Generally agreed. But with UKF I often build a Cromwell add follow with Comet or Churchill at some point. They are usually backed up by a firefly. Powerful mix. Comet also deals great damage to infantry. To me crux of the problem is that panther is 'ridiculous'. Like better to ride over infantry risking a snare than just shoot at them like 'normal' tanks do. Generally UKF stock tank mix is much better to predictably deal damage and micro control.
I've been suggesting for a while that the bulk of tank AI be moved to mgs instead of cannon based so that we have more reliability across the board and such that pintle are worth thir cost, but all in all atm I feel the tank balance is mostly fine. The better the tank is at fighting tanks the worse it is at fighting infantry and the panther is the best "tank" at fighting tanks.
I had been advocating this for years. Repair speeds being more important than most players notice. Yet, I'm not fully satisfied as pio is 200 manpower while Sov engines are only 170 - they also got the sweeper upgrade while retaining all doctrine repair options. Either pios should be made cheaper or Sov engines more expensive or Sov engines should lose the feature.
USF can still repair much faster. They should have crits removed from crews and those crit repairs should be given to all engineer units including echelons.
Whether something is intended or not I wouldn't really comment. In such games 5here are so many overlapping features that intentions tend to be far from what really happens.
Your comparison of pios and CE are misguided and are only comparing 1 singular aspect of what accounts for their cost. Pios have longer vision as well as actually being a threat via close range Smgs.
Additionally that 30mp difference in cost is more than made up by the first building for teching. Getting grens and mg and pios is 50mp cheaper for Ost than getting CE, cons and an mg despite the performance of all these units being heavily skewed towards Ost in the early to mid game..
Further more pios can build Bunkers and minefields while CE just get a demo. There is much that goes into the cost of the units and 30mp isn't breaking Ost as for what pios bring over what CE bring.
All repairs were normalized. If you think that Ost has it bad imagine the exact same thing but not having armour to be able to bounce shots at any point in the game with stock armour... Either both factions get it or none of them do and it was far easier to adjust the 2 than the numerous variables of the other 3
USF vehicle crews are a faction trait, their very design was crafted with them in mind, a result being that all of their stock tanks have less armour than a p4 and getting more durable armour is a doctrinal choice.
Squishy and in need of frequent repairs (and having them) vs durable and taking time to fix. It's the standard tank vs dps kind of design in many games. But the grass is always greener I suppose...