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Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

reading materials, whom many today, including on our pages, any fighting vehicles of World War II, simply amazing against them authors. The machine is a successful and unsuccessful, but it has played a role in the War. And if you do not love this car, you just can not tell about it. Can you tell me about her TTX, of arming, reservations, power plant. But not of the soul!

Any war machine - it is primarily the soul. It is a living organism. It's part of the crew. This soldier, which makes his case, despite its arms, on its backlog or, conversely, superiority, in performance… This soldier! A soldier must love! any! just because, that a soldier!

We talk a lot about cars, which during World War II it was created a huge number of. Furthermore, we like to tell and show equipment, which should be called war workers.

not heroes, not the best of the best, and simple hard worker. Talk about the, who died at the World grinder daily. He died heroically because, that stood, instead fled from improved, over armed, more modern, surpassing the number of ...

Today, we are talking about the car, which is predicted by many of our readers after the material on thin M3 "Li" (М3 Lee). Today, we are talking about САУ 105-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 — samohodnoy howitzer, which, despite the wretchedness of the predecessor, I got a very good score almost immediately after his military debut.

Americans are well aware, that the mechanization of the army requires the creation of not only tanks, but also self-propelled artillery, BTR, transport vehicles. The army must be mobile not only warheads, but the whole of its structure. Lagging when moving any component threaten loss of fighting capacity of all associations troop.

It is for this reason that American designers are thinking about creating ACS already 1940 year. cause, here we agree with some of the authors of the BTT study, this interest was the success of the German army. A German self-propelled guns in general have become a discovery for Americans.

Need to mark, that the howitzer on tank chassis were not the first of this class of machines in the US. The first chassis, who decided to use for the ACS, steel M3. But not tanks, and semi-tracked armored personnel carriers. Were used immediately two howitzer. 75-mm mountain M1A1 and 105-mm field M2A1. How view, Search optimum was not only in terms of the chassis, but sufficient caliber guns.

The first US self-propelled howitzers, more precisely, according to the American tradition, motorized carriages with howitzer (Howitzer Motor Carriage) had it with these tools and had the designation T30 NMS for M1A1 howitzers and T19 NMS for M2A1 howitzers.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1 T30

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1 T19

Machines were unsuitable for war. especially T19. However, still not adopted by the military launched the ACS. Bezrybe cancer and fish. it was released 500 T30 and machinery 324 T19 units. Issued with the wording of the original for military equipment - partially fit. glasses types are, Flat feet and at night in order ...

In the future, the war confirmed the verdict of the military. by the way, for those, who do not take care of the machines indices. The letter "T" means, it's just a prototype, the original version, not put into service.

Both cars were involved in the fighting in Italy, in the Philippines, North Africa. In all the battles they suffered huge losses. And, for T19 NMS any howitzer shot from the normal angle of elevation was almost a feat. Fairly large caliber guns proved fatal to the APC chassis.

And then the case took military. Most of our readers, both the serving people, further action is already clear. there is a tank, which is available commercially - M3 "Lee". There is a 105-mm howitzer. And there eggheads, who do not understand the need to create high-quality self-propelled howitzer.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1 Tank M3 «Lee»

The commander of the tank troops US Army Major General Jacob Devers ordered the company's designers «Baldwin Locomotive» install on the M3 tank instead of howitzer cannon. It's simple. Manufacturers of locomotives did not disappoint. In October 1941 Year two samples of 105 mm self-propelled howitzer was at the site.

At all, well as converged, true? General understands, that if your can not create the required, need to do something. And do quickly. so, We need to attract those, who stupidly performs a blunt order in the style of "I do not care, but in order to be ready in the morning ".

In the end - voila! Two weeks of shock work heads and hammers in the locomotive CB - ACS and goes to the landfill! its course!

The military were really shocked by the technical solutions of railwaymen. On machines T32 (it is so designated by the two objects) Field howitzers were almost intact. Well, a little sawed, to gun climbed into the cabin, which is obtained by treating the tank with a sledgehammer and a rasp…

Cannon stood on its standard carriage, machine and including a lower part of the frame in a rectangular cutting armor.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

The test result is like war. Machines taken in Fort Knox for some modernization. In particular, Army officers have insisted on strengthening the reservation felling. Wherein, given the place SAU in battle, went to the decrease in the angle of elevation gun. Well, the traditional anti-aircraft machine gun.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

In this form the T32 was put into service under the designation 105-mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 April 1942 of the year. And just a few days has begun mass production of the new ACS. The first machines were assembled at the American Locomotive Company. but alas, after the release 2814 machinery manufacturing ceased in 1943 of the year. By the logic of the story M7 on this was supposed to end.

But war is war. Already in March next year the car again began to emerge from the shops of the plant. Since March 1944 until October of the same year they released more 500 machines. All were released 3490 ACS M7 (October 1942 g. to February 1945 city). But in March 1945 , the demand for cars increased again.

FROM 1944 year basis for the SAU M7 "Priest" (M7 Priest) I became another tank - M4 «Sherman». Naturally, new chassis and the experience of fighting have changed the car. Now «Priest» (a priest) I received the flaps, part-cast housing and small changes in the chassis.

