Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian engineer born in 1875. In the interwar period, Ferdinand founded an automotive consultation firm, which gradually grew into today’s Porsche AG automotive company. Porsche’s firm was responsible for the design of the “Volkswagen,” a simple model known today as the Beetle.
During the Second World War, Porsche’s firm played an important role in designing military vehicles for the Wehrmacht. This work follows up on author Michael Fröhlich’s book on Porsche’s massive “Maus” tank and describes the firm’s other armored vehicle designs, with special emphasis on the VK 4501 (P) Tiger prototype and the “Ferdinand” tank destroyer. VK 4501 was the designation for the prototypes competing to be what would become the Panzer VI “Tiger.”
Porsche’s concept used a novel gasoline/electric hybrid power plant, but the Tiger contract eventually went to Henschel. Through details on the Tiger trials at the Verskraft proving ground, readers will gain insight into the armament procurement process in the Third Reich. The hull/chassis design from VK 4501 (P) was later repurposed for a large tank destroyer named for the designer, “Ferdinand.” These imposing vehicles saw combat on multiple fronts and were later renamed “Elefant.”
Fröhlich’s study, available in English for the first time, is grounded in original reports, manuals, and technical drawings.