The TANK DUEL
Some while ago I happened upon a web-site giving details about a game for two teams of players, where each player played the part of a single crewman in a tank. A chap called Jim Wallman had written up his rules and to him I owe some debt (see his version of this game here). I read what he wrote, and immediately thought that this seemed like a fun game to try at my wargame club, and that it would make a great public participation game at a show. I have now tried it out with success at both my club and one show.
Being an inveterate tweaker, and so often thinking that I could do better than someone else, I then embarked on writing my own set of rules for a similar sort of game, and I present them here below, along with various experiences and thoughts that may help someone else having a go at this sort of thing. My aim was to create a more free-flowing game that Jim’s turn-based game, and one with a bit less luck in it, and a bit more skill. Jim’s rules gave a tank a very low chance of hitting, even when conditions were favourable, and a major flaw I felt they had was that there was no point in loading high explosive shells, because they were of no use in his game, so I added the infantry to my game. The infantry not only stop tanks from charging around the board so wildly as they might otherwise, but also they create problems for the players, who may have loaded the wrong kind of ammunition for the target threatening their imaginary tank.
The basic idea is that the players are placed where they can see a scale layout of some terrain on which their tank can move. Hidden from them behind a screen is another layout identical in every way except that at the start of the game each side can only see its own tank model on the terrain. Only when both teams have spotted their rival tanks are models of both tanks placed on both boards. The start of the game is largely concerned with trying to find the other tank, and then there comes the often much quicker stage of knocking the enemy out. Sometimes the enemy escapes, after the first shot at them misses, and then the foe races away and hides anew.
Here you see the set-up for the game at the Newcastle show. I had used an earth-brown sheet for the curtain screen before, but then decided that this sky blue sheet was prettier. Two stands designed for holding photographic flashbulbs are the uprights of the screen, and the crossbar is a thin fibreglass tent pole from a hoop tent, and this is held on with zip-ties. Either side of the screen are the identical terrain layouts (note that they are NOT mirror images of each other!), with walls, hedges, hills, forests etc. It is important to have lots of sight-blocking terrain, and lots of terrain to negotiate, with few open spaces and clear paths. Also visible are the sand-timers, twenty-sided dice, fox-hole bases (occupied ones and empty ones), rules sheets used by the referees, and the puffs of cotton wool for marking smoke. On the far side of the table are the cups used to represent the gun breaches.
The first time I played this was at my wargames club, and the games went down pretty well, with lots of people trying to do this that and the next thing at high speed. I was using a variation of Jim’s loading rules at the time, which involve the loader’s having to get up from his seat, run to where a certain kind of ammunition is available, then run back. This was fun in that it was frantic, but people were poor at stopping when whistles were blown for a time-freeze, and I thought that this method of loading might be a bit unpopular at a show, especially with the people running neighbouring games and stalls. Presented here are my Mark II rules used at the Newcastle Border Reiver wargames show in September 2008.
I wanted the rules for the players to seem clear and simple. Each crewman player was issued with a single sheet of A4 paper printed on one side with everything he needed to know. The upper half of every sheet was the same and read as follows:
Welcome to the tank duel. It is 1944 and the allies are advancing towards Germany. The front where you are has stagnated. The infantrymen have been fighting it out for two days, and are now exhausted and low on ammunition. An enemy tank has been sighted, and until it is destroyed, there is no way to get the foot-sloggers to advance. The infantry has dug in, and awaits your aid. The commanders have sent you forwards in your tank, in an attempt to break the deadlock. Your objective is to destroy the enemy’s tank. If you can do this, your task is done, and you have won the game.
This game is designed to be quick, fun, and a bit frustrating. To manoeuvre the tank and works its armaments effectively, you will have to use teamwork. Each crewman has his own rules, limitations, and rituals to enact in order to fulfil his role. It is part of the game design that getting everything right as a team is difficult. The referee shall be fair, but also very harsh. Any tiny infraction of any rule or any suspicion of one, will lead the referee to rule against you. The team must get everything right, and be seen to do so.
There may be threats to you from the enemy infantry as well as his armour. Rifles and machine guns can shoot you if you stick your head out of the tank, and most infantry units these days have been issued with short-range anti-tank weapons that can destroy you. Spotting infantry in camouflaged foxholes from a moving tank with its hatches all closed up is almost impossible. Once spotted, infantry are very vulnerable to your high-explosive shells.
