A War Thunder player leaked classified documents to show that an in-game tank's model...

mongeese

Posts: 517   +110
Staff member
In context: War Thunder is a combat simulation game that takes realism quite seriously, but apparently not as seriously as some of its players. In 2019, the game came to include the Challenger 2 main battle tank. It adopted a pivotal but polarizing role on the virtual battlefield, and the accuracy and balance of its characteristics became a point of contention among players.

Last week, a player with the username Pyrophoric won a debate on War Thunder’s forums when he posted schematics of the Challenger 2 extracted from its Army Equipment Support Publication (AESP), a sort of user manual. He showed that in real life, the tank is less vulnerable to shots fired at the junction between its turret and hull than it is in-game.

The AESP had "UK Restricted" labels crossed out and replaced with "Unclassified" stamps -- note that the UK generally refers to documents that were previously classified, but no longer are, as 'declassified' and not 'unclassified.'

Forum moderators immediately found the post suspicious, and one pointed out that the "last time such a document was claimed to be ‘unclassified’ it was in fact still classified."

Which does beg the question: how often does this happen?

Gaijin, War Thunder’s developer, contacted the UK Ministry of Defence and was told that the Challenger 2’s AESP is still classified. "I can confirm that it does appear to be a genuine extract," an MoD representative said. One of Gaijin’s senior forum moderators addressed Pyrophoric with the following statement.

"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 offense 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 unauthorized retention of a protected document is an offense."

Pyrophoric hasn’t posted since, although he has been online. As of writing, his account is still active and has an "outstanding community reputation," according to the forum’s popularity-based rating system. On his profile, Pyrophoric says he is a 40-year old man. He’s claimed to be a former Challenger 2 commander, an army instructor, and a former member of the Armoured Trials and Development Unit.

Unfortunately, Gaijin has failed to capitalize on this opportunity to make their Challenger 2 model more accurate, and have said that they do not plan on updating it. Several players managed to complain before the Challenger 2 thread was closed to prevent more security breaches.

Image credit: Cpl Ross Fernie RLC

Permalink to story.

 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,850   +5,920
Another story that rings with the most famous oximoron - "Army Intelligence".

And specifically for UK army, all I can think of is "the best and the brightest"...

Blackadder-goes-forth-blackadder-11211258-580-435.jpg
 
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Achaios

Posts: 194   +532
Βritshers involved. Check.
Refers to a UK piece of military equipment. Check.
Claims that UK built MBT is much more resilient than widely suspected. Check.
Leaks so-called classified docs to prove above claim. Check.

Verdict: Controlled leak by British Intelligence.

Dezinformatsiya.
 

R00sT3R

Posts: 481   +1,323
No doubt the argument only arose because the Yank forum contingent couldn't handle the fact that their beloved M1 Abrams are so obviously inferior to the Challenger 2...😉

..which they are, of course.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,405   +2,002
No doubt the argument only arose because the Yank forum contingent couldn't handle the fact that their beloved M1 Abrams are so obviously inferior to the Challenger 2...😉

..which they are, of course.

Not sure that it would matter if is inferior both countries are allies. And if they weren't we all know who would win that battle.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,389   +2,459
Most good Challenger 2s are going to be remanufactured and comprehensively overhauled into a spec 3 version inside the next 7-8 years. Including new turrets, main gun, uprated armor, suspension and engine. The works. In light of this the limited info leak of what is a near 25 year old dated tank seems to be minimally damaging.

The British and European NATO as a whole are not enormous tank fans in either case. Mostly dating back to the Cold War where the Warsaw pact armor build up was so massive NATO didn't bother to match it. Typically holding a 2:1 or even 3:1 advantage over various years also depending on where you called it. NATO instead simply implied a strategic nuclear response if a Soviet tank ever poked as much as a track through the Fulda gap in Germany.

Worked back then. Russia still has twice as many tanks than everyone in NATO in Europe could put together, but nobody is sweating it.
 

Adi6293

Posts: 909   +1,273
Most good Challenger 2s are going to be remanufactured and comprehensively overhauled into a spec 3 version inside the next 7-8 years. Including new turrets, main gun, uprated armor, suspension and engine. The works. In light of this the limited info leak of what is a near 25 year old dated tank seems to be minimally damaging.

The British and European NATO as a whole are not enormous tank fans in either case. Mostly dating back to the Cold War where the Warsaw pact armor build up was so massive NATO didn't bother to match it. Typically holding a 2:1 or even 3:1 advantage over various years also depending on where you called it. NATO instead simply implied a strategic nuclear response if a Soviet tank ever poked as much as a track through the Fulda gap in Germany.

Worked back then. Russia still has twice as many tanks than everyone in NATO in Europe could put together, but nobody is sweating it.

