MORE than 70 years after it fell into Allied hands, one of the largest combat vehicles to see action in the Second World War has arrived in Dorset.

The Panzerjäger Tiger (P), commonly known as Elefant, has undergone an historic 3,500 mile return journey across the Atlantic.

The 70-ton German tank will form part of a major exhibition at the Tank Museum in Bovington next year.

It arrived at Southampton dock on Thursday (Dec15) where it was unloaded onto a lorry and and driven to the museum.

Tank museum curator David Willey said: “Tiger tanks like this one have a powerful reputation which was underpinned with Nazi propaganda at the time.

“This reputation has persisted beyond the war itself into books, films and video games.”

The tank is being loaned from the Ordnance Museum at Fort Lee, VA, by The United States Army Centre of Military History and is one of just two surviving examples of the 91 Elefants that saw service with German forces.

It is the first time that an Elefant has ever been seen in the UK.

It was captured near Anzio, Italy, by US troops in June 1944 – and quickly shipped stateside for military evaluation.

“This mythical reputation, coupled with their rarity, is what makes them of such great interest," added David.

"But in truth, the myth has elevated them to be greater than the reality.”

Designed by famed auto-engineer Ferdinand Porsche, the Elefant was a self-propelled anti-tank gun and member of the ‘Tiger family’ of Second World War German tanks.

Before serving in Italy, it took part in the Battle of Kursk, which remains the biggest tank battle in history.

The tank will feature in the ‘The Tiger Collection – the Tanks, the Terror & the Truth’ exhibition at the museum sponsored by World of Tanks.

Set to open in April 2017, it will bring every member of the Tiger tank family together in one space for the first time in history.