Your tank can also fire smoke shells to block enemy sight, and armour piercing shells to destroy the enemy tank. Which shell type to have loaded in the breach is an important decision.
I feared that people would walk off with these rules sheets, so to discourage people from doing this, I bought a load of protective plastic file envelopes to put them in. This worked, and I still have all my rules-sheets, but I massively underestimated the ability of players, particularly young ones, to crumple, tear, bite, roll, and in many other manners destroy something that was so clearly made to last.
The lower half of each sheet contained what the players needed to know about their own roles. It never ceases to astound me how people given clear concise instructions will simply choose to (or somehow fail to) read those instructions. In theory, each player should be able to read his rules in one minute. In practice it always took longer to get people to feel ready to start, and quite a bit of explaining was done. Explaining can be a mistake, however, because someone given a bit of explanation will often then not read his sheet, and will miss something you didn’t include in your explanation. Here are the briefs given to each player, and after each are a few comments helpful for anyone running/umpiring the game:
You command the tank. You are the man chiefly responsible for co-ordinating your team, spotting the enemy forces, deciding where to go, and what shells to load and when to fire. You may never touch the table nor anything on it. You may give orders to your crewmen, who may choose to ignore you if they wish. You may sit or stand on your chair. If you sit, your vision will be limited in arc, and spotting the enemy will be more difficult. If you stand, you will see better, but will be vulnerable to small arms fire from enemy infantry.
If you want to spend a short while looking for the enemy, you should announce this to the umpire and indicate clearly which direction you are looking, by pointing with your whole arm. If you point to where the enemy actually is, you will get a big bonus to your chance of spotting the enemy.
You may operate the smoke dischargers on the turret sides which will wreathe your tank in obscuring smoke. You keep a bundle of cotton wool in a sealed (buttoned or zipped) pocket, and to release the smoke you must stand up on your chair, open the pocket and take the cotton wool out and throw it onto the table. You may not hold the cotton wool waiting for the moment to throw it – you must take it out and throw it immediately or not at all.
Like all the players, you may not do anything at all after the umpire has called a time-freeze, including communicating in any way with any other player.
Do not ask too much of your crew. Loading a gun takes time and is dangerous. Driving fast through a wood is difficult. Reversing blindly is almost impossible. If you want to hear the enemy moving, try turning your engine off and sticking your head out of the turret...
Commander was not always the most popular role, and teams with indecisive quiet-voiced commanders, who talked in long sentences, asked questions, and gave vague orders, were consistently beaten by teams with decisive commanders whose every word was significant and barked out loud and clear. If a team did have a bad commander, things could be improved by the death of that commander by infantry fire, which happened a few times.
The direction the commander should point should be relative to the table, not to the tank on it. If for example the commander points straight at the centre of the far side of the board in front of his team, while his tank model is facing at ninety degrees to this direction, then the direction indicated is towards the far side of the board, not ahead of his tank model. This is clearer, simpler, consistent, and much easier for the umpires to deal with.
When firing his smoke dischargers, the accuracy of the throw is not important. The commander doesn’t have to hit his tank model with the cotton wool. He just has to make it clear that he has popped smoke.
You load the gun. There are three types of ammunition: white phosphorus smoke (yellow tokens, spades suit), armour piercing (blue, diamonds), and high explosive (red, clubs); and two tokens of each type. These are placed on the table out of reach of your seat. To load the gun:
- Make sure that the breach (cup) is empty, open it and remove any token in it.
- You must get out of your seat, go to the loading table. There you will see a row of rectangles, each slightly larger than a playing card. If there are already cards in these places, you must remove them.
- Place the token you removed from the breach into its place.
- You then select the suit of cards matching the type of shell you want to load, and deal six cards in ascending order (A 1 2 3 4 5 or 8 9 10 J Q K) into the spaces. If you get the cards out of order, or not entirely within the rectangles, or bend any of the cards, you will fail.
- You then pick up ONE of the tokens representing a shell, and return to your seat.
- You then place it on the edge of the main table in front of you, not on the terrain, and then cover it with a cup (which represents the breach). Keep it covered until either you unload it or it is fired. You may only ever have one token on you at any time, and so the umpire must be able to see at least five tokens on the table.
If you need to reload the same type of ammunition again, pick up the other token in stage 5, and in stage 4 deal out the other set of the same suit (higher or lower cards).
