Can anyone explain this phenomenon?
Yep. This game doesn't make effective use of hyper-threading (aka SMT on Ryzen), only real CPU cores. This means that Windows gets confused about how report overall CPU usage. Dividing cores into two threads often has performance gains for many applications, but it is definitely not the same as having two actual cores, so overall CPU usage is not accurate in this case.
Your dad's CPU is from when Intel didn't include hyper-threading on their mid and low-range CPUs (since they had no competition from AMD at the time). This means Windows is reporting CPU usage accurately as far as this game is concerned.
You can right-click on the CPU graph in Task Manager to show all of your CPU threads and see how loaded they are individually (Change graph to -> Logical Processors).
If you turn off SMT in your BIOS, you should see similar (and more accurate) CPU usage to the Core i5. However, even though Windows will report your CPU as being used much more, you shouldn't expect much, if anything, in the way of increased performance. Can't hurt to try, but you will likely lose performance in almost every other game if you don't re-enable it.
Ultimately, the COH2 engine is just terribly made. Troubled and rushed development aside, I've heard it was apparently made on an Intel compiler and really favours their CPUs. But that said, AMD literally didn't have a good gaming CPU until they very recently launched the Ryzen 3000 series nearly a decade later. Also, as you've noticed, even with an Intel CPU it can't use it all and only gets worse as each game goes on, regardless of GPU. I did some tests on a 9900K and performance was really not much better.
I run a Ryzen 1600 on desktop (with a GTX 1080) but I probably only get as low as 30-40fps towards the end of an artillery intensive 4v4 match. Your performance does seem unusually poor. I would have suggested thermal throttling, but I guess not based on your data.
I've never really played against a bunch of AI players though. I have to assume that would use more CPU than human players. Maybe try a couple of 3v3 automatch games and compare the end game frame rates?