Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1, Bishop

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            Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1, Bishop 


Design and service history:

The Bishop SPG, more formally known as the Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1, was a British Self-Propelled Gun, based on the Valentine tank, which was armed with the ubiquitous QF 25-pounder gun-howitzer. The vehicle was a rushed attempt to create a self-propelled gun that could keep up with the mobile warfare found in the North Africa campaign. This hasty development resulted in a design with numerous problems, resulting in the Biship being produced in only limited numbers before it was replaced by better designs like the Priest and Sexton.

The rapid manoeuvre warfare that developed in the North African Campaign necessitated self-propelled guns, so it was inevitable that an artillery vehicle equipt with the 25-pounder gun-howitzer would be developed, as the 25-pounder was the standard howitzer in service at the time. The Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company was given the requirement for designing a self-propelled vehicle carrying the 25-pounder in June of 1941, and they produced a prototype based on the already existing Valentine MK II which was ready for trials by August and based on these sufficient results 100 of the vehicles were ordered by November of 1941.

The design of the vehicle was that of a Valentine II hull, with the turret replaced by a large fixed box shaped super structure with rear doors, which earned it the nickname Bishop due to the Mitre-like appearance of the superstructure. The 25-pounder howitzer was then fitted in this superstructure, creating a vehicle with a very high silhouette, which would be disadvantageous in a desert warzone. This design also limited the maximum elevation for the gun to 15 degrees, reducing the range of the gun to only 6,400 yards (5,900 m), which was about half the range of the same gun on a wheeled carriage. To get around this crews would build large earthen ramps, and drive the Bishops onto them, in order to tilt the vehicle backwards and increase the elevation. The depression of the gun was 5 degrees, which had a traverse of 8 degrees and was supplemented by a Bren gun for infantry and anti-air defence.

By July of 1942, 80 Bishops had been produced with the final 20 under construction. Their service showed them as fit for purpose if not ideal, but even so an order for a further 50 was placed with a further 200 on tender, but this was soon abandoned in favour of the American 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7, which was now being provided under lend-lease. This did not prevent the Bishop from first seeing action in the Second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, from which point they remained in service until the early part of the Italian Campaign, though its limitations such as slow speed made them poorly received by the troops. The Bishop would ultimately be replaced by the M7 Priest (105 mm) and Sexton (25-pounder) when those became available in sufficient numbers. Surviving Bishops were then diverted to training in self-propelled gun tactics, and a group of 488 were sold to Turkey in 1943.

Vehicle specification:

Mass 17.5 t (38,580 lb)

Length 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)

Width 9 ft 1 in (2.77 m)

Height 10 ft (3.0 m)

Crew 4 (Commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Elevation -5° to +15°

Traverse 8°

Armour hull: 0.31–2.36 in (8-60 mm)

superstructure: 0.51–2 in (13–51 mm)

Main armament QF 25 pounder gun-howitzer with 32 rounds

Secondary armament 0.303 inch Bren light machine gun

Engine AEC A190 diesel 131 hp (98 kW)

Power/weight 7.4 hp/tonne

Suspension coil sprung three-wheel bogies

Operational range 90 mi (145 km)

Maximum speed 15 mph (24 km/h)

Additional historical photos:



Big +1 I’d love to have it and all the other ecclesiastical SPGs in game. Sometimes all you need is a bit of dumb fun in this game.


Aye, i suggested the lot of them, bar the Abbot which someone had done already, they make a pretty decent line tbh, but if i were to pick one i would want the Bishop first ;)

An important part of British SPG history like this deserves to be added. +1

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Would love the Bishop. 25-Pdr has a very nice variety of ammunition too. At least 3 types of AP ammunition, most of which would perform better than the inert M61 ammo the QF 75mm uses.

Do you have any data/info on the ammunition it used? Would be really cool to see :)

Here’s a primary source for the AP ammunition, comes in 3 types. From memory there’s also an APCBC round, experimental HEAT round, and experimental HESH round. Your typical HE and Smoke too.

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Awesome, thank you!

Looks like it will have 97mm with gaijin’s pen calculator, but it would cause more spalling because the projectile is bigger. This vehicle is looking more and more promising. Gaijin when?

+1 i imagine as a T1 or T2 tank with 2.0/2.3 BR, due the bad mobility, but i can’t wait to play with it on battles.

It may not be so clear cut as that. Without the muzzle break it is hard to determine if this is a mk 1 or mk 2 25 pounder. The mk 1 cannot use the supercharge propellant casing. The penetration table has about 20mm of penetration between the supercharge and 3bag with extra, but the bishop wouldn’t even have that extra. We would be looking at something like 65mm of pen. I will dig later and see what i can turn up with regards to what gun, and theoretically what muzzle velocity for 3 bag should be.

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Well good news is that the bishop used the Mk II. Without the muzzle brake it would only be able to use supercharge, and per the calculator this would have 87mm of penetration. Shockingly in line with the table.

+1 The UK needs this.

+1 for derp