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The Bishop SPG

The Bishop Self-propelled Gun
The release of Armoured Fist has given players a wealth of options to field in their British Army, from the mighty Churchill lumbering across the battlefield to the trusty Priest sitting back and lobbing shells. We've had a number of requests and suggestions from players about how to field the Bishop so we thought we would turn it into an Unoffical Unit Card.

You can find the Bishop Spotlight here...

Fielding a Bishop Field Troop
with Chris Townley

Over the years I've built hundreds (okay, maybe dozens) of Mid War British Armies. Of course, when I say built I mean drawn up a concept list on paper and then done very little in terms of getting the models, or even building and painting something. The Bishop is one of those models though that often featured somewhere in the equation. I think it is the mix of its ugly-beautiful looks, combined with the deadliness of a 25pdr gun in Mid War.

Armoured Fist
The British Army has the Italian-German armies in Africa caught in a vice, and are steadily screwing the jaws shut. The Eighth Army is advancing from El Alamein in the east, while the First Army fights its way through Tunisia from the west. Their armoured divisions combine the dash of fast, light tanks like the Honey and Crusader, with the power of the heavy Grant and Sherman. Their infantry divisions have some of the toughest riflemen in the world, backed up by thickly-armoured Churchill and Valentine tanks and massed artillery. Together, they make up a force that can defeat anything the enemy brings against them, a force that will destroy the Axis forces in Africa.

Learn more about Armoured Fist here...

Brief History
The British were greatly impressed by the use of self-propelled guns by the Germans in Africa. Marder’s and various SP infantry guns played an important part in the German successes and the British saw the potential in this development. In 1941 the 8th Army HQ requested similar equipment and the boffins went into overdrive.

It was decided to use an existing tank chassis to mount a 25pdr and the job went to the Birmingham Carriage & Wagon Company. They used the Valentine II tank as the basis for the new vehicle. The new vehicle was simply an armoured superstructure sat on top of the Valentine chassis with the 25pdr mounted inside. It entered trials in August 1941.

Trials proved successful and a few minor changes were made to the crew protection before it was put into production. 100 were ordered with a plan for a further 200. Meanwhile the British commission in charge of sourcing lend-lease equipment in the US discovered the M7 Priest and it was decided to take the US built SP 105mm Howitzer. The second order for 200 Bishops was cancelled.

In July 1942 a further 50 Bishops were ordered, to join the 80 already in service and the 20 still under construction. The Bishop served in the desert until 1943. Most Bishops were initially assigned to 121st Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. They were usually found supporting the all-Valentine 23rd Armoured Brigade from Alamein and onwards. Batteries 275 (3rd West Riding) and 276 (11th West Riding) were equipped with the Bishop in October 1942.

Making a Unit Card
Working through the stats of the Bishop we started by looking at the Priest under V4. To my mind it safe to say that the Priest is a generally superior vehicle in Flames Of War. The Priest mounts a larger gun (105mm vs 25pdr) that comes with longer range and better Firepower. The Bishop does have a slight edge in the armour department having Top Armour 1 (over the Top Armour 0 on the Priest) and Side Armour 2.

In terms of the crews, there would be no difference leading to both having the same Motivation, Skill and Hit On numbers.

The last area is of course movement, one is based on a Lee/Sherman and one is based on a Valentine. The US built Sherman and Lee tanks may not be as speedy as a Lamborghini Countach but are still faster than a Valentine tank.
Taking all of this into account and running it through the stats database Wayne and Phil came up with the following Unit Card.

The Bishop Self-propelled Gun The Bishop Self-propelled Gun

As you can see the Bishop comes in a couple of points (per battery) cheaper than the Priest. Personally, I think the Priest is more likely to appear in my armies from bang-for-buck reason (the plastic models cost 2/3 the price of the metal and resin ones) and a bang-for-points reason (.5 points per model for better guns, faster speeds but slightly less armour).

Check out the Priest Field Troop in the online store here...

From an ugly is good reason then Bishop will always have a place in my heart and should I ever get around to building a Valentine Company…. There will be Bishops supporting it!

Priest Field Troop (BBX45)

Download the pdf files for the cards here:

Bishop Field Battery (unofficial) (PDF)...

Other Community Unit Cards...

Last Updated On Friday, March 15, 2019