The 70 ton Panzerjäger Tiger (P), commonly known as Elefant or Ferdinand return to Europe, seventy-two years after it fell into Allied hands during the battle of Anzio (Italy). In 1944, the Elefants served on the Italian front, but were rather ineffective as their weight of nearly 70 tonnes did not allow them to use most Italian roads and bridges.
It was one of the largest combat vehicles to see action in the Second World War. The Ferdinand/Elefant had an impressive combat record (despite the mechanical and defensive issues). Historians estimate the vehicle had a 10-to-1 kill ratio and was one of World War II’s most successful tank destroyers.
The Beast has undergone an historic 3,500 mile return journey across the Atlantic and arrived safely at Southampton docks on route to The Tank Museum in Dorset. During many years, it has been part of the United States Army Ordnance Museum's collection at Fort Lee, VA. It was restored to display condition in 2007–2008, as documented on the show Tank Overhaul, but not in its original paint scheme. It's one of just two surviving examples of the 91 Elefants that saw service with German forces.
The vehicle will be displayed as part of the "Tiger Collection" display at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset, UK from April 2017. This display aims to bring all the members of the Tiger family together in one place for the first time.
This move and temporary loan of the Elefant from the US to it's temporary home at Bovington Tank Museum UK is thanks to Wargaming, who has partly sponsored it.
David Willey,Tank Museum curator, said: “Tiger tanks like this one have a powerful reputation which was underpinned with Nazi propaganda at the time."
“This reputation has persisted beyond the war itself into books, films and video games.” “Tigers are large and impressive by contemporary standards – but there is a moral responsibility to remember what they were used for and the regime who created them,” said David.
“Representing less than seven per cent of their wartime tank production, Tiger tanks failed to have a real impact and our exhibition will be presenting a more balanced account of these vehicles, along with views of veterans”, Daily Echo reported.
The United States Army Ordnance Museum's restored Elefant [Via Wikimedia]
The Elefant tank when it captured by the US army in 1944 [Via Daily Echo]
The Panzerjäger Tiger (P), commonly known as Elefant being unloaded at Southampton Docks en route from the USA to The Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset [Via Daily Echo]