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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Bergepanther; SdKfz 179


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.


Ruhrstahl of Hattingen supplied the armor.

  • Bergepanther: 297, ~300, 350
    • Conversion: DEMAG in Berlin, Demag in Berlin-Falkensee, MAN and Henschel


It was intended to have two in every Panther battalion.


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

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


Crew 4 or 5, 4, 5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 92,400 lb
42 tons
42,000 kg
Length 26' 9"
8.153 m
Height 9'
2.74 m
Width 10' 9"
3.276 m
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 10"
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Main 1: 20 mm
1: 20 mm KwK 38
MG 1: 7.92 mm MG
1: 7.92 mm MG34 MG
Side arms  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 8 - 40
Hull Front, Upper 80@50°
Hull Front, Lower 80@55°
Hull Sides, Upper 40@40°
Hull Sides, Lower 40@0°
Hull Rear 40@30°
Hull Top 15@90°
Hull Bottom 20+13@90°
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) Maybach HL210 P30
Maybach HL230 P30
Bore / stroke  
Net HP HL210: 642, 642@3,000 rpm
HL230: 690@3,000 rpm
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) AK 7-200, 7 forward, 1 reverse
Steering ratio  
Electrical system  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Quantity 1,075 liters
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Speed - Road 20 mph, 21 mph
32 kph
Speed - Cross Country 10 - 15 mph
Range - Road 105 miles
169 km
Range - Cross Country 53 miles
85 km
Turning radius  
Elevation limits  
Fording depth 4' 7", 5' 7"
1.7 m
Trench crossing 6' 3"
1.91 m
Vertical obstacle 3'
0.91 m
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side  
Return rollers each side  
Tracks (Type)  
Width 2' 1.75"
Number of links  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread 8' 7 1/8"


  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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