Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I, Archer Author: Captain_Nemo Silentstalker: Hello everyone, we have another guest article from Captain_Nemo here. Enjoy! QA: Stream with the Chieftain Posted on December 9, 2013 - Archer and Achilles British tank destroyers will come. The Archer is an unusual tank destroyer. It is unique not just in its layout of the gun on the chassis but in the gun itself. It is the British 17pdr. Now because of the gun alone the tank destroyer will never be Tier 4 material. It simply has too much penetration with the gun but more on that in a minute. Let us look at the background and history of the Archer. The Archer was the second in a series of self-propelled guns produced on the Valentine chassis. The first design produced was the Ordnance QF 25-pdr on Carrier Valentine 25-pdr Mk 1, better known as the “Bishop”. The second design was the Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I “Archer”. The Archer is not quite the expedient hack job that the Bishop is nor is it nearly as bad as the hack job of adding a 6-pdr gun and gunshield to the top of the Valentine in place of a turret. The Archer was reasonably well thought out. By 1942 everyone but the British had gotten on the Self-Propelled Gun and Tank Destroyer bandwagon, except the British. The British had however designed the 17-pdr gun high velocity anti-tank gun, back in the Fall of 1941 which was designed as the answer to the deadly German 8,8cm. The 17-pdr was approved for production in mid-1942. The problem was, for the British, to find a suitable mount for this long weapon from amongst the existing tank chassis then currently available in reasonable numbers. The Crusader was ruled out because it was too small and too underpowered to take the mounting, leaving only the Valentine chassis as an option. The earliest idea for the Valentine chassis was to use the existing Bishop tank to mount the 17-pdr gun since the Bishop already mounted the 25-pdr howitzer and was already in production. This was quickly found to be a very bad idea do to the length of the gun barrel and height of the Bishop combined to make the Bishop even more unwieldy then it already was. I.E. High center of gravity. The Ministry of Supply asked Vickers to design a new self-propelled gun based upon the already proven Valentine chassis and at the same time overcome the limitations of dealing with the large size of the gun which was dealt with by pointing the 17-pdr over the vehicle’s rear. Work started in July 1942 and the prototype was ready for trials by March 1942. Firing trials were conducted in April 1943 and resulted in some modifications to the fire controls and to the gun mount. Once that was completed the vehicle was placed into immediate priority production with the first Archer coming off the production line in March of 1944. Once that was completed the vehicle was placed into immediate priority production with the first Archer coming off the production line in March of 1944 with the Archer entered service in October 1944. It was used in North-West Europe and in Italy, and was employed by the British and Egyptian army for many years after the end of the war. By the end of the war, 665 of them had been produced out of an order for 800. The Archer was classified as a self-propelled anti-tank gun and as such was operated by the Royal Artillery rather than by Royal Armored Corps during the war. The fighting compartment consisted of a fixed armor plate superstructure (8-14mm thick at best) incorporating both the original turret space and the driving compartment. The gun could be traversed 11° to the Right and11° to the Left of the center. Elevation was -7.5° depression to a maximum of +15° elevation on level ground. One of the problems experienced with the Archer with the 17-pdr mounting was that the gun recoiled over the driver’s seat, and consequently the driver had to get out of the vehicle as soon as he had reversed the vehicle into a firing position another problem was the lack of overhead protection which crews were critical of.39 rounds of ammunition were stowed. In spite of its long gun, the Archer was little longer than the Valentine chassis on which it was based. Use of the Archer TD in WW: The Units First off: not much is written about the Archer TD. Period. Secondly, researching the unit that used it has been an unholy pain. Thirdly, I somehow ended up with another article topic for a future article. What information we do have from combat of the Archer comes from the 314th Battery, 105th Anti-Tank Regiment. Royal Artillery. British XIII. Corps operating under the command of the British 8th Army in Italy. Yes it is a bit of a mouthful but it’s all I got. There are also mentions of the Archer being used in indirect fire and direct fire, which happened a lot, once the HE ammunition for the 17-pdr was redesigned to fire the shell at a lower velocity. Once that happened, the Archer, just like the M10, was only too frequently firing HE at the Germans and Italians or taking out machinegun nests and pillboxes throughout Italy. From very late 1944 to early 1945 (Winter) the Archer was also used in North-Western Europe. Although I don’t know exactly where – yet. The only unit I know of that used it in North-Western Europe was the 20th Anti-Tank Regiment but information on them is even more sketchy then the 105th Anti-Tank Regiment. The 314th Battery had made its start in Burma attached to the 7th Armored Brigade which was part of the 7th Armored Division. The 7th Armored Division was well known as the “The Desert Rats” and was previously called the Mobile Division when it was stationed in Egypt before the war. The 7th Armored Brigade, previously called the Mobile Brigade, is also well known for their nickname as the ‘Green Rats’ or the ‘Jungle Rats’ from when it went into Burma briefly in 1942. The 7th Armored Brigade fought all over North Africa from 1939, through 1942, against Italy and Germany and then it was shipped off to Burma to fight Japan. (I know I skipped a lot of “action” but this is not an article on the 7th Armored Brigade.) The 314th Battery traveled with the 7th Brigade and fought a retreat from Burma to India and in the process lost all of its 2pdr. portee’s when it was forced to Continue reading →

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