The tank has an infinite supply of ammunition. If the gunner fires before you have finished loading, you may be wounded. You do not want to be wounded.
Like all the players, you may not do anything at all after the umpire has called a time-freeze, including communicating in any way with any other player.
Here you see the loader’s board. The rectangles for dealing the cards into are three by four and a half, which makes them comfortably enough larger than a standard playing card, while still giving the loader a fair challenge. The board on it has reminders of the correct suits, and colours of ammunition types, and that cards must be in ascending order. The point of this board is to create a ritual that takes time. It should not be possible for a team to fire again and again very quickly, and a tank that has the wrong type of ammunition loaded for the job in hand should be punished, and with this board it will be – with delay.
Another good thing about this board is that it is flexible, in that a less skilled team, or a team representing an elite crew, could be told that it need only deal out four cards in order. After playing a few games, players may decide that they want both teams to be able to load faster, and so a smaller number of cards could be chosen. One suit of cards in a standard pack has thirteen cards, and so can provide both the upper and lower sets for reloading. If you ruled that seven or more cards had to be loaded, then either you would have to buy a lot more cards (I found my cards very cheaply in an everything-is-a-pound shop), or some of the cards dealt down would have to be reused when reloading, slowing things down even further. That cards can get jumbled up I see as a good thing. When removing the cards dealt out for the last shot, a hasty loader will jumble them up. A good loader will sort out the cards ready for a fast deal on the next reload.
I was happy with the way the board worked. I had quite wanted for my game to attract attention while being played, however, and the sight of loaders running back and forth to fetch ammunition from pots placed a long way from the table might have turned quite a few heads. As an umpire, I found this system much easier to keep track of, and I think very little cheating happened (loaders in mid-load in the other system kept cheating during time-freezes).
My tokens for the different ammunition types were coloured glass beads sold in shops for use in flower arranging. The breaches were represented by enamelled tin mugs, much like those used by the army in World War Two (for drinking out of, not for containing the blast of tank rounds).
You aim and fire the gun. You and you alone may touch the turret of your model tank, and you may not touch anything else at all on the table. You need to turn the turret to aim it accurately at the enemy. If the gun of the model tank is not pointing directly at the model of the intended target, then regardless of die rolls and any favourable factors, the shot will be an automatic miss.
You may turn the turret up to ninety degrees. If you need to turn it more than this, you must sit down, then get up again to carry on turning the turret.
You may only fire the gun when sitting on your seat, and not when standing at the table. To fire, raise your open right hand high, then form a fist, shout “Firing now!” and pull your fist downwards. If the umpire does not hear you clearly, you have not fired.
If you fire the gun before your loader has finished loading it, you may cause him a wound.
By firing the gun you make it easier for the enemy to spot your tank, so make each shot count.
You may want to call out “Aiming! One! Two! Three!” before firing for a better chance to hit.
Forget about range – the table represents a small area and the enemy will if you can see him be in range. If your driver is standing up, then the tank is assumed to be in motion, so you may want to wait for him to sit down before firing, because that way you’ll get a better chance of hitting the enemy.
Like all the players, you may not do anything at all after the umpire has called a time-freeze, including communicating in any way with any other player.
Obviously, the gun only has to be aimed accurately at the model of the enemy’s tank on the same side of the screen as the aiming team’s tank. If the enemy has moved its model on the other side, and this has not been updated by the umpire, then this does not matter. This was a matter of confusion during the first playtest, so perhaps ‘obviously’ was not the right word with which to start this paragraph.
The rule for slowing down the turn of the turret was not perfectly satisfactory. I might introduce some other rule to slow the turn down further. This was only a problem at the extremes. If one tank appeared behind the other, and to bring its gun to bear the tank in front had to traverse 180 degrees, then this cannot be allowed to happen as fast as a player can flip round the model turret on a plastic tank.
The role of gunner is probably the best one to be doubled up with the commander if the vehicle is to be crewed by a three-man team. In real three-man AFVs, this was normally the case. If the gunner is also the commander, then remember that he must sit down to fire the gun. Tank guns were normally fired by pressing a foot pedal, and there’s no way a commander standing on his seat with his head out of the turret could reach the foot-pedal.
You drive the tank. You and only you may touch the hull of your tank model and move the tank as a whole. You may not touch any other part of the model. Tanks cannot move sideways, so don’t try that. Move the model as a tank moves: forwards and backwards, pivoting, and in curves.