The number of new "priests", now under the symbol M7V1, issued during the year, — 826 units.

All in all, the front was 4316 SAU M7 both modifications (April 1942-February 1945 years). such history.

What is so interesting we can see in the car, which according to some researchers, really was not anything outstanding? Why, for example, this car is still respected in some countries? Why, even in the 70s 20 century, this old lady (or is it an old man?) really proved themselves worthy of the Yom Kippur War? In short, We are going to feel, pull and twist…

Let's start with the "real" M7. Those, that were created based on the "General Lee". If you look at this machine carefully, it becomes clear, that the chassis, engine and transmission are fully armored. Furthermore, even the specific features of the M3 Lee survived.

The one sponson, it was Lee and which thus more «perekosyl» tank's face, It remained almost unchanged. The frontal part of the housing, which were harvested from 3-cast pieces retained a lower right part. As well as the "Lee", left and central parts were above the right.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

In later machines on the basis of "Sherman" M4 (M7V1) this feature is missing. It remained true common design feature - the three parts. But now they were all the same height.

even bolts, which connects parts of the forehead and brow itself attached to the body and the whole plate preserved. by the way, despite the archaic bolting, This decision had a rational explanation. The casting bow of the machine was at the same time the differential case and final drive.

In this way, in the repair of these units, and transmission, it was enough to simply unscrew the bolts. Thereby disassemble the bow and repair or replace. agree, in the field the opportunity is worth a lot. If the bolts are not skewed and jam.

further cutting. Conventional welding of 12.7 mm armor plates. no roof. In front of the embrasure made for howitzer. cannon field, 105-mm field howitzer M2A1. An interesting detail, which for some reason do not pay attention. howitzer bronirovana. Yes, Reservation of small tools, but it is.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

As mentioned above, military when creating this car went to some deterioration of fighting properties of howitzers. The gun had a rather small angle of vertical guidance: from -5 to +35 degrees. It is caused by, that at a high angle of elevation when firing the howitzer rested against the body of the machine. Therefore, even 35 degrees can assume greater technical data, than actually used in combat.

But a tool could be induced horizontal. That when the fixed wheelhouse serious plus. Traversing right angle was +30 degrees. But with traversing left had problems. Thank you daddy "Lee". Left on the horizon howitzer suggests only 15 degrees.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Overall impression of the conning tower is not very. Fire all the crew were not there just. One of the authors even had a crazy idea, that someone had to be in armor or in the turret with a machine gun. turn around, so even with a shell in his hands for a normal man, and artillery weaklings did not take, problematically.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Considering, that the calculation of the crew was 7 human, six of whom were having fun in the cockpit (the driver sat in front-bottom), in terms razvorotlivosti was not very. We climbed to the wheelhouse threesome, and opinion is - you have to be very coordinated calculation, normally to fire, not injuring a comrade-in-arms. Shell on the head, eg.

The right side of the conning tower was the same greetings from dad, sponsons residue, which "Priest" and obliged the, its so called - a special cylindrical turret, which was mounted on the turret machine gun. It is normal for the Americans of the period zenith 12.7 mm Browning M2HB with ammunition. machine gun supposed 300 rounds.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

The embodiment was howitzer ammunition M7 57 unitary shots. Shells were four species. Kumulyatyvnыe, high-explosive, incendiary and smoke. Respectively, crew to perform tasks could vary the amount of ammunition, increasing the number required in the particular circumstances.

For machines in M7V1 added more ammunition 12 shells. true, such generosity was paid by the disappearance of one seating position in the conning tower. But, not to fat, be to live.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Howitzer ACS had excellent characteristics for its class. Maximum range was higher, than comparable machines Wehrmacht - 10 424 m! Almost twice as far as the Germans! And the rate of - 8 rounds per minute effectively allowed to fire at the enemy.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Downstream traffic, in the rear of the car was already known on the M3 "Lee" 9-cylinder, four-cycle, star petrol engine with air cooling Continental R-975-EC2. engine at 2400 rev / min had a capacity 340 l / s.

Here it is necessary to explain a feature later M7V1. On these machines, the engine was another. Continental R-975-C1. Which is understandable, as it is equipped with this engine, "Sherman". R-975-C1 was 10 «horses» powerful precursor.

The engine was greedy in the extreme. When the fuel tank capacity in 662,5 liters and weight of the machine 23 tons, He clocked up SAU 38,6 km / h and has a cruising range of all 193 km. To combat this speed enough butt, but the fast movement is a fight that was not enough.

A little about transmission. She again standard on the M3 tank. To save space, simply list the units. Main clutch dry friction, mounted inside the flywheel. Kardannыj Bhoomi. Transmission, five-speed synchromesh. Dual type differential «Kletpak». Final Drives.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1 Like this, arm in arm with the box, I was a driver.

Chassis also copies the entire tank. The same six rubber-coated rollers in three balancing carts. The same buffer springs, mounting frame. Three support rollers. The same front-drive wheel with removable rims. The same crank mechanism on a guide track tensioning wheel in feed. Rubber tracks melkozvenchatye lantern meshing of 79 Trakov kazhdaya.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Generally, the machine was. Despite all its shortcomings, it's still been a self-propelled howitzer. Even though, that the Americans themselves almost immediately after the appearance in service in January 1945 , the more modern self-propelled howitzers ACS M37, transferred them to «replacing the standard».

To understand some of the features of the machine just need to remember some operations, with «priests». Remember to focus attention on the good and bad qualities of the machine.

so, The operation to capture Sicily. "Priest" is ideally parachuted from ships. This is not the amphibious vehicle. Nevertheless, even with fairly serious level of water, SAU came ashore and went into battle, maintaining marines.

There's also the first time ACS was used not for its intended purpose - Firing from the closed position, as expected howitzers, and direct fire. Quite successful shooting. They suppressed enemy artillery.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

The war in the Filipino islands. The US Army has involved three battalions M7. There was showed another facet of this machine. In the Philippines, the M7 "Priest" was a self-propelled assault gun!

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1 Specifically, this - Okinawa.

There are little tricks soldiers', associated with the vertical guidance angle howitzer. The thing is, that the acceptance into service ACS, army generals do not take into account one factor. Machines have to fight not only the plain, but the mountain and hilly terrain.

And it was then, and remembered the small angle vertical lay. When shooting with the gentle slopes of the howitzer could not show the desired infantry firing range. instead of the 10+ km, guns fired a few kilometers closer.

they, who owns enough English, well aware, that he was no worse than the Russian is a great. And it incorporates enough sebaceous expressions, to get to perform the required task. SAU crews quickly learned a new way of shooting because of "Priest".

The car drove on a specially constructed hill. Simply put, poured earth mound and put the car «nose up». You can not raise howitzer, but you can pick up the entire machine is entirely. the same effect. The required firing range is reached.

military life «priests» M7 began to participate in the most famous in the West battle - the battle of El Alamein in October 1942 of the year. Western historians have compared this battle with Kursk. For, to understand everything, enough to see the number of armored battles in both the number of losses. Compare just funny turns, but okay, let them talk… 

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Americans for some reason did not create the modification of "Priest". But the British do this almost immediately upon receipt of the first cars. In November 1942 year in Africa could be seen "Priests" APCs and "Priest" artillery observation machine. And on the ACS itself had small, but improving. for example, cast transmission compartment cover.

Officially M7 "Priest" had two modifications. The first "Priest-Kangaroo" (Priest Kangaroo). Created at the initiative of the commander of the 2nd Canadian Corps Lieutenant General Mr.. Symonds in early August 1944 , during the attack on Falaise. 76 SAU "Priest" were disarmed. Ambrazurы they found. The boards have increased bronelistami.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

Thus obtaining an APC. From the original machine gun armament only stayed there. According to various sources APC could carry on 15 to 20 soldier. "Kangaroo" was a soldier nicknamed "defrocked", or, verbatim, "a priest, defrocked " (defrocked Priest).

Another machine, looks a lot like "Kangaroo", It called "Priest OR". There also removed all the artillery armament. Instead put additional station, field telephone and other equipment, needed for artillery gunner. "Priest ER" was just a machine gun gunner observers.

Well, the third version of the ACS. true, to participate in the battles of this modification failed. She finished her age on artillery Aberdeen Proving Ground. But she was. T51 or 25-pound self-propelled howitzer. M7 rearmed and set on her 25-pound (87,5-mm) British howitzer in July 1942 of the year, but the test results are not recognized by the machine corresponding to the requirements of the Army.

Life "priest" was quite long. Even in the US, these machines were in service until the 50s of the last century. And there were "Priest" British, Argentine, French, Portuguese, Turkish and more in many countries.

Tales of arms: self-propelled howitzers M7 Priest and M7V1

And fight these "priests" have completed almost 30 years after the end of World War II. The last officially recorded fight these machines took place in 1973 , during the Yom Kippur War. It was then that Israeli artillery was last hit by the enemies of these distinguished veterans.

TTX improved series ACS M7V1:

dimensions:
- length (gun forward): 5,77 m; 
- width: 2,8 m; 
- height: 2,9 m

Weight: 23 t
Crew: 7 people

Engine: 9-Radial cylinder gasoline engine cooling air «Continental» R 975 ES, power 400 HP. (294 kW) at 2500 rev / min

full speed: 40 km / h on the highway
Power reserve: 260 km on the highway

booking: 
- forehead: 103 mm; 
- board, stern: 38 mm

weaponry: 105-mm gun M2A1, 12,7-mm machine gun M2HB
ammunition: 69 shots, 600 rounds

obstacles: 
- ford deep 0,91 m; 
- height of the wall 0,61 m; 
- the width of the ditch 2,26 m; 
- lifting angle 30 °

Who did not believe, that from the very fails candy? Not always, agree. But here's an example, when he received.

/Roman Skomorokhov, Alexander Staver, topwar.ru/

A source