"Ferdinands" in the deep Soviet rear. Shelling and study


Memo to the Red Army. Source: M. Kolomiets "Elephant. Heavy assault gun Ferdinand Porsche"


These monsters


“These monsters should serve as a ram when breaking through Russian positions. No T-34 can resist them. "

It was precisely these hopes that the Führer placed on the brainchild of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. In practice, in the very first moments of combat use, two Ferdinand were captured along with the crew. This happened at the beginning of the Battle of Kursk. The first car got bogged down in soft ground and was captured by the soldiers of the 123rd Infantry Division, and the second became an immobilized trophy after the destruction of the track. In general, of 89 participating in the battle of self-propelled guns, 39 were irretrievably lost by the Wehrmacht.

On June 20-21, 1943, in the vicinity of the Ponyry station, one Ferdinand was shot for scientific purposes. The corresponding order was given by the commander of the 13th Army, N.P. Pukhov. We give brief results of the shelling.

The 45-mm anti-tank gun of the 1937 model pierced armor from 300 meters only with an anti-caliber projectile with a probability of 33%. When firing virtually point-blank, that is, from 150 meters, the gun was guaranteed to hit the Ferdinand aboard. A 76-mm armor-piercing projectile from the ZIS-3 pierced the side from 400 meters, and an 85-mm anti-aircraft gun shell could hit a self-propelled gun from the side from 1200 meters. At the same time, the 85 mm blank did serious damage - it hits the opposite wall of the side, collapses, leaving no chance for the servant of the gun. The forehead of Ferdinand did not succumb to this gun, but with a successful shot it was possible to disable the radio station and control mechanics. The frontal armor plate mounting bolts also did not withstand 85 mm.

Analysis of the work of larger calibers on side armor also cannot be ignored. High-explosive shells with a caliber of 122 mm from a cannon of the 1931/37 sample did not penetrate the side, but the Ferdinand armored plates cracked and diverged at the seams. But the 122-mm howitzer of the 1938 model did not cause any special damage to the armor - only the trucks and rollers suffered.


It was on this “Ferdinand” that the driving characteristics of the new self-propelled artillery installation of the Nazis were studied. Cuban. Author photo

Ferdinand waited for the next shelling from December 1 to December 14, 1943 at a training ground in Kubinka near Moscow. The first in the armored vehicle was tested the RPG-6, the latest cumulative anti-tank grenade at that time, which confidently pierced any armor in the side projection. Next was a 45 mm tank 20-K cannon, reliably hitting the side with a projectile from 100-200 meters. The British "Churchill" with a 57-mm QF cannon with a sub-caliber projectile hit the side of the German self-propelled guns at a distance of 0,5 km, and with an ordinary armor-piercing one - only from 300 meters. M4A2 "Sherman" with armor-piercing shells of a 75-mm gun left only dents on the sides and was only able to hit armor from 500 meters only twice. Domestic F-34 caliber 76 mm has never been able to cope with the side armor of a German car. They decided to get to the frontal armor of the Hitler monster only with a 122-mm D-25 gun, and the fire was fired exclusively from 1400 meters. Bottom line: neither the forehead of Fedinand nor the sides succumbed - only minor chips on the inner surface of the armor and bulging. As a result, the concrete piercing shell of the ML-1 howitzer gun ML-152 broke a Porsche armored vehicle from a distance of 20 km. The hole gaped rather big - 220x230 mm. An armor-piercing projectile of the same gun finally hit the forehead of Ferdinand from a distance of 1200 meters. Domestic testers, obviously, got into a rage and decided to bring the captured Panther to the shooting of a self-propelled gun - they walked it nearby at the training ground. KwK 42, although it had remarkable ballistics, it was obviously not enough 75 mm to defeat Ferdinand's forehead (it was possible to break through it point-blank from 100 meters). A caliber projectile from the Panther confidently hit the side of its heavy counterpart from a distance of 900 meters, but a simple armor-piercing shell - from only 100-200. Naturally, the Panther fired back from the Ferdinand 88-mm StuK 43 gun. As a result, the inclined frontal armored plates of the German tank were reliably hit from 600 meters.






