So I'm away for a few days this week, visiting Dorset with my family and this means I'm just a short hop from the Tank Museum at Bovington. My wife gave me a 'day pass' to head off alone (while she and my daughter visited Monkey World down the road) and consequently I have spent a blissful few hours wandering around my favourite museum. I've been here dozens of times but this visit I specifically wanted to see the Tiger Collection exhibition which brings together the Museum’s Tiger I, both its King Tigers, Jagdtiger and an Elefant on loan from the US Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center.
|Tiger I in front with the Elefant behind. These are massive vehicles.|
|The Elefant is a huge and imposing vehicle.|
This was a rare opportunity to see the Elefant, a unique and somewhat odd vehicle based on the rejected Porsche Tiger chassis. Ninety-one "Porsche Tiger" chassis were converted into Ferdinand tank destroyers in early 1943 and took part in the Battle of Kursk. The surviving vehicles (about 50) were then modified based on lessons learned in the field. The improvements included a Hull mounted MG, a commanders cupola and Zimmerit anti mine past. The frontal armour was also increased and wider tracks were fitted. The changes were significant and not only made this a much better combat vehicle but also prompted the change in name to Elefant in may 1944.
|The Tiger Collection|
|Extra armour added to the front of the Ferdinand. This and other upgrades prompted a name change to Elefant|
|Rear of the Elefant|
|In my element.|
|A pre production Tiger II and Jagtiger|
|Post production Tiger II|
Only two Elefants survived the war with one now residing in the Kubinka Tank Museum outside Moscow and the other being the US Army Ordnance Museums vehicle loaned to Bovington... so a rare treat for a UK based tread-head like me.