RETs can suck balls, fine, but a unit that sucks balls like that shouldn't cost 200 MP. I can name 5 other USF units that are overpriced garbage just off the top of my head: Combat Engineers, M2 .50 cal, Stuart, M20, and yes the most OVERRATED unit in the history of CoH2...Riflemen with or without BARs.
This post is rather a "REs are extremely weak in early combat"... but still, wtf?
Combat engineers are good.
.50 cal only has the problem of the deathloop
Stuart does need a price decrease
M20 is fine.
Rifles are mostly map dependent.
This is not a post on USF UP or OP or anything like that so please don't do that.
EDIT: I updated the original post to include my tests against other starting infantry. Basically proven (at least to myself) that having Rear Echelon with any other squad is like having that squad alone. So fighting rifles + RE against double Pio is in essence a fight between Rifles and pios. Rear echelon are there just to spectate mostly.
You can get lucky though. I think against Lady Xenarra, my rear echelon behind yellow cover took down one model of spios and did a decent amount of damage before retreating. That was a one in a million scenario.
So, Pios are not OP, nor are rifles UP, but echelon are extremely weak in combat early game, and by the time you gain vet on them, they fall into obscurity unless you use them as a "Vehicle no-no go-go" with zooks.