It is more about deterring the flank's presence in general, I rarely risk a T-34 dive into a superheavy because anyone with half a brain is going to keep their Elefant/Jagd defended. On top of that, in team games where the superheavies are actually used, there's likely to be another tank nearby to come in and save it, and the axis will usually win in that engagement unless circumstances heavily favor the allies (no MGs to supress infantry, which there usually is atleast one of.)
Except the AP/HE split is exactly what prevents it from wiping infantry AND tanks, the pintle MG is unimpressive and tacks an additional muni cost on top of it, the Elefant has a bow MG, which is what makes it an Elefant and not a Ferdinand. It's more expensive than an IS-2, less mobile overall and limited to a casemate, why shouldn't it be better than the IS-2 at destroying things?
I'd be perfectly in favor of rebalancing damage to be accurate according to caliber, though that'll never happen, I still pointed it out because the fact that an 88 deals more damage than a 152 is utterly ridiculous.
And anyone with half a brain knows t-34/85 rush with mark target takes care of Ele. By the time they have an Ele you should have plenty of 85's unless u got outplayed hard. Same goes for ISU-152 except its even harder to dislodge without a superheavy for axis, soviets have all the needed tools to get rid of one. I just mentioned one but on top of that you have Il-2 and tank hunter drops, the new rocket strike and ram. Lol even satchels tbh.
It's split but it still has the ability to do both like the Sherman and we all know what a nightmare HE sherman is to ostheer 4-man infantry. Point is it's an assault gun and more of a generalist rather than a dedicated Heavy TD like the Elephant which cant do anything to infantry. Also since when was the pintle mg bad? It also works as AA.
But..it is? It has superior HE to IS-2 and far more range to do so. It also deals more damage per shot at far range outside of harms way unlike the IS-2 which is a heavy breakthrough tank. You also have bunker buster rounds. And as mentioned you have mark target in the same doctrine which boosts your damage by 30%, making you deal more damage per shot than an Elephant to enemy armor.
It is utterly ridiculous yes but realism comes after balance. And as said as far as I know theyre meta in 2v2 atleast