Hobby Master HG4701 US M7 Priest Self-Propelled Gun - A Battery, 231st Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 6th Armored Division, Western Front, 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 6th Armored Division, 231st Armored Field Artillery Battalion, A Battery, then deployed to the Western Front during 1944. Includes Free U.S. Army Baggage Set!
Length: 3-1/4 inches
Width: 1-1/2 inches
Release Date: February 2011
Historical Account: "Super Sixth" - Formed with a cadre from the 2nd Armored Division. the 6th Armored Division was formed under the 1942 Table of Organization and Equipment.
At the end of the Normandy Campaign, the 6th assembled at Le Mesnil on July 25th, 1944. The Division then passed through the 8th Infantry Division to clear the heights near Le Bingard on July 27th, 1944, and Combat Command A secured a bridgehead across the Sienne River near Point de la Roche on July 29th, 1944, then overran Grenville on July 31st, 1944. The 6th then returned to Avranches where it relieved the 4th Armored Division and secured the area bridges.
In mid-August, the Division moved down to Lorient. It was relieved there by the 94th Regional Readiness Command in September. Afterwards, it turned east and cut across France, reaching the Saar in November. It crossed the Nied River between the 11th-12th against strong opposition, reaching the German border on December 6th, and established and maintained defensive positions in the vicinity of Saarbrucken.
On December 23rd, the division was ordered north of Metz to take part in the Battle of the Bulge, assuming control over a sector along the south bank of the Sauer. The 6th was heavily engaged in the battle for Bastogne, finally driving the enemy back across the Our River into Germany by late January 1945.
After a short period of rehabilitation, the division resumed the offensive, penetrated the Siegfried Line, crossed the Prum, reached the Rhine River at Worms on March 21st, and set up a counter-reconnaissance screen along its west bank. The 6th crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim on the 25th, drove on to Frankfurt, crossed the Main, captured Bad Nauheim, and continued to advance eastward. It surrounded and captured Muhlhausen between April 4th-5th. After repulsing a light counterattack, it moved forward 60 miles to cross the Saale River and assisted in freeing Allied prisoners of war and the notorious German concentration camp at Buchenwald. The division raced on, took Leipzig, crossed the Mulde River at Rochlitz on April 15th, then stopped, pending the arrival of the Red Army. Defensive positions along the Mulde River were held until the end of hostilities in Europe.
The division was inactivated on September 18th, 1945 at Camp Shanks, New York.