Monday, 26 May 2014

Kangeroo Company! 15mm Defrocked M7 Priests - Finished!

This is my last post in this little series I've had this weekend.

Again, some of the models I finished last week were the last remaining part of a larger force. In this case the last two Defrocked Priests for my infantry company to ride to battle in.

The Defrocked Priests were field modifications of American M7 Priest Self Propelled Artillery guns.

M7 Priest - Picture from Wiki (linked without permission)
As the Allied forces fought in Normandy (especially in the more open Canadian and British sectors of the front) they began encountering massive problems overcoming German machine gun and mortar fire. Tanks can't advance without infantry support, and infantry can't advance when their every move brings down accurate mortar fire and they are having to advance into the teeth of machine gun fire from the likes of the German MG-42.

Neither could tanks operate well with infantry at night - and yet it became apparent that the only way to avoid the long range/high powered anti tank guns used by the Germans - as well as the withering machine gun and mortar fire - was to advance at night. A solution was needed that would allow mounted infantry to move accross country at the same rate as the tanks, while protecting them from MG fire and shell splinters.

Famously, this coincided with a American issue with supply of the 105mm shells used by the M7. M7's had been in use by various Canadian and British units from D-day, but with the ammo supply becoming difficult the American requested that the other allies cease using the M7. The British and Canadians rapidly switched (mainly to towed 25 pdr guns) and the 'spare' M7's were made ready to return to the Americans. From Wiki:

"The order to convert 72 Priests into carriers by the commencement of Operation Totalize on August 9 was given on July 31 by Brigadier C.M. Grant, the Deputy Director of Mechanical Engineering at Headquarters.[5] Ultimately, 78 would be converted prior to the first engagement, in spite of the fact that the Operation's start date had been advanced to August 7 – an impressive feat, as just one part of the conversion process was generally a seven-day operation.[6]The drivers for the new vehicles were swiftly and secretly recruited from the Armoured Corps reinforcements, Artillery Units, and the Elgin Regiment, and were rushed into service with almost no training..."
Some of the sources mention that conversion had begun before the Americans had agreed!

My six Defrocked Priests are done up with the markings of the three Artillery Regiments of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division - two from each regiment just to be fair! However, I have since realised that the decals are actually for the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Ooops! Correction will be forthcoming once I find someone that sells the correct decals.


Notice the slight changes in size between these models. They all came from Battlefront and all from 3 separate blisters - no 2 seem to be the same size or exact shape.





The markings in white on the front came from seeing this picture:

Linked from 51st HD website - used without permission

And this one:

Linked from 51st HD website - used without permission

4 comments:

  1. Very nice models, they look great with all the troops in them and the proper markings on them. Nice little history lesson too, good example of Allied "cooperation". Cheers, Paul :-)

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    1. Thanks Paul. I did want to make sure I had the right Divisional markings for these guys as the Canadians played a massive part in Totalise - which in my opinion was one of the most important battles fought in Normandy but seems largely forgotten.

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  2. Quite a productive weekend you had!

    That size difference between the different models is terrible!

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    1. Thanks Cameron, this is me just trying to tidy up some of these half finished units before I start anything else! These resin models are really odd - one of them is actually squinty, sloping from left to right. Obviously they have some issues with the moulds!

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