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United States' M7, M7B1 howitzer motor carriage, Priest

Photos

M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest
Aberdeen Tank Museum

M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest
Royal Armored Corps Tank Museum

M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest in North Africa:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest in North Africa
U.S. Army in World War II - Pictorial Record, 1951
M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest
US Ordnance Dept.7

M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual
Mark Holloway


M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual
Mark Holloway


M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual
Mark Holloway


M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual
Mark Holloway

M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest from the M7 manual
Mark Holloway


M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest with the 2nd Armored Division, July 18, 1944:
United Stetes' M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest with the 2nd Armored Division, July 18, 1944
PhotosNormandie's photostream

M7B1 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest at the Patton Museum in Ft Knox, Kentucky:
United Stetes' M7B1 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest at the Patton Museum in Ft Knox, Kentucky
Chris Bobo

Design

Based on experience with mounting 105 mm howitzers on half-tracks the US Army wanted a fully tracked version.

Was declared Substitute Standard in January 1945.

Main Armament

The 105 mm gun could fire a 33 lb HE shell at a velocity of 1,550 ft/sec, and a range of 11,500 yards.6

Chassis

Used a modified M3 Medium or M4 Medium tank chassis.1,8 Some had cast one part nose.1

Superstructure

Upper hull was modified to hold a 105 mm howitzer in the front. A drum-like cupola was added on the right side to hold a .50 cal machine gun. The upper parts of the side and rear armor are hinged and held in place by locked pins. There were grip handles on the outside of the armor that were used as ladders. Production models had modified shields and a cupola for the antiaircraft machine gun.

Crew

The driver had vision through a removable windshield and a protoscope.

Prototypes

Two prototypes were built and designated T32.1 Had an open superstructure with a M1A2 105 mm howitzer installed to the right of the center. It was accepted and standardized as the M7 HMC in February 1942.

Production

Production started in April 1942.1

  • M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage:
    • 1942: 2,0287
      • Manufacturer: American Locomotive7
    • 1943: 7867
      • Manufacturer: American Locomotive7
    • 1944: 7007
      • Manufacturer: American Locomotive7, Pressed Steel Car7
    • Manufacturer: American Locomotive Co6,7, Federal Machine & Welder Co.6, Pressed Steel Car Co.6,7
  • M7B1 Howitzer Motor Carriage:
    • March 1944 - February 1945: 826
    • 1944: 4647
    • 1945: 1627
    • Manufacturer; Pressed Steel Car7
  • M7B2 Howitzer Motor Carriage:
    • 1945: 1277
    • Manufacturer: Federal Machine and Welder7

Variants

  • T32 Howitzer Motor Carriage: Prototype.7
  • M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage: Used M3 Medium Tank chassis.7
  • M7B1 Howitzer Motor Carriage: Standardized in September 1943. Declared Substitute Standard in January 1945. Used chassis of M4A3.7 Cast nose. Pressed Steel produced vehicles. There were hinged plates on the side to protect the tips of the ammunition (stored vertically) from being hit by arms fire.1 Late models had lower hull made out of soft steel because of economy measures.1

Usage

First used by the US Army in 1942.1

Marine Use

The Marines would use them in an armored personnel carrier role. It could carry up to 13 marines up to the front lines. The Marines used them extensively on Okinawa.

British Service:

Initially ordered 2,500 and this was later increased by 3,000.1 Eventually 5,500 were delivered.8 The machine gun position reminded the British soldiers of a church pulpit and was called the "Priest."1,6,8

  • Priest: In September 1942, 90 M7s were sent to 8th Army and was available for Battle of Alamein.1,7,8 Were used in Normandy but were soon replaced by Sextons. Could have a No. 19 wireless radio installed if 24 rounds of ammunition were removed.
    Used by the 5th Royal Horse Artillery at the Battle of Alamein.6
  • Priest Kangaroo: 102 were converted from October 1944 - April 1945. Carried 20 infantrymen plus crew of 2.
  • Priest OP: Removed gun and added communications gear.

