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.

german Rheinmetall AG Wiesel armored weapons carrier isaf 5 german Rheinmetall AG Wiesel armored weapons carrier isaf 4
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.

german Rheinmetall AG Wiesel armored weapons carrier isaf 3 german Rheinmetall AG Wiesel armored weapons carrier isaf

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).

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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