Trust me, I know my stuff. I am willing to share my compiled list of datamined tank stats. I even tried to get into the material modifier by hard tests, nobody dared to go that far.
On light tank:
Panzerstorm is not bad for light tank, it is just not as much a no brainer anymore. Medium tank sort of depends on map size. PzIV sucks on big maps. Valentine could work better in smaller tank infested maps. 90% of times light tank is best options, and when light tank dont work, there is something needed medium tanks cant do either.
On Pz 38t. Here is where you are wrong. Autocannon by itself is indeed inferior to cannon. It is the whole package of flare, S-mine, combined that improves vs infantry. Flare is a pretty OP ability, which is strong enough on Panzer IV, but combined with mobility it is super strong vs infantry. It provides strong boost to allies nearby, and defeats the only strength of infantry vs tanks: stealth. In addition information is extremely strong perks, it helps you avoid traps, position in optimal position to kill, reduce time to acquire target (biggest bottleneck of killing). S-mine kind of sucks, but on the 38t you know exactly where infantry cluster with flare. Then you flank, ram into them and fire S mine. Extremely strong on breakthrough. I had so many 90 kill 0 death games on Arras breakthrough, you are welcome to squad up with me to find out. Cannon and flare could work too, but you miss out 2 upgrades. Again, I said it works when there is no armor to oppose you. In general AP cannon is best. You seemed to miss that completely despite I said it first sentence.
Also pz38t AP is garbage, cant pen medium tanks in the front. Never take it.
You somehow think track damage matters. No, only engine damage matters. With flare and mobility, if you get sneaked from behind for engine damage, your death is deserved.
Flak panzer: Oh boy, misreading my post and focusing a tiny subpoint; a theme to go with rest of your post.
Indeed Flakpanzer is not the best tank, it is situational at best. If everyone bring a flieger, we would never need it. The art of when and how to use flak panzer deserves a post on its own, but it has its niche uses. My post is just about if you were to use it, what would be the best set up. Same as you, you didnt skip it despite it sucks right?
I had succesful games killing 10+ planes on maps like panzerstorm. But in the end I still lose often. Why? Like you said, team lack armor, front line cant push. Flaming onion matigates that. A tank is better for killing infantry for sure. I never denied that. But if you were to pick AA due to some niche reason, you must also kill infantry otherwise you lose despite clearing the sky.
Staghound: this thing is a sniper. The wheel is extremely awkward to turn, accelerates very slowly. Best to position far from enemy and shoot with your no fall off HE shell. It has 30ROF + more from perks. In comparision, Valentine is 20ROF, and has reduced splash range, and has bigger shell drop. You and I both agree that cannon kill infantry better than autocannon itself, and Staghound is the ultimate example.
Valentine: It is a generalist tank. Besides using 2 pounder like a tougher staghound, there is nothing special about it. It is good, but it dont kill infantry as well as light (6 pndr has reduced splash), lose to Tiger (assume they are not stupid).
I personally is not a fan of the snake. If you are a pro ballistician who can lob it to kill Tiger 50 meters away, then I concede. Otherwise a perk that only kills what is in front point blank is worthless.
As for AP or not, AP damage vs tank is night and day, and I have hard stats to back it.
HE: 100 blast + 120 impact = 204 true tank damage
AP: 34 blast (invalid vs tank) + 225 impact = 270 true tank damage.
That is 1/3 higher. But that only tells half the story. AP has 2 other advantages.
When critting, AP deals exponentially more damage because blast damage do not get boost from crit. The damage different can be twice as high. This is the reason I picked AP on Chi ha as well.
Extra ammo. HE vs tank is very ammo consuming meaning trips to depot and away from front. this is even the case even with extra ammo perk. AP stack on top of it gain bonus from extra ammo as well. I find the ammo bonus resulted more kills than from snake, which is reflected on my stats in kill/min.