If the umpire calls a time-freeze, you must set down the tank model on the table exactly below where it was when the freeze was called.
As long as you are out of your seat, the tank will be assumed to be in motion, which means that your gunner will have little chance of hitting anything, so you should sit down to let him get off a steady shot, although this is less important if you are moving on a road.
Be careful how you move. The referee will be watching. Movement through obstacles and rough terrain risks causing the tank to become immobilised. You can try any manoeuvre you like, but a fast manoeuvre diagonally up, over, and down a wooded hill will almost certainly cause you to come to a crashing halt, and if anyone has to get out of the tank to pull branches out of the wheels or repair the tracks, it will probably be you.
The referee may sometimes forbid you to move. Do not move until given the go-ahead again. He may be trying to update your position on the other table.
You can turn off the engine to be quiet. Declare “engine off” and sit still. To restart the engine, get off your chair, run around behind your crewmen and tap the loader on the far shoulder, then run back around and sit down again and declare “engine on”.
You have no way to see behind you. You can try reversing blindly, but you will do much better with the commander helping you with directions given from the turret.
You can stick your head out of your hatch by taking off your helmet (which represents the hatch). If you have your helmet on, you will be assumed to have you hatch closed, and be driving using the periscope, in which case your vision will be very poor, so you should be careful. If you are not wearing your helmet, you are vulnerable to infantry small arms fire.
I found that if it were made clear to the drivers that they should not go haring around the table through terrain, then they didn’t, and that instead they moved at a sensible pace.
I used my cycling helmet and my rock-climbing helmet for the drivers’ helmets. These worked fine, although more in-period headgear might have been better. Putting them on and doing up the chinstraps represented the time a real driver would take to open up or close his hatch, and then raise or lower his seat.
THE SEATING PLAN
The seating plan is quite important. This is the one I used, which suited the particular rules and set-up I was using. The commander sits at the back, furthest from the table. He never needs to reach the table, and it feels right to be at the back looking over one’s men. It is also easier to talk to people if they are all in front of you. In front is a row with, on the right here, the driver’s seat. You can see the driver’s helmet on his seat. In the middle is the gunner’s position (which is also the commander’s seat in a typical three-man crew). On the left, with the coat hanging on it (for no particular reason), is the loader’s seat.
Importantly, all the crew seats are out of reach of the table. To move the tank, the driver has to get up out of his seat. To stop the tank, he has to sit back down again. All the crew roles are enhanced by their seats being out of reach of the table. For one thing, it makes the game much easier to referee, because someone sitting down and not touching the tank model is very easy to distinguish.
One snag with the standing up/sitting down rules was that I noticed time and time again that people standing up would without thinking sit down whenever a time freeze was called by a referee. Repeated warnings and harsh punishments seemed to be the cure.
I have played this game with a single umpire, and with two, and I am not convinced that either is superior. Two referees have to present a united front, communicate with each other, and never contradict each other, all of which can be difficult. One referee has to cope with the demands of two teams at once, which can be difficult. Two referees can update the position of the tanks on the boards more quickly, but also with two referees, it tends to happen that each gets so caught up in what is happening on his side of the curtain, that he neglects to check what is happening on the other. The way we ran the game in Newcastle with two referees was to have both standing next to each other, either side of the curtain. Each could check the far side of the curtain by leaning over a bit. We did the die rolls for spotting attempts, firing, terrain crossing etc on our side of the table, which did mean that the game did not have to stop quite so often as otherwise it might.
An untested but possibly better way to referee the game might be to have two referees with different roles. One would be the referee who updated both the boards, while the other called the time freezes and perhaps did most of the die rolling. Having one referee with sole responsibility for updating the positions of enemy tanks should ensure no neglect of this duty. Having one referee deciding who fired first etc. would avoid a clash where two contradictory rulings are made.
One thing I spotted before even the first playtest was that I would shout myself hoarse if I relied on voice alone for calling time freezes. I bought two very loud referees’ whistles from a sports shop, and I am convinced that this was a wise move. Sometimes I tried to referee with the whistle in my mouth, but this hampered speech. Sometimes I had the whistle dangling round my neck on its lanyard, and this meant delay in getting it to my mouth.
The referee(s) must not be lenient. The game is designed to be awkward, so that coordinating the team is challenging. The refereeing is there largely to enforce the awkwardness. The referees, while remaining civil, should be picky when it comes to getting the players to adhere to the rules and procedures.
