How did Ferdinand Porsche build the tank and why did he get a self-propelled gun?
In 1943, the German factory for the productionarmored vehicles Nibelungenwerke manufactured 90 chassis for combat vehicles, which the Wehrmacht refused. The design of the Porsche was unnecessary, and the question arose what to do with this stock of running parts, based on which, according to the original plan, it was planned to build a new heavy tank. "Ferdinand" - a self-propelled gun designed for the destruction of armored vehicles, became forced in the conditions of a raw deficit measure of the use of already manufactured units and mechanisms.
The chassis itself was unique in its own way. Blocks (there were three from each side), including two support rollers, were attached to the armored hull by means of trolleys equipped with a successful depreciation system.
The power plant consisted of two carburetorengines "Maybach" with a total capacity of 600 liters. s., Loaded on the generator, which generates the energy supplied to the two Siemens motors. This solution greatly simplified the control of the machine and eliminated the transmission from the kinematic scheme. It should be noted that the German industry did not create a motor throughout the war that could be equipped with a relatively fast heavy tank.
"Ferdinand", thus, inherited the runningpart of the failed masterpiece of the designer Porsche, previously specialized in designing racing cars. The peculiar approach was manifested in the fact that practically no manufacturing technology was taken into account, in production such a running gear was very complex and expensive.
The power plant could provide speed30-35 km / h, if it was equipped with a planned Porsche tank. "Ferdinand" with 200 mm front armor could not move faster than 20 km / h, and even then on firm ground. In essence, the automatic control system is not designed for rapid rolls, the main advantage of this class of armored vehicles is a powerful long-range gun.
In order to place such a gun (she weighedmore than two tons), it was required to completely change the initial layout. The barrel of the 88-millimeter caliber proved to be very heavy, it required support during movement, but thanks to a long length it could hit any tank. For all its slow slowness, Ferdinand has become a formidable weapon.
The crew had to be divided, the gunners were in the stern, and the driver and commander - in the front. The power plant was in the center of the car.
At war often unique examples of technologyare not used for their intended purpose. Self-propelled guns the Wehrmacht had to use in close combat, which would be more effective than any German tank. Ferdinand, whose gun could penetrate armor of 193 mm in thickness from a kilometer distance, did not have a course machine gun capable of protecting the car from infiltrating infantry.
The machine was created in a hurry, constructiveDeficiencies had to be eliminated in the process of modernization. After the Battle of Kursk, the remaining 47 self-propelled guns were sent to the manufacturer, where they were equipped with small arms, commander's turrets, and the armor was covered with a special layer protecting from magnetic mines.
After the improvement, the automatic control system was namedElefant (that is, the "elephant"), perhaps more characterizing a heavy machine with a long "trunk". In the troops (both German and Soviet), the old name took root.
With a huge number of drawbacks, this machinehad the main advantage - the gun could strike almost any tank at great distances. Ferdinand, whose photo still surprises with its angularity, created difficulties for the German command in forcing water obstacles, it was almost impossible to evacuate it from the battlefield in the event of a loss of turn.
Until the end of the war, only two "Elephants" survived, they were burned in Berlin by the Soviet infantry. Two previously captured, and therefore surviving copies, took their places in the museums of Russia and the United States.