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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.

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28 Jul 1941 Soviet Union agreement with London-based Polish Government-in-exile invalidates the border negotiated with Germany and enlists Poles detained in the USSR for Allied armies.
28 Jul 1942 6000 Jews brought to pits by German SS and shot dead in Minsk, Belarus, a total of 30,000 slaughtered over four days of the Great Pogrom [28-31 Jul].
28 Jul 1944 Rapid Red Army advance through Poland overruns German defenses and captures Brest-Litovsk, Jaroslaw and Przemysl.
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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:

M1008 CUCV pickup truck.  Courtesy: Government Liquidation LLC
M1010 CUCV ambulance.
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
M1010 CUCV ambulance.
M880 CUCV and a pair of M998 HMMWVs in staging area before being loaded aboard the SS CAPE HORN (T-AKR 5068) for shipment back to the United States at the conclusion of US/South Korean Exercise TEAM SPIRIT '87, 15 Apr 1987.  M88 Hercules, M-939 Series 5-ton, 6x6 Truck in background.
32nd Separate Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Wisconsin Army National Guard, M1009 CUCV on a flatbed rail car for transport to the port of Bremerhaven, Germany  during Exercise REFORGER 86, Grafenwohr, Germany, February 1986.

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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