Cadillac Gage Commando
|LAV-100, LAV-150 Commando|
|Type||Light armored vehicle|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||See Operators|
Laotian Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
|Weight||9,888 kilograms (21,799 lb)|
|Length||5.69 metres (18.7 ft)|
|Width||2.26 metres (7 ft 5 in)|
|Height||2.54 metres (8 ft 4 in) turret roof, 1.98 metres (6 ft 6 in) hull top|
|Armor||.25 inch Cadaloy alloy steel|
|1× Cockerill Mk3 90 mm gun, 1 × 20 mm, 1 × 7.62 mm machine gun|
|2×6 40 mm Smoke Dischargers|
|Engine||V-504 V8 turbocharged diesel engine
|643 kilometres (400 mi)|
|Speed||100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) road, 5 kilometres per hour (3.1 mph) water|
The M706 Commando is a 4×4 amphibious armored car built by the American firm Cadillac Gage. The vehicle has been outfitted for many roles, including armored personnel carrier, ambulance, fire apparatus, anti-tank vehicle, and mortar carrier. It saw service in the Vietnam war where it became known as the Duck, or the V. It was also supplied to many American allies, including Lebanon and Saudi Arabia which used it in the first major ground engagement of the Persian Gulf War. No longer produced, it has been largely replaced by the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle, which was developed as tougher alternative to up-armored Humvees.
Design and development
The V-100 series of vehicles was developed in the early 1960s by the Terra-Space division of the Cadillac Gage company. By 1962 a patent was filed and received by Terra-Space for a vehicle then only known as the Commando. The first prototype emerged in 1963, and the production variants entered service in 1964.
The vehicle is equipped with four-wheel drive and uses axles similar to the ones used in the M34 series of trucks. The engine is a gasoline-powered 360-cubic-inch Chrysler V8, same as in the early gas models of the M113 armored personnel carriers. Its 5-speed manual transmission allows it to traverse relatively rough terrain. The M706 has a road speed of 62 mph (100 km/h), and can travel across water at 3 mph (4.8 km/h). A Commando's armor consists of high hardness alloy steel called Cadaloy, which protects against projectiles up to 7.62×51mm. Partly because of its armor, the M706 has an unloaded mass of over 7 tons. As a result, a common problem with the vehicle is rear axle failure caused by the extreme weight. However, because the armor also provides the monocoque structural framework, it can be lighter than a soft vehicle to which armor has been added, and the angle of the armor also helps protect against hits and mine blasts.
The V-100 was available in turret and open-top models. Factory prototype turret options included the T-60, T-70, and T-90. The T-60 featured a combination of two .50 caliber machine guns, two .30 caliber machine guns, or one of each, and had manual traverse. The specific .30 caliber machine gun options were extremely varied, with from factory configurations including the M1919A4E1, M37, M73, M219, and MG42. Later the M60 and FN MAG were also added to the list of options. The Cadillac Gage company also intended to use the solenoid trigger equipped fixed machine gun version of the Stoner 63 weapon system, but this was dropped after tests showed the smaller caliber cartridge to be unsuited to this role.
The T-90 featured a single 20 mm cannon with power traverse. The T-70, developed for police use, featured 4 tear gas launchers, vision blocks all around the turret for 360-degree vision, and no other weapons. The T-70 and T-90 were not put into mass production with a modified T-60, with the guns mounted together in the center, instead of on the outer edges, becoming the standard. A variant of this turret featuring the 7.62 mm General Electric Minigun was also developed.
In addition an open-topped variant with a central parapet was developed. The intended usage of this variant was to be a mortar portee, but a total of five machine gun mounts could also be fitted. There were 2 in front, one in the rear all three M2 Browning or Mk 19 capable and one folding pintle point on each side M1919 Browning machine gun or M60 capable. An enclosed raised superstructure "pod" was also developed for converting the V-100 into either a command vehicle or for police use. The variants for police work featured special elongated firing ports for better angles of fire for tear gas grenade launchers.
Relatively large-gunned variants of the V-100 began appearing in 1964, when Cadillac Gage marketed the Commando against the Alvis Saladin and Panhard AML-90 for a Royal Saudi Army requirement specifying a wheeled armoured vehicle equipped with a large semi-automatic cannon. A number of V-150s were later successfully tested and offered with a Mecar medium-pressure 90mm smoothbore gun. With the new turret and gun, the V-150 was manned by a crew of three, although it retained enough space for eight additional passengers if no additional shell racks were added. At maximum capacity its hull could store up to thirty-nine rounds of 90mm ammunition and still seat four additional passengers. Subsequent V-150 models incorporated a slightly larger turret armed with a much more powerful Cockerill Mk.III 90mm gun, the same as that carried by the EE-9 Cascavel. A third fire support option involved the retrofitting of the Commando chassis with the complete turret and 76mm L23A1 gun of the FV101 Scorpion light tank.
