A user has posted a classified document online relating to the Challenger 2 in order to improve the accuracy of the design of the tank in combat game ‘War Thunder’.
A gamer identifying as Challenger 2 commander has posted a classified document online in order to improve the accuracy of the design of the tank in the game ‘War Thunder’.
War Thunder is a vehicular combat multiplayer video game developed and published by Gaijin Entertainment. Despite the fact that Gaijin Entertainment lists itself as a Cyprus-based studio, it was originally founded in Moscow, Russia, where it still has offices today.
It also has branches in Germany, Hungary, and Latvia, you can read more on the studio here.
So, what happened?
A user identifying as a Challenger 2 commander posted specific excerpts from a Challenger 2 AESP (Army Equipment Support Publication, sort of like a user manual) to show game developers that they “didn’t model it correctly”.
The user identifies as a make in Tidworth with a history of “Tanks & AFV’s, CR2 Tank Commander, AFV Instr, D&M Instr, Gunnery Instr, Former ATDU”. It should be noted that Tidworth is home to the Royal Tank Regiment who operate Challenger 2 tanks.
Anyway, it is understood that the excerpts from the document had their ‘UK RESTRICTED’ label crossed out and a stamp of ‘UNCLASSIFIED’ added, as well as having various parts fully blanked. One forum user remarked that “the cover for instance had basically everything except CHALLENGER 2 blacked out”.
The forum user posted the following alongside the now removed AESP in an effort to have an issue with the in-game design of the vehicle rectified.
“Linking those screenshots with the following edited image from the AESP’s which is meant to show the relationship of the various components. The image isn’t exactly to scale as its only meant to show the position of components relative to each other but it works for the point I’m trying to make here. The trunnion’s sit centrally of the rotor. The trunnions support the rotor in the turret structure and the GCE sub components as previously stated are all mounted to the rotor.”
Gaijin refused to deal with the apparently still classified documents. Saying through through their community manager:
“Before any discussion, handling or bug reports are even made, proof of this documents declassification will be required as well as where it was sourced form. If it is declassified, it should be available to the public. 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. We make it very clear that we will not handle any source material unless it is publically available and fully declassified with the rights to prove that.”
Additionally, a forum moderator posted:
“We have written confirmation from MoD that this document remains classified. 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 offence which can carry up to a 14 year prison sentence if prosecuted. Of this you are already aware, as a service person you have signed a declaration that you understand the act and what actions it compels you to take. 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 unauthorised retention of a protected document is an offence.”
It’s not yet clear what happened – was the clearance faked or was it given by the wrong people? We’ll update htis article when we know more.