To recover large broke down tanks in the field two large halftracks were used. However, it wasn't always possible to get two halftracks into some locations or even have two available. 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.
From July to August 1943, Henschel produced 70 with a 40 ton winch in place of the turrent. There was a wood and steel superstructure with a canvas that protected the crew. A hinged spade was placed on the rear to be use as a counterbalance and lever. The spade wasn't installed on all vehicles.
The middle part of the hull roof was removed and a metal box was mounted across the hull. Additional boards were added to increase it's height. The boards on the sides could be folded down to allow for people to walk or work on them.
The compartment held the equipment, winch, cable drum, and the steel arm that ran above the winch area. The engine had to be turned off every time the winch was to be turned on. Rollers guided the cables over the rear of the Bergepanther.