The Techno Ordnance Group, located in Liverpool, England, was contracted by the Crown Government to design and prototype a land warship with firepower contemporary to a conventional Destroyer, but with greater maneuverability and lower ground pressure than the venerable Rook class mobile fortress. The Rook was too slow and limited in where it could go, and the cost of aerial warships limited the numbers the Crown could put into action.
The TOG Mk 7 was a long bodied 'tank' that was just shy of 900 tons in weight, and in form more resembled a submarine with treads than the more conventional fortress ship with treads. The forward 'tower' was a turret that mounted a single medium naval grade linear gun. Despite the firepower of this large conventional weapon, it was only used for nuisance work, or close quarters combat. The upper hull, some 19 feet high, had multiple recessed demi-turrets housing twin rapid fire autocannons for close in and defensive fire, as well as a number of smaller gunports where marines sheltering in the vehicle could fire their weapons.
The main firepower of the Mark 7 ran along the dorsal spine of the vehicle, and consisted of 20 vertical launch missile tubes. The Mark 7 could be armed with a variety of missiles for these launchers.
Intermediate Range Cruise Missile - used for fire support missions, these missiles could reach up to 600 miles away and deliver a variety of conventional warheads, and could be fitted with atomics.
Starfire anti-ship missile - a short range missile, the Starfire was designed to intercept and cripple aerial warships and large aerospace craft. It has a large warhead and a rapid burning fuel that gives it a very high attack speed.
Bombardier Artillery Missile - a large and low velocity missile, the bombardier is designed for bunker busting, and hitting stationary targets.
The Mark 7 had a crew of eleven, with three officers. The vehicle was commanded by a Land Captain, an executive officer, and an ordnance officer. The rest of the crew was split between gunnery and vehicle control. It could carry either a pair of infantry fighting vehicles, a squad of hover bikes, or a platoon of conventional infantry.
Techno Ordnance Group spent three years designing the first six generations of the Land Destroyer before settling on the Mark 7. The biggest challenge to the development of the vehicle was the requirement for it to have a low ground pressure. The Rook, armed with its three heavy naval linear guns was a stupendous weapon, but the massive weight and narrow profile of it's tread system left its mobility highly limited, and it was easier to move with a warship recovery vehicle than under its own power. Various methods and techniques were employed to lower the weight of the vehicle, as well as equipping a small A-pod system. The system has no ability to lift the Mark 7 off of the ground, but it can reduce the ground weight of the vehicle by as much as 50%. This allowed the landship to move at a passable speed. While 8 miles an hour is no great feat for a vehicle, it can do it over most terrain, and doesnt require airlift to move. It is also much faster than other landships.
Techno Ordnance Group turned over the plans for the Mark 7 to the Royal Armor Works at Chatham. RAW-Chatham produced twenty six Mark 7s. The hulls and engines were easy, as the vehicle was fully intended to be inexpensive, low maintenance, and easy to maintain. The two largest demands of funds and attention were the munitions in the vertical launch system, and the A-pod support system used for movement.
There were further production runs licensed out to other Federation states. The vehicle was considered highly successful, and several hundred were built. This doesn't include black market and illegal production. The ACPS, South Africa, and the EUdAS all produced very similar vehicles, moving the number close to the 700 mark.
The Mark 7, and later iterations would serve the Atlantic Federation EuroZone and AfroZone for close to four decades. Their large size and armor made them effective in ground combat, and their missile firepower made them more than capable of defending themselves ground airborne attackers. The Mark 7 had the distinction of being the most common landship in service, though that was it's only number one spot. There were many other landships, many of which were bigger, or more powerful, or could take more damage, but these were more often than not one off builts, one of a kinds, or very limited models, and none had the longevity of the utilitarian and unglamorous Mark 7s.
Two factors would see the demise of the landships, production scale mecha and powered melee weapons. Production mecha could overwhelm the Mark 7 with firepower and had much high mobility. The landships that fought mecha were taken apart by them. Powered melee weapons like hyperedge blades and shape charged hammers tore through the thinner parts of the armor, and power armor troopers could swarm a vehicle, hack their way inside, and butcher the crew with ease.
Landships like the Mark 7 were retired, and phased out.
The Mark 7 and other landships served in the period between the large scale deployment of mecha and power armors, and after the abandonment of tanks and large ocean going warships. They served as vanguards for larger crawlers, or in the defense of cities, and formed lines of battle where other not quite but kinda tanks slugged it out.
Modern Game Usage
A Mark 7 is a museum piece, but they are still potent weapons. A small group of PCs facing a foe armed with an antique Mark 7 could fight it out on top of the vehicle and go into close quarters combat inside the vehicle in a manner not unlike Indiana Jones fighting Nazis on top of a commandeered Matilda tank. An evil or terrorist organization with a repaired and refurbished Mark 7 could make good use of the missile launchers to hold large areas hostage or in fear of their ability to inflict damage.
Amerrika Command would gladly make use of every Mark 7 they could get their hands on. Vehicles this large, with associated powerplants could carry mobile shroud generators easily. They could also be armed with static smoke missiles, or EMP warheads. Such things could devastate a CogNet dependent force or city with frightening ease.
Ditto for antique atomic warheads.
In a one on one combat, the Mark 7 can outgun and outlast a lone mecha, even a heavy mecha.