Hobby Master HG4707 US M7 HMC Priest Self-Propelled Gun - 2nd Armored Division, Sicily, July 1943 (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 2nd Armored Division, then deployed to Sicily during July 1943.
Now in stock!
Release Date: March 2014
Historical Account: "Hell on Wheels" - The 2nd Armored was organized as a "heavy" armored division having two armored regiments of four medium tank and two light tank battalions of three companies each. Along with the 3rd Armored Division, it retained its organization throughout World War II while all 14 other U.S. armored divisions were reorganized as "light" armored divisions having three tank battalions, each consisting of three medium tank companies and one light tank company. Both types had an infantry component of three mechanized battalions, although the heavy divisions maintained an "armored infantry regiment" organization.
The core units of the 2AD were the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, the 66th Armored Regiment, the 67th Armored Regiment, the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, the 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 142nd Armored Signal Company. The 2nd Armored had three artillery battalions (the 14th, 78th, and 92nd). The Division also had support units, including the 2nd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, a Supply Battalion, the 48th Armored Medical Battalion, and a Military Police Platoon. Elements of the division participated in Operation Torch, landing at Casablanca on November 8th, 1942, but the whole division first went into action in the Operation Husky landing at Gela in Sicily, July 10th, 1943, and fighting through to Palermo.
The division then landed in Normandy on June 9, 1944, operated in the Cotentin Peninsula and later formed the right flank of the Operation Cobra assault. It blunted the German attack on Avranches, then raced across France with the rest of the Third Army, reaching the Albert Canal in Belgium on September 8th. It crossed the German border north of Schimmert, on September 18th to take up defensive positions near Geilenkirchen. On October 3rd, the division launched an attack on the Siegfried Line from Marienberg, broke through, crossed the Wurm River and seized Puffendorf 16 November and Barmen on November 24th. The Division was holding positions on the Roer when it was ordered to help contain the German Ardennes offensive. The Division fought in eastern Belgium, blunting the German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The Division helped reduce the Bulge in January, fighting in the Ardennes forest in deep snow, and cleared the area from Houffalize to the Ourthe River of the enemy. After a rest in February, the division drove on across the Rhine on March 27th, and was the first American Division to reach the Elbe at Schonebeck on April 11th. It was halted on the Elbe, 20 April, on orders. In July the division entered Berlin-the first American unit to enter the German capital city.
During World War II the 2nd Armored Division took 94,151 prisoners-of-war, liberated 22,538 Allied prisoners of war, shot down or damaged on the ground 266 enemy aircraft, and destroyed or captured uncountable thousands of enemy tanks and other equipment and supplies.
In 238 battle days the 2nd Armored suffered 7,348 casualties, including 1,160 killed in action. The division was recognized for distinguished service and bravery with 9,369 individual awards, including two medals of honor, twenty-three distinguished service crosses, and 2,302 silver stars, as well as nearly 6,000 purple hearts. The division was twice cited by the Belgian Government and division soldiers for the next 50 years proudly wore the fourragere of the Belgian Croix de Guerre.