December 1943 Cuban. Source: warspot.ru

Of course, with the mass production of Ferdinand’s, they could become a serious threat to the tanks of the Red Army, and this had to be taken into account when developing the IS-2 and self-propelled guns based on the T-34. However, a circulation of 90 (or 91) copies made self-propelled guns such a rare technique on the battlefield that the soldiers often confused it with the Marders, Nashorn and Hummels.

Conclusions of the engineers of Kubinka


Military engineers at the test site of the Main Armored Directorate of the Red Army in Kubinka, after lengthy tests of the surviving Ferdinand, spoke of the self-propelled gun as a fairly reliable machine. They were repeated by the testers of the pilot plant No. 100 in Chelyabinsk, to whom they also sent one self-propelled guns. Of particular interest was the original suspension and electric transmission, and the ease of controlling a multi-ton machine was generally considered the best.


“Panther” only at close range was able to hit the forehead of “Ferdinand”. Source: warspot.ru

The weak points of Ferdinand, which the Red Army recommended to take into account, were, of course, poor agility, low speed and low maneuverability. They offered to hit with armor-piercing shells on the sides to the borders of the tracks - here the armor is only 60 mm, and vital nodes are located. If the self-propelled gun approached the distance of the dagger, it was possible to throw a bottle of Molotov cocktail into the blinds of the upper armor plate. Also, experts at the Kubinka training ground note that hatches above the neck of gas tanks located along the edges of the upper armor plate at the lower cut of the frontal part of the cabin, when hit by any projectile, break from weak loops, and gasoline ignites. The only thing left was to get into such a target with any shell. If artillerymen or tankers manage to get to the armored vehicle from behind, then you can shoot at the rear hatch of the wheelhouse. It turned out that it was not firmly fixed in the closed position, falls out from any projectile, and you can already throw Molotov cocktails and grenades into the open hatch. In general, it was a difficult goal - the German self-propelled gun "Ferdinand".


Source: M. Kolomiets "Elephant. Heavy assault gun Ferdinand Porsche"




"Ferdinand" on the Kursk. Source: M. Kolomiets "Elephant. Heavy assault gun Ferdinand Porsche"

A few words should be said about the suspension of the German assault guns. The balancing rubber-torsion bar suspension surprised the military engineers of Kubinka a lot, and for a long time they searched for the reasons for developing such a tricky scheme. The engineer P. S. Cherednichenko, in the Bulletin of the Tank Industry, ponders extensively on this subject:

“Apparently, the Germans did not consider it possible to use already known and approved pendants for suspension of a 70-ton machine.”

Particular attention is paid to rubber dampers, which are not designed for large deformation and become difficult on rough terrain. As a result, the self-propelled gun, barely accelerated, received sensitive blows through the suspension, which became a rigid system. Nevertheless, engineers believed that such a suspension is nevertheless of interest to the domestic tank industry as one example of use in heavy armored vehicles.


Ferdinand in Kubinka. Author photo

Let us pass on to the assessment by Soviet engineers of the feasibility of introducing an electric transmission at Ferdinand. It is noted that the control of such an armored vehicle is simpler and less tiring compared to tanks with a traditional mechanical transmission. Among the advantages of the transmission engineer lieutenant colonel I.M. Malyavin, who was engaged in the study of "Ferdinand" at the Kubinka training ground in 1943-1944, highlights the high speed of transfer from forward to back and back. In the Bulletin of the Tank Industry, an engineer, in particular, writes:
“The transmission scheme allows the driver with simple manipulations under any driving conditions to maintain the most rational mode of operation of the primary engines and use all their power, realizing it in one case to increase the speed of movement, and in the other - to increase the traction on the tracks, due to which the average speed can maintained relatively high. ”

The author, obviously, from the operating experience of the not-so-successful gear shifting system on the T-34, appreciates the advantages of the Ferdinand electric transmission, pointing out the impossibility of its breakdown due to improper gear shifting. When it comes to the mass of the entire structure, it turns out that the electric transmission is at least 9% of the mass of the entire self-propelled guns! As IM Malyavin rightly notes, a mechanical transmission is usually 2-3 times lighter. Summing up, the author explains the reasons for installing a heavy and complex electric transmission on the Ferdinand. Firstly, this technique allows us to solve a number of complex issues of traffic and corner control in a new way, and secondly, it attracts the resources and experience of the highly developed German electrical industry for tank building.
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  1. svp67 April 24 2020 04: 34 New
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    Of course, with the mass production of “Ferdinand” could become a serious threat to the tanks of the Red Army
    What could not happen even with the great desire of the Germans. A self-propelled gun made from the chassis of the Porsche Tiger Loser required a lot of copper in its production, and copper in Germany was already valued slightly cheaper than gold.
    When it comes to the mass of the whole structure, it turns out that the electric transmission is at least 9% of the mass of the entire self-propelled guns!
    And it’s better not to remember how much she weighed from our experienced IP, when we decided to try electric transmission on it
    1. Same lech April 24 2020 05: 21 New
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      70 tons of this colossus ... yes, all the bridges over the water obstacles had to be strengthened for this monster ... a little expensive for a protracted war.
      1. Alexey Sommer April 24 2020 05: 48 New
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        But agree! How much sheer did the machine released in the amount of 91 pieces!
        Despite the small circulation, this PT was remembered a little less than the T34.
        I think this is due to the exceptionally high aggregate performance characteristics of this PT for its time.
        1. Same lech April 24 2020 05: 52 New
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          How much sheer did the machine released in the amount of 91 pieces!

          Small agility saved the crews of our tanks from extermination from this monster ... the gun is certainly powerful ... but in the aggregate of BATTLE characteristics this self-propelled gun still lost the T-34.
          1. Varyag_0711 April 24 2020 08: 36 New
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            In total, the Tigers lost the T-34, but if you recall what we have become of this very aggregate. Thirty-four to the Tiger still had to get 200-400 meters on board, and that was so problematic, considering that the Tiger T-34 was already 2 km away. hit the frontal projection. So honor and glory to our ancestors who defeated this steel menagerie.
            My wife’s grandfather, a tankman, went through the whole war, a driver. Burned four times. For the battle near Prokhorovka and the salvation of a wounded commander from a burning tank, he was presented to the Hero Star, which he never received. But he got a shell shock and loss of a part of his skull when the hatch of the tower was torn off. Her grandmother told me that it was impossible to go to war movies with a grandfather, especially if he had come to a halt before that, then he would go on the attack on the screen. Participated in a raid on Tatsinka in the winter of 1943, his burned tank stood there near Tatsinka until the fifties.
          2. Octopus April 24 2020 09: 34 New
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            Quote: The same Lech
            but in the aggregate BATTLE characteristics this self-propelled gun still lost the T-34.

            It’s some kind of crazy idea to compare the characteristics of a (super) heavy tank destroyer and a relatively conventional medium tank.
            1. novel66 April 24 2020 12: 17 New
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              on the battlefield - yes, but we must take into account that medium tanks won this war, and it is very good that the Germans, in pursuit of miraculous weapons, did not increase the production of the modernized Pz-4.
              1. Octopus April 24 2020 13: 13 New
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                Quote: novel xnumx
                did not increase production of upgraded Pz-4.

                Yes, but I would not associate the situation of the four with Fedya. They practically did not overlap in production.
                1. novel66 April 24 2020 13: 15 New
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                  at the factory where Feday was produced, it was possible to organize the production of Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J and we would be in trouble
                  1. Octopus April 24 2020 14: 08 New
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                    Quote: novel xnumx
                    at the factory where Feday was produced, it was possible to organize the production of Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. J

                    You will not believe it, but Nibelungenwerk was the main, in fact the only producer of the four J. This is one of the main tank plants of the Reich. Yes, the Germans could pay more attention to the technological aspect of the four, but Fedya didn’t stop them.
        2. svp67 April 24 2020 07: 44 New
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          Quote: Alexey Sommer
          But agree! How much sheer did the machine released in the amount of 91 pieces!
          Despite the small circulation, this PT was remembered a little less than the T34.

