M7B1 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage 'Priest' at Bastogne

M7B1 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage 'Priest' at Bastogne

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M7B1 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage 'Priest' at Bastogne

Here we see a M7B1 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage 'Priest' supporting the 101st Airborne Division during the fighting at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The M7B1 was based on the chassis of the M4A3 Sherman tank, and had a one piece cast nose. The earlier M7 was based on the M3 Medium Tank and normally had a three piece bolted nose.

M37 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage

The M37 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage is a 105 mm howitzer self propelled gun developed by the United States. It saw combat in the Korean War and remained part of the U.S. military until being replaced in the late 1950s. Approximately 300 were built.

The M37 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (named T76 105 mm HMC during development starting in 8 July 1943 [1] ) was developed by the US on an extended M24 Chaffee base, and was intended to be the successor to the 105 mm M7 Priest. It used the same 105 mm Howitzer M4 as the ones mounted on some M4 Sherman medium tanks. The M37 HMC was an open topped vehicle using torsion bar suspension with tracks 16 in (41cm) wide. Though the gun performance was similar to that of the M7 Priest, the use of the lighter chassis from the M24 Chaffee made the self-propelled gun easier to handle. [2]

Standardized for production in January 1945 with all units being built by the Cadillac Division of General Motors, the M37 was built too late to see action in World War II. However, it would see action with US forces as an artillery piece during the Korean War. [1] Out of the 448 units ordered, 316 M37 HMCs were built. The M37's thin armor (0.5 in or 1.3 cm) could provide protection from small arms fire and artillery splash, but nothing greater. Its "pulpit" machine gun, like that of the M7 Priest, could be used for anti-aircraft purposes, and its 105 mm Howitzer M4 was able to turn a total of 51.7 degrees. [2] Though its basis, the M24 Chaffee, was fast, the M37 was much more sluggish due to the amount of ammunition it carried (126 rounds), its recoil system, and the weight of the 105 mm howitzer M4. [3]

After the war, some units would see service in foreign countries, such as in the Spanish Army. [3] Both the M37 as well as the M7 would be replaced in the late 1950s by the M52 HMC, a self-propelled gun built on the M41 light tank. [4]

Ⓘ M7 Priest. The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official servic ..

The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and the contemporary Deacon self-propelled guns.

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M7B1 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage 'Priest' at Bastogne - History

Currently availabe restoration project of a 105mm Howitzer Priest which was built in 1944 (hull number 4488 in total 826 M7B1 are produced till February 1945) and giving the USA army regisration USA 40172491-S. In sixties this Priest M7B1 was modified in France by ABS (Atelier de construction de Bourges) in accordance with the M7B2 specification. In total ABS modified 127 M7B1 under this contract from the early sixties.

General information:

The M7B1 is a so-called HMC (‘Howitzer Motor Carriage’) and was produced only in 1944 by the Pressed Steal Car Company. The Priest was constructed on the same platform as the Sherman M4A3 tank. The M7B1 was equipped with the reliable and powerful Ford GAA V8 tank engine with a Displacement of 1,100 cu in (18 L) and a power output of 525 HP and 1,100 lbs. (1.400 Nm).

The M7B1 was the successor of the famous M7. This HMC was successfully used by the US and British Artillery. Before the M7 was available the American forces used half Tracks as self-propelled basis for the 75mm and 105mm Howitzers (GMC: Gun Motor Carriage) but this was not very successful.

Therefore, the US Army decided that they require a Howitzer on a full tracked vehicle in 1941. Starting with 2 prototypes (the T32) the Priest went in production in April 1942. The name Priest is given by the British. Reason the .50 machinegun pulpit looks unmistakably on a pulpit in a church.

The M7B1 “Priest”

M7B1 Priest came later in production then the M7 and was based on the M4A3 Sherman. It was produced from March 1944 until February 1945 by the Pressed Steal Car Company. Total No. built was 826. Major improvement was the implementation of the GAA V8 engine which was without any doubt the best tank engine built in the US during WW-II.

The Priest in action
The M7 and M7B1 Priest were used by the American and British armor divisions as Self Propelled Artillery. The advantage was flexibility, maneuverability and they could give the tanks of the armored divisions artillery support on every desired moment.
The Priest was in action in North-Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and the entire Western front up to Berlin and proved to be very reliable and successful.

The Priest M7B1 saw first action in the battle of the Bulge. There the M7B1 proved to be very effective. Same for the campaign up to Berlin.
For this reason, it was also frequently used in the post war period.
In the ‘50s, when the M7B1 was widely used in the Korean war, the elevation of the gun was inadequate to be used in the mountain area. To improve this many Priest have been modified in this period by raising the howitzer and add an extra segment in the pulpit. This modification was standardized as the M7B2.

M7 (Priest)

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 03/22/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The M7 "Priest" (known formally as the "105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7") was the principle mobile artillery system for Allied ground forces throughout World War 2. She was designed to support armored actions in all theaters of the war as her tracked qualities could be put to good use wherever she was needed. Often times giving way to her more popular counterparts like the M4 Sherman, the M7 Priest was no less in value when it came to finding success on the elusive fronts making up the Second World War - her 105mm main gun supplied a much-needed punch to American, British and NATO actions during her tenure. The British fielded their own slightly modified version of the vehicle and the Canadians developed an armored personnel carrier from the base design. Beyond her actions in World War 2, the Priest lived a long and healthy operational life, ultimately seeing extensive combat in the upcoming Korean War (1950-1953). Early M7 Priests were based on the chassis of the M3 General Lee while the chassis of the M4 General Sherman medium tank was soon adopted. By the end of World War 2, the M24 Chaffee Light Tank became the standardized Priest form.

The M7 Need and Its Development

The need for a self-propelled artillery system proved ever apparent since the beginning stages of World War 2. The Germans were quick to acknowledge this need and developed obsolete and even captured systems to fit the bill - usually just mating a powerful field gun or tank-killing weapon to an improvised superstructure atop a proven track-hulled system. Perhaps the only difference between the parties involved was in doctrine - the Germans choosing to field their self-propelled artillery systems in a direct fire role while the Allies generally kept their systems behind the front lines in the indirect fire role.

The US Army itself had already experimented some with the fitting of a 105mm field gun to the existing chassis of their half-tracks but these led to limited successes. What it really needed was a fully-tracked implement utilizing existing components to help facilitate production and keep costs at a minimum while offering unparalleled cross-country performance and fire support for infantry and armor actions during a given operation. The chassis of the M3 Lee Medium Tank was selected as the starting point for it was available in some number and the tracked qualities of her hull offered up the required cross country mobility - a component that would allow the new weapon system to better support the expected armored thrusts across the muddy and hilly European terrain. The upper hull was extensively redrawn and rearranged to make room for the form and function of the M1A2 105mm howitzer.

