|“||Mechanized artillery can fire from a distance with devastating effect, but it's no threat to armored units.
- Andrew Campbell, Battle of Cherbourg
The M7 105mm Howitzer Priest was an upgrade from the British 'Bishop' self-propelled howitzer, mounted on a M3 Lee chassis. The open top design of the Priest made it vulnerable to aircraft fire. In groups from a long range it can help pound distant targets, but its slow speed means it can't keep up with regular armies.
It is only good at suppressing enemy movement and destroying infantry lying in wait for ambushes, as its gun doesn't have enough firepower to take out an Italian tank. Their range is medium in comparison with other factions' mechanized artillery units. The Priest, however, lacks good armor, as it retains level 1 armor. The Priest can be upgraded to the M40 with the cost of $50.
These units should never be built as spending money on Pershings is much more effective and useful.
Witnessing the events of the war, U.S. Army observers realized that they would need a self-propelled artillery vehicle with sufficient firepower to support armored operations. Lessons learned with half-tracks (such as the T19) also showed that this vehicle would have to be armored and fully tracked. It was decided to use the M3 Lee chassis as the basis for this new vehicle design, which was designated T32.
While the first M7s were produced for the U.S. Army, supply was soon diverted to support the Lend-Lease program. Ninety M7s were sent to the British 8th Army in North Africa, who were also the first to use it in battle during the Second Battle of El Alamein as well as their own Bishop, a 25-pounder gun howitzer armed self propelled gun. The M7 soon proved successful and the British requested 5,500 of them, an order which was never fully completed.
They did find problems with the M7 though, as the primary armament was of U.S., not British standard. This meant that the M7s had to be supplied separately, causing logistical complications. It was a problem that was only truly resolved in 1943 on arrival of the 25-pounder-armed Sexton developed by the Canadians on a similar chassis. Until that time though, the British continued to use the M7 throughout the North African Campaign, the Italian Campaign and even a few during the early days of the Normandy Invasion. After the Sexton appeared, most British M7s were converted into "Kangaroo" armored personnel carriers.
In U.S. service, the M7 was a great success. Each U.S. armored division had three battalions of M7s, giving them unparalleled mobile artillery support in combat. A total of 3,490 M7 howitzers were built and they proved to be reliable weapons, continuing to see service in the U.S. and allied armies well past World War II.
Pros & Cons
+Outranges most light artillery.
-A 105mm haubitser which does the damage of a 75mm gun, though the shell has 3 times the explosive filling
-This SPG is expensive, slow and has weak armour. It also lacks the .50 cal often seen onboard.
Medium cal. HE shell