Specifications

  M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, Priest
Crew Commander, driver, gun crew (5).2,7
53, 71,2,6,7,8
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 49,500 lb8, 50,634 lb2,3,7
22.6 tons1, 28.5 tons6
22,500 kg8, 22,997 kg1,3
Length 19' 9"1,2,3,7,8, 20.4'6
6 m1, 6.02 m3,8
Height 8' 4"1,2,3,7,8, 9.7'6
2.5 m1, 2.54 m3,8
Width 9' 5.25"2,3,7,8, 9' 6"1,6
2.88 m3,8, 2.9 m1
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 5", 17.1"6
Ground contact length 147"6
Ground pressure 10.4 psi6
Armament  
Main 105 mm howitzer3,8
105 mm M1 howitzer1
105 mm M1A22,7
105 mm howitzer M2A1, L/246
OR 105 mm M2 howitzer1,2,7
OR 105 mm M2A1 howitzer2,7
Secondary  
MG 1: 12.7 mm (.50 cal)3,8
MG - antiaircraft 1: .50 cal MG2,7
1: .50 cal M2 MG6
Side arms 3: .45 Submachine guns
Quantity  
Main 692,6,7
Secondary  
MG 3002,6,7
Side arms .45: 1,620
Armor Thickness (mm) 122,7, 25.48, 622,7
Front: 1"6
Side: 0.5"6
Hull Front, Upper 0.5" (0.5")
Hull Front, Lower 2-4.25" (2-4.5")
Hull Sides, Upper 0.5" (0.5")
Hull Sides, Lower 1.5" (1.5")
Hull Rear 0.5-1.5" (0.5-1.5")
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom 0.5-1" (0.5"-1")
Engine (Make / Model) Continental R-975 C11,6
Continental R-9752,7
Continental3,8
Bore / stroke 4 cycles6
Cooling Air6,7
Cylinders 93,8, Radial 96
Capacity  
Net HP 350@2,400 rpm6, 3753,8
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) Synchromesh6
5 forward 1 reverse6
Steering Controlled differential6
Steering ratio  
Starter Electric6
Electrical steering 24-volt6
Ignition Magneto6
Fuel (Type) Gasoline6
Octane  
Quantity 179 gallons6
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption 0.5 mpg6
Performance  
Traverse 12.25° left and 25.5° right6
15° left and 30° right1,2,7
Speed - Road 24 mph1,6, 26 mph3,7,8
39 kph1, 41.8 kph3,8
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph2,7
Range - Road 85 - 125 miles7, 120 miles1, 125 miles3,8
193 km1, 201 km3,8
Range - Cross Country 85 miles6
Turning radius 62'
Elevation limits +35° to -5°1,2,6,7
Fording depth 4'2,3,6,7,8
1.219 m3,8
Trench crossing 6' 3"8, 7' 6"2,6,7
1.91 m8
Vertical obstacle 2'2,6,8
0.61 m8
Climbing ability 31° (60%) slope6
Suspension (Type) Vertical volute2,6,7
Wheels each side 6, 3 bogies - 2 wheels each6
Return rollers each side 36
Tracks (Type) Dry pin, double pin per shoe, rubber bushed cleat6
Length  
Width 1' 4.5"2,7, 16.6"6
Diameter  
Number of links 796
Pitch 6"6
Tires  
Track centers/tread 6.9'6, 6' 11"2,7
  M7B1 Howitzer Motor Carriage
Crew Commander, driver, gun crew (5).2
72
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 50,000 lb2,7
Length 20' 3.75"2,7
Height 8' 4"2
Width 9' 5.25"2
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance 1' 5"
Ground contact length 147"
Ground pressure 10.4 psi
Armament  
Main 105 mm howitzer M1A2, M2, or M2A12
Secondary  
MG  
MG - antiaircraft .50 cal MG2
Side arms 3: .45 Submachine guns
Quantity  
Main 692
Secondary  
MG 3002
Side arms .45: 1,620
Armor Thickness (mm) 122, 622
(Actual thickness of armor at horizontal)
Hull Front, Upper 0.5" (0.5")
Hull Front, Lower 2-4.25" (2-4.5")
Hull Sides, Upper 0.5" (0.5")
Hull Sides, Lower 1.5" (1.5")
Hull Rear 0.5-1.5" (0.5-1.5")
Hull Top  
Hull Bottom 0.5-1" (0.5"-1")
Engine (Make / Model) Ford GAA V81,2,7
Bore / stroke  
Cooling  
Cylinders  
Capacity  
Net HP  
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward 1 reverse
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical steering  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type)  
Octane  
Quantity 179 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 15° left and 30° right2
Speed - Road 25 mph
Speed - Cross Country 15 mph2
Range - Road  
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius 62'
Elevation limits +35° to -5°2
Fording depth 3'2,7
Trench crossing 7' 6"2
Vertical obstacle 2'2
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Vertical volute.2
Wheels each side 6
Return rollers each side 3
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width 1' 4.5"2
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tires  
Track centers/tread 6' 11"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. Profile AFV Weapons #46 Light Tanks M22 Locust and M24 Chaffee, Colonel Robert J. Icks, 1972
  5. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  6. Tank Data, Aberdeen Proving Grounds Series, 1968?
  7. Profile: AFV Weapons 26: Hellcat, Long Tom and Priest and Complete Check List of all U.S. World War II Self-Propelled Weapons, Colonel Robert J. Icks, 1971
  8. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site