A pilot vehicle was penciled out under the designation of "T32" and two prototypes were constructed. Self-defense would be handled by a modest addition of a single Browning M2 .50 caliber air-cooled machine gun in a raised cupola. Twenty-four 105mm projectiles would be displaced about the superstructure along the inside of the left and right side walls as well as under the floor, each projectile housed in individual protective cylinders. Armor was 51mm (2-inches) at its thickest point and power was derived from a single Continental R975 C1 series 9-radial engine of 350 horsepower running at 2,400rpm. Suspension was handled a vertical volute spring system. The T32 was placed through an appropriate series of trials at Aberdeen Proving Ground and eventually culminated with the "M7" in February of 1942. Production was slated to begin in April of that year.

M7 Production Begins and Origin of the Priest Name

From April of 1942 to August of 1943, the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) was responsible for construction of 2,814 M7 systems. Via Lend-Lease, 90 of these early examples were shipped to the British 8th Army fighting in Egypt and immediately took on the nickname of "Priest" thanks to the pulpit-like drum-style cupola mounting the .50 caliber machine gun. The British were quick to remove 22 of the 105mm projectiles in favor of installing vital radio communications equipment in their place.

Some revisions were already underway while these early systems were being delivered and this produced three slightly varied forms. Most notable of the revisions was to the ammunition stowage compartments, now increasing hold for up to 69 projectiles of 105mm ammunition.

M7 Priest Walk-Around

Design-wise, the M7 sported a lower hull seemingly identical to the M3 Lee medium tank series. She showcased the same six-wheeled track systems with each mounted to the hull sides in pairs and braced by the suspension system. The drive sprocket was at the front, tied to the transmission system which, itself, was paired to the engine held in a compartment to the rear of the vehicle. The superstructure was a large, fixed formation of slab-sides and seated atop of the hull. The glacis plate was slightly angled and contoured into the forward superstructure facing. The driver was situated to the left of the superstructure and managed the mobility functions of the vehicle. He was afforded a rectangular viewing port that could be left open or closed as actions dictated. The 105mm main gun, and applicable firing system, was situated to his right and offset just right of the vehicle's centerline. As the main gun was seated within the superstructure walls itself, this meant limited side-to-side traverse. To help promote a lower silhouette, the main gun was also originally limited to a 35-degree elevation firing arc. To the right of the main gun mount was the pulpit/observation post usually fitting a single Browning M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun for anti-infantry/anti-aircraft defense. The superstructure was "open-topped" to help facilitate observation of the battlefield ahead. As such, the crew was unnecessarily exposed to enemy fire, fragmentation effects and the elements. This design element, however, was common practice for such weapon systems during the war. Reported speeds were 24 miles per hour on roads while this degraded to 15 miles per hour off road. Range was approximately 120 miles.

The M7 Priest in World War 2

The M7 received its combat debut under British command in the Second Battle of El Alamein (October 23rd, 1942 - November 5th, 1942) in North Africa against German General Erwin Rommel. Results for the British were, apart from being forced to use the American M1A2 main gun (and therefore American ammunition), excellent subsequently led to an order for several thousand vehicles. However, these were to be shipped sans the American main gun, only to be fitted with British-produced ordnance as soon as delivery ensued. While beneficial to the British Army in the short term, not being able to supply their M7 crews with available British ammunition was something of a logistical problem. Eventually, the M7 was replaced in British Army service by the Canadian-built Sexton (built from the Ram tank, itself a Canadian development of the American M3 Lee) beginning in 1943, armed with the British Ordnance QF 25-pounder main gun straight from the factory. The QF 25-pounder was essentially the British equivalent to the American M1 gun.

Once the British M7s were phased out (either through direct replacement or finding the end of their useful barrel lives), they were utilized as gun-less armored personnel carriers. The Canadians went on to developed these M7s as 20-man, 2-crew conversion armored personnel carriers (APCs) under the generic designation of "Kangaroo" - in some ways becoming a forerunner to today's dedicated armored personnel carriers. Some 102 examples were modified as such from October of 1944 to April of 1945 and used by British and Commonwealth forces, first seeing combat at Caen during the Invasion of France.

Improved Priests

After some months of extended combat use, the M7 was revised for the better. Most important of these changes became the addition of fold-down side and rear armor fixed along the superstructure. As it was, crews of initial M7s were at the mercy of many battlefield dangers no thanks to the low-lying side armor protection of the superstructure. The new side and rear armor fittings improved that drawback to an extent, though crews were still operating in an open-topped fighting compartment. From March to October of 1944, ALCO delivered 500 more of these revised M7s to the US Army. However, there was already a shift undertaken away from the M3 Lee and towards the M4 Sherman chassis - this produced the M7B1 after the base M7 had only been in production for a month.

The M7B1 was quick to come online. This version of the M7 SPG was developed to promote more commonality of parts between the M7 series and the omnipresent M4 Sherman medium tank. The lower hull was built of mild steel plate (pressed steel production) as opposed to armor. Use of the M3 Lee chassis in M7 production soon ebbed away by September of 1943, and the Lee-inspired M7s were fully replaced by January of 1945. The M7B1 specifically used the chassis of the M4A3 Sherman modelas well as the Ford GAA engine. The Pressed Steel Car Company produced 826 M7B1 models which, by late 1943, had become the standard M7 production variant.

The United States Marines in the Pacific oft-times removed the 105mm main gun altogether and used the M7 as a sort of make-shift armored personnel carrier housing thirteen marines. This was apparent in subsequent actions in Okinawa and these M7s became known as "Defrocked Priests". In all, the M7 made up some three American battalions during World War 2 and was reportedly produced in over 4,500 examples (sources vary on the exact total). Ultimately, the system would see action across North Africa, Europe (including Sicily) and throughout the Pacific.

The M37 as a Replacement

The M37 designation (formally as the "M37 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage") was reserved for "Priests" making use of the M24 Chafee Light Tank chassis, intended to replace the M7 in whole. These tank systems featured an improved working space for the gunnery crew and revisions to the ammunition storage while being powered by twin Cadillac-brand engines. She was armed with an M4 105mm main gun and given 126 projectiles. Of the 448 ordered, only 316 of these were actually delivered. The M37 became the production standard Priest by January of 1945.