The Commando was originally deployed to South Vietnam in September 1963 for use by the US Army Military Police, US Air Force and allied forces including the ARVN. It was introduced in Vietnam as the XM706 Commando first to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam who loaned the first examples to the U.S. Army in 1967. By the end of 1968, the U.S. Army had purchased its own version of the armored car, the XM706E1, later standardized as the M706. Within the U.S. Army it was affectionately known as the Duck, or the V.
The main differences between the XM706 and XM706E1/M706 were in the design of the gas tank fill port covers, side windows, front vision blocks, and most importantly in the weaponry. The XM706 featured two .30-06-caliber M37 machine guns, while the XM706E1/M706 for the U.S. Army featured two 7.62mm NATO M73 machine guns for better ammunition commonality with existing weapons. The ARVN, on the other hand, were still using a variety of weapons in the .30-06 caliber, and had relevant ammunition in their supply train.
In practice, the ARVN found the standard two-gun armament to be lacking and often mounted an additional M1919A4 machine gun on a standard tripod mount at the rear radio operator's hatch. A number of their V-100s were also refitted with the combination turret armament of one M37 and one .50 BMG-caliber M2HB machine gun. The V-100 in with the ARVN mainly saw service in armored car elements of armored cavalry units, but also as part of the mechanized platoons of the Regional Forces. Compared to the American counterparts ARVN V-100 units had larger crews, including a commander riding shotgun, and a radio operator outside the rear hatch.
Another model, the XM706E2, was supplied to the U.S. Air Force for base protection purposes, post-attack reconnaissance against munitions and EOD use. The XM706E2 featured no turret and an open-topped center parapet. In practice a variety of weapons were mounted on USAF XM706E2s, but the most common configuration was one .50 BMG-caliber M2HB machine gun and one 7.62mm NATO M60 machine gun. Other equipment included the XM174 40 mm grenade launcher and searchlights. The 3rd Security Police Group of the United States Air Force at Clark Air Base Republic of the Philippines was still operating the "Duck" as a Fire-Team vehicle until it received M1026 HMMWVs in the fall of 1988. The vehicles were then semi-retired, and occasionally used as "steel" bunkers at the gates, because of the difficulty in keeping the 20-year-old vehicles running.
The V-100 carries a maximum crew of 12. In road patrol, convoy duty and base defense use by the U.S. Army's Military Police, it usually had a crew of two: driver and gunner. Additional armament often included two or three top-mounted M2 machine gun or M60 machine guns. Other weapons such as M134 Miniguns were also sometimes used. Passengers could also use their personal weapons to fire through the vehicle's various gun ports.
In spite of its effectiveness during the Vietnam War, the U.S. military made limited use of the V-100s after the war, deploying only small units of the armored cars with US Army Military Police platoons at the Herlong Army Depot in California during the 1970s, or other related sites across the country. The remaining V-100s were expended as "hard targets" for tank and machinegun ranges throughout various military installations. However, survivors remain in service with various smaller forces, such as Vietnam People's Army, Royal Thai Army, Republic of China Military Police, the Philippine Army, Marine Corps, and Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police, the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Army of Venezuela and the Jamaican Defence Force. It was used by Malaysian Army in Second Malayan Emergency (now retired) and Royal Malaysian Police (GOF- Pasukan Gerakan Am) until now. The vehicle is also used by many SWAT units in the U.S. and gendarmerie forces overseas. The V-100 is the predecessor of the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle which is being used by the U.S. Army for convoy protection and other duties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For many years the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) had used 2 V-100s and used them for high risk warrant arrests. They pioneered the first SWAT teams and were the first to use the V-100 as a law enforcement vehicle. Typically a court issued warrant was required to use them, however the LAPD had deployed them outside of that requirement. On a moment's notice the LAPD Metropolitan Division could have a V-100 (nicknamed the "tank") in the field for shooting scenarios as well as officer assistance calls. Instead of outfitting these vehicles with guns the LAPD would attach a 10-foot (3.0 m) battering ram. LAPD has retired the V-100 vehicles.
Today some SWAT teams around the nation have similar V-100s. On the A&E TV show "Detroit SWAT" a V-100 with a battering ram is often seen being used by the Detroit SWAT team. Most SWAT operations now are more updated with better equipped APCs and armored vans. However, when needed, the V-100 continues to be a valuable tool for making a tactical entrance on a building, residence, etc.
Cadillac Gage's basic V-100 vehicle spawned an entire series of vehicles. This development was continued even after the production and further development of the system was passed to Marine and Land Division of the Textron company. These included updated 4×4 vehicles, but also expanded 6×6 vehicles utilizing a similar design and some basic components.
The V-150 was a hybrid variant which actually came after the V-200 and was based on the V-200 but had some V-100 features. It could be equipped with diesel or gasoline engines and most were produced for the Saudi Arabian National Guard as the V-150S. The V-150 was initially fitted with the same Chrysler V6 gasoline engine and three-speed transmission as the V-100, but these were later superseded by a Cummins eight-cylinder engine and a four-speed automatic transmission.
Unlike the V-200, all V-150s retained the same size and dimensions of the earlier V-100s; however, they were manufactured with heavier axles and modified suspension units. The V-150's hull was also designed specifically to carry heavier weapons systems, such as large smoothbore guns for fire support and anti-tank purposes.
