Gaijin Entertainment’s War Thunder online war game is free to play. This game is committed to accuracy with a model that emphasizes realistic weapon and vehicle physics and a player base that is very invested in the details of vehicle simulations.
There are many disputes on War Thunder forums about the accuracy and/or otherwise of certain hardware. This weekend, one of these was about the French Leclerc Main Battle Tank. At one point, it came down to the speed at which the tank’s main battle tank rotated. Player __RED_CROSS__ was annoyed by a user claiming that the turret rotated at 40 degrees per second. He decided to win the argument and–under “Sekrit Doc”–post portions of the Leclerc’s gunner manual to support their claim (thanks, UK Defence Journal).
This was on Sunday morning. Doubtless pleased with their efforts, __RED_CROSS__ returned to the thread many times throughout the day. He said things such as “It took 11 seconds for the turret turn complete, so 550 mill/s (31deg),” and “It is correct, not 40deg.” [Leclerc Series 2] I was in. The couple clarified that they were part of the Serie 2.3 model. However, other thread members reported the documents and argued about whether they were classified.
The moderators removed the material after several hours. They are experts at this type of thing and before mod JagdEnte wrote: “Guys, it’s not funny [sic]” To leak classified documents of modern equipment you put lives at risk of many who work every day with the Vehicles. These documents, along with sanctions, will be deleted as soon as possible. Thank you for reading!
This is not the first time that War Thunder forums have hosted military secrets. In June, a player posted classified information on the Challenger 2 tank to win a dispute about the size gap between the main structure and the hull. Gaijin was informed by the UK Ministry of Defence that the manual was classified. The player was then warned that he could be violating the Official Secrets Act.
Smin1080p, the community manager, wrote that this incident and subsequent debates about whether documents were classified or not: “It is not our job to clarify what each authority/government allows. Simply put, we won’t handle, permit, or pass any type of classified documentation/source. We will also follow any legal procedures that are required to do so. We will not accept source material that is classified unless we have clear authorisation.
This whole farrago is simply amazing. This thread is about the smallest differences between the tank and the tank in-game. It’s also clear that there are strong feelings about issues like traversal rates and depression angles.
Following that, the thread devolved into an argument over whether the documents were classified or not. Some users focused on the stupidity in posting such documents to win an argument regarding a videogame while others seemed completely blase about it all. It was just another day at War Thunder forums. Andy Chalk, our War Thunder fan, rightly asked: How many times have War Thunder fans done that?
While sharing classified documents on the War Thunder forums can get you in trouble IRL, it’s not a big deal: our friend __RED_CROSS__ is still in good standing.
PC Gamer reached out to Gaijin to get his opinion. We will keep you posted on any responses. The developer’s last statement (! It seems that the developer still believes that “we only use documents that are not classified when we work on our games.” We delete classified documents that are published by users on the War Thunder forum as soon as they can be removed.