Priests in Korea

The M7B2 was developed during the Korean War in an effort to increase the elevation of the main gun for better actions across the mountainous Korean landscape. As such, she had her gun mount and machine gun ring raised, producing a very different sort of frontal appearance. The gun was now able to elevate up to 65-degrees and furthermore increased the range of the main gun. The machine gun ring now had full 360-degree traverse capability to defend all sides of the vehicle from infantry attacks, one of the many dangers afforded to tank crews during the war.

M7B1 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage 'Priest' at Bastogne - History

M7 Priest 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage

Les Américains utilisèrent le M7 sur tous les fronts: Afrique du Nord, Italie, Europe de l' Ouest et Pacifique. Les Marines l' utilisèrent intensivement à Okinawa, surtout comme transport de troupes (13 hommes prenaient place à bord).

The Americans used M7 on all fronts: North Africa, Italy, Western Europe and the Pacific. The Marines intensively used it in Okinawa, especially as transport of troops (13 men took seat on board).

Au sinon le M7 offrait une mobilité appréciable au 105 mm de campagne. Il était l' homologue du Wespe allemand dans la catégorie de l' Artillerie blindée. Comme les engins du même type le M7 n' était pas une arme de contact car sa superstructure ouverte et son faible blindage en faisait une proie facile même pour des fantassins. L' usage standard était de faire feu en batterie (section de M7) depuis les lignes arrières pour pilonner les positions ennemies comme le ferait une batterie d' obusiers standards.

M7 offered an appreciable mobility to the 105 mm field howitzer. It was the counterpart of German Wespe in the category of armoured Artillery. As the machines of the same type M7 was not a weapon of contact because its open superstructure and its weak shielding made of it an easy prey even for infantrymen. The standard use was to make fire into battery (section of M7) since the back lines to ram the enemy positions as a battery of standard howitzers would do it.

Les troupes britanniques furent dotées de M7. Les 90 premiers exemplaires furent envoyés en Égypte en 1942 juste avant le commencement de la seconde bataille d' El Alamein. C' est d' ailleurs les Britanniques qui donnèrent au M7 son surnom de "Priest" (prêtre) en référence à la coupole en forme de chaire d' église. Le M7 fut utilisé en Afrique du Nord et en Italie par la VIIIe armée britannique.

The British troops were equipped with M7. The first 90 specimens were sent in Egypt in 1942, just before the beginning of the second battle of El Alamein. They is the British who gave to M7 its nickname of "Priest" in reference to the cupola in the shape of pulpit of church. M7 was used in North Africa and Italy by British VIIIth army.

Les Britanniques commandèrent également une version dotée de leur propre canon de campagne qui fut baptisée Sexton et combattirent avec ce modèle en Europe de l' Ouest après les premiers engagements en Normandie. Notons que les forces françaises libres furent aussi dotées du M7.

Pour réaliser un transport de troupes entièrement chenillé, les Britanniques modifièrent 102 M7 entre octobre 1944 et avril 1945. Le 105 mm et les casiers à munitions étaient simplement retirés pour libérer l' espace du compartiment de combat. Cette conversion baptisée Kangaroo pouvait en plus de ses deux hommes d' équipage emporter 20 fantassins ou encore un mortier et ses servants.

The British also ordered a version equipped with their own field gun which was baptized Sexton and fought with this model in Western Europe after the first engagements in Normandy. Let us note that the Free French Army was also equipped with M7.

To realize an entirely tracked transport of troops, the British modified 102 M7 between October 1944 and April 1945. The 105 mm and the racks of ammunition were simply withdrawn to release the space of the compartment of combat. This conversion baptized Kangaroo could in more of its two crewmen carry 20 infantrymen or a mortar and its crewmen.

Les Britanniques réalisèrent également une version de commandement, le Priest OP. Comme le Kangaroo le compartiment de combat fut dégagé pour accueillir des postes de radio.

The British also realized a version of command, Priest Op. As Kangaroo the compartment of combat was released to accomodate radio sets.

105-mm self-propelled artillery installation M7 "Priest"

Self-propelled howitzer, designed on the basis of medium tank M3, and later - M4. This vehicle was designed to provide mobile fire support to tank divisions. In February 1942, Terms of Reference 2 were standardized as the M7 HMC. Serial production was started in April 1942. It was engaged in the American Locomotive Company, the Federal Machine and Welder Company and the Pressed Steel Car Company. In the period from April 1942 to February 1945, 4316 self-propelled artillery mounts of this type were manufactured in two main modifications: the basic version - M7 and modifications M7B1.

M7 served as the main ACS of the United States of America in World War II. The M7 ACS was a standard artillery of tank divisions, and was also used by corps artillery and infantry units. M7 was used by American troops in all theaters of war, primarily in Western Europe, where many tank divisions operated. In addition, more than 1000 ACS was transferred under the Lend-Lease program of France and the UK.

His history The M7 self-propelled artillery unit launched the 1941 of the year in October after Major General J. Devers, the head of the Armored Forces, recommended the development of an 105-mm self-propelled howitzer based on the new medium tank M3. Interestingly, the production of the tank M3 began just three months before. According to this assignment, the prototypes that received the designation 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage T32, were made by Baldwin Locomotive Works. Tests were held at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. The first prototype of 5 February 1942 of the year, after preliminary tests, was transferred to Fort Knox, where the tests continued for three days. According to the test results, the US Army Armored Committee concluded that after finalization, the T32 will meet the demands put forward by the army.

The thickness of the cutting armor in accordance with the recommendations of the Panzer Committee was reduced to 13 mm. Also, the howitzer was shifted to the right to provide a sector of horizontal guidance in 45 degrees. To reduce the height of the self-propelled gun, the Panzer Committee allowed to reduce the maximum angle of elevation to 35 degrees in comparison with the 65 specified in the original TK. Another requirement was the equipment self-propelled 12,7-millimeter anti-aircraft machine gun. Various options for locating the folding swivel installation above the engine compartment, or the turret at the wheelhouse corner were worked out. As a result, preference was given to the second variant, which resulted in changes in the configuration of the frontal part. The height of the stern and sides of the cabin was reduced by 280 mm, the frontal part was increased by 76 mm. The ammunition load increased to 57 shots thanks to a change in the ammunition.

In February 1942, all of these changes at the Aberdeen Proving Ground were made to the second prototype T32, which was then sent to the American Locomotive Company plant for use as a sample during mass production. The T32 in April 1942 was adopted under the designation 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7.

The M7 ACS has retained the layout layout of the base tank M3. The engine compartment was located in the aft part, the fighting compartment in the middle part in the fixed cabin open to the top, the control compartment and the transmission compartment in the frontal part. The self-propelled crew consisted of 7 people: squad leader, driver, gunner, and four crew numbers. In addition, the supply mechanic and two ammunition carriers were part of the M7 department.

