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Originally named the Tiger Elephant, the Ferdinand was one of the most unusual tanks to see action in WWII. It came into being when the Wehrmacht ordered 90 spare Tiger I chassis from Porsche and wanted to put them to use at a stage when it had already been discovered that the Tiger I had insufficient firepower to be really effective against the durable Soviet tanks. With this in mind, a special housing was constructed to allow the Tiger I chassis to carry an 88 mm gun.

The Ferdinand was propelled by two Maybach HL120 V-12 petrol engines, each capable of putting out 230 bhp. The heavy chassis, engine and gun conspired, however, to give the Ferdinand a very high ground pressure figure which severely reduced it's mobility. Another design flaw was the lack of any close range support weapons(machine guns, grenade launchers etc) which would have been essential in the often cramped or street-to-street battle conditions of the eastern front. The Ferdinand was given it's name when it was due to be sent into battle and the Führer decided that "Elephant" was not a suitable name for a fighting machine meant to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy. The new name, Ferdinand, was chosen in honour of the main designer of the Tiger Tanks, Ferdinand Porsche.

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