An online gamer recently leaked secret specifications of the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) on popular military game War Thunder to educate other gamers about what the tank’s design really is.
The gamer, sporting the username Fear_Naught and reportedly “a commander in the Royal Tank Regiment of the United Kingdom,” wasn’t really impressed with the way developers at War Thunder designed and coded the Challenger 2 tank. In a post on the game’s developer’s message board on 14th July, this is what Fear_Naught had to say:
“As I’ve stated a fair few times now, the complexity of the construction is sometimes difficult to see/show with pictures. It is so complex in [the Challenger 2’s] case that I don’t completely blame Gaijin [Gaijin Entertainment is the developer of War Thunder] from getting it incorrect. All I try to do is point out the areas where they are incorrect.” (Source: Kotaku AU)
“Basically, Gaijin would have you believe that the rotor that supports the weight of the gun cradle, recoil mechanism, breech, barrel, mantlet assembly, coax mg, and the TISH isn’t even supported by the trunnions at all… It just floats apparently.” (Source: NME)
A stickler for perfection, Fear_Naught went on to back up his words with documents associated with Challenger 2- sourced straight from the secret archives of Army Equipment Support Publication. For a few precious moments, War Thunder players enjoyed full wide access to the user manual of the British Army’s vanguard.
War Thunder describes itself as “the most comprehensive free-to-play, cross-platform, military game dedicated to aviation, armoured vehicles, and naval craft.” Its developer forums are usually full of specifications of military vehicles, their capabilities, offensive potential and drawbacks.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for moderators at War Thunder to realize that the Official Secrets Act had come into play. They quickly took to the forum to remove the specifications and issued a warning to Fear_Naught.
“We have written confirmation from [the Ministry of Defence] 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.”
To be clear, the Official Secrets Act applies to all civil servants and potentially anyone within the state, including the British Army. Scott “Smin1080p” Maynard, a community manager at Gaijin Entertainment, also clarified in the forum thread that War Thunder does not entertain any classified information.
“Before any discussion, handling, or bug reports are even made, proof of a document’s declassification will be required as well as where it was sourced from. 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,” he wrote.
Main Image Source: War Thunder