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  • M7 (Priest) Self-Propelled Gun (SPH)

    The M7 Priest received its nickname from the pulpit-style cupola fixture and proved an excellent development of the M3 Lee Medium Tank.

     Updated: 6/14/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    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.

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    M7 (Priest) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Self-Propelled Gun (SPH)
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): American Locomotive Company; Pressed Steel Car Company - USA
    Production: 4,515

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 7
    Length: 19.75 feet (6.02 meters)
    Width: 9.42 feet (2.87 meters)
    Height: 9.68 feet (2.95 meters)

    Operating Weight: 26 tons (23,586 kg; 51,998 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None
    Nightvision Equipment: None

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Continental R975C1 9 radial engine generating 350 horsepower @ 2,400rpm.

    Maximum Road Speed: 24 mph (39 km/h)
    Maximum Road Range: 120 miles (193 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    1 x 105mm M1/M2 howitzer main gun
    1 x .50 caliber Browning M2 air-cooled heavy machine gun.

    69 x 105mm projectiles
    300 x .50 caliber ammunition

    Global Operators / Customers

    United Kingdom; United States; Canada

    Model Variants

    T32 - Prototype Vehicle Designation of which two were produced; 105mm main gun mated to chassis of M3 Lee Medium Tank.

    M7 HMS - First standardized production vehicle

    M7B1 - M4A3 Sherman chassis with Ford GAA engine; pressed-steel construction.

    M37 - M24 Chaffee Light Tank chassis; increased ammunition storage; revised fighting compartment; dual Cadillac engines.

    "Kangaroo" - Canadian-designed M7 converison models serving as Armored Personnel Carriers.

    M7 Priest Observation Post (OP) - Sans howitzer; fittd with radio and special communications equipment.

    105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 - Official American Designation.

    105mm Self-Propelled Gun, Priest - Official British Designation.