Bishop, Carrier, Valentine, 25pdr gun

The Bishop, or Bishop, Carrier, Valentine, 25pdr gun, was a self-propelled gun produced in response to an urgent request from Middle East Command.

The request was issued in June 1941, in response to the fast moving nature of desert warfare. The order was passed to Birmingham Railway Carriage, one of the companies that built the Valentine. They took the chassis of the Valentine II, removed the turret, and replaced it with an open-topped box-shaped superstructure. This carried the 25-pounder, as well as a Bren gun on an open anti-aircraft mount. There was space for 32 rounds of 25pdr ammo.

The prototype Bishop was ready for trials in August 1941 and in November 1941 an order was placed for 100. Deliveries began early in 1942. In July 1942 another 50 were ordered, and the last was delivered in January 1943.

Bishop self propelled gun, Sicily 1943
Bishop self propelled gun, Sicily 1943

The Bishop suffered from a number of problems. It had a high silhouette, and the gun had limited traverse (4 degrees to each side) and elevation (to 15 degrees), which limited the range of the gun. Even so it was used in the fighting in the Western Desert, Tunisia and on Sicily.

One regiment of Bishops was attached to the Valentine-equipped 23rd Armoured Brigade during the Second Battle of Alamein, to make up for the lack of a close-support Valentine.

The Bishop was phased out after the arrival of the American M7 Priest with its 105mm gun, and then the Canadian Sexton, which carried a 25pdr in a better mount. The Bishop was relegated to training duties.  

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45, Bruce Oliver Newsome. Looks at the most numerous British tank of the Second World War, but one that only saw limited combat service, mainly in North Africa. Notable for the amount of information packed into a series of tables, including specifications and identifying features of the many versions of the Valentine, as well as the interesting material on the interior of the tank, how it was driven, and on the many special variants such as the Archer self -propelled gun, which carried its main gun pointing backwards. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 August 2015), Bishop, Carrier, Valentine, 25pdr gun , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_bishop.html

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