Hobby Master HG4706 US M7 HMC Priest Self-Propelled Gun - 68th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Nettuno, Anzio Beachhead, February 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"The only way you can win a war is to attack and keep on attacking, and after you have done that, keep attacking some more."
- General George S. Patton Jr., January 1945
Nicknamed the 'Priest' by British crews because of its pulpit-shaped machine-gun turret at the front, the M7 grew from US experience with howitzers mounted on half-tracked vehicles. The War Department soon realized that a fully tracked carriage was required, and the M3 tank was modified to fill the role. The British received many M7s under the provisions of the Lend-Lease arrangement and first deployed them at the second battle of El Alamein in the summer of 1942. Some measure of their popularity is suggested by the British order for 5,500 to be delivered within one year of their first use. The drawback, at least for Commonwealth forces, was that the howitzer was not standard British issue, and thus required separate supplies of ammunition. Mobile and reliable, the M7 fought to the end of the war and remained in service with several armies as an armored personnel carrier.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a M7 'Priest' served with the 68th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, then deplyed to Nettuno, Anzio, during February 1944.
Length: 3-1/4 inches
Width: 1-1/2 inches
Release Date: October 2013
Historical Account: "Anzio" - At the end of 1943, following the Allied invasion of Italy, Allied forces were bogged down at the Gustav Line, a defensive line across Italy south of the strategic objective of Rome. The terrain of central Italy had proved ideally suited to defence, and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring took full advantage. Several Allied proposals were made to break the stalemate, but Winston Churchill's idea for "Operation Shingle" was initially looked upon with disdain by General George Marshall, who was more concerned with planning a massive Normandy invasion than listening to Churchill's ideas about amphibious operations. Only after Churchill made a personal plea was the idea accepted by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin, who welcomed any major Allied offensive that would take pressure off of the Eastern Front. A major attack in the south by the U.S. Fifth Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Mark W. Clark, would draw Germany's depleted forces away from the area around Rome and from the hills between Rome and the coast. This would make possible a surprise landing by Fifth Army's U.S. VI Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas in the Anzio/Nettuno area, and a rapid advance into the Alban Hills to cut German communications and "threaten the rear of the German XIV Panzer Corps" under General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin.