He Challenger 2 is a main battle tank that has been in service with the British Army since 1994, during which it has been operational in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq. It can also be found in War Thunder, Gaijin Entertainment's free online war game: the War Thunder wiki describes it as "a force to be reckoned with (on) the battlefield, thanks to the potentially competent degrees of fire and armor ". although a number of different shortcomings mean you really need a skilled commander to make the most of it.
There’s a fair compromise with the game’s accuracy: “Simulator Battle” mode is based on realistic vehicle and weapon physics, and players engage in grainy, lively discussions about their hardware in War Thunder forums. For example, the launch of the Challenger 2 tank in 2019 sparked this 319-page thread that was still growing.
Still, things escaped earlier this week, when a player showed some commitment to realism. The player, who claims to be a real-life tank commander of Challenger 2 and a former member of the British Army's Armored Development and Testing Unit, complained that the War Thunder game model is significantly out of the question. game so that it leaves him much more vulnerable to enemy fire than he is in the real world, and to prove it, they posted classified images of the Challenger 2 army team support post, which is basically the tank user manual.
According to the UK Defense Journal, the images were heavily worded and bore "UK-restricted" labels, but were scratched and a "Unclassified" stamp was added. Gaijin, understandably, reacted with extreme caution and said that "the declassification of this document, as well as its origin, will have to be demonstrated before any action can be taken based on it."
Shortly afterwards, a senior technical moderator thought that Gaijin had been in contact with the UK Ministry of Defense, which had informed him …in writing—That the manual is in fact classified.
"I can confirm that it appears to be a genuine excerpt," a MoD Equipment and Defense Assistance representative told the site. "Certainly, DE&S has not previously published FOI or been considered for writing. We also do not recognize the 'Unclassified' label as something that has been used at DE&S."
"By continuing to disseminate it, you are violating the Official Secrets Act, as the warning on the cover of the document states, a crime that can lead to a 14-year prison sentence if prosecuted," the moderator wrote. in response to the classified site.
"You are already aware of this, as a person of service, you have signed a statement to understand the act and what actions it obliges you to do. Every time you publish this document you place us (international representatives of Gaijin), especially citizens of the United Kingdom, in hot water, as the warning indicates that unauthorized retention of a protected document is a crime ".
It is not yet known whether the player in question is actually a tank commander or a member of the UK Army, although, as the UK Defense Journal points out, his claimed location in Tidworth, Wiltshire, is home to the Royal Tank Regiment, which operates the Challenger 2s. It is also possible that this is not a nefarious act of betrayal in search of a better video game experience, but simply a mistake in declassification.
But even if it was an honest mistake, the whole incident is fascinating. On the one hand, it all started with a dispute over the size of the gap between the structure of the main turret and the hull: a minute detail, one might think, but one that this man takes a lot seriously. Apparently, this is not the first time something like this has happened: in his initial response to the post, community manager Smin1080p wrote: "The last time a document was shared it was stated that it was "unclassified", in fact it was still classified and it was confirmed that it should never have been shared ". How many times have people shared classified military secrets in War Thunder forums?
Perhaps best of all, though, it seems that while sharing classified MoD documents on War Thunder forums may be a violation of the Official Secrets Act, it doesn’t appear to be a prohibited crime: the account that posted the images is still valid and, by all appearances, in good condition.
Unfortunately, for the dedicated War Thunder player in question, his efforts to make the Challenger 2 a more resilient tank were in vain: the published documents may have been accurate, but as they are classified they are not acceptable as "material of valid source "so no changes will be made. I have contacted Gaijin for more information and will update if I receive a response.