The Elefant was in pretty rough shape as it had been outdoors and neglected for quite some time. The exterior has since been restored; it would be some feat to restore the complex drive train to working order. The restoration was documented in an episode of “Tank Overhaul” so keep an eye out for that episode if you’d like to see and learn more about the restoration efforts and the final result. The US Army Ordnance Museum was shut down back in 2010 and is in the process of being relocated to Ft. Lee Virginia.
This is one of only two of vehicles in existence today, the other being a Ferdinand located at the Kubinka Museum just outside Moscow. The Ferdinand is the original production Tank Destroyer which debuted during Operation Zitadelle in 1943. After the lessons learned from the high losses (almost 50%), they were shipped back to Austria where they received several modifications:
A coat of zimmerit (anti-magnetic mine coating, standard on most AFVs at the time)
commanders cupola from the StuG III G (improved visibility and protection for the commander)
a ball mounted machine gun in the bow plate (for close in defense, 300mm thick armored ball mount)
wider 640mm tracks to better distribute the weight for lighter ground pressure
This Elefant (chassis number 150071) was #102 with 1/653 Schwere PanzerJäger Abteilung in Italy. It was abandoned by the crew after it suffered a mechanical breakdown, but not before the crew was able to booby-trap it with grenades and mines. The Americans captured it shortly thereafter where it was then shipped the Aberdeen Proving Grounds for evaluation.
Scott Espin – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com