A fan of the video game War Thunder, the free-to-play vehicle combat simulator, has leaked classified Chinese military documents on the game’s online forum. According to defense analysts, while the details of the anti-tank weapon in question were previously known, this is the first time that authenticating documentation has been seen outside of China. How do we know the documents are authentic? Well, they’re pictured next to the weapon itself.
The weapon in question is the DTC10-125, an anti-tank round fielded by the modern-day Chinese military. Also known as a kinetic energy penetrator, its job is to punch through metal and breach the internal compartments of a tank and knock it out of action. As such, its capabilities are a closely guarded secret. Or at least they were until someone on the War Thunder forums got into an argument and needed to prove a point.
The information was quickly removed from the forums, but it is still available online. Polygon has viewed the original image and can confirm it’s quite a comprehensive photo, and includes an annotated diagram of the munition itself as well as its casing, called a sabot.
UK Defense Journal, a volunteer organization that covers issues related to militaries around the world, reports that while the specifications of the DTC10-125 were previously revealed online in multiple locations, this leak appears to confirm them with official government documentation. They also claim that the photo includes a close-up image of the weapon, lending additional credence to its authenticity.
This is not the first time that classified information on modern-day weapons systems was leaked on the War Thunder forums. In July 2021, details of the United Kingdom’s Challenger 2 main battle tank were leaked, and then in December particulars of the French Leclerc main battle tank also ended up online.
War Thunder is not the only simulation game to suffer from these types of incidents. In 2019 an employee of flight simulation developer Eagle Dynamics was indicted on charges of conspiracy and smuggling for allegedly attempting to have someone inside the United States purchase manuals for the F-16 on eBay and then send them overseas for analysis.