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Elephant Hunters

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 "Characteristics of penetrative ability of guns and mines against enemy tanks
Based on combat experience and trials

1. Experimental firing against the 88 mm "Ferdinand" self propelled gun gave the following results:

A) Armour:

  • Roof: 45 mm
  • Rear: 80 mm
  • Sides: 80 mm
  • Front vertical plate: 200 mm
  • Ball mount armour: 110 mm
  • Driver and radio operator visor plate: 200 mm
B) Effect of firing:
  • Anti-tank rifle: when firing at the sides with BS-41 bullets (5 shots) from 80-100 meters the bullet penetrates to a depth of 50 mm and leaves a 20-22 mm wide dent. When fired at tracks, it can penetrate track pins and the tracks themselves, smash bulletproof glass, jam the gun mount.
  • 45 mm model 1937 gun: from 300 meters at a straight angle the shell penetrates the outer armour, strikes the inner armour, and shatters, dealing damage to gun mechanisms, its crew, and the engines. 
    Three subcaliber shots were fired from 150 meters and made three complete penetrations 22 mm in diameter.
    At 150 meters the armour piercing shell makes a 22-30 mm deep and 50-60 mm wide dent.
    Firing at the front from 100 meters with subcaliber shot, the projectile penetrates 50-60 mm and the core remains in the armour. The armour piercing shell makes a 25-30 mm deep dent.
  • 76 mm model 1942 ZIS-3 gun: Shooting at the side from 400 meters with a subcaliber shot makes a complete penetration 27 mm in diameter, a 100 mm deep dent is also made. The destructive power is the same as that of the 45 mm subcaliber shell. From 400 meters the armour piercing shell makes a 22-30 mm deep and 400 mm wide dent. Firing at the front with the subcaliber shell from 200 meters gives the following result: the shot makes a 100 mm deep 110 mm wide dent, the core is stuck in the armour. The armour piercing shell makes a 35-37 mm deep 110 mm wide dent. When hitting the track, the shell destroys track pins and severs the track. If the gun mount is hit, it jams.
  • 76 mm model 1927 gun. The HEAT shell makes a 45-50 mm deep dent in the side armour from 300 meters.
  • 85 mm model 1939 AA gun penetrates fully when hitting the side from 800 to 1200 m. The penetration is 110 mm wide on the outer side and 200 mm wide on the inner. The shell strikes the opposite wall, making a 57 mm deep indentation, then bursts, striking the crew and components with its own splinters and shattered fragments of the tank's own armour.
    From 200 meters the shell makes a 100 mm deep dent in the front armour, but cracks it and tears the bolts holding on the front armour plate, as well as internal equipment and the radio. If a shell hits a track, a 0.75 m long stretch is destroyed.
  • 122 mm model 1931/37 gun: firing HE shells with a delayed fuse from 400-800 meters led to the following results: deep cracks formed along the seams of the whole casemate, bolts holding the casemate to its foundation burst.
  • 122 mm model 1938 howitzer: firing HE from 400 meters has no effect.
C) Effect of anti-tank mines:

Our units chiefly used YaM-5 anti-tank mines, which were not entirely satisfactory against Pz.Kpfw.VI tanks and Ferdinand SPGs. Practice shows that they are powerful enough to defeat the Pz.Kpfw.III and IV tanks. Fougasses (250 kg bomb with an additional 50 kg charge) were used in some places. The effect was great, and Pz.Kpfw.VI tanks as well as Ferdinand SPGs turned into heaps of scrap metal when hitting them.

D) Effect of bottles with incendiary fluid:

The weakest part of the Pz.Kpfw.VI tank to incendiary fluid is the engine deck where the grilles are. The Ferdinand is easiest to disable by throwing bottles of incendiary fluid on the grilles that are located in the front part of the hull. The bottles can also be thrown inside through the hatches. The most convenient hatch for this is located in the rear. This hatch is used to throw out spent shell casings and is open most of the tank.

Chief of Staff of Armoured and Motorized Forces, Colonel Korotkov
September 24th, 1943
One copy"



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