          She was remembered only for her fighting qualities and thick armor, and so much so that after many German self-propelled guns they did not call him “Ferdinand” anymore. Although the smaller and less protected anti-tank self-propelled guns of the “Czech gnomes” “Hetzer” destroyed more of our tanks and killed more of our ancestors, you can’t read about it in your memoirs ... Politics you understand, there shouldn’t be anything “friendship of peoples” to interfere
        3. Sniper Amateur April 25 2020 00: 32 New
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          But agree! How much sheer did the machine released in the amount of 91 pieces!
          Despite the small circulation, this PT was remembered a little less than the T34.
          I think this is due to the exceptionally high aggregate performance characteristics of this PT for its time.

          This is simply due to the similarity of its silhouette with many other German self-propelled guns of that time. smile
        4. avg
          avg April 25 2020 16: 25 New
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          Quote: Alexey Sommer
          But agree! How much sheer did the machine released in the amount of 91 pieces!

          Largely thanks to soldier's tales. It was not for nothing that later all German self-propelled guns suddenly became “Ferdinand”, and even our fighters dubbed our SU-76 “Naked Ferdinand”.
      2. svp67 April 24 2020 07: 41 New
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        Quote: The same Lech
        70 tons of this colossus ... yes, all the bridges over the water obstacles had to be strengthened for this monster ... a little expensive for a protracted war.

        It was supposed to be used in the directions of the main attack, where it was supposed to snap out our tanks one by one, being in the second line. The gun was more powerful than that of the Tiger, then it was later installed on the Royal Tiger. Our troops were still lucky that the German command, due to the lack of tanks, decided to use them in the first line, and even in the role of tanks, which allowed them to destroy a lot of our infantry.
        Quote: The same Lech
        Small agility saved the crews of our tanks from extermination from this monster ...
        Our crews were more saved by the fact that the Germans were forced to use it in a different way.
        1. Octopus April 24 2020 09: 45 New
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          Quote: svp67
          due to the lack of tanks, I decided to use them in the first line, and even in the role of tanks, which allowed them to destroy a lot of our infantry.

          Yes, it turned out funny.

          The praised Panzerwaffe of the vaunted Wehrmacht took and put all their wunderwaffles out of the blue. At first they lit up the Tiger in the north, then they drove Panthers near Kursk like a herd of rams without control to the nearest ravine, and in addition to them they planted Ferdinand in the mud.
          1. Alexey RA April 24 2020 12: 57 New
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            Quote: Octopus
            The praised Panzerwaffe of the vaunted Wehrmacht took and put all their wunderwaffles out of the blue.

            Carefully repeating all the Soviet mistakes in the use of tanks and self-propelled guns. smile
            Heavy tank destroyer they are, seduced by armor and weapons, decided to use as a breakthrough heavy tank. And they drove into battle, and even without reconnaissance. The result - the “Fed” carefully collected all the minefields in the direction of the strike, and even met with the infantry, which was not supposed to be under the project (well, where the self-propelled guns going in the second line behind tanks and motorized infantry can find enemy infantry).
            The Panthers got even more - 200 tanks were assembled in two battalions, without infantry, called this heap the “39th TP” - and transferred to the Grossdeutchland for reinforcement. And so that the first battle was guaranteed enchanting - they combined their own tank regiment "Grossdeutchland" and the 39th TP under the command of the hastily formed headquarters of the 10th brigade, without giving this headquarters either people or equipment. The end is a little predictable: on the second day of the offensive, exactly during the breakthrough of the first line of the Soviet defense, the 39th TP lost contact with the headquarters of the 10th TBR. All day, the regiment alone, without infantry, without artillery, without communication, beat its forehead against Soviet positions, raking from infantry and artillerymen (27th Iptabr and 6th A Army artillery). By evening, in the 39th TP, about 40 Panthers remained in service.
            1. Octopus April 24 2020 13: 08 New
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              Quote: Alexey RA
              Carefully repeating all the Soviet mistakes in the use of tanks and self-propelled guns.

