It was designed for a completely different tech structure, and in the current lineup it's a little redudant. It's a fast-firing anti-medium tank specialist like the StuG, but it's in a tier with the OKW Panzer IV (which beats mediums and kills infantry) and the Panther (which can take on just about anything). The JPIV is only really the optimal choice against tank destroyer spam, which makes it a rather niche unit.
Furthermore, the JPIV's low penetration can make it a risky pick: with the plethora of viable heavy vehicles now available, it risks being rendered ineffective by the enemy build. The same is not true of the Panther, and the JPIV doesn't even have the saving grace of being able to fall back onto anti-infantry duty.
CoH 1 had sidegrades for lots of vehicles that gave them stronger anti-vehicle performance in exchange for a tradeoff. Maybe an upgrade like that could help out the JPIV?
+110 penetration, +30% reload time.
At Vet 3, this gives the Jagdpanzer IV similar penetration and reload to the SU-85.
However, this isn't an upgrade. Most Allied vehicles have armour values below 170 (the JPIV's minimum penetration) making this a strict downgrade against the majority of targets.
- Against units with <170 armour this is a roughly -20% DPS downgrade.
- It breaks even against units with roughly 240 armour, like the Churchill.
- Against units with >280 armour (Pershing, IS-2, Comet, Crocodile, KV-series, .etc) it's a roughly +30% DPS upgrade.
It's often complained that a lot of weapon upgrades are autobuy: there's practically no downside. That isn't true of this one: whether or not it's a good idea is very dependent on your and the enemy's force composition.
You permanently trade raw damage output for penetration, and that's not always a good idea. Against heavy armour compositions though, it could make all the difference.
I think this is a clever way to make the JPIV stack up better against the Panther without making it overpowering versus mediums or an automatic buy, and it does it in a strategically interesting way. Thoughts?