I always thought the Wiesel was a cute little guy
In the 1960-1970s a lot of NATO (and some Warsaw Pact) countries came up with micro machines for niche jobs. We here in the U.S. were stuck with the Chance-Vought M561 Gamma Goat and the M422 Mighty Mite, the first weighing in at 4-tons and the second barely topping 1,700 lbs curb weight. Armoring up, there was the Marines M50 Ontos (Greek for “thing”) at 9.5-tons with a four-pack of M40 recoillessrifles, and the Army’s M551 “Sheridan” AR/AAV which had a M81E1 Rifled 152 mm Gun/Launcher and could withstand anything (up to) .50 cal but weighed 15-tons.
For comparison, the Soviets had their ASU-57 assault gun, which was a 3.4-ton 57mm motorized gun that could be airmailed into forward positions.
In West Germany, they went with the Porsche/Rheinmetall AG Wiesel armored weapons carrier.
This cute 2.75-ton armored vehicle is the closest thing there is to a modern tankette and uses either a commercial 86 hp Audi 2.1-litre diesel or a beefed up 109hp 1.9L Volkswagen in-line four-cylinder turbo diesel– either of which can be serviced by a local Audi or VW/Porsche dealer.
Capable of being parachuted or choppered in (the HEER operates CH-53s, which can carry two at once!), Wiesel is a fast little critter capable of speeds over 40 mph on roads while maintaining good off-road capability. The Germans ordered more than 500 of these in a bunch of different packages including some with a Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 20mm cannon (though tests have been done with 25mm and 30mm) and others with a TOW launcher.
In the longest version, they are just 15.75 feet from front to back, or about as long as a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
Due to their small footprint, which includes the ability to operate on narrow roads and over bridges made out of well wishes, the Germans have extensively deployed them on NATO/EU/UN missions to abroad such as in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Afghanistan (where these images are from).