The differentiated body armor of the M7 self-propelled artillery system was designed to protect against small-arms fire. weapons and splinters. On machines of earlier releases, the lower part of the hull consisted of a cast, three-sectional frontal part of a cylindrical shape. Thickness - from 51 to 108 mm, tilt angles - from 0 to 56 degrees. The thickness of the rolled vertical side sheets was 38 mm, the stern sheet - 13 mm. Tilt angles - from 0 to 10 degrees. In the area of ​​the engine compartment, the bottom thickness was 13 mm, in the frontal part - 25 mm. In the manufacture of the first self-propelled guns, rivets were used when assembling the lower part of the hull, but later these connections were made by welding. In addition, on late-release machines, the three-piece frontal part was replaced with a solid one. Starting with 1944, on M7, the lower part of the body was made of non-armored steel (thickness 13 and 25 mm), and the cylindrical frontal part was replaced with a wedge-shaped part.

On all M7, the upper part of the hull, including the space above the engine compartment, was assembled from 13-mm rolled sheets of homogeneous armored steel and had a slope of 30 degrees in the frontal part. Boards and sterns were installed vertically. 13-mm sheets of the roof of the engine compartment, installed at an angle of 83 degrees. The stern and sides of the cabin had a lower height in comparison with the frontal part, but on self-propelled guns of later releases this difference was compensated by the use of folding panels. On the right side there was a cylindrical sponson for a ring machine-gun turret, in the frontal part there was a gun embrasure, which was closed from the inside with a movable shield. To protect the fighting compartment from the weather used a canvas awning. Embarkation / disembarkation of the crew was carried out through the top of the cabin. Access to the transmission and engine units was provided through hatches in the aft and roof of the engine compartment, as well as a removable frontal part of the hull.

On the basic modification of the self-propelled guns M7 installed radial aviation Continental 9-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled carburetor engine, Model R975 C1. This engine with a working volume of 15945 cm³ developed an object power of 350 hp. and maximum 400 hp at 2400 rpm The objective and maximum torque at 1800 rpm were 1085 and 1207 N • m (111 and 123 kgf • m), respectively. Four fuel tanks (totaling 662 liters) were installed in the engine compartment: two vertical 112-liter tanks - at the partition between the fighting and engine rooms, two tanks with a capacity of 219 liters - in the sponsors of the hull. As the fuel for the engine, gasoline with an octane rating of more than 80 was used.

The power unit of the M7B1 modification was the 8-cylinder V-shaped aviation four-stroke liquid-cooled carburetor engine manufactured by Ford, GAA model. Displacement 18026 cm³. At 2600 rpm, the GAA engine developed its 450 horsepower. and maximum xnumx hp At 500 rpm, the object and maximum torque was 2200 and 1288 N • m (1410 and 131 kgf • m), respectively. Fuel requirements were similar to those of the R144 engine. The total amount of fuel tanks was reduced to 975 liters.

The M7 ACS transmission consisted of: a two-disk half-centrifugal main friction dry friction (type D78123), a propeller shaft, a mechanical five-speed (5 + 1) gearbox, a double-differential rotation mechanism, side bend, and a single cushion reducer 2,84 number: 1).

On each side, the undercarriage of the M7 self-propelled unit consisted of 6 rubberized single-sided road wheels (diameter 508 mm), 3 supporting rubber wheels, a sloth and drive wheel equipped with removable gear rims. Suspension roller type rollers VVSS interlocked in pairs. Two balancers with support rollers attached to them, pivotally connected to the body of the suspension truck, communicate through sliding supports with the beam, through a buffer pad connected to an elastic element in the form of two conical springs located along the axis of the tank. On the body of the trolley suspension was attached supporting roller. When the suspension is working, the balance bar lifts the end of the rocker arm through the sliding platform, through the buffer pad that compresses the springs and evenly distributes the load on both rollers. At the first M7, D37893 suspension trolleys were installed, but in December 1942, self-propelled artillery mounts began to be equipped with reinforced D47527 trolleys. The main difference is the location of the supporting roller not above the center of the cart, but above the rear support roller.

The M7 steel tracks are fine-knit, lanterning, rubber-metal hinge consisted of 79 tracks (width - 421 mm, pitch - 152 mm) each. On the M7 SAU, 4 caterpillar models were used: rubber coated tracks with chevron - T48, steel tracks with ground loops - T49, with flat rubberized tracks - T51, with steel tracks with chevron - T54E1.

The main armament of the M7 ACS was the modified M105A2 1-mm howitzer. The length of the barrel M2A1 was 22,5 caliber. The howitzer had hydro-pneumatic recoil devices and a manual horizontal wedge gate. The howitzer recoil length was 1066 mm. The gun was located in the frontal part of the body (offset to the starboard side) on a standard field gun carriage. This placement of the gun in the self-propelled gun limited the limiting vertical angles of pointing to −5 . + 35 degrees and in the horizontal plane on the left side to 15 degrees and on the right side to 30 degrees. The tip was carried out using hand screw mechanisms. When firing direct fire, the gun was guided with the M16 periscope optical sight, shooting from closed positions was carried out with the help of the M4 quadrant and the M12A2 artillery panorama.

105 mm howitzer M2A1

When firing, the crew’s functions were distributed as follows: the general management of the calculation was carried out by the commander, the driver kept the self-propelled brakes at a shot, horizontal guidance and corrections were carried out by the gunner, the calculation number 1 operated with the vertical guidance of the gun and the shutter, No. 2 loaded the weapon, No. No. 3 and 4 installed a fuse and changed the charge, and also fired with a periscopic sight when firing direct fire.

With continuous firing, the gun’s firing rate in the first one and a half minutes of firing was 8 shots per minute, in the first four minutes - 4 shots and in the first 10 minutes - 3 shots. For an hour, the gun could fire up to 100 shots. The maximum firing range of smoke and high-explosive fragmentation projectiles was 10424 m.

In the early SAU, the M7 ammunition consisted of 57, and in the subsequent, 69 rounds. The ammunition consisted of smoke and high-explosive fragmentation projectiles, as well as cumulative projectiles that pierced 102-mm homogeneous steel armor. For the howitzer M2A1, semi-unit shots were used for various types of ammunition, except cumulative, in which unitary shots with a fixed charge were used. From 69, 19 and 17 shots were located in the left and right corps sponsons, the rest of the 33 shots were located in drawers under the floor of the combat compartment. Also, the self-propelled gun could tow a trailer M10, carrying additional 50 shots.