Yeah but Russian tanks are most ready to be melted not combat ready
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 402   +342
Not sure that it would matter if is inferior both countries are allies. And if they weren't we all know who would win that battle.
Hahaha, well idk anymore. They(US agencies and military branches) are more concerned now with identity politics and such rather than who is fit for the job. Also you have a president with possible mental clarity being an issue as even his own party pointed out. Now more than ever people have been divided, we aren't exactly the proud immigrant rebels we used to be during Revolutionary War and 1812. Honestly wouldn't want to see it happen.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 102   +50
They see the tree but not the forest.

The whole game is a huge leak of “classified” informations about tanks and they complain because someone talked about a small detail (turret) on one tank.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 402   +342
Most good Challenger 2s are going to be remanufactured and comprehensively overhauled into a spec 3 version inside the next 7-8 years. Including new turrets, main gun, uprated armor, suspension and engine. The works. In light of this the limited info leak of what is a near 25 year old dated tank seems to be minimally damaging.

The British and European NATO as a whole are not enormous tank fans in either case. Mostly dating back to the Cold War where the Warsaw pact armor build up was so massive NATO didn't bother to match it. Typically holding a 2:1 or even 3:1 advantage over various years also depending on where you called it. NATO instead simply implied a strategic nuclear response if a Soviet tank ever poked as much as a track through the Fulda gap in Germany.

Worked back then. Russia still has twice as many tanks than everyone in NATO in Europe could put together, but nobody is sweating it.

Nobody is worried because the actual chances of a war are minimal when concerning major powers in the world, most of the wars after WW2 were smaller in scope and against countries of much lesser dominance that used guerrilla warfare, the exception being the Cold War but that was more a pissing match between capitalism and socialism and the ideals of each both trying to prove they were right and valid more of a pre war than anything with alot of it being fought in secret by spy divisions, weapons simply are too powerful these days and there are too many powerful countries in the mix, even with Russia and China, it's nonsense it's a flexing of muscles so to speak, we can't exist without one another we somehow got entwined, economies the whole 9 yards. I doubt we will ever see a full WW ever again not in the scale and scope of what came before. Iran and others are small potatoes both China and Russia are more likely to drop bombs on them than anyone and those are their so called allies, but in the end we are all allies most normal citizens of each nation already know this, news outlets and such just want the views and the clicks.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 277   +325
Hahaha, well idk anymore. They(US agencies and military branches) are more concerned now with identity politics and such rather than who is fit for the job. Also you have a president with possible mental clarity being an issue as even his own party pointed out. Now more than ever people have been divided, we aren't exactly the proud immigrant rebels we used to be during Revolutionary War and 1812. Honestly wouldn't want to see it happen.
Sir, this is a Wendy’s.

But seriously, if you want to whinge about US politics reddit is that way —->
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,075   +988
Thanks for the article. It's interesting to read something like this and to know what is happening around.

Sad that the game developer refused to update the shortcoming despite trying to make a game based on "realism".
 

Austinturner

Posts: 277   +325
Thanks for the article. It's interesting to read something like this and to know what is happening around.

Sad that the game developer refused to update the shortcoming despite trying to make a game based on "realism".
Because they don’t want to end up in prison. Handling stolen classified information is dangerous for everyone involved. As one of eagle dynamics employees discovered after buying some F-16 manuals and taking them out of the US. https://www.polygon.com/2019/5/15/18623545/eagle-dynamics-f-16-manual-conspiracy-smuggling-russia
 

gamerk2

Posts: 586   +506
Most good Challenger 2s are going to be remanufactured and comprehensively overhauled into a spec 3 version inside the next 7-8 years. Including new turrets, main gun, uprated armor, suspension and engine. The works. In light of this the limited info leak of what is a near 25 year old dated tank seems to be minimally damaging.

The British and European NATO as a whole are not enormous tank fans in either case. Mostly dating back to the Cold War where the Warsaw pact armor build up was so massive NATO didn't bother to match it. Typically holding a 2:1 or even 3:1 advantage over various years also depending on where you called it. NATO instead simply implied a strategic nuclear response if a Soviet tank ever poked as much as a track through the Fulda gap in Germany.

Worked back then. Russia still has twice as many tanks than everyone in NATO in Europe could put together, but nobody is sweating it.

Because most of those are T-72's, which even upgraded are essentially obsolete. Russia never really mass produced any of the successor models (T-80/T-90) in sufficient numbers to be a real threat. Even then, when you consider the advantage in air power between NATO and Russia it's not like those tanks could even move freely.