The referees, however, should not slow down the game unnecessarily by checking every last factor applying to every die roll. I usually rolled my dice in secret. If a tank drove through a piece of terrain, I would roll a die to let the crewmen know that they were risking getting stuck, and if I felt that it would spoil the game if the tank got bogged at this point, or that it would improve the game significantly if it did get stuck, then I would perhaps ignore the die result and rule as my judgement suggested. Teams of players were usually cheating to some degree, and I was often applying made-up factors in my head to the die rolls, to reward good play and to punish bad play. The game is for entertainment, not serious competition.
One could argue that every die roll should require a time-freeze for perfect fairness. I disagree. I much prefer a flowing real-time game if I can get one. The rules for moving through terrain are there to stop the crew charging at full speed over forested hills all the time, so it strikes me as fine that the team attempting to move through a wood can wait a few seconds while I roll a die, while the other team carries on doing whatever it was doing. Similarly, the loader can carry on loading while the driver tries to get the tank past an obstacle. A shot fired at the tank that can damage it or kill a crewman must prompt a time-freeze. If too much happens at once, such as when both tanks blunder into each other and could reasonably be imagined to have seen each other, then a time freeze is called for, so that both teams get an update on the situation at the same time. In such critical instants, every second’s advantage is great.
To punish unnecessary firing, and to speed the game up and give it more atmosphere, I would often tell one team of sounds of firing coming from vague directions etc. One simple punishment for minor infractions is to state that the next die roll a team maks will have a penalty applied to it.
One problem with the game is that both sides can decide to hang back and wait for the other to blunder into an ambush. Fortunately, most players enjoy crashing about in the tank so much that this seldom seems to happen. If one side is the major culprit, then such things as artillery barrages and threats from passing aircraft can be used at the referee’s discretion to force it to move. Another ploy is to introduce a soldier who reports to one side the location of the other’s tank. This soldier could be mistaken, of course – anything to get the game going again. When one side knows its location is given away, then sensibly it should move. The other side should then act quickly to trap the enemy before it gets away. If both sides stubbornly refuse to attack, then you could rule that one side must destroy the other within so many minutes or forfeit the game. In the next game, the side forced to attack can swap.
I used two sand-timers. One lasted thirty seconds and was used for attempts to unbog, reloading infantry anti-tank weapons, and any other fairly quick thing, and the other lasted two and half minutes, and was used for measuring how long it would take smoke to dissipate, and anything else I thought appropriate.
The main reason for the infantry was to give the loader a reason to load high explosive shells. They also stopped commanders from hurling their tanks around the board fearlessly, and they made the decision to be buttoned up (hatches closed, head down) or head-up an important one. Infantry riflemen could shoot head-up crewmen, and the infantry PIATs and panzerschrecks could knock out a reckless tank.
In my first playtest, I first tried without the infantry, then I added the infantry in. The infantry had a player as their commander, and moved his men around the table. This was a refereeing nightmare. I later decided that no player would control the infantry, and that the infantry would not move. This did mean that the infantry could not be used for stalking an enemy tank that refused to move, but it made life a very great deal simpler.
Since this was a game for shows, and since the infantry were to be in fox-holes the whole time, I made specialist figures for the game. I got plastic 1/72nd scale figures and cut them in half across the waists, and glued them onto bits of card, and then used brown acrylic mastic to build up the edges of the bases to represent the edges of the fox-holes. I painted the insides of the holes very dark to give an illusion of depth. I also made fox-hole bases without troops, to represent either troops cowering down out of sight, or the fox-holes of dead troops after being hit with H.E.
The infantry fire if a referee considers that they should fire, and perhaps at the request of an allied tank. They needn’t open fire immediately they see the enemy, but a referee is a bit mean if he plays the infantry as sly and brave, holding fire and letting a tank crew feel falsely safe in one part of the board.
The infantry figures are placed at the start of the game, and never move. Each tank crew knows where its own men are, but not where the enemy infantry is until spotted, at which point the referee places the enemy figures on the table for them to see. For the first game, the referees should perhaps place the infantry, but in later games the location of infantry could be chosen by the players. The only stipulation I would recommend is that referees check that infantry are not placed within line of sight of the enemy tank at the start of the game, nor within sight of an enemy infantry position. You don’t want the complication of infantry firing at infantry.
The Die Roll Chart
At first I was coming up with all manner of die-rolling mechanisms to represent the various things that needed to be diced for: spotting, firing, close combat, crossing terrain etc. I then decided that this was too complicated, and that I would have a single mechanism to cover everything. The one I went for was this: roll one twenty-sided die, trying to get 11 or greater for a success. Essentially, this is a 50:50 chance. To this, add various factors for movement, hatches up/down etc. I produced a single chart. Here it is.
1d20, beat 10 Tank vs. tank Tank vs. Inf Inf rifles vs. crew Inf CC vs. tank PIAT vs. tank Spotting Terrain Moving fast (road) NE (–6) NE (–6) –4 –4 –4 Moving slow (road) –4 (–2) –4 (–2) –2 –1 Moving in terrain –5 –5 –2 Target fast –3 –4 –5 –4 +6 Target slow –1 –2 –2 –2 +3 Buttoned –2 –3 NE +2 –4 –3 Unbuttoned +2/hatch Aimed +2 +2 Not first try +2 +2 +2 +2 Target in cover –3 –3 –3 +3 –3 –3 Tgt. heavy cover –5 –6 –6 +5 –6 –4 HE (vs. crew up) NE (0) AP –6 WP (vs. crew up) NE (–3) –4 Under fire (inf –2) –2 –4 –4 (new –4) –2 Rear armour +2 Cannot hit driver +3 Close range +2 +2 +3 +2 Tgt. engine off –4 Reversing –2 –2 –1 –1 –3 –2 Reversing blindly –4 –4 +2 –4 Called + correct +4 Target behind –3 –3 –3 Target in smoke +3 –5 –3 Tank (inf) firing +5 (+3)
- (inf –2) means the tank suffers this if under fire from infantry.
- (new –4) means for spotting new targets only, not those firing at the tank.
- Close range = within length of tank.
- NE = no effect
- If rifles hit tank, kill one exposed crewman.
- Listen: only possible if engine off. Gives general direction only. 8+ if enemy moving fast or moving in terrain or firing, 13+ if moving slow.
- Terrain rolls per cause. Treat hills as up over and down. If moving fast, treat each corner as an obstacle. Fail roll = halt and stall engine. Fail by 5 = stuck and have to reverse out. Fail again = bogged, one man out to unbog one try per 30 seconds +2 per extra man, each fail needs one more man.
- Penalty for infractions: minus to next die roll.
Of everything I came up with and present here, this is perhaps the least satisfactory. I would advise referees to regard this as a guideline, rather than require them to stick to it in every detail. For example, I feel that in most circumstances the first round from an infantry anti-tank weapon should miss, because it is a poor game if a crew that is doing everything right is blasted to defeat by one unfortunate PIAT shot. It is generally fairer and more entertaining if the first shot misses, and then the crew has to decide what to do, and the other team gains an opportunity to take advantage. Of course, you don't tell the players that the first shot always misses.
When I first played the game, I used other factors than those in this chart, and got a couple of unfair results. In one game, one team did everything right, and on two occasions got behind the enemy tank which hadn’t spotted its foe, and at close range fired off a good shot, and missed. In another game, a tank blundered into the enemy and just happened to be pointing directly at the vehicle and had an armour-piercing round loaded. It fired hurriedly on the move at the enemy which was in cover. I added up the factors and rolled the die, confident of a miss. I rolled a twenty. Bang. After this, I changed the factors to make hitting an enemy while moving in terrain an impossibility. I am tempted to make the factors such that a shot made under very good or ideal circumstances never misses. Indeed, I have an ambition to make the game involve no luck at all. Other players may feel that the level of excitement is greater if even under the best conditions, it is possible to miss.
After giving it some more thought, and doing a bit of research, I think that tanks attacking infantry could be done differently. The usual practice for a tank when enemy infantry was nearby was to close all hatches. If a tank attacks infantry by the foolish method of running it over (close combat), then the chance of winning should be a simple fifty-fifty, the loser being destroyed. If the enemy infantry is in cover (including smoke), make it a roll of 14 or greater to beat the infantry. If the tank approaches infantry with hatches open, then just before the close combat is diced for, the infantry gets a point-blank shot at the tank at +3 to hit.
You might remove whole rows of the table by for example deciding that armour piercing rounds and white phosphorus have no effect on infantry, and that bothering with the factor “under fire” is too much like hard work. I’d be inclined to agree with you.
If anyone puts on a game based on this, please let me know how it goes.