The first prototype T32 on trial in Fort Knox

The M7 12,7-mm anti-aircraft machine gun M2HB, located in the turret ring installation, which provided round fire, was used as an auxiliary armament of the M300 SAU. Ammunition of machine guns - 6 cartridges of ribbons placed in 90 loaded into the box-store. Initially, the ribbons were filled with 10% armor-piercing and 80% tracer bullets. Later this ratio was changed to 20 / 11,43 percent. For the crew’s self-defense, there were three 1928 mm submachine guns M1A3 or M1620 with 54 cartridges in XNUMX box magazines. In addition, there were hand grenades: two fragmentation Mk.II and six smoke.

On the march, the ACN mechanic-driver M7 watched the terrain through a viewing hatch on which a removable windshield was installed. For the review during the battle, a prismatic viewing device mounted in the manhole cover was used. The rest of the crew had no special means of observation, except for sighting devices. Also in M7 there were no special intercoms, external communications - the Flag Set M238 signal flags. The ACS was also completed with the signal signs Panel Set AP50A. The M7 fire control center in equipped firing positions was usually connected by laying field telephones. In the British troops “Priest”, due to the reduction of the ammunition for the 24, a shot could be equipped with a radio station for external communication.

M7 for extinguishing fires was equipped with a stationary single-action carbon dioxide manual fire protection system, which consisted of two 5,9-liter cylinders installed in the engine compartment under the floor and connected to pipes with nozzles located in the engine compartment. Also, the self-propelled gun was completed with two portable fire extinguishers, which contained 1,8 kg of carbon dioxide and were placed in the sponsons of the body. The SAU also included three 1,42-kg degassing M2 devices.

At one time, the ACS M7 was interested in the leadership of the British army. The British, barely seeing the "pilot" model, ordered 5500 units. The first 2500 ACS M7 British tank mission ordered the US 1942 of the year in March. They should have been delivered before the end of 1942. Another 3000 self-propelled guns were supposed to arrive during the 1943 year. But the priority in obtaining self-propelled artillery installations belonged to the American army, and therefore the British were not able to get the desired number of M7. In September, the British 1942 received the first 90 self-propelled guns M7. The British M7 was renamed "105mm SP, Priest" (Priest, priest). Machines entered the artillery battalions of tank divisions. The main objective of "Priest" was the implementation of fire support from remote positions during the onset of infantry and armored vehicles. In this regard, self-propelled armor protection was no more than 25 mm and protected only from fragments and bullets.

Self-propelled guns M7 in November 1942, took part in the fifth regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery in the battle of El Alamein. This battle led to the defeat of the German troops in the desert. In 1943, these self-propelled guns as part of the 8 Army participated in the landing in Italy. The British army by this time additionally received 700 machines, some of which were used for operations in Normandy.

In 1942, the British General Staff ordered the creation of its own ACS support based on the M7. The American 105-mm gun was replaced by an 87,6-mm howitzer. As a basis, having considered possible options for modernization, we chose the chassis of the Ram tank, having mounted a new armored cabin on it. The workplace of the driver was shifted to the right, and the gun mount - to the left. Due to the tightness of the fighting compartment, a small ammunition was placed near the left side, and the anti-aircraft machine gun had to be removed. An experienced self-propelled gun was assembled at the end of 1942, at the Montreal Locomotive Works. The car was immediately sent to the UK for testing. In 1943, mass production of a self-propelled unit called “Sexton” was started. By the end of the 1943 of the year, the 424 of the vehicle was built, until the spring of the 1945 of the year (cessation of production) 2150 self-propelled units were commissioned, and for the last batches the chassis of the medium tank M4 was used. "Sexton" gradually supplanted the American M7, but both self-propelled guns remained in service with the British army even after the war ended.

ACS M7 in the summer of 1944, began gradually to be replaced by self-propelled artillery installations «Sexton». Part of the rejection of the M7 self-propelled artillery mounts was determined by the desire to unify the ammunition supply. British engineers took the M7 as the basis for the development of the Priest OP and Priest Cangaroo armored personnel carriers. With the M7, a howitzer was dismantled, the front embrasure was closed with armor plates, and the compartment was equipped for transporting 20 people. The US Army willingly used the M7 during the fighting on the Western Front, but in January of the 1945 of the year they were transferred to the second line and replaced with the M37 self-propelled artillery.

The M7 ACS in the post-war period was in service in the American army, as well as in some other states. M7 participated in the Korean War. During the Arab-Israeli war 1967, these SAUs were used by the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel 36 self-propelled units M7 "Priest" were obtained in the 1959 year, and the following year came another 40 self-propelled gun data without tools. Apparently, the corps of the latter were used in the production of 160-mm self-propelled mortars and / or 155-mm self-propelled artillery installations. ACS Priest were in service with three divisions - the regular Shfifon (previously armed with AMX MK 61 self-propelled guns) and two reserve ones (including 822). In total, at the beginning of the 1960s in Israel, there were 5 divisions armed with 105-mm self-propelled artillery guns (2 MK 61 and 3 Priest), one of which is the regular Shfifon.

Priest self-propelled artillery mounts were used in the 1964-1965 Water Battle, the Six-Day War 1967 of the Year, and the War of Exhaustion 1969-1970 (all those self-propelled guns were already in reserve at that time). It is known that 26 July 1969, during the attack of the Egyptian aviation on the position of the battery "Beth" 822-th division of the 209-th artillery regiment, two self-propelled guns "Priest" were destroyed.

Two Priest divisions in 1973 fought on the Syrian front in the 213 and 282 artillery regiments of the 146 and 210 divisions. Soon after the war, both divisions were re-equipped with self-propelled M107 units, and all Priest self-propelled guns were transferred to storage.

The history of using the Priest ACS in the Israel Defense Forces has not ended.

The commander of the NWO in April 1974 was Raphael Eitan (Rapoul), who paid much attention to strengthening territorial defense. Among other machines was 10 ACS "Priest" which were withdrawn from warehouses and refitted. From self-propelled guns pulled out the transmission and the engines replacing them with an additional combat pack. The vehicles were installed in pairs in 5 settlements in order to fire at previously selected critical targets, such as crossings across the Jordan. It is unclear how long Priest was maintained in working condition - probably until the change of the commander of the NWO of the 1978 year of August. It is possible that the 10 data of self-propelled units did not leave their positions for a long time.

Israel, according to Jane's, had an 2003 M35 “Priest” on 7, which in this case was “in service”, according to IISS 34, such self-propelled artillery installations were counted by the Israel Defense Forces up to 1999 / 2000 inclusive. At 2008, Priest’s list was no longer on Jane's lists.