In the 1980s Portugal updated its Chaimites (originally built between 1967 and 1974) with a 90 mm turret (V-400), but the Portuguese Army also bought 15 examples of the U.S.-made V-150 Commando.
The V-200 was essentially an enlarged version of the V-100 and utilized many components of the U.S. Army's 5-ton trucks. This version was designed to the specifications of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and entered service in 1968. It was fitted with a custom diesel engine and was notably heavier than the V-100. ST Kinetics upgraded the Singaporean fleet of V-200 vehicles in 2002 with electric turret drives and made some detail improvements to both the engine and transmission. The Singapore Army continued to hold two hundred V-200s in reserve until 2015, when they were formally retired and replaced by the Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle.
Fifty V-200s were operated by the Republic of Singapore Air Force for on-base security and equipped with Swedish-manufactured RBS 70 surface to air missiles in a turret mount. It is unclear whether these were retired in 2015 as well.
Originally named as the V-300, the LAV-300 is a 6×6 variant originally designed for a heavy weapons support role.
The V-600 is a much heavier version of the V-300 and was intended to fulfill heavier weapons support. The primary version is equipped with a 105 mm turret.
- Bolivia: 10
- Guatemala: 7
- Lebanon: 9
- Malaysia: 100
- Oman: 15
- Peru: 20
- Singapore: 30; probably all modernized to V-200 standard
- South Vietnam: 125
- Sudan: 45
- United States
- Venezuela: 30
- Botswana: 14
- Cameroon: 51
- Chad: 11
- Dominican Republic: 8
- Egypt: 112
- Ethiopia: 12
- Gabon: 9
- Haiti: 6
- Indonesia: 200
- Jamaica: 14
- Kuwait: 20
- Malaysia: 138
- Mexico: 28
- Philippines: 155
- Portugal: 15
- Saudi Arabia: 1,100; 521 for the Saudi Army and 539 for the Saudi National Guard
- Singapore: 40
- Somalia: 15
- Sudan: 80
- Republic of China: 300
- Thailand: 150
- Tunisia: 14
- Venezuela: 100
- Turkey: 158 V-150s; used by Turkish National Police
- United States: 7 V-150s owned by state, county, and municipal police departments.
- M1117 Armored Security Vehicle – a Commando derived vehicle for the United States Army Military Police Corps
- Bravia Chaimite – a Portuguese vehicle similar to the Commando.
- Dragoon AFV – a vehicle produced by Arrowpointe Corporation (now General Dynamics Land Division).
- The French "Berliet VXB-170", which was built in small numbers for the Gendarmerie and for Gabon
- BOV – a Yugoslav manufactured vehicle, it was later supplanted by the LOV in some former Yugoslav countries.
- BRDM-2 – a Soviet scout car.
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. pp. 4–5
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. p. 10
- Mongo's Stoner 63A Page. 2005. Stoner 63A Fixed MG. Access Date: 14 February 2008
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. pp. 9–10
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. p. 10, 42
- Records of Saudi Arabia, 1961-1965: 1965. Burdett, Anita (editor). British Foreign Office, 1997, Volume 6 p. 57. ISBN 978-1852077709.
- Hunnicutt, 2002. pp. 200–205
- Chant, 1987. p. 69, 70
- Doyle, p. 2
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. p. 17
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. p. 15
- United States, 1971. p. I-8
- Areamilitar. Chaimite V-400 - BRAVIA. Access Date: 12 January 2008
- Areamilitar. LAV-150 - Textron Marine & Land/Portugal. Access Date: 12 January 2008
- Army News Issue 236
- "SIPRI arms transfer database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Information generated on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011. Check date values in:
- Conboy, Morrison, p. 290.
- Lathrop and McDonald, 2002. p. 42
- Expressways Florida
- Louisiana State Police - Special Weapons and Tactics
- Linn Benton Police have no surplus military gear
- Armed man holes up in vehicle
- Town of Charlestown
- Conboy, Kenneth and James Morrison. Shadow War: The CIA's Secret War in Laos. Paladin Press, 1995. ISBN 978-1-58160-535-8.
- Lathrop, Richard and John McDonald. Cadillac Gage V-100 Commando, 1960–1971. London, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-84176-415-9 see in Amazon books
- United States. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Civilian Operations and Rural Development Support. RF/PF Advisors Handbook. Saigon, Vietnam: RF and PF Division, Territorial Security Directorate, Civilian Operations and Rural Development Support, Headquarters Military Assistance Command Vietnam, 1971
- Doyle, David. Cadillac Gage V-100 Commando. 2008, Squadron Signal Publications. ISBN 978-0-89747-574-7.
- Hunnicutt, R.P., Armored Car: A History of American Wheeled Combat Vehicle, Presido Press (2002), ISBN 0-89141-777-X
- Chant, Christopher. A Compendium of Armaments and Military Hardware. New York and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987 ISBN 0-7102-0720-4
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