Basically, WitE departs from the well established wargaming "truth" that Tanks (as in Pz. Divs and Tank/Mech Corps in cooperation with all arms including inf, etc...) are real OFFENSIVE weapons of WW2.
Are you basing this observation on vaned74's test results or on your experience of the game? Because in my current game (grand campaign as the Soviets vs the AI) I'm being mauled by German armoured units and, even in the very few succesfull counterattacks I made, I managed to obtain a retreat only massing beefed up Tank Divisions.
It seems that large armoured units are very efficient in attacking and destroying enemy formations (providing they are adequately equipped and have high experience), what vaned74's tests show is not the uselessness of tanks but the fact that, all other things being equal, a superior tank will easily dispatch an equal number of inferior tanks when fighting in an open battlefield.
In both tests (Panther vs T-34 or Panther vs IS-3) we have a tank that cannot penetrate (frontally) the other at typical (or even short) combat ranges while being capable of (frontally) penetrate and destroy the opponent at all ranges.
Considering that optimal morale, training and leaderships were given to both sides, this basically means that we can assume that everyone is able to spot the enemy at distance and begin firing and scoring hits at long range. Obviously only the hits scored by the "superior" tanks will have an effect (i.e. the annihilation of the "inferior" force) since the other hits will bounce off harmlessly most of the time.
In this respect, the switch from the 76mm armed T-34 to the T-34-85 doesn't change the scenario that much, since even the 85mm isn't able to routinely penetrate the front protection of a Panther at normal combat ranges.
OK, these tests' results puzzled me too, at first. And still seem weird, in some respect. It would be nice if the devs would add a feature that allows the dumping of all combat related information one can read at Message Level 7 into a log file.
Anyway, we should not forget that, historically, Soviet armour accomplished very little when frontally assaulting experienced German Panzer units equipped with superior tanks (e.g. Prokhorovka). And we should also not forget that Soviet standard doctrine was onening blows in the enemy lines using infantry (supppported by artillery and independent armoured brigade/regiments) and the exploiting the gaps with mobile forces raiding the operational rear of the enemy and encircling enemy units. Late war Tank and Mechanized Corps were not expected to smash enemy Panzer divisions in frontal assaults.
I understand that this is due to a lack of persuit phase and is a weakness of the system.
I think that we don't need another "boadgame-like" feature in WitE, as a "pursuit phase". Moreover, since we have the opportunity of mixing moves and attacks, I don't see the usefulness (or even the rationale) of such a phase. Or are you referring to having the possibility to "chase" retreating and routing units just after a succesfull attack? It's my understanding that the game's engine already considers such a phase automatically (and some people here think that additional losses due to retreats and routs are too high).
While the 50-60:1 results from the T34 test may seem a little over, I don't think it's so far beyond the possible. In fact, it may quite well represent historical realities. Think about how many times a 'Kampfgruppe' of no more than 8-10 tanks and a few infantry squads was indeed tasked with holding up entire divisions and doing so at least for the period represented by a game turn. Carius and Wittmann may have been in Tigers rather than Panthers, but there is a reason the Panther is thought of as the prototype of today's MBT. The Stalins evolved into the T-10 series which was pretty much played out not far into the 50s.
You are right in considering that the test results might not be beyond the possible and in poiting out that the Panther was a sort of MBT ante litteram. But I wouldn't downplay the effectiveness and the evolution ponential of the IS tanks too. The T-10 tank was not a dead end in itself but was the end of the Soviet heavy tank development just because of a political decision (Khrushchev decided to abort all R&D on 'big' conventional weapon systems). If fact the first true Soviet MBT (the T-64) was a direct descendant of earlier medium tanks (and it was itself styled a medium tank, at first). There's a clear lineage between the T-34 and the T-64, passing trhough the T-44, T-54 (and T-55 and T-62). One can only wonder what the result could have been if the Soviet MBTs were the descendent of the IS-T-10 series, had further development of the heavies not been stopped. After all, western MBTs derived from heavy tanks (and not medium tanks). The M46/M47/M48/M60 series of tanks are direct descendants of the heavy M26 Peshing not of the medium M4 Sherman. The same is true for the British Centurion tanks. Western designers, after WW2, decided to "drop" the medium tank concept and develop the late-war heavies (Pershings and Centurions).