Bishop (artillery)

Bishop (artillery)

Infobox Weapon
name= Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1 "Bishop"

origin= UK
type= Self-propelled artillery
service= 1942
used_by=British Commonwealth
wars= Second World War
number= 100
length=5.53 m (18 ft)
width=2.63 m (8.62 ft)
height=2.83 m (9.28 ft)
weight=17.5 t (38,580 lbs)
primary_armament=QF 25 pounder gun-howitzer
with 32 rounds
secondary_armament=0.303 inch Bren machine gun
armour=hull: 8-60 mm
(.31 - 2.36 in)
superstructure: 13-51 mm (.51 - 2 in)
engine=AEC A190 diesel
engine_power=131 hp (98 kW)
pw_ratio=7.4 hp/tonne
suspension=coil sprung three-wheel bogies
vehicle_range=145 km (90 mi)
speed=24 km/h (15 mph)
crew=4 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver)

The Bishop was a British self-propelled artillery vehicle based on the Valentine tank. A result of a rushed attempt to create a self-propelled gun armed with the 25 Pounder gun-howitzer, the vehicle had numerous problems, was produced in limited numbers and was soon replaced by better designs.

History and description

The rapid manoeuvre warfare practiced in the North African Campaign led to a requirement for a self-propelled artillery vehicle armed with the 25 pounder gun-howitzer. In June 1941 the development was entrusted to the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company. The result was a vehicle designated Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1 and universally known as Bishop.

The Bishop was based on the Valentine II hull, with turret replaced by a fixed boxy superstructure with large rear doors. Into this superstructure the 25 pounder gun-howitzer was fitted. As a limitation of the gun mounting the resulting vehicle had very high silhouette. The maximum elevation for the gun was limited to 15 degrees, lowering the range considerably to about 6,400 yards (about half that of the gun on its wheeled carriage), the maximum depression was 5 degrees and traverse 8 degrees. In addition to the main armament the vehicle could carry a Bren light machine gun.

Initial order was for 100 units which were delivered in 1942. A further 50 were ordered but it's not clear if those were delivered.

Combat history

The Bishop first saw action during the Second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa and remained in service during the early part of the Italian Campaign. Due to the aforementioned limitations, compounding the Valentine's characteristic slow speed, the Bishop was poorly received almost universally. In order to compensate for insufficient elevation, crews would often build large ramps out of the earth - running the Bishop onto these tilted the whole vehicle back effectively gaining extra elevation.

It was replaced in service by the M7 Priest (105 mm) and Sexton (25-pounder) when those became available in sufficient numbers.


* Chris Henry, Mike Fuller - "The 25-pounder Field Gun 1939-72", Osprey Publishing 2002, ISBN 1-84176-350-0.

External links

* [ Battlefront]
* [ World War II Vehicles]
* [http://www.AFRIKAKORPS.Org/Bishop.htm Bishop at AFRIKAKORPS.Org]
* [http://www.AFRIKAKORPS.Org/Bishop.htm Bishop Tri-Colors / Markings]

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