World’s Only Running Nashorn Tank Destroyer to Make UK Debut at TankFest 2023

Photo Credit: The Tank Museum
Photo Credit: The Tank Museum

The Tank Museum, in Bovington, has announced that the world’s only running Nashorn will be appearing at TankFest 2023, marking the first time the tank destroyer will debut in the United Kingdom. Officially known as the Sd.Kfz. 164 Nashorn, the German armored vehicle featured throughout the Second World War, and was favored for its low production cost and mobility.

German soldiers standing around two Nashorns in the snow
Nashorn tank destroyers on the Eastern Front, 1944. (Photo Credit: Johannes Bergmann / Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-279-0950-09 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 de)

This particular Nashorn‘s story began when a group of engineers from the Netherlands found parts for sale in Russia. This led them to establish the Nashorn Restoration Project in 2015, with the aim being to bring the World War II-era tank destroyer back to life.

Upon obtaining the parts, the team, led by Robby van Sambeek, came to the conclusion that this particular Nashorn was probably the victim of an aircraft ground attack, given the amount of damage it sustained. They were quickly able to restore the tank destroyer to working order. However, in 2019, disaster struck when a fire broke out in the workshop, severely damaging the vehicle.

To, once again, restore the Nashorn, the team set up a fundraising campaign.

Nashorn driving along a dirt road in the middle of a forest
Nashorn tank destroyer slated to appear at TankFest 2023. (Photo Credit: The Tank Museum)

The Nashorn came about in 1942 after the Führer ordered the development of a new anti-tank gun, based on the 88 mm Flak 41. With a chassis based on the Panzerkampfwagen III and IV, the tank destroyer wound up being equipped with the 88 mm Pak 43 as its main armament and a 7.62 mm MG 34 or MG 42 as its secondary weapon.

Throughout the course of the Second World War, 494 Nashorns were produced, with the majority being manufactured in 1943. It was around this time that focus switched to the Jagdpanzer IV, which was smaller and more heavily armored.

The Nashorn was assigned to German heavy anti-tank battalions and made its debut at the Battle of Kursk, on the Eastern Front. It’s success in long-distance engagements resulted in it being viewed favorably by those on the frontlines who’d been worried by the tank destroyer’s rather thin body armor.

German soldiers sitting atop a camouflaged Nashorn driving down a street
Camouflaged Nashorn in Italy, 1944. (Photo Credit: Vack / Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-316-1161-22A / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 de)

The Nashorn is just one of a number of military vehicles scheduled to make an appearance at TankFest 2023. Others include the British Centaur III; the US Sherman M4A1, M8 Greyhound and M18 Hellcat; the German Panzerkampfwagen I; the Russian T-34/85; and the French AMX-13.

Slated to occur from June 23-25, the annual festival will feature demonstrations, various talks and displays. Attendees will also be able to tour The Tank Museum, including its new exhibition, Tanks for the Memories: Tanks in Popular Culture.

“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,” said Nik Wyness, The Tank Museum’s head of marketing, in a press release.

Tanks driving around a dirt track outside
TankFest 2021. (Photo Credit: Finnbarr Webster / Getty Images)

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The Nashorn set to appear at TankFest 2023 is just one of three left in the world.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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