              We scolded Comrade Rotmistrov endlessly, and, of course, for the cause. But it should be recognized that there were also flaws in the old Manshtein, and often, and what!
              1. Alexey RA April 24 2020 13: 25 New
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                Quote: Octopus
                We scolded Comrade Rotmistrov endlessly, and, of course, for the cause. But it should be recognized that there were also flaws in the old Manshtein, and often, and what!

                And thank God! We in the Battle of Kursk only tactically competent use of the 39th TP about two hundred “Panthers” was not enough ... smile
    2. Sniper Amateur April 25 2020 00: 26 New
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      What could not happen even with the great desire of the Germans. A self-propelled gun made from the chassis of the Porsche Tiger Loser required a lot of copper in its production, and copper in Germany was already valued slightly cheaper than gold.

      Could and put on another chassis with a real desire. The same Pz.VI Tiger (H) at least.
      1. svp67 April 25 2020 05: 02 New
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        Quote: Sniper Amateur
        Could and put on another chassis with a real desire. The same Pz.VI Tiger (H) at least.

        So they set it up, they just took the base chassis from Pz.V "Panther" and it was the best German tank destroyer - "Jagdpanther"

        And a special base chassis "Geschützwagen" III / IV creating on its basis the tank destroyer "Hornisse" (since 1944, "Náshorn")
    3. Molot1979 2 May 2020 19: 10 New
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      Well, the author says that if ..., then .... It is clear that only 90 copies are not from a good life. But if copper was pleased, then ...
      1. svp67 2 May 2020 19: 19 New
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        Quote: Molot1979
        But if copper was pleased, then ...

        "God does not give horns to a butted cow ..."
  2. Vladimir_2U April 24 2020 05: 26 New
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    “Fede” did not threaten to become a mass machine in any case.
  3. old_pferd April 24 2020 05: 49 New
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    Quote: svp67
    And it’s better not to remember how much the electric transmission weighed at our experienced IP, when we decided to try the electric transmission on it

    And the DET-250 tractor, on which this German trick was used, was not experienced and was produced until recently. And weighed more than 10 tons of T-330. By traction, 2 T-100 tractors when pulling out stuck equipment (I saw it myself) were more effective than DET-250.
    1. Free wind April 24 2020 11: 11 New
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      Two T-170s will naturally pull DET, they are heavier. At 17-20 tons + - from the configuration, against 33 tons of DET weight. The T-330 bulldozer and fangs weighed more than 50 tons. in 88, I first sat in the T-330, I really liked the control of this monster, and the equipment of the cabin. Det is pretty ugly.
      1. old_pferd April 24 2020 13: 37 New
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        Not the 170s. 1979 year. The bulldozer sat in the mud. Deep. Need to pull out. Near the polygon polygon. DET drove, he fidgeted, fidgeted and not from a place. The mountain foreman explained - the transmission is electromechanical, the fuses do not overload. We drove two T-100 bulldozers (not even 130 !, they were still few). Zug, they rested, with soot, at the limit, but pulled out.
        1. Free wind April 24 2020 14: 20 New
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          I agree to all 100%.
        2. Free wind April 24 2020 14: 35 New
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          It seems I’m weaving and I can’t start it already. I remember, but with difficulty.
          1. old_pferd April 24 2020 15: 03 New
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            The handle is on top, twist the launcher, then the bendix handle ... I remember! wink
            1. Free wind April 24 2020 15: 20 New
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              And in the cockpit how many levers for starting can you remember ?. FOUR. Well, the gas handle, 5. While you drag them all .....
  4. Free wind April 24 2020 06: 25 New
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    Judging by the article, all these Tigers and Ferdinants could be killed with felt boots?
  5. bistrov. April 24 2020 06: 30 New
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    Great-image of modern self-propelled guns MSTA. But on the other hand, the “gloomy German genius” unnecessarily evoked in her and after, so to say, a grand defeat in the Battle of Kursk (39 out of 90 irretrievably lost) the Germans used Ferdinand very carefully and only from ambushes.
    1. carstorm 11 April 24 2020 07: 28 New
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      why, revenge?)))) I’m even embarrassed to ask how it occurred to you to compare the anti-tank armored cannon and the cardboard howitzer in essence))))
    2. Sniper Amateur April 25 2020 00: 30 New
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      https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4_(%D0%A1%D0%90%D0%A3)#Курская_битва
      35. That for a fleet of 90 cars in a battle of such perseverance and intensity is not at all "grandiose."
    3. svp67 April 25 2020 05: 05 New
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      Quote: bistrov.
      Great-image of modern self-propelled guns MSTA.

