If you’re an armor officer it’s probably best to make sure your troops aren’t playing War Thunder, as the online tank-based game has seen sensitive military documents pertaining to technical specs of armored vehicles once again leaked. It seems that the leaking of classified technical date on War Thunder forums has become a trend. In 2021, a classified manual revealing details of the Leclerc main battle tank was leaked by a player claiming to be a former French soldier who bemoaned inaccuracies in the vehicle’s in-game turret rotation speed. That same year, a similar fate befell the Challenger II due to a British soldier being similarly frustrated with insufficient in-game accuracy. Further in the past, details on the EC Tiger helicopters cockpit were also leaked by a German mechanic on the same forums.
Now this week, a Chinese soldier has joined the Anglo-French tanker duo by providing original, technical documents on the DTC10-125 tungsten penetrator round which can be fired by a number of PRC tanks. To be fair, the capability of the round was already known, but this is the first-time actual documents confirming the specifications were made public. War Thunder moderators moved quickly to remove the post and reminded that the company does not allow leaking classified documents and that any such information will never be used by the game’s developers.
We’ve seen operational security issues surrounding video games before, such as when a Russian developer for the DCS Flight Simulator tried to steal sensitive files on US aircraft capabilities to use in their game, but War Thunder is truly in a league of its own.
While amusing, the recent leak puts into perspective the importance of operational security (OPSEC) in the internet age. 2022 has is really shaping up to be the year of horrible OPSEC. This year, recordings of an F-35 crash in the Pacific put some of the most sensitive technology in the US arsenal at risk of being recovered and analyzed by the Chinese. And, at the time of writing, the war in Ukraine is showing how much damage poor OPSEC can do on a modern battlefield. As the old adage goes: loose lips sink ships.