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Great Britain's Bishop self propelled gun Mk I; Carrier, Valentine, 25 pdr Mk I

Photos

Bishop
Great Britain's Bishop Self Propelled Gun Mk I
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum

Design

In June 1941 the Birmingham Carriage and Wagon Company was given the job to develop a self propelled gun that could carry the 25 pdr howitzer.5 This was to allow the 25 pdr artillery batteries to quit having to fight as antitank weapons and just concentrate as being artillery.4 However, by the time the Bishop came to the field the 25 pdrs were no longer being used as antitank guns and the Bishop was then relegated to being an artillery self propelled gun.4

Chassis

The Valentine Mk II chassis was used.4,5 Its turret was replaced by a large box that mounted the 25 pdr gun.4,5

Main Armament

The Bishop's main armament couldn't be elevated to its maximum level so it was relegated to a close support role or ramps had to be built to drive the Bishop onto.5 There were two large doors that were typically left open when firing to allow the crew extra room.5

The 25 pdr's range was about 6,400 yards.

Prototype

In August 1941 a prototype was ready for testing.5

Production

In November 1941 100 were ordered.5

  • Bishop: 805
    • Production: November 1941 - July 19425 , 1942 - 1943

Usage

The Bishop often towed a 25 pdr limber that carried additional ammunition.5

The Bishop was used by the Royal Artillery.5

North Africa

The 8th Army received deliveries of the Bishop.5 In the dessert the Bishop's height was a disadvantage.4,5

Replaced After Sicily

The Bishop was replaced by the US M7 Priests after the campaign in Sicily was concluded.4,5 It was relegated to training.4,5

Specifications

  Bishop
Crew Commander, driver, gunner, loader.2
41,2,3,4,5
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 17,333 lb4, 17,440 lb3, 39,000 lb2
17.4 tons1, 20 tons5
7,879 kg4, 7,911 kg3, 17,690 kg1, 20,320 kg5
Length 18' 2"1,2, 18' 6"3,4,5
5.53 m1, 5.62 m5, 5.64 m3,4
Height 9' 3.25"2, 9' 1"1, 10'3,4,5
2.825 m1, 3.05 m3,4,5
Width 8' 7"1, 8' 7.5"2, 9' 1"3,4,5
2.63 m1, 2.77 m3,4,5
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main 1: 25 pdr howitzer Mk I2
1: 25 pdr (87.6 mm, 3.45")1,3
1: 25 pdr gun howitzer4,5
Secondary  
MG - antiaircraft .303 cal Bren2
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 322,5
Secondary  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 82, 8 - 604, 602,5
Hull Front, Upper  
Hull Front, Lower  
Hull Sides, Upper  
Hull Sides, Lower  
Hull Rear  
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom  
Turret Front  
Turret Sides  
Turret Rear  
Turret Top  
Engine (Make / Model) AEC A1901
AEC2,3,4,5
Cylinders 63,4,5
Net HP 1313,4,5
Transmission  
Fuel type Diesel3,4,5
Octane  
Capacity  
Performance  
Traverse 4° left, 4° right.2
Speed - Road 14.9 mph1, 15 mph2,3,4,5
24 kph1,3,4,5
Speed - Cross Country 7 mph2
Range - Road 90 miles1,2, 110 miles3,4,5
145 km1, 177 km3,4,5
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits -5° to +15°2
Fording depth 3'2,3,4
0.91 m3,4
Trench crossing 7' 6"2,4
2.28 m4
Vertical Obstacle 2' 9"2,4
0.83 m4
Suspension (Type) "Slow motion" with 3-wheel bogies.2
Wheels each side 6
Return rollers each side 3
Track length  
Tires  
Track width 14"2
Track centers/tread 7' 3"2

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. British and American Tanks of World War Two, The Complete Illustrated History of British, American, and Commonwealth Tanks 1933-1945, Peter Chamberlain and Chris Ellis, 1969
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
  5. World Encyclopedia of Armored Fighting Vehicles, Jack Livesey, 2006
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site