Before we get too far in the idea of what ship can do what, let’s look at what the actually piece in A&A represents. The battleship piece represents a heavy surface fleet that contains mainly battleships and heavy cruisers. It can take a hit and keep on dealing hits out. The cruiser piece represents a lighter surface fleet consisting of heavy and light cruisers, and maybe even a battleship. Note, I did not say light surface fleet. It is only lighter in comparison to a “battleship” piece but it is heavier than a destroyer piece. The destroyer piece represents a light surface fleet consisting of destroyers and light cruisers. It is more adept at seeking and destroying submarines than its counterparts.
Yes, it would be cool to have more specialization of units, but at the scale in which A&A represents, individual ship classes and abilities can not be represented. A fleet is only as fast as its slowest unit. On a scale such as A&A it doesn’t matter if I have a fast ship in my fleet if my slowest ship can’t keep up. My personal opinion is the cruiser in A&A is a situational purchase. I am not going to purchase it on a regular basis, but I may if the situation is right.