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Germany's Bergepanther; SdKfz 179

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Design

To recover large broke down tanks in the field two large halftracks were used.1 However, it wasn't always possible to get two halftracks into some locations or even have two available.1 Some Tigers were converted to be recovery vehicles but it was decided to modify Panthers as Tigers were in short supply and more valued at the front.1

From July to August 1943, Henschel produced 70 with a 40 ton winch in place of the turrent.1,2,4,5 There was a wood and steel superstructure with a canvas that protected the crew.2,3 A hinged spade was placed on the rear to be use as a counterbalance and lever.2,4 The spade wasn't installed on all vehicles.3,4

The middle part of the hull roof was removed and a metal box was mounted across the hull.3,5 Additional boards were added to increase it's height.3 The boards on the sides could be folded down to allow for people to walk or work on them.3

The compartment held the equipment, winch, cable drum, and the steel arm that ran above the winch area.3 The engine had to be turned off every time the winch was to be turned on.3 Rollers guided the cables over the rear of the Bergepanther.3

Production

Ruhrstahl of Hattingen supplied the armor.

  • Bergepanther: 2971,4, ~3005, 3502
    • Conversion: DEMAG in Berlin1, Demag in Berlin-Falkensee, MAN and Henschel2

Usage

It was intended to have two in every Panther battalion.2

Kursk

In June 1943, MAN sent 12 Panthers, without their turrets, to two Panther battalions that were to be used at Kursk.2

The Panzer Regiment Lauchert and the 51st & 52nd Panzerabteilungen each had 4 at Kursk in July 1943.

Specifications

  Bergepanther
Crew 4 or 5, 44, 51,5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 92,400 lb5
42 tons1,4
42,000 kg5
Length 26' 9"1,4,5
8.153 m1,5
Height 9'1,4,5
2.74 m1,5
Width 10' 9"1,4,5
3.276 m1,5
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 10"4
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 20 mm1,5
1: 20 mm KwK 384
Secondary  
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG1,5
1: 7.92 mm MG34 MG4
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main  
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 405
Hull Front, Upper 80@50°4
Hull Front, Lower 80@55°4
Hull Sides, Upper 40@40°4
Hull Sides, Lower 40@0°4
Hull Rear 40@30°4
Hull Top 15@90°4
Hull Bottom 20+13@90°4
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL210 P301,4,5
Maybach HL230 P304
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP HL210: 6421,5, 642@3,000 rpm4
HL230: 690@3,000 rpm4
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) AK 7-200, 7 forward, 1 reverse4
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline1
Octane  
Quantity 1,075 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 20 mph1,4,5, 21 mph
32 kph1,5
Speed - Cross Country 10 - 15 mph4
Range - Road 105 miles1,4,5
169 km1,5
Range - Cross Country 53 miles1,4
85 km1
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 4' 7"4, 5' 7"5
1.7 m5
Trench crossing 6' 3"4,5
1.91 m5
Vertical obstacle 3'4,5
0.91 m5
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 2' 1.75"4
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8' 7 1/8"4

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  2. German Tanks of World War II, Dr. S. Hart & Dr. R. Hart, 1998
  3. The Panther Family, Horst Scheibert, 1990
  4. AFV #10: Panzerkampfwagen V Panther, Chris Ellis and Peter Chamberlain
  5. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
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