SS: Today, we have a special guest article by Vollketten (US forums) about the possible TOG II* upgrades. Vollketten is a respected member of the US community, writing occasionaly on various topics, including Italian and British tanks. Enjoy.
Author: Vollketten, US forums
Buff My Tank - TOG II*
For anyone who still doesn’t know T.O.G stands for The Old Gang a group of WW1 tank designers who ran a design scheme parrallel to the main design channels in Britain in WW2 based in no small part on the rather abrasive personality of Sir Albert Stern. You can find more on the development and history of the TOG project at my TOG Files thread here.
Okay so by now everyone has realised that the TOG II* in game is a slow mammoth of a tank easily picked off by an opposing team as it wallows around trying to get into position. Personally I tend to find most of my team are dead before I even get to the battle.
I accept that on those rare occasions I get to use it properly and someone (a medium) provides some support and cover the TOG is a beast to reckon with-sadly this is very infrequent in pub. games so here I propose a buff.
TOG I, late 1941:
Speed: The Old Gang being wed to a rather older idea of what WW2 would bring designed a deliberately long and slow tank being able to provide significant firepower (TOG looked more like a French B1 with a howitzer mounted in the front hull and both were originally intended to have sponson mounted machine guns akin to a WW1 tank) and being able to cross trenches (hence the long tail). So don’t expect a fast TOG anytime soon but that said there is a call to improve the speed and maneuverability.
Mass: So ignoring if one can for a moment that the exact weight of the TOGII* is not actually known (it is so heavy it had to be weighed in two halves and the summed so it weighs about 71,125 kg (71.125 tonnes) and that in the game they give it as 81.3 tonnes which is far too heavy. Thus in game it has a power to weight ratio of 7.38 hp/tonne from the 600hp engine.
Given its correct weight (assuming 600hp is correct) it would have a power to weight ratio of 600/71.125 which would give 8.44 hp/tonne. What this would do is improve the top speed from the woeful 14kph up towards the 20 kph mark. Also there should be commensurate increase in acceleration and a lower resistance across rough ground.
Armour: From this very blog, regarding a declassified Soviet document from 1943 gives stats of an unknown British tank in development which is nothing like anything else ever made and so MAY relate to the TOG programme (there are some other similarities).
That vehicle had an estimated armor thickness on the sides of 65 and 75mm, and frontal armor of 110mm which is certainly very close to the real TOG we know. Secondly there is another reason to buff the armour from an eye-witness to its development "she had been designed at a time when fighting was expected to take place around the Maginot line, her characteristics were slow speed, with a range of 50 miles for operating with infantry, great length to cross wide trenches and armour which would withstand a direct hit from a 105mm gun at 100 yards."
Now in game she has frontal armour of 76mm and obviously they have the real TOG II at Bovington to get measurements from. What they omit though is that the armour is not homogeneous armour plate but rather made from a base layer of mild steel and then clad with high hardness steel armour plate. Does this not mean it has weaker armour? I hear you say. Well no.
In the 1920’s and 30’s Vickers developed a face hardened armour plate (about 20mm thick) of a face hardness of 600 BHN and rear hardness of 400 BHN (German homogeneous armour plate was about 400 BHN) but the Vickers plate is so hard it could not be cut or welded and had to be bolted on. By the 1970’s Hadfield ‘Duplex’ armour was being used (which had been developed prior to WW2). This had an effective armour strength being increased due to the softer rear layer absorbing the energy of the impacting shell with a much lower tendency to spall that the very high hardness armour. In absorbing this energy it reduces the propensity of armour fracture due to impact which improves the armour of the outer layer. In other words a hard outer layer backed with a softer layer is actually both stronger and lighter (by up to 38 per cent over Rolled Homogeneous Armour) that RHA.
Or applied to the TOG, even if the 76mm thick armour remains it should have the strength of a greater thickness. Rather than remodel the game mechanics (I know there is a secret armour factor at play as well) it would be simpler to improve the frontal armour to 110mm instead.
Finally on armour as the entrance hatches on the left and right of the hull were there originally because of the sponsons planned it is perfectly reasonable to assume that they would have been better shaped, smaller and better armoured on any production TOG. I suggest small, circular hatches like on the later Churchills and the A33 Excelsior.
TOG II with 77mm
Armament: In all honestly the armament of the TOG is already sufficient. In fact it’s the best feature of the tank and I wouldn’t propose any changes to improve the performance at all. In real life the TOG II was also fitted at some point (prior to being fitted with the 17-pdr currently modeled) with a 77mm gun which may have been the OQF 77mm Mk.II as used already in the game of the Tier 6 British Heavy Churchill Mk.VII. This would be a reducing in performance from 150 damage and 171 penetration (with the current 17pdr) down to 140 damage and 148 penetration albeit with a slight increase in rate of fire.
The best way to buff the TOG II’s armament would be to increase the rate of fire as it has two loaders and more internal space than the Churchill.VII so it could have a rate of fire of 13 rpm which would be a small but nice improvement.
Size: Finally and more importantly at the end of the whole TOG project there were two other versions mentioned. That of the TOG III (no details) but also of a TOG-R (R for Reduced) basically a shorter TOG. By the end of the beginning (to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill) it was obvious that there would be no return to a WW1 trench war so a shorter TOG was envisaged as there was no trench system to have to cross. How short would be speculative but it could look like this:
The Great Tank Scandal - David Fletcher
The Landships of Lincoln - Richard Pullen
Walter Wilson; Portrait of an Inventor - A.Gordon Wilson
Technology of Tanks – Richard M. Ogorkiewicz