Nicknamed the Nashorn ‘Phoenix’ after restoration was delayed by a devastating fire, this WW2 German ‘Tank Hunter’ will be running for the first time in the UK at TANKFEST 2023.
A team of engineers in the Netherlands were looking for a project and after seeing Nashorn parts for sale in Russia, established the Nashorn Restoration Project in 2015 to bring the vehicle back to life. It is one of only three Nashorns left in the world.
Based on the Panzer IV and Panzer III chassis, it is thought that this vehicle had been the victim of an aircraft ground attack due to the damage found on the parts.
The Nashorn was restored to driving condition, but disaster struck when a fire burnt down the workshop in 2019 causing extreme damage to the vehicle. This was a heart-breaking setback for the team.
The dedicated project team led by project leader Robby van Sambeek, were determined to continue with the restoration and launched a fundraising campaign to bring the Nashorn back from the ashes. With donations from the Tank community and wider help from the international community of military vehicle restorers, museums and historians, the Nashorn has risen again.
Head of Marketing Nik Wyness said, “We are looking forward to welcoming this rare historic vehicle to TANKFEST for its first public display in the UK and we’re very grateful to the owners for their support.”
The story of the Nashorn began June 1942, when under Hitler’s orders a new anti-tank gun should be developed based on the 88 mm Flak 41. First named the ‘Hornisse’ (Hornet), Hitler requested a name change to the more imposing Nashorn (Rhinoceros).
One of the best known Nashorn aces was Lieutenant Albert Ernst who served with s.Pz.Jag.Abt.519. During the fighting on 19th December 1943, he and his crew managed to destroy 8 Soviet T-34s. Later that month, they destroyed another 14 T-34s tanks with just 21 rounds of ammunition.