Weighing 80 tons the TOG II* is the heaviest tank in the Museum. It was designed on the premise that World War II would evolve in the same way as the First World War.
Some believed that existing tanks would not be able to deal with such conditions, and one of the most influential was Sir Albert Stern, who had been secretary to the Landships Committee in the First World War. In company with many others involved in tank design in 1916, including Sir William Tritton, Sir Eustace Tennyson D’Eyncourt, Sir Ernest Swinton and Walter Wilson, Stern was authorised by the War Office to design a heavy tank on First World War principles.
The group was called officially called ‘The Special Vehicle Development Committee of the Ministry of Supply’; unofficially it was known as the TOG committee (TOG: The Old Gang). It began work in September 1939.
Two prototypes were built, both known as TOG for The Old Gang, and they were even manufactured by the company that built Little Willie and the first tanks in 1916, William Foster & Co. of Lincoln. TOG I was very much like a big First World War tank with a turret on top. It was later scrapped.
The project was abandoned in 1944.
The Tank Museum’s TOG II*
TOG II was completed in 1941. It was so heavy they could only weigh half at a time. The tank was fitted with four different gun turrets between 1941 and 1944, ending up with the type of turret designed by Stoddart and Pitt for the A30 Challenger Heavy Cruiser Tank. This mounted a 17pdr gun, making the tank a TOG II*.