Products mentioned in this Article
Defrocked Priest (BR205)
(x2 with Passengers)
By the end of July 1944 the US were running into shortages of 105mm howitzer ammunition and requested that British and Canadian forces stop using the 105mm armed M7 Priest to help alleviate the shortages. This left British and Canadian forces with substantial numbers of M7 Priest no longer in use, the British and Canadians having replaced them with either the 25pdr armed Sexton or towed 25 pdr guns.
Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, commander of the II Canadian Corps, devised a way of utilising these spare vehicles as troop carriers as a way giving transport to advancing infantry and reducing infantry losses with armoured protection.
On 31 July the commander of the Mechanical Engineers, 1st Canadian Army, Brigadier G.M. Grant was given the task of organising the conversion of the M7 Priests to armoured personnel carriers.
Initially 72 vehicles were delivered to Army Workshops Detachment (AMD) “Kangaroo” (commander Major G.A. Wiggan) stationed near Bayeux. These were to be converted and mechanically serviced by 6 August. They were stripped of the 105mm howitzer and the front aperture welded over. They could carry twelve troops with full equipment.
Additional Priests were converted with fourteen Canadian and British units contributing their efforts and skills to the project. By 5 August the first 72 M7 Priests had been converted to armoured personnel carriers. More continued to be converted at the workshops.
They were first used in Operation Totalise south of Caen and subsequently in Canadian attacks on the various Channel ports, operated by the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron.
The 72 Priest Kangaroos were baptised in battle on the night of 7 August 1944 and were used in action throughout the rest of the month. The crew usually consisted of the driver, with at times an added member, either an officer or NCO.
On 28 August a Canadian squadron of carriers was organised, but only 55 out of the planned 100 (four troops of 25 each) Defrocked Priest were available.
In Normandy they were eventually organised into two units, the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment (1CACR) and the 49th Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment under the 79th Armoured Division ("Hobart's Funnies").
The US requested the return of the Priests for there own use as artillery once again and were subsequently phased out of service near Rouen, France during the latter part of September. Other vehicles were then used. The majority of next batch were converted from the Canadian Ram tank or Sherman tank.
The name Kangaroo was applied to any similar conversion. The Kangaroos were then used throughout the campaign in northwest Europe.
In Flames Of War
The Defrocked Priest is a new option available in Overlord. At the start of a game a Rifle Company from the 3rd British or 3rd Canadian Divisions can swap a Carrier Patrol for one Armoured Personnel Carrier Section for each Rifle Platoon your force has. An Armoured Personnel Carrier Section has two Defrocked Priests.
A Defrocked Priest is Fully-tracked and has Armour Front 1, Side 0 and Top 0. It is armed with a .50cal AA MG and carries 5 passengers.
Original Priest designed by Evan
Conversion to Defrocked Priest by Seth
Seated passengers by Evan
Painted by Jeremy