M7 Priest 105mm Motor Gun Carriage

The Motor Gun Carriage, M7 (Priest) is a self-propelled 105mm howitzer originally built on an M3 Lee chassis and lower hull, but later modified to use components of the M4 Sherman tank and finally was fully based on the Sherman (variants M7B1 and M7B2). The M-7 Priest differs from the tanks it is based on by having a new superstructure mounting a standard 105mm M2A1 howitzer, offset to the right. It is also armed with a .50 cal. machine gun. The M7 Priest was developed starting in June 1941 (designated T-32) and was first used by the British in North Africa. Total production was 4,267 units when including the variants based on both the Lee (M7) and Sherman tanks (M7B1 and M7B2).

The 25 ton M7 Priest is powered by a Continental A05-895-4 500 hp gasoline engine which moves it at up to 24 mph on the road. The M7B2 variation had a slightly higher pulpit area than the M7. They were manufactured by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, NY. It was superseded by the M-52 105mm Self-propelled Howitzer in the 1950s. The M7 had a crew of seven.

The Motor Gun Carriage, M7 (Priest) is also called the Howitzer Motor Carriage, M7 or M7 HMC.

Ammunition supply was initially augmented with cargo trailers, but by late 1942 the M8 Armored Ammunition Trailer was in production for use with the M7 Priest. In 1944, the M8 was superceded by the open-top M10 Unarmored Ammunition Trailer. See M7 Priest 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage by Steven Zaloga for additional information.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage, view from rear of vehicle, 1943 photo
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage, view from rear of vehicle, 1943 photo.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the M7 Priest 10mm Motor Gun Carriage at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

Today in WW II: 17 Oct 1941 USS Kearny [DD-432] torpedoed but not sunk by German submarine U-568, near Iceland, killing 11 sailors, the first American military casualties of WW II.  More 
17 Oct 1943 At Gothenburg, about 10,000 seriously wounded and sick German and British POWs, about half from each side, make up the first British-German prisoner exchange of WW II [17-21 Oct].
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

M7 Priest 105mm Motor Gun Carriage Photo Gallery

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage production line at American Locomotive Company, January 1943
M7 Priest production line at American Locomotive Company, January 1943.

M7 Priest at desert training near Iron Mountains, CA early in World War II.  Lt. M. Hutchison of Enterprise, AL is at the extreme right. Cpl. L. Roberts from Graham, TX is at post behind the howitzer. The third soldier is identified as Col. R. Downing of DeKalb, MO.
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at desert training near Iron Mountains, CA early in World War II. Lt. M. Hutchison of Enterprise, AL is at the extreme right. Cpl. L. Roberts from Graham, TX is at post behind the howitzer. The third soldier is identified as Col. R. Downing of DeKalb, MO.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage towing a trailer, 1943 photo
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage towing a trailer, 1943 photo.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage of B Battery, 300th Armored Field Artillery Bn., X Corps. Occupants are (L-R): Sergeant First Classs Allen J. Helms, Chief of Section; Corporal Joseph Stair, Gunner; Sergeant Richard N. Null, Lanyard Man; Corporal Robert C. Smith, Cannoner.  All the men are from Cody, WY.  Photo taken 1 July 1951 in Korea
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage of B Battery, 300th Armored Field Artillery Bn., X Corps. Occupants are (L-R): Sergeant First Classs Allen J. Helms, Chief of Section; Corporal Joseph Stair, Gunner; Sergeant Richard N. Null, Lanyard Man; Corporal Robert C. Smith, Cannoner. All the men are from Cody, WY. Photo taken 1 July 1951 in Korea.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M7 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.

M7B2 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit
M7B2 Priest Motor Gun Carriage at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.