In the Israel Defense Forces, this self-propelled gun had no special name, and was designated “TOMAT Priest”.

Combat weight - 22,9 t.
Crew - 7 man.
Production - 1942 — 1945 years.
Number of issued - 4316 pcs.
Body length - 6020 mm.
Case width - 2870 mm.
Height - 2946 mm.
Ground clearance - 430 mm.
Type of armor: cast homogeneous and steel rolled.
The forehead of the body is 51 . 114 mm / 0 . 56 degrees.
Housing side - 38 mm / 0 deg.
Body Feed - 13 mm / 0 deg.
Bottom - 13 — 25 mm.
Forehead felling - 13 mm / 0 deg.
The cabin deck is 13 mm / 0 deg.
Feeding chow - 13 mm / 0 deg.
The roof of the cabin is open.
105-mm howitzer M2A1 with barrel length 22,5 calibers.
Vertical guidance angles - from −5 to + 35 deg.
Horizontal guidance angles - from −15 to + 30 deg.
Firing range - 10,9 km.
Ammunition guns - 69 shots.
12,7-mm machine gun M2HB.
M16 telescopic sight.
Panoramic sight M12A2.
Engine - 9-cylinder radial carburetor air cooling capacity 350 l. with.
Speed ​​on the highway - 38 km / h.
Cruising on the highway - 190 km.

The howitzer motor carriage M7 Priest was an important self-propelled artillery piece in the U.S. arsenal. It was based on the M3 chassis and carried a 105mm howitzer and a crew of seven. It was nicknamed the Priest by the British because of its distinctive machine gun pulpit.

The M7 Priest, based on the M3 Lee chassis, underwent numerous changes during the production run of 3,490 vehicles between the spring of 1942 and spring of 1945. These changes were introduced throughout the manufacturing process, and some vehicles were upgraded during maintenance in the field, so while there are some distinctive "markers" that separate early, mid, and late versions, there are also features that were more fluid in their appearances and may be seen in one mid version M7, but not in another one. The follow-on M7B1 was based on the M4A3 Sherman hull and superstructure, and, produced in limited quantities, did not see much action in Europe.

These rolling changes make research a bit challenging. The most significant features of the late M7 were the pulpit with the standardized lower extension that provided more stowage space, raised return rollers on the suspension units, a different configuration for the interior bulkhead wall, baskets atop the rear stowage boxes, rear overhang without the notch out of the lower portion, an exhaust deflector grate, and elimination of the pair of gas fume vents on the engine deck. The lights are also lowered from the top regions of the front armor.

The main differences between the early M7's and the M7-B1 were the switch from the M3 Sherman chassis with the R-975 to the M4 Sherman using the Ford GAA V8 engine with 500 horsepower from 1100 Cubic Inches. The primary reason for the change was the ability to go from a 35 to a 65 degree elevation for the 105 Howitzer. The V-8 set lower in the hull allowing lowering the M2-A1 Howitzer to achieve the goal of a 65 degree angle. Some of the low profile was lost but it was agreed that it was worth it. The 105 had a muzzle velocity of 1,550 feet per second and a range of 7 Miles. The machine gunner's pulpit was also raised accordingly to allow for a clear field of fire for the machine gunner. This particular M7-B1 is in beautiful condition as you can see from the photos and has a completely rebuilt GAA V8 engine.

This is a perfect full ground up restoration with NOS engine, tracks, bogies, etc. A true one of a kind very rare tank. This vehicle is very rare and seldom seen in collections today. It essentially is an open topped Sherman tank complete with an anti-aircraft 50 cal machine gun.

M7 Priest 105mm Motor Gun Carriage Photo Gallery

M7 Priest production line at American Locomotive Company, January 1943.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at desert training near Iron Mountains, CA early in World War II. Lt. M. Hutchison of Enterprise, AL is at the extreme right. Cpl. L. Roberts from Graham, TX is at post behind the howitzer. The third soldier is identified as Col. R. Downing of DeKalb, MO.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage towing a trailer, 1943 photo.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage of B Battery, 300th Armored Field Artillery Bn., X Corps. Occupants are (L-R): Sergeant First Classs Allen J. Helms, Chief of Section Corporal Joseph Stair, Gunner Sergeant Richard N. Null, Lanyard Man Corporal Robert C. Smith, Cannoner. All the men are from Cody, WY. Photo taken 1 July 1951 in Korea.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M7B2 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

Stories about weapons. Evil devout: M7 and M7B1 Priest self-propelled howitzers

Reading the materials, of which there are many today, including on our pages, about any combat vehicles of the Second World War, you are simply amazed at the attitude of the authors towards them. The machine is successful and unsuccessful, but it played a role in the war. And if you do not like this car, then you just can not tell about it. You can tell about her performance characteristics, weapons, booking, power plant. But not about the soul!

Any combat vehicle is above all a soul. This is a living organism. This is part of the crew. This is a soldier who does his job, in spite of his armament, his lag or, conversely, superiority, in characteristics . This is a soldier! A soldier must love! Anyone! Just because it is a soldier!

We talk a lot about cars, which during the Second World War created a huge amount. Moreover, we like to tell and show the technique that should be called the workers of the war.

Not heroes, not the best of the best, but simple laborers. Talk about those who died in the course of the world meat grinder daily. He died heroically only because he stood and did not run away from more advanced, more armed, more modern, outnumbering .

Today, the talk about the car, which many of our readers predicted after the material about tank M3 "Lee" (M3 Lee). About the self-propelled gun 105-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7.

Self-propelled howitzer, which, despite the wretchedness of its predecessor, received very good marks almost immediately after its military debut.

The Americans understood perfectly well that army mechanization required the creation of not only tanks, but also self-propelled artillery, armored personnel carriers, and transport vehicles. The army must be mobile not only by combat units, but also by its entire structure. Lag in the movement of any component threatened with the loss of combat capability of the entire military association.

It is for this reason that the American designers have thought about the creation of ACS already in 1940 year. The reason is that here we agree with some authors of the BTT research, such an interest was the success of the German army. And the German self-propelled guns in general became a discovery for Americans.

It should be noted that howitzers on a tank chassis were not the first machines of this class in the United States. The first chassis, which decided to be used for ACS, became МХNUMX. But not tanks, but half-tracked armored personnel carriers. Two howitzers were used at once. 3-mm mountain M75А1 and 1-mm field М105А2. As you can see, the search for the optimum went not only in terms of the chassis, but also of a sufficient caliber of gun.

