In an attempt to get developers to change some in-game stats a Chinese player posted an image on War Thunder’s forums earlier this week showing classified military documents. The post showed a photo of some armament schematics (for a round fired by Chinese tanks), with one of the actual parts sitting on top of the paper.
The post in question was quickly removed from War Thunder’s forums, but since the image has been reposted, and then deleted, in multiple instances on the same forum. It’s now circulating the web, from Twitter to Reddit.
In the third major leak of classified details relating to the game, images posted on the War Thunder forum show a Chinese DTC10-125 armor-penetrating round and a document describing the specifications of the projectile. | @Osinttechnical for @ukdefjournal https://t.co/ijGxRxOAE9— UK Defence Journal (@UKDefJournal) June 2, 2022
The popular armored combat simulator features modern land, air, and sea craft, and has a devoted following of roughly 50,000 players. And some of them seemingly can’t help themselves from leaking classified military information to make the gaming experience more accurate.
Our community managers immediately banned the user and deleted his post, as the information on this particular shell is still classified in ChinaGaijin Entertainment
"Publishing classified information on any vehicle of any nation at War Thunder forums is prohibited, and the game developers never use it in their work," Gaijin Entertainment told Kotaku.
"While we understand that our players want the game to be as realistic as possible, we’re kindly asking them not to do anything illegal and jeopardize their safety, as well as the safety of our community team members. The developers of War Thunder do their best to research information on vehicles using legally available tools, and scandals like this are not useful for our efforts," they added.
Previous similar incidents
In October 2021, a player got into an argument on the game’s forums about the in-game depiction of France’s Leclerc Main Battle Tank. To settle the disagreement, they posted a part of what was essentially the tank’s manual, prompting the forum’s moderators to wonder how this sort of thing just keeps happening.
The offending poster claimed to be a crew member of a Leclerc Serie 2 tank, the latest model of a tank that has been in service with the French since 1992.
Back in July 2021, someone who very possibly could have been a commander in the Royal Tank Regiment of the United Kingdom uploaded some documents to the “War Thunder” forums detailing the technical specifications of Britain’s Challenger 2 tank.
Presumably, this was to prove that the game had gotten details wrong about the tank.
The company that makes the game had to, obviously, rebuke any attempts to win an online argument by leaking classified military data.
“We have written confirmation from [the Ministry of Defence] that this document remains classified. By continuing to disseminate it you violate 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," wrote a message board moderator after the 2021 incident.
"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,” they added.
Perhaps Gaijin Entertainment should consider adding a segment about proper OPSEC in the tutorial of 'War Thunder'.