This is where I part from the standard 'logic' for to me that is fear based. Now, I'm not saying it is wrong to use a tsuba but when the reason is 'because my hand would have been smashed' then I see no technical reason given, no technical reason why the hand got hit, as if there is no way out of such a position.
Just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean they're *not* out to get you.
Which is to say that what you see as fear, some of us see as simply healthy respect for the capabilities of the weapon.
I think several people have pointed out instances in which the tsuba is essential to the form being practiced. The two most common examples in my experience are cases where the two tsubas are locked against each other, and where the form includes a "pulse" movement to jump over the tsuba. There are also lots of forms where the hands are a target; obviously the details of these attacks will be different without a tsuba.