A player of free-to-play vehicular combat game War Thunder has claimed that the game’s representation of the British Challenger 2 tank is inaccurate. This is an everyday occurence for the messageboard of any videogame striving for realism.
What sets this apart is that the player claimed to be a Challenger 2 commander and proceeded to post classified documents to prove they were right.
As reported by the UK Defence Journal, the user posted excerpts of the Challenger 2’s “Army Equipment Support Publication”. The document had several sections blanked out, though the user said they were presenting the images to show that the Challenger 2 had not been modelled correctly in-game.
A community moderator for Gaijin Entertainment, the developers of War Thunder, responded to make clear that they would not “handle” the source material.
“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.”
Perhaps the best detail of all is that, earlier, another moderater noted that the “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.” Which means this isn’t the first time this has happened.