M7B1 HMC Priest

CREW: 7 - Commander, Gunner, Driver and 4 Cannoneers
DIMENSIONS: Length 20 ft 8 in / Width 9 ft 6 in / Height 8 ft 6 in
COMBAT WEIGHT: 50,000 lbs
FUEL CAPACITY: 168 gallons
PERFORMANCE: Max road speed 24 mph; Range 85 miles
ARMAMENT: 105mm howitzer main gun with 69 rounds carried .50 cal with 300 rounds carried

A Self-Propelled Gun Called the "Priest"
The M7 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (HMC) was a self-propelled gun--the term for an artillery weapon mounted on a motorized chassis--used primarily in the Mediterranean and European theaters during World War II. It was nicknamed Priest by the British because its
.50 caliber ring mount resembled a church pulpit.
A Howitzer atop an M3, and Later an M4, Chassis
Built in 1942, the first M7s were based on an M3 Medium Tank chassis with an open top, into which the 105mm howitzer and machine gun pulpit were mounted. In 1944 the M7 was upgraded to an M4 Sherman tank chassis and renamed the M7B1.
Waging War on Egyptian and Tunisian Battlefields
The M7 saw its first action with the British during the Second Battle of El Alamein in the fall of 1942, where it proved an effective counter to German 88 anti-tank guns. U.S. forces used M7s in Tunisia through March 1943. The following year, after the fighting had ended in North Africa, the
M7B1 upgrade arrived on the European battlefields. In all more than 4,000 M7s and M7B1s were manufactured by the American Locomotive, Pressed Steel Car, and Federal Machine and Welder companies from 1942 to 1945.