Here is my answer to how to play the Penzacola back when she was tier 7. Tactics honed in almost 850 battle in her with a 53% WR. That WR includes the first hundred or so battles trying to fiqure her out so the last half of that is definitly closer to 60%. I have been playing her at tier 6 (66% WR) the same way and although the traverse and secondaries arent what they used to be the lower tier enemies make it doable although more challenging.
Penzacola is one of my favorite ships. I have played her a lot and have a above average WR in her (57% iirc). Unlike most others I actually do not like the concelment buff on her, and CE for me would make it worse. They allow you to get much closer to the enemy in the opening than you should be.
The way I play mine is as follows:
Opening, head towards the enemy full speed along with the DDs. Once I am spotted, turn tail and run. Dont have to wait till incoming fire alert goes off, you are the cit pinata the shells will be on the way, kite and WASD to avoid the enmy shells while firing HE at the BBs to get a fire going. Once the enemy loses interest in missing you, turn back towards the enemy, wash and repeat, however this time expose a little broadside to the enemy. WHY??? You are close to the max range so they have much closer threats they would rather focus on. You get to use all your guns. and finally, you are already spotted so you will need to turn tail when the incoming fire alert goes off, being broadside your 180 is already halfway done.
Midgame, look for flanks to exploit. if we have a group of ships at the 6 line and the reds have ships at the 8, Iam going for the 10. 2 reasons. If there is a DD trying to flank I will get to him before he gets to our BBs (Pepsi excells at DD killing) 2. Each red is going to either ignore me or manuver there guns away from our larger force. What usually happens is 1 or 2 ships start shooting at me I dodge and lay into the broadsides of the ships that are bow on to our main force.
Endgame - You are the DD hunter killer, as long as you stay reasonably away from red BBs your will be able to do great things to the CAs (use AP) and the DDs (HE) that are out there. You see smoke, charge right into it and pop that Hydro. The secondaries on the Pepsi are awesome and she can dodge torps like nobodies business. Another end game strategy, chain fire BBs. They hate that. I once had 2 BBs chase me for the last 5 min of battle because I would just stay at max range raining HE shells on them starting fires and dodging their shells.
If you play the Penzacola right, you should have around 1 million in potential damage.
Hope this helps
Playing this way takes a lot of pressure off of your allied ships and really tips the match in you favor.