with a small shell disposal
hatch mounted inside the large hatch. Several vision slits
and pistol ports were provided, but vision from inside the
vehicle remained very poor. Additional hatches were installed
in the roof, along with a ventilator and fan.
| Armor Data for the Panzerjäger Tiger (P) "Ferdinand"(SdKfz.184).
| Gun Mantlet
|| 25 mm @ 0°
|| 80 mm @28-30°
|| 80 mm @20°
|| 200 mm @ 20-25°
|| Upper Hull
|| 80 mm @ 0°
|| Upper Hull
|| 80 mm @40°
|Front Upper Hull
|| 100 + 100mm @ 9-12°
|| Lower Hull
|| 60 mm @ 0°
||80mm @ 0°
| Front Lower Hull
|| 100 + 100mm @ 30-35°
|Source: Achtung Panzer! web site: www.achtungpanzer.com
The Ferdinands were issued
to s.Pz.Jäg.Abt.653 and s.Pz.Jäg.654 in
the spring of 1943. They were committed to action during
the great Kursk offensive near Orel in Russia. In combat
they proved to be effective tank destroyers when engaging
targets at long distances; however, their lack of secondary
armament quickly became an urgent problem. Russian infantrymen
were able to put several of the vehicles out of action by
close-in infantry attacks and, at one point, Ferdinand crews
were firing MG 42 machine guns down the barrels of the main
gun while the gunners searched out groups of Russian infantry
with the main gun sights. The surviving vehicles were sent
back to Germany for repair and modifications. Several modifications
were made: a cupola derived from the StuG III Ausf G self-propelled
gun was installed on the superstructure roof, the tool storage
was revised, and a bow mounted MG 34 machine gun was added
to provide the vehicle with a degree of self-defense against
infantry attack. A total of forty-eight Ferdinands underwent
the modification programed, and were re-designated
as Panzerjäger Tiger (P) "Elefant" - the change of the name was Hitler's suggestion, implemented by an order, on February, 1944.
These vehicles were re-issued
to s.Pz.Jäg,Abt.653 , for use in Italy during
early 1944. Once again they proved to be successful as long
range anti-tank guns; however, in the hilly terrain of Italy
they were even more ungainly than they had been in Russia.
The suspension proved to be highly vulnerable to mines, and
a number of vehicles were lost due to mechanical breakdowns.
A number of these broken down vehicles were towed to critical
strong points and dug in for use as static defense positions.
As such, they proved to be very effective in stalling Allied
armor and infantry advances. In the event, the lack of reliability
and good maneuverability hampered the Germans in making the
best of the excellent armament of the Ferdinand/Elefant.
38 cm RW61 auf Sturmmörser Tiger.
|The 38 cm RW61 auf Sturmmörser Tiger being examined by US troops.
The only major variant of
the Tiger I Ausf E to reach production was the Sturmtiger,
built on a late Tiger I chassis with steel-rimmed roadweels.
With 150mm of front armor, the Sturmtiger was virtually impossible
to penetrate with any Allied tank ammunition. The vehicle
was intended to destroy fortified positions and buildings
with its huge weapon. From late 1943, a total of 18 Tigers
were converted to carriers for 38cm assault mortars, and
designated 38 cm RW61 auf Sturmmörser Tiger ,
though more usually known as the Sturmtiger (assault
These vehicles had their turrets
removed and a built-up fixed superstructure substituted.
Derived from the barbettes fitted to self-propelled anti-tank
guns, the structure had front and side walls angled at 30
degrees to the vertical. Their main armament was adjustable
in elevation through an 85 degrees range, from horizontal
to almost vertical, and through 20 degrees in traverse, both
adjustments being made manually, via a worm-and-wheel /rack
and pinion drive, and was a radically different design from
that of any similar projector seen before. It used a cunningly
conceived obturator to deflect the propellant gases through
the space left between gun tube and liner, expelling them
through a perforated ring at the muzzle and thus eliminating
much of the recoil. The 38cm assault mortar fired 330kg (725lb)
HE projectiles, fitted with stabilizing splines, out to a
range of 6000m. The projectiles were too heavy for the crew
to lift, and a small crane was used instead. Fully loaded,
the Sturmtiger carried 13 rounds, one in the gun tube and
12 more in the side panniers. The mortar tube could only
be loaded at zero elevation and zero azimuth, so the rate
of fire was rather slow. The whole operation required four
men, including the gunner, while the entire crew consisted
of seven. A single 7.92mm MG34 machine gun was fitted in
a ball mount in the front plate.
Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf.B "Jagdtiger"
| Jagdtiger, of schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung 512.
German Army policy during
mid-1943 was to develop a self-propelled gun mount based
on each new tank chassis design. This allowed the Germans
the capability of mounting a much larger weapon on the chassis
than could be fitted into a fully rotating turret. When Henschel
designed the Tiger II, the firm also cooperated with Krupp
in designing the self-propelled gun version of the Tiger
II. A wooden full size model was displayed in October of
1943, and the first prototype appeared in April of 1944.
Eleven examples were constructed
with a Porsche suspension similar to that used on the Ferdinand/Elefant
tank destroyers, with chassis numbers 305001, 305003, 305004,
305005, 305006, 305007, 305008, 305009, 305010, 305011 and
305012. (chassis number 305002 was the Henschel prototype).
While this suspension saved manufacturing time and internal
hull space, its components were more highly stressed and,
on at least one occasion, a complete bogie truck snapped
off the hull during testing.
To ensure that production
vehicles would be rapidly available for service introduction,
the standard Henschel torsion bar suspension was used for
all production models, from chassis number 305012 on. The
new vehicle, designated at first Jagdpanzer VI, and then
later the Jagdtiger, was assigned the type number SdKfz 186.
| Armor Penetration
(128mm PaK 44 L/55) :
|| 100 m
|| 500 m
|| 1000 m
|| 1500 m
|| 2000 m
|| 189 mm
|| 166 mm
|| 143 mm
|| 127 mm
|| 117 mm
|| 187 mm
|| 178 mm
|| 167 mm
|| 157 mm
|| 148 mm
| Pzgr. : Armor
Piercing Capped - APC
| Pzgr.43: Armor
Piercing Capped with Ballistic Cap - APCBC
vs. Ammo Web site © David Michael Honner
The Jagdtiger used the 12.8 cm
Panzerjagerkanone 44 (L/55), also known as the Pak 80. Some
confusion over the name of the weapon stems from the fact
that the name was changed in mid-1944 from Pak 44 to Pak
80, causing confusion in many reference works. So, references
will be found where the the gun is called either name, in official documents
dated from late 1944 and on.
The performance of this weapon was phenomenal
-- the muzzle velocity for the AP round is said to have been
920m/sec and for the HE round 750m/sec. With a range for
the AP of well over 4000 meters, it can generally be said that
if the gunner could clearly see a target, he could usually
hit it. The gun was actually a further development of the
12.8cm Kanone 44 (towed anti-tank gun), which was a competitive
effort between both Rheinmetall-Borsig and Krupp, each producing
a similar tube and breech, but mounted on very different-looking
mobile platforms. The gun was 55 calibers long but unlike
the towed version, the model mounted in the Jagdtiger did
not have a muzzle break. Although the prototypes of the towed
Kanone 44 were completed and delivered, there were no towed
versions of this gun put into series production; the only
anti-tank weapons of this caliber that were produced and actively used during World War Two were
mounted on the Jagdtiger.
Jagdtigers were produced by
Nibelungenwerke. The Jagdtiger was basically a slightly lengthened
Tiger II hull with a large box shaped superstructure mounted
in the space where the tank's turret had been previously
mounted. The front armor was 250 mm thick, while the sides
and rear were 80 mm thick. The hull had 100 to 150 mm front
armor, with 80 mm sides and rear. The top and bottom plates
were 40 mm thick. The superstructure armor plate and additional
hatches, the ventilator, vision periscopes, and the gunner's
sight were mounted in the roof of the fighting compartment.
The driver and radio operator were both provided with standard
Tiger II hull roof hatches.
From July of 1944 to April
of 1945, around 85 Jagtigers were manufactured, with known
chassis numbers 305001 to at least 305083 (which is in the
Kubinka tank museum, Russia). Only two units received Jagdtigers: s.PzJäg.Abt.653; and s.PzJäg.Abt.512. Too little and too late to
make any difference on the course of History.
Tigers I and II and their Variants, Walter J. Spielberger and Hilary L. Doyle, Schiffer 2007, ISBN 978-0-7643-2780-3
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