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About the CUCV

The Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV, pronounced cuck-vee) program was instituted to provide the United States military with a family of less expensive vehicles to augment the purpose-built, but high cost, trucks such as the M-561 Gama Goat, M-37, and later the HMMWV. The first attempt to use an off-the-shelf commercial vehicle (with a small number of military upgrades or changes) to augment military tactical trucks was the Kaiser Jeep M-715. The M715 was followed by Dodge M880/M890-series and finally Chevrolet M1008/M1009/M10xx trucks, all rated at 1 1/4 ton capacity (five-quarter). While these were rugged trucks by civilian standards, and successful in some military roles, they were ultimately judged to be ineffective.

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 members (Seabees) in an M-1008 Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV), Operation Desert Storm, Feb 1991.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 members (Seabees) in an M-1008 Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV), Operation Desert Storm, Feb 1991.

Today in WW II: 23 Nov 1940 Ford delivered the Pygmy prototype jeep to the US Army.  More 
23 Nov 1942 SS Ben Lomond sunk by German U-boat off the coast of Brazil.
23 Nov 1943 Deutsche Opernhaus, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and many other buildings destroyed by a 764 aircraft RAF bombing raid on Berlin [22-23 Nov].
23 Nov 1944 Strasbourg, in eastern France, liberated by French General LeClerc's 2nd Armored Division. Eisenhower orders controversial halt at the Rhine by US Sixth Army Group.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Guide to the CUCV Family of Light Trucks

The CUCV trucks are commercial vehicles suitable for use on all types of roads and for limited off-road operations. They are not military-specific designs but rather are commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) trucks with minor military modifications.

Initial hopes for the CUCV were that it would be able to fully substitute for military tactical trucks in many roles. Tactical vehicles, designed for full military requirements, did not have to be used for garrison-duty tasks where a lighter, less expensive commercial truck would do. This made sense, but it proved difficult to segregate roles and maintain the right mix of vehicles in each military organization. In actual field use, the CUCV was assigned to missions and asked to perform where tactical trucks should have been used. But units did not have enough tactical trucks since CUCVs had been procured as a substitute. Results were poor. Particularly in the Gulf War, where harsh desert conditions and primitive infrastructure put all military equipment to a severe test, the CUCV was highly disappointing. As a result, the CUCV trucks were phased out sooner than expected, unable to survive the hardships that the purpose-built military vehicles could endure. The Chevrolet CUCV lingered into the late 2000s but was eventually replaced by variants of the HMMWV in most military units.

The M715 was not called a CUCV, and originally neither was the Dodge M880/M890 series. The name Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV) originated with the Chevrolet M10xx series vehicles and was retroactivly applied as well to the similar Dodge trucks.

Details of the Dodge and Chevrolet CUCV Trucks

There are two sub-families of CUCV:

Specifications and photos for each of these CUCV series of trucks are presented in detail on the linked pages. The Kaiser Jeep M-715, procured starting in 1967, is described on its own linked page.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Chevrolet and Dodge CUCV trucks at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:

Light Service Support Vehicle (LSSV) produced by GM Defense, Detroit, MI. LSSV is the continuation of the CUCV II line of militarized commercial vehicles.
CUCV, MT250 wheeled crane, other trucks.
M1010 Truck, Ambulance, Tactical, 1 1/4 Ton, 4x4 (CUCV).
Military vehicles (M-151 w/trailer, M-1008 CUCV, M-113 APC, others) and ground support equipment are transported on a floating causeway to shore from the vehicle cargo ship USNS ALTAIR (T-AKR 291) during Exercise GALLANT EAGLE 86, CA, 14 July 1986.
M880 5/4 ton CUCV truck, carrying a communications shelter, parking on the deck of the rapid-response vehicle cargo ship USNS REGULUS (T-AKR-292), carrying vehicles of the 9th Infantry Division to South Korea, 16 Feb 1988
M1008 CUCV Chevrolet pickup truck. Courtesy: Government Liquidation LLC

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: cucv. Then click the Search button.

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