The heaviest assault gun, the Srurmgeschütz 8.8cm (SdKfz 184), also known as the Ferdinand and the Elefant, resulted from Hitler's frustration at not being able to mount the long-barrel 88mm Pak43/2 L/71 in the Tiger I tank. The Ferdinand was optimized for destroying Soviet T-34 tanks and 76.2mm anti-tank guns from a range of over 3 miles. In compensation he demanded that a heavy assault gun be built in time for the Kursk offensive. The solution was to use the 90 chassis already built for the failed Tiger (P) and mount a heavy superstructure and gun. Only the 90 were built as a one-off production run to satisfy this demand.
Ferdinands first saw combat in the Battle of Kursk, where eighty-nine were committed and claimed to have knocked out over 300 enemy tanks, for the loss of just 13. The Ferdinand - Elefant may have been the most successful tank destroyer employed during the war in kills per loss, reaching an average ratio of approximately 10:1.
Destroyed german SPG Ferdinand and the body of the deceased crew member, Kursk 1943 (Krueger Horst)
Panzerjäger Tiger (P) Elefant SD. Kfz. 184. Kursk 1943. Soviet soldiers inspect shot down during the battle of Kursk German heavy self-propelled artillery installation class of tank destroyers Ferdinand. Photo also interesting rare for 1943 steel helmet school-36 on the soldier on the left (Phil DeFer).
Ferdinand after 152-mm shell hit (Krueger Horst)
Heavy tank destroyer Ferdinand - Elephant knocked out at Anzio, Italy, May 1944 (PaleHooptie)
Defeated German heavy tank destroyer Ferdinand near the Kursk Bulge (Mr.YuriGagarin)
Soldiers of the "Hermann Goering" division walk past a damaged heavy tank destroyer Elephant from the 653rd tank destroyer battalion in the Italian town of Nettuno, March 1944 (Phil DeFer).
Burns destroyed by Molotov cocktails German Ferdinand heavy tank destroyer. Battle of Kursk "Operation Citadel" (albumwar2.com)
Elephant knocked out on the street of Rome (survincity.com)
Heavy Tank Destroyer Ferdinand, Eastern Front Operation Citadel 1943 (www.worldwarphotos.info)
Ferdinand Tank Destroyer, coded II03, 654th Heavy Anti-Tank Battalion (www.worldwarphotos.info)
This Elefant was part of the 1st Company of SpzJgr 653 that was sent to Italy to help with the Anzio-Nettuno battles. It was part of the first group of tanks that completed refitting (www.customrcmodels.com)
Destruction of the German Ferdinand (№501, 654th Battalion) Heavy Tank Destroyer was abandoned by the crew on the battlefield in Ponyri stationin July 1943 (albumwar2.com)
The vehicle was destroyed on 15 July 1943 in Kursk by 1541 TSAP (www.tank-net.com)