I've always liked tactical combat and/or the Battleviewer. You really just need an option as to if you wish to view the battle or not. I enjoy seeing how different ships perform, and how they function based on the specs and the ship role.
The scaled down ship design capabilities and options on equipping a ship reduce the need, but doesn't eliminate it. Seeing the battle stats in progress for each ship is a great part of the viewer. Every version of GC has the game mechanics of the ship defenses change. Watching the battle unfold brings the operation to life and lets you understand how to configure your fleet with ship size, ship role, and ship configuration.
I don't foresee "zooming in" providing the detail and information given in the viewer. I'd say add the viewer, but let the player choose if they wish to see the battle or not with a pop-up screen before the battle.