[Would you like to see this in-game?]
TL;DR: A smol German armored car fitted with a 40mm AGL and extendable mast.
Disclaimer: This is not a suggestion to add the Fennek or its variants to the low-tiers of the German ground tree. One of the main purposes of this suggestion is to convey that this vehicle, and the countless others like it, can absolutely perform at more appropriate, higher, BRs. (i.e. 8.0~).
Reconnaissance is, and always has been, an essential element when it comes to military operation. World War II not only emphasized this but also, for the first time in history, introduced ground-based automotive reconnaissance to the global stage. This, in turn, led to the development of ground vehicles, both tracked and wheeled, tailormade specifically for such a role. With the end of WW2 and thus the relieving of pressure on the world’s military industries, work on perfecting ground-based reconnaissance platforms could finally get underway. Although late to the party, the newly formed West Germany was no different, producing the SPz 11-2 Kurz, a modification of the French Hotchkiss SP1A, as a result. This vehicle would be replaced by the much more modern and wheeled Spähwagen Luchs in 1975. Of course, time would age this vehicle too and by the time the 1989 came around, it was time for replacement, thus starting the light reconnaissance vehicle development program. This would prompt the development of the Zobel, a small and fast 4x4 armored car developed by GST. This design would compete head-to-head against the Panhard VBL. This outcome of these trials wouldn’t matter, however, as it was eventually decided that Germany would instead cooperate with the Netherlands and their preexisting reconnaissance vehicle development program to avoid funding their own by themselves. This cooperation would result in the Fennek, a fast and relatively small 4x4 armored car. Germany would receive their first Fenneks in 2003s, entering service as the Spähwagen Fennek 1A1. The standard armament chosen for this vehicle was the 40mm HK GMG automatic grenade launcher, chambered in 40x53 and capable of firing M430A1 HEDP, which is capable of 73mm of penetration. This weapon would be placed in the KMW 1530 remote weapon station, which is and fitted with a thermal imager. To allow for enhanced reconnaissance capability, the Fennek was fitted with the BAA I surveillance module, which was, in turn, attached to an extendable mast capable of raising up to 1.5 meters. This module is fitted with a laser rangefinder and a thermal imager. Fitted with a 179 kW (239hp) engine, the Fennek capable of reaching a max speed of 115kph when the limiter is turned off. The A1 variant still serves to this day, however, they are very slowly being converted into the A2 variant, which was designed for combat in Afghanistan and thus features enhanced capabilities.
Place In War Thunder:
Automatic grenade launchers as a vehicle’s main weapon is an understandably controversial topic when it comes to their possible implementation into the game, however, it must be noted that this is largely due to one main factor: misunderstandings and lack of knowledge of the penetration capabilities of HEDP grenades. These misunderstandings combined with a poor muzzle velocity makes many people assume that a vehicle equipped only with an automatic grenade launcher would have to be placed at an uncomfortably low BR to be effective. Fortunately, this really isn’t the case. M430A1 HEDP can penetrate up to 76mm of armor. Pair this with a quick and small wheeled platform and what you get is essentially an autocannon carrier that just needs to get closer to its target. And even if you don’t get closer you have zero distance-based penetration drop off. There is no reason why vehicles equipped solely with AGLs would not be able to perform at suitable BRs in War Thunder. Playstyle would be rather unique, however, not completely unfamiliar. The SPw Fennek 1A1 would essentially like any other wheeled autocannon carrier. The main difference, again, is the required distance from your target to actually cause damage being much MUCH smaller, almost right on top of them, essentially promoting an incredibly suicidal playstyle. That being said, once you do get within range, you will not struggle to penetrate foe you may face, with your 76mm of pen at 340rpm and thermal imagers. You also have an external camera that can be raised and lowered as necessary, potentially giving you a much better view of the battlefield and potential targets and allowing you to better inform your team of enemy positions without putting yourself in danger. Since this vehicle is in widespread service with the Bundeswehr, it is only fitting that it see placement in the tech tree.
Armament: 40mm HK GMG AGL
Dimensions: 5.60m, 2.55m, 2.29m (L,W,H)
Armor: Proof against small arms fire and artillery splinters
Ammunition: HE, HEDP, and Air-Burst
Side View:Side View With Crew:Fitted with an MG instead of an AGL: