First off, the history
The TOG II is an interesting Premium Heavy tank. TOG stands for 'The Old Gang', because it was designed by a group of old men who originally worked on the very first World War I tanks, including one of credited original inventors. The assumption was that World War II would be a repeat of the trench warfare of World War I.
So with this in mind, armed with large well cultivated soup strainers (mustaches, for those not familiar with British slang) and completely ignoring the predictions and writings of J.F.C Fuller and Captain B. H. Liddell Hart (notably, these were not lost on Heinz Guderian), they built a tank which could move slowly with infantry, across trenches and ground pockmarked by the enormous artillery barrages so synonymous with the First World War. And because of that, they built a total and absolute failure of a tank which never saw serial production. It did have some interesting features, like an electro-mechanical drive as seen on some of the more exotic German tanks, torsion bar suspension system to give it a smooth ride, and what was a tremendously good cannon for its time.
The first tank was obviously called the TOG. The TOG II was a refined version with some changes to its turret, gun and track path. No one really knows what happened to the first TOG. It disappeared from historical record, which I find strange as you wouldn't think that a tank would be the sort of thing you just lose down the back of the sofa or the dog can bury in the garden. The TOG II itself was cancelled in 1943 and put on display at Bovington Tank Museum, where you can visit it to have a look and be dwarfed by one of the largest tanks ever built.
But, enough about the history. How does this archaic design fit into World of Tanks as a Tier VI Premium Heavy Tank? Lets take a look and see if its worth the asking price 3500 Gold.
Does it earn me credits?
Ok, so we'll cut to the chase. Does it earn me buckets of credits? Yes and no. There is a general misconception that all Premium tanks earn more money than their standard counterparts. This is only true of Tier VIII Premiums; all other Premium tanks just cost less to run than their standard peers, therefor net profit is higher. The TOGII is no different, so don't buy this expecting to be on the World of Tanks Forbes 500 list.
If its not good for that, Is it good for crew training?
The cool thing about Premium Tanks is you can use any crew from the tanks country of origin so long as they're trained in the same tank class without penalty. So in the case of the TOGII, you can put your 215B crew into it. However this is why this tank is a dud; the TOGII needs 6 crew, your 215B needs 4. You'll need two crewmen you don't care about, and the larger crew means more widely spread experience, which means slower progression for the quartet you do care about.
Matchmaking, the first good news
This tank has favourable matchmaking. You can't meet Tier VIII tanks in it. That's a good thing, since it means you're merely outmatched by almost anything you fight, instead of being hopelessly outmatched.
So lets focus on the good before we go into the bad (or the utterly terrible) which define some of this tanks characteristics. It's armed with Mk VII variant of the famous OQF 17 pdr, a gun also found on the Tier VII Churchill Black Prince and AT-15A. Sounds good already.
With standard AP rounds it will get averages of 171mm of penetration and 150. That may sound mediocre, but it's also got a 12 rounds per minute rate of fire, 2.3 second aim time and 0.34 accuracy. At this point its also worth noting the depression available is exceptionally at -10 degrees and the view range is 360m, 30m more than many other Tier VI tanks. The Premium round has 239mm of penetration, so that's an insurance policy against the odd Tiger P you may run across.
You'd think a tank tipping the scales at over 80 tons would have some hefty armour. Well...yes and no. The armour is of the cemented variety, which was best available in the time period for prolonged engagements because of its ability to maintain its strength and shape without spalling after repeated hits. The trouble with the TOG II is that that advantage doesn't translate into the game, and the fancy armor isn't actually that thick.
The hull armour is 76/76/50mm and the turret is 114/76/53. For a Tier VI Heavy, that's terrible, full stop. If the tank were smaller or faster it wouldn't be so bad, but it's not - the tank is the size of a Maus and actually slower.
You can't even do a whole lot to make the best of a bad situation. A common strategy with tanks like the Maus is "side scrapping" - placing your tank so that its front is covered and exposing only the side at an extreme angle. Attackers have the option of shooting at your turret, or taking a shot at your side that will impact at something like 10 degrees off horizontal. Unfortunately, the TOG II has a very forward mounted turret, which makes it rather difficult to do.
Unless you get clever.
Even in this case, though, the 114 armor on your turret is nothing to write home about. It might stop Tier V shots with some reliability, but most Tier VI or Tier VII guns will punch through it without a problem.
I've touched on this before and I think you've already got the impression that this tank is a bit of a brick, maneuvering it is a bit like what you'd expect from a tank built by people who worked on a 'landship committee'. 20 degrees track traverse and 15kph top speed make this more immobile than the Maus, although it has the dubious benefit of meaning that the tank is fairly accurate while moving.
With that in mind, in my experience if the enemy has artillery and they're not AFK, bots or neck beards and you're in an open map or an opening start position and get spotted, you're dead. Despite 1400 hit points, the lack of armour and low mobility it doesn't last long. Its such a large and slow vehicle that it ends up exposed for a disproportionate amount of time and is quite an easy target for artillery.
There is one upshot is that you can literally throw your weight around - other tanks you face are very, very easy to push. Use that to build a fortress from dead foes or something, since those are the only ones you'll catch.
This is certainly something worth covering because this tank is fairly unique in its design. Because it was meant to cross trenches and craters, its very long; It's also quite tall at just over 3 meters. This poses some interesting problems, the first of which is, a shorter tank can effectively hide by hugging you, there's simply no way to depress your gun enough to hit it. The length is also a little bit of a problem because it simply can't traverse 180 degrees or more unless it has over 10.1m of clear space to do it which sometimes is a problem on city maps or if rocks are present.
As this is a Tier 6 tank, it qualifies for Medium Tank Companies, so I had to test it out. After asking, then begging one of my clans FC's to allow me to take this tank on a few companies I was able to get a measure of its performance. To cut a long anecdotal story short it didn't work out to well; we like to win, even in 'crap' tanks (crap as in not FOTM) so after several battles we decided or rather I was told to not use that tank ever again. Evidently it was just too 'crap'.
As a defensive tank, it has the hit points but not the armour to absorb the sustained punishment from a push into your defense. It also lacks the alpha to punish people for playing peek and poke with you, and the ROF to hit several peekers in rapid succession is a poor compensation. It's to large to hide form artillery, and the AMX105AM and Grilles used in Medium Company Battles will find you an easy target. It's simply too slow to be an attacking tank and despite its excellent sniping ability, it can't get in position fast enough or get to the best positions at all, and can't stay hidden effectively if it does get to where it needs to be.
The only real use for the tank is as a blocker, but really, it's a waste of a slot. Maybe if we could have selected a city map its possibly it would have been useful. Tank Companies with the random map rotation aren't the place for the TOG II; the KV1S and Cromwell won't be challanged by this tank any time soon.
TL/DR & Conclusion
The TOG II is a tank for aficionados who are either very good at World of Tanks or absolute masochists or more likely, both in equal amounts. There's no other way of looking at it.
Is it worth 3500 Gold? [Editor's note: NO.] While always subjective to a certain degree, usually players will generally agree on most Premiums as either worth it or not; however this tank really is down to personal taste and on the understanding its not going to be some uber credit or XP grinder, its purely for the 'pleasure' of owning and driving this oddity.
If you enjoyed the Premium Churchill III, Matilda Black Prince or AT-15A, you might enjoy this. However I own all those tanks, enjoy each one on their own merits however couldn't bring myself to get in any way attached to this monstrosity.
One plus side I forgot to mention earlier: in nearly every game I play with the TOG II I get someone on the opposite team telling me how he's about to feed off my 1400 hit points and earn some nice XP. It's a bit of a tard magnet, so you might be able to derive some enjoyment from it by killing off overconfident morons and then making fun of them.
So do you have a TOG II and utterly disagree with me? Leave a comment below!