      More likely post-war SU-101 (102)
  6. Arthur Evnevich April 24 2020 06: 41 New
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    Take a look at the memo, so with this self-propelled gun count the whole body - the erogenous zone ...
  7. The leader of the Redskins April 24 2020 07: 24 New
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    The author found interesting photos. I have not seen before. Thank.
    1. BAI
      BAI April 24 2020 20: 00 New
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      Go to Waralbum.
  8. Fitter65 April 24 2020 08: 18 New
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    More information about Ferdinand / Elephant can be found here https://militaryarms.ru/voennaya-texnika/boevye-mashiny/sau-ferdinand/ or here https://modelist-konstruktor.com/bronekollekcziya/shturmovoe-orudie-ferdinand. There is still such a book

    , It is written quite interestingly, one drawback is a rare thing, like self-propelled guns. There was also a monograph in Russian dedicated to Ferdinand / Elephant. By the way, the total mass of self-propelled guns is indicated in 65 tons everywhere ...
  9. alsoclean April 24 2020 18: 35 New
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    And the Ferdinands did not have defensive machine guns. From the word at all. I didn’t mix anything ??
    1. Sniper Amateur April 25 2020 00: 27 New
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      At first it wasn’t. But then they set it up.
    2. Alexey RA April 25 2020 13: 14 New
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      Quote: alsoclean
      And the Ferdinands did not have defensive machine guns. From the word at all. I didn’t mix anything ??

      Initially, the Ferdinand had no machine guns. They appeared only after modernization in 1944 (at the same time these self-propelled guns were renamed "elephant").
      The absence of a machine gun is quite logical: the machine was designed as a heavy tank destroyer, working "from behind." Therefore, they decided to neglect the machine gun, especially since its installation weakened the armor protection in the frontal projection. We also did not put machine guns on the tank destroyers.
      1. alsoclean April 25 2020 23: 26 New
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        Yes Yes! Therefore, either 7 or 8 cars were burned! infantry. Until neglected ...
  10. smaug78 April 24 2020 19: 10 New
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    “These monsters should serve as a ram when breaking through Russian positions. No T-34 can resist them. "
    did the demoniac himself say so?
  11. Sniper Amateur April 25 2020 00: 24 New
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    If the Germans really
    pinned more hope on Ferdinand

    they would not limit their release to just 90 pcs.
    Well, I add that in the Battle of Kursk they were completely illiterate used. Like the “Panther” though.
    1. Alexey RA April 25 2020 13: 38 New
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      Quote: Sniper Amateur
      they would not limit their release to just 90 pcs.

      So this ... the base chassis are over. smile
      By and large, “Fedi” is the result of the “tiger race” in the summer of 1941, when, to reduce the time of putting a new TT into the series (being developed already from 1937 - BW (verstaerkt)), three prototypes were immediately ordered by both participants of the competition and one hundred serial "first series." As a result, no matter who wins, the Reich has a hundred “extra” chassis that needed to be disposed of somehow.
      1. Sniper Amateur April 27 2020 20: 15 New
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        And what religion forbade the use of another chassis? The same Pz.I / II / IV - riveted on a completely radically different chassis.
  12. About 2 April 26 2020 01: 51 New
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    An interesting article, thanks to the author!
  13. EvilLion April 27 2020 10: 24 New
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    Large units in the tank - this is an addition of weight not only from the units themselves, but also from the large sizes of the armored hull, which is simply very sensitive to this due to its thickness.
  14. barin 3 May 2020 09: 47 New
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    The Germans' reckoning on this Monster was not justified. It was smooth on paper ...