Friday, September 14, 2012

M7 Priest

The M7 (Howitzer Motor Carriage) is a U.S. howitzer , which was introduced in 1942 and in the Second World War and Korean War was used.

M7 Priest

The M7 Priest was developed in 1941, because the U.S. Army a lightweight, all-terrain vehicle for artillery support was lacking. The Priest is based on the chassis of the M3 Lee / Grant . The main armament consists of a 105-mm gun, the standard gun of the U.S. Army. Due to its excellent ballistic characteristics of this gun could both artillery and for antitank be used effectively. Only a few pieces of artillery of World War II were suitable so good anti-tank, as the specially developed ammunition types mostly from fragmentation or explosive shells for use against infantry existed. These projectiles were not sufficient clout to destroy a tank. The 105-mm gun was among the few, for the armor piercing ammunition was available. In the direction to the right of the gun in a pulpit, a .50 caliber - (12.7 mm) - MG for air defense and local area defense installed. This pulpit owes his nickname M7 Priest ( German : priests ) as they minister to the pulpit in the church remembers. The British Army has ordered 5,500 units that were not delivered in full, the U.S. Army about 3000.

M7 Priest Kangaroo

The M7 Priest Kangaroo was basically a kind of by-product proved, however, soon to be absolutely suitable for the intended tasks. It was developed in early 1944 by the Canadian army from standardized M7 Priest in the U.S. Army.

He should be used to bring them safely through enemy infantry machine gun fire in order to sell them directly on site.

The vehicles in the howitzer and ammunition holders were removed and replaced by a former armor plate. In these times were still loopholes for guns or PIATs drilled. These changes were not planned by the developers. In addition, the side skirts have been increased and extended to the rear, to provide for the interior better protection against infantry fire. The characteristic MG pulpit remained.


The Kangaroo was intended purely as armored personnel carriers, but was used as a radio, ammunition and armored ambulance. When it rains a tarpaulin was pulled over the vehicle, which was attached to many eyes around the battle space to the interior of at least a bit to keep dry. A pole in the center of the vehicle should support the tarp so that rain water will not collect and tear the tarpaulin was, but expired at the sides.
Even with fitted tarp by a 15 to 20 cm wide slot between the vehicle and a complete Plane visibility and enemy combat was possible. Depending on the season there were three covers (autumn, summer and winter camouflage) are available to make an aerial reconnaissance. The entire tank was similar to some of the later U.S. military vehicles are completely camouflaged with different shaped plan. Most vehicles were but disguised as usual with color.

It was also thought convert the Kangaroo for the Pioneers. Similar to the "Sherman Crab" before the tank was a roller are mounted, should be attached to the number of chains.Rotating the roller, the chains on the floor and should hit the bottom lying mines to detonate. In addition, it should be equipped with machine guns and flamethrowers to attack enemy positions can. Such vehicles, the Western Allies had been successfully used in the Battle of El Alamein (North Africa 1943), Sicily, Italy and the landings in Normandy and southern France.

The "M7 Priest K Crab" was never built because the Americans ("Sherman Crab") and the British ("Churchill Crab") already had enough effective mine clearing. Moreover, they were after the war simply unnecessary.
There were also efforts to build M7 Priest Kangaroo with closed ceilings and two or more deck plates to increase the armor protection on. This, however, getting out of the vehicle would have been a lot more difficult and lengthy, so the plan was never implemented. While its use as a radio or observation tank would have been possible, but it was never included in the plans of the British Army.

Probation at the front

The first use of the Kangaroo was in August or September 1944 in France (mention The reports on five different data). In addition to the four-man crew (driver, radio operator, gunner, commander) were up to 15 infantrymen are transported with full riot gear, whereby the engine area was fully utilized after the battle space.

A footage from World War II (probably in January 1945, recorded on the Western Front) shows a Canadian M7 Kangaroo, which is a captured German 12cm grenade launcher fitted in the interior and in addition to the crew of four men, many infantrymen and numerous pockets of outside wearing. Attached he drags both a single-axle trailer full to the brim and a 105-mm howitzer with mounted gunners. This should probably be the armored personnel arrived at the limit of its capabilities.

As with the normal Priest also open up the interior was the Achilles heel of the tank, as it could easily be set by hand grenades out of action. The crews at the front fighting this problem by nets or tarpaulins (ponchos) about the vehicles clamped, which should throw back the grenades. This procedure was quite successful.

Despite some shortcomings, the Priest Kangaroo enjoyed due to its technical reliability and ease of maintenance of its high popularity among the Allied tanks and infantry troops.The Priest Kangaroo was not only by the forces of the Commonwealth used, but also by the U.S. Army, and of the exile forces of Poland and France.

After the World War

After the war, the M7 Priest was produced in series and then also in the Korean War used. One of the last "real" Kangaroos stands as a memorial at an army training ground in Scotland, another stood up to 2002 in a museum in southern England. He is currently on loan to the Russian Kubinka Tank Museum to visit. It is the last with original and complete interior and a complete gun.

At the post-war version were manufactured after 1954 (before there were conversions) made numerous changes. Among other things, the MG pulpit was increased by about 10 cm, as well as the side skirts. Even the front and rear armor has been reinforced.

Use in the Bundeswehr and other armies

The M7 Priest was the first of the Bundeswehr and howitzer was introduced 1957th Even today, newer versions of the Kangaroo in some armies in Africa and South Asia in use, but still show the characteristics of the first type, for example the MG pulpit and the open-ended battle space. However, they should be put out of service by 2007, as their technology completely outdated and the ever-increasing demand for spare parts is no longer cover. Appearances on the Israeli side in the various wars are certainly a few years after the Second World War.

Specifications M7

  • Long : 6.02 m
  • Breite : 2.88 m
  • Höhe : 2.54 m
  • Weight: 22.967 tons
  • Climbing ability: 0.61 m
  • Grave-border capacity: 2.29 m
  • Fording: 1.22 m
  • Climbing capacity: up to 60%
  • Engine: Air-cooled Continental R-975 9-cylinder petrol engine 340 hp; VVSS drive
  • Speed: 41.8 km / h on road / 24.1 km / h on road
  • Range : 135 to 200 km
  • Crew: 7 men (commander, driver, five men to operate the howitzer)
  • Panzerung: 12,7-62 mm
  • Armament:
    • a 105-mm Howitzer M1A2, M2A1 or M2 with 69 shots, range: 10,973 m
    • a 12.7-mm machine gun M2 Browning (Cal. 50) with 300 rounds
  • Portability: The IFV: 15 men, as sanitary tank: 11 men (5 to enter, 6 seated), as Ammunition: Up to 100 rounds of 105-mm ammunition (enough for almost 5 late "Sherman Howitzer" tanks with 105 - mm gun) and 4000 shot-gun ammunition (just as an example of the capacity of the M7)
  • Baujahr: 1942-1945
  • No. of items: 4276 (all versions combined)