The first American self-propelled howitzers, more precisely, according to American tradition, motor crews with a howitzer (Howitzer Motor Carriage) were with these tools and had the designation T30 NMS for howitzer М1А1 and Т19 НМС for howitzer М2А1.

Machines proved unsuitable for war. Especially T19. However, not accepted by the military ACS still launched into production. On bezrybe and cancer fish. The 500 machines T30 and 324 T19 were released. Issued with the original wording for the army technology - partially suitable. The type of glasses worn, flat-footed and at night that .

Later, the war confirmed the verdict of the military. By the way, for those who did not understand the indexes of cars. The letter "T" means that this is just a prototype, the initial version, not adopted for service.

Both cars took part in battles in Italy, the Philippines, in North Africa. In all battles they suffered huge losses. Moreover, for the T19 NMS any shot howitzer with a normal angle of elevation was almost a feat. A sufficiently large caliber of the gun proved destructive for the BTR chassis.

And then the military got down to business. Most of our readers, as people of service, further actions are already clear. There is a tank that is commercially available - the M3 "Lee." There is a 105-mm howitzer. And there are eggheads who do not understand the need to create high-quality self-propelled howitzers.

The commander of the US Army Tank Forces, Major-General Jacob Devers, ordered the designers of the Baldwin Locomotive firm to install a howitzer on the M3 tank instead of a cannon. It's simple. Manufacturers of locomotives did not disappoint. Already in October, 1941, two samples of 105-mm self-propelled howitzers were at the test site.

Actually, it came together so well, right? The general understands that if they cannot create their own, they need to do something. And do it quickly. So, you need to attract those who stupidly execute a stupid order in the style of "I do not care, but that was ready in the morning."

In the end - voila! Two weeks of shock work with heads and sledgehammers in the locomotive design bureau - and the self-propelled gun goes to the testing ground! On the move!

The military was really shocked by the technical solutions of railway workers. On the machines T32 (that is how the two objects were designated) were field howitzers almost intact. Well, lightly sawed, so that the gun got into the wheelhouse, which turned out when processing the tank with a sledgehammer and rasp .

The gun stood on its standard carriage, including the lower machine and part of the bedding in the armored rectangular wheelhouse.

The result of the test the military liked. The cars were taken to Fort Knox for some upgrades. In particular, army officers insisted on strengthening the felling reservation. At the same time, given the place of the ACS in battle, they went to reduce the angle of elevation of the gun. Well, the traditional anti-aircraft machine gun.

It is in this form that the T32 was adopted under the designation 105-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 in April 1942. And literally in a matter of days, mass production of new ACS began. The first cars were assembled at the American Locomotive Company. But alas, after the release of 2814 machines, production was stopped in the 1943 year. Logically история M7 on this was supposed to end.

But in war as in war. Already in March of the following year, the cars again began to leave the workshops of the factories. From March 1944 to October of the same year, 500 machines were released. A total of 3490 ACS M7 was released (from October 1942 to February 1945). But in March of 1945, the need for cars increased again.

With 1944, the base for the M7 Priest (M7 Priest) has become another tank, the M4 Sherman. Naturally, the new chassis and experience of fighting somewhat changed the car. Now Priest has received folding sides, a solid-molded part of the hull and small changes in the chassis.

The number of new "Priests", now under the index М7В1, issued for the year - 826 units.

In total, the front received 4316 ACS M7 of both modifications (April 1942-February 1945). That is the story.

What is so interesting we can see in the car, which according to some researchers, was not at all something outstanding? Why, for example, is this car still respected in some countries? Why, even in the 70-s of the 20 century, did this old woman (or was she an old man?) Show herself very worthily in the Doomsday War? In short, we go to feel, pull and twist .

Let's start with the "real" M7. Those that were created on the basis of "General Lee". If you look at this car carefully, it becomes clear that the chassis, engine and transmission are fully tank. Moreover, even the specific features of the M3 Lee are preserved.

The very sponson that Lee had and which thereby “twisted” the tank’s face somewhat, remained almost unchanged. The front part of the body, which was assembled from 3's cast parts, retained the lower right part. Like the Lee, the left and center were higher than the right.

In later machines based on the Sherman М4 (М7В1) this feature is absent. Preserved true overall design feature - three parts. But now they were all the same height.

Even the bolts that connected the parts of the forehead and the forehead itself was attached to the body and the whole plate remained. By the way, despite the archaism of bolt fastening, this decision had a very rational explanation. The casting of the nose of the car was at the same time the differential housing and final drives.

Thus, when repairing these units, as well as the gearbox, it was enough just to unscrew the bolts. Thereby disassemble the nose and repair or replace. Agree, in the field this opportunity is worth a lot. If the bolts do not warp and not jam.

Further chopping. Conventional welding from 12,7-mm armor plates. There is no roof. In front of the made loophole for howitzers. Field Gun, 105-mm field howitzer М2А1. An interesting detail, which for some reason do not pay attention. Howitzer is armored. Yes, the reservation is small, but it is.

As mentioned above, the military when creating this machine went for some deterioration in the combat properties of the howitzers. The gun had a fairly small vertical pointing angle: from -5 to + 35 degrees. It is caused by the fact that with a larger angle of elevation, the howitzer when fired rested against the body of the machine. Therefore, even 35 degrees can be considered more technical data than actually used in combat.

But the gun could be induced horizontally. That with fixed wheelhouse is a serious plus. The angle of horizontal guidance to the right was + 30 degrees. But with horizontal guidance to the left were problems. Thank you daddy "Lee." To the left along the horizon a howitzer was aimed only at 15 degrees.

In general, the impression of the conning tower is not very. It was not easy to fire the whole crew there. One of the authors even had a crazy idea that someone had to be on the armor or in the turret with a machine gun. Turning around, and even with a projectile in the hands of a normal man, but the weak men were not taken into artillery, is problematic.

Considering that the crew was a crew of 7 people, six of whom were tusked in the wheelhouse (the driver was sitting in front and below), in terms of turnibility was not very. We climbed into the wheelhouse three of us, and the opinion is - you have to be very coordinated in order to fire normally, without crippling a comrade in arms. A shell on the head, for example.

On the right side of the conning tower there was the very same hello from daddy, the rest of the sponson, to whom Priest owes the fact that he was called so - a special cylindrical turret, in which a machine gun was mounted on the turret. This is the usual Browning M12,7HB 2-mm anti-aircraft gun with ammunition for Americans of that period. Machine gun relied 300 cartridges.

In the version M7 howitzer ammunition was 57 unitary shots. Shells were of four kinds. Cumulative, high-explosive, incendiary and smoke. Accordingly, the crew could vary the number of different ammunition to complete the assigned tasks, increasing the number needed in the specific situation.

For machines M7В1, 12 shells were added to the ammunition. True, such generosity was paid for by the disappearance of one seat in the conning tower. But, not to fat, I would live.

The howitzer SAU had excellent characteristics for its class. The maximum firing range was higher than that of similar Wehrmacht machines - 10 424 m! Almost twice as far as the Germans! And the rate of fire - 8 shots per minute allowed to effectively fire at the enemy.

Further in the direction of travel, in the aft part of the machine was already known to us from the M3 "Li" 9-cylinder, four-stroke, star-shaped carburetor engine with air cooling Continental R-975-EC2. The engine at 2400 rpm had a power 340 l / s.

Here it is necessary to clarify the feature of the later M7B1. On these machines, the engine was different. Continental R-975-C1. What is clear, since it was precisely this engine that the Shermans were equipped with. The R-975-C1 was more powerful than its predecessor on 10.

The engine was greedy to impossibility. With fuel tanks in liters of 662,5 and weight of the machine in tons of 23, he accelerated the ACS to 38,6 km / h and had a power reserve of just 193 km. For the battle, this speed was enough but it was enough, but the quick movements outside the battlefield were not enough.

A little bit about the transmission. It is again standard for the M3 tank. To save space, simply list the units. Main friction dry friction mounted inside the engine flywheel. Cardan shaft. Transmission, five-speed with synchronizers. Double differential type "Kletpak". Onboard gears

So, in an embrace with a box, the driver was sitting.

Chassis also completely copies the tank. The same six rubber rollers in three balancing carts. The same buffer springs holding the carts. Three supporting rink. The same front wheel drive with removable rims. The same crank mechanism tension caterpillars on the guide wheel in the stern. Rubber caterpillars are finely ground pinwheels on 79 tracks each.

In general, the car turned out. With all the flaws, it was still a self-propelled howitzer. Even though the Americans themselves, almost immediately after the introduction of the more modern self-propelled howitzers of the M1945 self-propelled guns in January 37, transferred them to a "replacement standard."

To understand some of the features of the machine, you just need to remember some operations involving "Priests." Recall to emphasize the bad and good qualities of the machine.

So, the operation to capture Sicily. "Priests" perfectly landed from the ships. This is not a floating machine. Nevertheless, even with a sufficiently serious water level, the SAU went ashore and went into battle, supporting the paratroopers.

In the same place, SAUs were first used not for their intended purpose - firing from closed positions, as is customary for howitzers, but for firing direct fire. Completely successful shooting. They suppressed the enemy's artillery.

The war in the Philippines. The US Army deployed three M7 battalions. Here one more side of this car appeared. In the Philippines, the M7 Priest was a self-propelled assault gun!

There are also small soldiers' tricks connected with the angle of vertical pointing of the howitzer. The fact is that when adopting the SAU for armament, army generals did not take into account one factor. Machines must fight not only on the plain, but also on mountainous and hilly terrain.

And it was here that they remembered a small angle of vertical guidance. When firing from gentle descents, the howitzer could not show the firing range required by the infantry. Instead of the 10 + km put, the guns fired several kilometers closer.

Those who are fluent in English are well aware that it is not worse than Russian, it is great. And it contains enough greasy expressions to make it perform the required task. Crews of self-propelled guns quickly mastered the new method of shooting from the Priest.

The car was driven to a specially created slide. Simply put, poured earthen shaft and put the car "nose up." You can not raise the howitzer, but you can raise the entire machine entirely. The effect is the same. Required range achieved.

The combat life of the M7 "Priests" began with participation in the most famous battle in the West - the battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Western historians compare this battle with the Kursk. In order to understand everything, just look at the number of armored vehicles in both battles and the number of casualties. The comparison is just funny, but okay, let them say .

Americans for some reason did not begin to create modifications of the "Priest". But the British did it almost immediately after receiving the first cars. As early as November 1942, in Africa, one could see “Priests” armored personnel carriers and “Priests” artillery observation vehicles. Yes, and on the very ACS appeared small, but improvements. For example, cast covers of the transmission compartment.

Officially, the M7 Priest had two modifications. First Priest Kangaroo (Priest Kangaroo). Created at the initiative of the commander of the 2 Canadian Corps, Lieutenant General G. Symonds in early August 1944, during the attack on Falaise. 76 ACS Priest were disarmed. Embrasures brewed. Boards have increased bronelistami.

Thus turned out the BTR. From the original weapons there was only a machine gun. According to various sources, the BTR could transport soldiers from 15 to 20. “Kangaroo” was given the soldier’s nickname “Stripping” or, literally, “priest, devoid of dignity” (defrocked Priest).

Another car that looks very similar to the "Kangaroo" was called "Priest OR". They also removed all the artillery weapons. Instead, they installed an additional radio station, a field telephone and other equipment necessary for an artillery gunner. "Priest OR" was precisely the machine of artillery observers-gunners.

Well, the third option ACS. True, to participate in the battles of this modification failed. She ended her century at the Aberdeen range artillery. But she was. The T51 or 25-lb self-propelled howitzer. M7 re-armed and installed on it 25-pound (87,5-mm) British howitzer in July 1942 of the year. but according to the results of the tests, the machine was found not to meet the requirements of the army.

The life of the "Priests" was long enough. Even in the USA, these machines were in service until the 50s of the last century. And there were "Priests" British, Argentine, French, Portuguese, Turkish and many more countries.

Yes, and to fight these "priests" finished almost 30 years after the end of the Second World War. The last officially recorded battle of these machines occurred in the 1973 year during the Doomsday War. It was then that the Israeli gunners last hit the enemies of these honored veterans for the last time.

And now the traditional tactical and technical characteristics (machines improved series M7B1):

- length (with forward gun): 5,77 m
- width: 2,8 m
- height: 2,9 m

Engine: 9-cylinder radial gasoline engine of air cooling "Continental" R 975 EC, HP power 400 (294 kW) at 2500 rpm

Maximum speed: 40 km / h on the highway
Power reserve: 260 km on the highway

- forehead: 103 mm
- board, feed: mm 38

Armament: 105-mm gun M2A1, 12,7-mm machine gun M2HB
Ammunition: 69 shots, 600 ammo

Obstacle obstacles:
- ford depth 0,91 m
- wall height 0,61 m
- ditch width 2,26 m
- lifting angle 30 °

Who did not believe that from the very candy is not obtained? Not always, agree. But here's an example when it turned out.

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