When the German Bundeswehr looked for a small, air portable, armoured vehicle to arm itís Airborne troops with, the eventual design was the Wiesel 1, a small tracked vehicle that could be fitted with either the TOW (for Anti-Tank capability) or the MK20 (20mm cannon) in a 3600 turret. The Wiesel provided armour protection for the crew against small arms fire and schrapnel, but it diminutive size limited itís potential. The Wiesel was however a highly successful vehicle, and soon development of other versions started. These versions needed more internal space however, and together with the resulting extra weight, this necessitated adding an extra roadwheel on either side. The Wiesel 2 has been in service since 2001.
Author: Ralph Zwilling
Language: English and German text
Translation: Carl Schulze
The book naturally begins with a development history of the Wiesel 2, and outlines the reasons behind the development of the different variants. The whole vehicle and the way it works is looked at in detail, and combined with the photos further in the book, this allows a comprehensive understanding of the Wiesel 2. This chapter includes a number of rare photos of the prototypes.
The rest of the book is devided into the following chapters, each detailing a different version of the Wiesel.
Ozelot Air Defence Missile Carrier:
The Ozelot carries a launch system for the Stinger Anti Aircraft Missile, and is capable of operating under armour. It receives itís primary data from an external source (usually a Platoon Command Post and Radar Vehicle), but can operate autonomously. This chapter contains 19 photos, which include an interesting picture of the engine bay with the engine removed, and the launcher in ready position as well as stowed for transport.
Air Defence System Command Vehicle:
As the name suggests, this is the batttery command vehicle, which analyzes all information it receives regarding air space, and co-ordinates the response. The photographs show clearly the external detail, and of particular interest are the photos of the interior, which will be very helpful for those contemplating scratchbuilding one.
Platoon Command Post and Radar Vehicle:
The Platoon Command Post and Radar Vehicle has a powerfull HARD X-Band radar withwich it can detect targets within a radius of 20 miles, whilst simultaniously commanding up to 8 Ozelot Missile carriers. The photos in this chapter show heavily camouflaged vehicles, as well as a number of good interior images.
Wiesel 2 Ambulance:
The Ambulance variant of the Wiesel can currently transport one wounded on a stretcher and two seated wounded, in addition to the medic and driver. Medical equipment to stabilise a casualty during evacuation is carried. A variety of photos include an Ambulance as an underslung load being air transported, troops loading wounded soldiers, and several images of the interior.
Engineer Reconaissance Vehicle:
This is a very versatile vehicle, as itís tasks include many engineers tasks, such as mine detection, obstacle creation/removal, as well as reconnaissance tasks in general. The Wiesel is also the Engineers Platoon Commanderís vehicle, and is equiped with all the necessary radio equipment and maps etc. Photos show the exterior of the vehicle from all sides, and there are 5 interior, and 6 close-up detail images.
Mobile Command Post:
The Mobile Command Post has been designed to allow the Commander of a Battalion sized unit to command his unit under armour protection, the vehicle has to this effect been equipped with the latest communication equipment, to enable it be integrated into the overal Army Command structure. Two photos of the prototype are followed by 9 photos of the exterior, and 3 of the interior.
Light Armoured Mortar Carrier:
The Light Armoured Mortar Carrier is designed to carry the 120mm Mortar with a combat load of 25 ready rounds. The Mortar can be served under armour and NBC cover. The name light is really somewhat of a misnomer, as the overall weight of the vehicle is too heavy for the Wiesel 2 road wheels, which meant that yet another set of road wheels had to be added. 16 exterior and 4 interior photos show in detail how the mortar is fixed and operated.
Following on from the first volume (Wiesel 1 ), this volume charts the development of the basic concept of the small tarcked AFV, and shows in detail the slightly bigger brothers of the Wiesel 1. Relatively unknown vehicles compared to the MBT's that are usually centre of attention, the Wiesel 2 has some intriguing variants, which would make interesting model subjects. The clear close-up photographs in this book not only show the enthusiast what the Wiesel looks like inside and out, they are also a good reference for modellers who wish to build one of these variants.
Highs: High quality photography and detailed descriptions of an intriguing little AFV.Lows: The captions tend to repeat the full vehicle designation everytime, which can be a bit wearysome. Verdict: A must have for German Armour enthusiasts and those who like odd AFV's.
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