[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: An artillery observation variant of the Panzer IV J with improved periscopes, three radio sets, and no turret machine gun.
The Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV Ausf. J (Pz.Beob.Wg.IV Ausf.J) was an artillery observation vehicle based on the Panzer IV J. This variant underwent a few changes to better serve its new role, most notably the swapping of the original cupola with one found on the StuG III series of tank destroyers. Other modifications included: seven periscopes in place of the standard vision slits, an SF14Z scissor periscope (which could be raised without opening the cupola), artillery plotting equipment, an electrical generator, and three radio sets. All of the new equipment presented issues within the vehicle and, as such, the turret machine gun was removed as well as some ammunition. Oddly enough, the 75mm cannon was maintained. This vehicle was intended to work cooperatively with Wespe and Hummel SPGs. Work on this variant began in September of 1943 and 90-133 Panzer IV Js were converted from July 1944 to March 1945, making it one of the rarest Panzer IV service variants. The first example of the vehicle was captured in the Spring of 1945 by American forces in Belgium. This example featured no side-skirts, however, do note that some did.
Place In War Thunder:
This vehicle would be functionally identical to the Panzer IV J currently in-game, however, would still be unique in some aspects. For instance, the Pz.Beob.Wg.IV Ausf.J: would not be as susceptible to cupola shots due to the new cupola, could potentially make use of the “commander view” feature thanks to the SF14Z scissor periscope, would have to play around its lack of a turret machine gun, probably wouldn’t get access to track extra track armor on the hull and turret, would have less ammunition, and might even get access to the “scouting” mechanic due to its nature as an observation vehicle. The playstyle itself wouldn’t be anything too special, however. As such, I believe this would be best suited as a low-cost squadron vehicle since you’re not missing anything if you don’t decide to get it.
Armament: 7.5cm KwK40 L/48 and 1x 7.92mm MG13
Dimensions: 7.02m x 2.88m x 2.68m (L,W,H)
Armor: Same as in-game Panzer IV J.
Crew: 5 (Commander Observer, Assistant Observer, Driver, Radio Operator, and Radio Operator Gunner)
Ammunition: Same as in-game Panzer IV J.
Speed: Same as in-game Panzer IV J.
Picture from the same photographer (Side skirts clearly visible):
Side View without side skirts:
Close-Up of the turret:
Covered in snow(?):
Top Down (Picture From Panzer Tracts 11-1):
Front View (Picture From Panzer Tracts 11-1):
Sid e View (Picture From Panzer Tracts 11-1):
The Modelling News: A new 1/35th scale Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.J Late / Pz.Beob.Wg.IV Ausf.J on the way from Ryefield Model
Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV Ausf. J (prieskumný tank pre delostrelectvo) : Germany (DEU)
Panzer Tracts 11-1 by Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle