M7 Priest file photo [7337]

M7 Priest

CountryUnited States
Primary RoleSelf-Propelled Gun

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe 105-millimeter Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 self-propelled artillery vehicles were built on the M3 Lee medium tank chassis; the decision for using the M3 medium tank chassis was from past experience that ground operations require adequate firepower from fully-tracked vehicles in addition to tanks. The superstructures were open-topped to allow being equipped with the large-caliber howitzers. They were accepted in Feb 1942 and production began in Apr 1942. In Sep 1943, the M7B1 variant design was completed; the major different between the original M7 and the new M7B1 design was that the latter used the chassis of M4 Sherman tanks. M7B1 variant design was declared the standard design in Jan 1945.

ww2dbaseLater in 1942, 90 M7 vehicles were transferred to the British forces in North Africa, where they were nicknamed "Priest" for the pulpit-like machine gun rings. They first saw combat during the Second Battle of El Alamein, where they fought with effectiveness, leading to the British requesting the United States for 5,500 more units (which was never completely fulfilled by the end of the war) despite the fact that they use American ammunition and must be supplied separately. After the introduction of the Canadian-built Sexton self-propelled artillery in 1944, which used British ammunition to ease logistics, 102 of the British M7 Priest vehicles were converted between Oct 1944 and Apr 1945 into Kangaroo armored personnel carriers capable of carrying 20 passengers and a crew of two.

ww2dbaseThe United States Army assigned M7 self-propelled artillery vehicles to every armored division, each operating three battalions of M7 vehicles. The great number of M7 vehicles provided very effective mobile artillery support for the Allied troops as they moved eastward toward and into Germany.

ww2dbaseDonald Bennett, an artillery officer in the US Army during WW2, noted his liking for the M7 self-propelled guns in his memoir.

It was what some people call an elegantly simple machine. Elegant in that it was well though out and functional at every level. Simple because it was just that, nothing overly complex, yet rugged and dependable. I think it stands as one of the finer examples of what America can produce when it faces a crisis and good minds are brought in, the bureaucratic bull is pushed aside, and people start thinking about what is best for the fighting men rather than about personal gain or whose congressional district gets the best deal on a contract.

ww2dbaseAfter WW2, M7 self-propelled artillery vehicles remained in service, participating in conflicts such as the Korean War. Overall, 3,490 M7 vehicles were built.

ww2dbaseSources: Honor Untarnished, Wikipedia.

SPECIFICATIONS

M7
MachineryOne Continental R-975 C1 rated at 340hp or 400hp
SuspensionVertical Volute Spring Suspension
Armament1x105 mm M1/M2 Howitzer (69 rounds), 1x .50cal machine gun
Armor51mm
Crew7
Length6.02 m
Width2.87 m
Height2.95 m
Weight22.0 t
Speed24 km/h off-road; 39 km/h on-road
Range193 km

Photographs

M7 self-propelled artillery vehicle being tested for desert warfare at Iron Mountains, California, United States, circa 1940, photo 1 of 2M7 self-propelled artillery vehicle being tested for desert warfare at Iron Mountains, California, United States, circa 1940, photo 2 of 2M7 self-propelled artillery vehicle being constructed by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York, United States, Jan 1943M7 self-propelled artillery vehicle in North Africa, 27 Mar 1943
See all 10 photographs of M7 Priest Self-Propelled Gun



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. huppmoile says:
12 Dec 2009 04:48:25 AM

My Father, Staff Sergeant Donald C. Boyd, also served with the 32nd "Red Arrow" Division, 128th Infantry Regiment, Cannon Company. He fought on Leyte, Luzon, the Druiniumor River, and the Villa Verde Trail where he drove an M7 Priest, carried an M1 Garand, and was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism. He is currently recovering nicely at home in Swanton, Ohio from recent triple bypass surgery. A short interview and recent images of my remarkable Dad may be viewed at this link. http://carol_fus.tripod.com/army_hero_donald_boyd.html

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M7 Priest Self-Propelled Gun Photo Gallery
M7 self-propelled artillery vehicle being tested for desert warfare at Iron Mountains, California, United States, circa 1940, photo 1 of 2
See all 10 photographs of M7 Priest Self-Propelled Gun




Famous WW2 Quote
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944