British SP 17 pdr. Tank Destroyer Archer

British SP 17 pdr. Tank Destroyer Archer.

Britain’s most promising anti-tank gun was the excellent 17 pdr., and in 1942 a chassis for a self-propelled version was needed. At that time, the Valentine was the only suitable candidate available. Simply installing the gun in a new turret proved unfeasible due to the gun’s length, so modification of the chassis was undertaken. The result was the Archer, basically an open-topped Valentine with the 17 pdr. mounted pointing to the rear. An unconventional arrangement, but the only solution to the design challenge. This arrangement gave the vehicle a compact and low silhouette. Eventually the Archer proved to be an effective SP gun. The 17 pdr. was later mounted in the Sherman Firefly and – in modified form – Comet battle tanks.

The first of 665 production models were completed in 1944, and the Archer served in Europe from October 44 to war’s end. It remained in British service until the 50s, and some were supplied to the Egyptian Army.

Available Scale Model Kits

Technical Specifications

  • SP 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I, Archer
  • Engine: GM six cylinder diesel, 165 hp
  • Maximum Speed: 32 km/h
  • Average Range: 225 km
  • Length: 6.679 m
  • Width: 2.755 m
  • Height: 2.247 m
  • Weight: 39,960 lb
  • Armour: 8 mm to 60 mm
  • Armament: Ordnance QF 17 pdr Anti-Tank Gun with 39 Rounds
  • Secondary armament: .303 cal Bren LMG
  • Gun Elevation: +15 degrees
  • Gun Depression: -7 degrees
  • Gun Traverse: 22.5 degrees
  • Crew: Commander, Driver, Gunner, Loader

Historical Employment

  • British Army, 1944–50
  • Egyptian Army

The Milicast resin kit is the only available 1:76 scale model of the Archer SPG at this time. There may be conversion kits for existing Valentine models in 1:72 and 1:35 scale, and grand tactical wargamers can turn to the 1:300 scale model offered by Heroics & Ros.

Patrick Storto

British Miniatures of World War Two