Churchill: OK this one I actually concede a bit. I missed the material modifier of the howitzer. It is great for blasting tanks as long as range is not too much. Howitzer can work comboed with HEAT as anti-vehicle specialist in city. Otherwise the RoF is too shit vs infantry. Longer range tiger killer = Churchill GC, short range goes to Churchill 105mm.
Churchill GC: nope, this one is spawnable. Used to be awful, now pretty good. I love to take it in Narvik breakthrough. Near howitzer blast but without the shitty range low RoF of most howitzer. Also best anti-tank vehicle besides call ins. My go to for tank killing when not riding staghound.
Sherman: First, let me start with I use LVT most of the times, I use Sherman as a specialist of anti infantry in breakthrough. I reject the idea of must speccing every tank into generalist. You play the best generalist tank 90% of time. It just happen to be light tank is my pick, so I spec them to be generalist. When situation changes, I swap to my specialist build. Sherman just happen to be so shit I avoid it unless I use the specialist build.
Once again, you are plain wrong here. You only checked innerblast_radius but not the blast curve. Fall off starts after 40% away from inner radius. At 40% there is abrupt drop off, it is not smooth. The true kill range of 76mm is 2.2m, 75mm is 2.6m, our HE smoke shell is 2.78m. By picking anti tank gun option, you gimp yourself of 0.4m room for error when aiming, which matters greatly at distance due to shell drop. HE smoke however have lower drag like AP so it is more precise over range too. But wait, HE smoke has 120 blast damage as opposed to 100 standard. that means between 40-60% away from inner blast, you deal 96 damage. a quick MG through the wall will kill. In other words within 3.52m you deal at least 96 damage. HE smoke is an excellent anti-infantry option in addition to utility.
Also inner blast go through wall. Sturmtiger with low innerblast actually hardly kill enemy behind wall, but Pz4’s stubby and HE smoke do it easily.
Combined with excellent capability of smoking in breakthrough, you can silence a indestructable pacific bunker with 1 smoke.
The reason why I pick LVT is because it is much better vs infantry HE smoke Sherman not withstanding. Pacifics tend to be large maps, and lack of heavy meant you can always crit from front. AP here outsnipe Japanese tank hiding from distance. You are welcome to duel me. You will find at 200m+ AP hits so much easier that high dps of HE gun dont matter. Numbers here:
HEAT sherman: 318 true damage, 20 ROF, 6360 damage rating
LVT AP: 168 true damage, 30 ROF, 5040 damage rating.
However when criting medium tanks, it receives 75% boost in damage. HEAT receive less due to partly explosive. So LVT in practice deal more damage, AND land hits much more reliably.
One situation Sherman HEAT is better than LVT is vs Tiger who you cannot crit in front, and maps are less open. But you Can’t use LVT anyway so… And there is awesome M8 Greyhound that is borderline OP that competes with it.
Chi-ha: My god, universal lethality my butt. Only thing it got vs infantry is decent shell speed of 600. God awful RoF of 18 (slightly below 20 even with upgrade), garbage blast of 1.8m lethal range (1m inner, 3m max), extremely limited ammo. Literally the worst tank gun vs infantry. When it used to 2 shot Sherman it was a no brainer, nowadays it is mediocre at best.
Chiha 75mm: 100 blast + 220 impact 18 RoF, 5832 damage rating
Chiha 57mm AP: 34 blast (null vs tank) + 170 impact 22 RoF, 4488 damage rating.
True it is worse vs tank on paper, but I chose it from several considerations.
- Extra ammo as explained before.
- anti-infantry is not garbage anymore
- Improved crit damage actually means out damage HE gun in practice. All tank can be crit from the front from lack of heavy in Pacifics. 70% of your shot should crit.
- When playing Japan you are mostly defensive in breakthrough, or skirmish in a huge conquest map. AP greatly increase hit chance 200m+
- Underappreciated, but default turret has low profile making hull down position very strong, and you can evade more shots.
Besides the specific, I would love to debate with you on general use of tanks. That is a major cause of our disagreement rather than stats, as most of your statistical knowledge are on point.