A British War Thunder player who also serves in his nation’s armed forces might be in some hot water after they reportedly posted classified UK military documents in an effort to improve the Challenger 2 tank in-game.
War Thunder is a multiplayer military vehicle combat sim produced by Gaijin Entertainment that lets players hop behind the wheel and battle it out with various tanks, trucks, planes, and ships from a variety of nations, including the U.K.
As in any online game, WT players are always hoping that their favorite choice of vehicles will be next in line for a buff, and possibly in an effort to get devs moving quicker on the British tree, one user who says they’re a member of the U.K.’s armed forces actually posted classified specs on the Challenger 2 main battle tank on the game’s forums.
You read that right. According to the UK Defense Journal, a user calling himself “Tidworth” — who describes themself as a commander of an actual Challenger 2 tank — posted certain parts of the vehicle’s Army Equipment Support Publication (like a car’s user manual, but for a tank) on the official War Thunder forums.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tidworth is a town in England that’s the regiment headquarters of the Royal Tank Regiment — who operate the Challenger 2.
UKDJ reported that the now-deleted post included images of the manual, that had the “UK RESTRICTED” label blacked out, and an “UNCLASSIFIED” mark apparently added in after the fact.
“The cover, for instance, had basically everything except CHALLENGER 2 blacked out,” one forum user said, which begs the question: why would someone post what definitely seem to be classified documents online? To try make their favorite tank better, of course.
Tidworth said they had a serious issue with a very specific part of the in-game design of the Challenger 2 (a Tier VII tank in WT). So, claiming to be an actual commander of the real-life vehicle, they decided to post the classified manual in all it’s technical glory to back up their argument.
While Gaijin prides itself on having fairly accurate models of tanks and other military vehicles, they didn’t exactly welcome this secret info with open arms. But, with a fanbase comprised of people who love military tech, it’s no surprise the company has had to deal with classified documents before.
“Last time such a document was shared that was claimed to be “unclassified” it was in fact still classified and was confirmed that it should never have been shared,” a forum moderator replied. “We make it very clear that we will not handle any source material unless it is publicly available and fully declassified with the rights to prove that.”
Gaijin staff then added they’d received “written confirmation from MoD that this document remains classified” so of course they quickly removed the post and urged Tidworth not to post any more, while reminding him of the consequences as well.
“By continuing to disseminate it you are in violation of the Official Secrets Act as stated by the warning on the cover of the document, an offense which can carry up to a 14 year prison sentence if prosecuted,” Gaijin mods reminded Tidworth. “Every time you post this you place us (International representatives of Gaijin), especially any UK citizens, in hot water as the warning so helpfully states that unauthorized retention of a protected document is an offense.”
Now, it’s important to note that this may not have been a member of the UK armed forces, but not everyone has access to classified military documents. Either way, the Challenger 2 doesn’t seem like it’ll be getting an in-game upgrade despite Tidworth’s best efforts.