Looking over the dug-in derelict Panther (was it really derelict, or just misunderstood based on social norms and mores of the time?) on pages 78-82,
a) I think the armored roof over the driver’s compartment was removed, not blown off. This would allow for much easier entrance and exit from the Panther now slightly underground. From the dryness of the ground, I don’ think they had any immediate worries about water entering the vehicle that would never run again anyway. My money is on the fact that there is only half a burned out engine in there.
b) I think the [Germans] plopped the pooped Panther into the near end of the gulley/ravine that extends back up into the hill. This creates a natural trench and a hidden passage to enter the Panther-Bunker.
c) It makes sense that the Germans would have had a camo net “tented” over the top of the turret.
d) Couldn’t the Panther turret be traversed manually? I would be it would be slow and hard to do, but likely possible. There is no way you are going to fire up that engine if it is buried and it would be too much work to install a special engine or generator to simply turn the turret for those … inside.
e) Think about the Panther turret as a tank turned sniper. Any good sniper wants to be able to move after each shot, but he also doesn’t have good armor plate either. So in this case the sniper’s spotter would likely be up on the hill, with a high-powered spotting scope. You run a phone cable down through the gully into the rear escape hatch and communicate with the AT gunners (likely not tank crew, don’t you think?) inside the turret.
f) To disguise the muzzle blast and keep the dust from kicking up, they have scalloped off the loose earth in front of the vehicle, near the gun overhang, and have put down the bed of straw or reeds–this would maintain a natural look and keep the dust from rising too much after the muzzle blast so close to the ground.
Our thanks to Tom for his comments. A “spotter” would make perfect sense!