Russia does have some arguably superior HW to what the US has, but they haven't been able to mass produce any of it in sufficient numbers to be a real threat. Russia's problem has *never* been engineering, but rather production and management.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 586   +506
Hahaha, well idk anymore. They(US agencies and military branches) are more concerned now with identity politics and such rather than who is fit for the job. Also you have a president with possible mental clarity being an issue as even his own party pointed out. Now more than ever people have been divided, we aren't exactly the proud immigrant rebels we used to be during Revolutionary War and 1812. Honestly wouldn't want to see it happen.

I note that the war of 1812 was pushed entirely be conservatives in the south; the north flat out refused to send troops (hence why the invasion of Canada failed), and were close to outright succeeding over it before the US reached a negotiated settlement (that really did nothing except agree to have future meetings to discuss the issues raised during the war), then one a battle AFTER the war ended so conservatives could proclaim "victory".

If anything, the disagreement over the War of 1812 was a forewarning of things to come. The US has *never* been politically united for any length of time.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 277   +325
Because most of those are T-72's, which even upgraded are essentially obsolete. Russia never really mass produced any of the successor models (T-80/T-90) in sufficient numbers to be a real threat. Even then, when you consider the advantage in air power between NATO and Russia it's not like those tanks could even move freely.

Russia does have some arguably superior HW to what the US has, but they haven't been able to mass produce any of it in sufficient numbers to be a real threat. Russia's problem has *never* been engineering, but rather production and management.
And most games will never represent this because they need balance to be fun and fair. If you consider conventional war only, western airpower is crushing. Tank charges don’t work against apaches, A-10s and now drones with hellfire missiles, it would be slaughter. Also, games try to remove the real world defensive advantage because “camping isn’t fun”, in reality a dug in enemy has enormous tactical advantages.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,221   +5,977
No doubt the argument only arose because the Yank forum contingent couldn't handle the fact that their beloved M1 Abrams are so obviously inferior to the Challenger 2...😉

..which they are, of course.
Yeah, "the sun never sets on the British empire", ("Once upon a time"). <Should I have placed that first, and tweaked the tenses of the verbs a bit?
 

eforce

Posts: 401   +512
Because most of those are T-72's, which even upgraded are essentially obsolete. Russia never really mass produced any of the successor models (T-80/T-90) in sufficient numbers to be a real threat. Even then, when you consider the advantage in air power between NATO and Russia it's not like those tanks could even move freely.

Russia does have some arguably superior HW to what the US has, but they haven't been able to mass produce any of it in sufficient numbers to be a real threat. Russia's problem has *never* been engineering, but rather production and management.

A T-72 in a defensive scenario is still very dangerous, particularly if it has received upgrades like the T-72B3.

To match the West in numbers they'd need to go into debt like they have.
 

Achaios

Posts: 194   +532
A T-72 in a defensive scenario is still very dangerous, particularly if it has received upgrades like the T-72B3.

To match the West in numbers they'd need to go into debt like they have.

That's a great point there.

All the more so if you consider that Wehrmacht & WSS Tank Aces sometimes operated with "Tank Destroyers" lightly armoured tracked vehicles built around an AT gun.

I mean, here's a "tank" that was not armored at all yet the German Tank Aces still rode them and scored big in them.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 586   +506
A T-72 in a defensive scenario is still very dangerous, particularly if it has received upgrades like the T-72B3.

To match the West in numbers they'd need to go into debt like they have.
Yes, a T-72 (especially late-model ones) can still do damage. Hell, even an M4 Sherman can pierce an M1 Abrams at close range. But then again, Tanks really aren't meant for use in tight city quarters. And Iraq showed that T-72's in defensive position get eaten alive by modern air power.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 586   +506
And most games will never represent this because they need balance to be fun and fair. If you consider conventional war only, western airpower is crushing. Tank charges don’t work against apaches, A-10s and now drones with hellfire missiles, it would be slaughter. Also, games try to remove the real world defensive advantage because “camping isn’t fun”, in reality a dug in enemy has enormous tactical advantages.
I do note the A-10 doesn't do great against modern armor; there's a reason why they have to go into a steep dive in order to do damage. The Avenger is an awesome weapon, but really doesn't have the necessary power to deal with modern armor design. I do feel the US does need a dedicated "tank buster" attack aircraft, but the A-10 has outlived it's design.
 

eforce

Posts: 401   +512
Yes, a T-72 (especially late-model ones) can still do damage. Hell, even an M4 Sherman can pierce an M1 Abrams at close range. But then again, Tanks really aren't meant for use in tight city quarters. And Iraq showed that T-72's in defensive position get eaten alive by modern air power.
One you loose air superiority it's pretty much game over regardless of what tank you have, that being said had the Iraqis kept them in the cities in ambush positions, it would have caused the coalition a lot of problems, much in the same way German tanks in WW2 did ambushes.