The prototype Commando differed in many details from the production vehicles. The side hatches were much smaller, terminating above the belt of the hull, and the vision blocks protruded. The .50 and .30 caliber machine guns were on either side of the gunner in the original of the T-60 turret, shown here.

The prototype Commando differed in many details from the production vehicles. The side hatches were much smaller, terminating above the belt of the hull, and the vision blocks protruded. The .50 and .30 caliber machine guns were on either side of the gunner in the original of the T-60 turret, shown here. 

The Cadillac Gage model V-100 Commando was developed as a private venture by the firm’s Terra-Space division in 1962. In response to Cadillac Gage’s marketing efforts, by 1965 the firm began receiving orders from Oman, Somalia and Sudan. These were followed by orders from other third world and Arabic nations; most notably from the Republic of South Vietnam.

Characteristic of the XM706, this vehicle shows off its flat-topped driver’s and commander’s hatches, exposed engine grille, four vision blocks per side, and the lack of a side hatch into the engine compartment.

Characteristic of the XM706, this vehicle shows off its flat-topped driver’s and commander’s hatches, exposed engine grille, four vision blocks per side, and the lack of a side hatch into the engine compartment. 

No fewer than four different turrets were tested on the prototype commando, and numerous weapons combinations, including this one with twin .30 caliber machine guns.

No fewer than four different turrets were tested on the prototype commando, and numerous weapons combinations, including this one with twin .30 caliber machine guns. This vehicle survives today, and is on display at the Fort McCoy (Wisconsin) Museum.

A recent photo of the XM706 depicted in the previous photo. This vehicle is preserved at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

A recent photo of the XM706 depicted in the previous photo. This vehicle is preserved at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. 

The second and third pilot models had been purchased by the U.S. Advance Research Projects Agency and shipped to South Vietnam in September 1963, while the first pilot was purchased by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command for testing in the states. The field trials of the vehicle in Vietnam proved that the Commando was indeed suitable for use in that theater, albeit with some minor changes.

V-100s initially supplied to South Vietnam through U.S. aid were designated XM706. With the changes made at serial number 10596, the vehicle was re-designated XM706E1, and was later standardized in U.S. service as the M706. The turretless version was classified XM706E2.

This early XM706 mounts two Rheinmetall MG42 machine guns in the turret. The German machine gun of World War II vintage was considered as a possible armament for the Commando.

This early XM706 mounts two Rheinmetall MG42 machine guns in the turret. The German machine gun of World War II vintage was considered as a possible armament for the Commando. Note the angular edges of the wheel well, characteristic of the first 75 vehicles, and the two vision blocks to the front of the side door, characteristics of early Commandos. 

Photographed at Fort Knox on July 26, 1965 by the Armor and Engineer Board, this XM706 is typical of the type of vehicle initially supplied to ARVN.

Difficulties with combat laden troops entering and exiting the vehicle quickly led to the adoption of larger side openings, with split doors swinging up and down. Photographed at Fort Knox on July 26, 1965 by the Armor and Engineer Board, this XM706 is typical of the type of vehicle initially supplied to ARVN. 

Although early Cadillac Gage literature indicates that an optional diesel powerplant was available for the V-100, all production vehicles were powered by a Chrysler M75 V-8 gasoline engine of 361 cubic inch displacement. All versions of the Commando could swim without preparation with water propulsion being provided by the turning wheels. A bilge pump was provided, with a capacity of 50 gallons per minute, more than enough to deal with any leaks from door or vision block openings.

Production vehicles, unlike the prototype, had a rear hatch as well as the side hatches. The earlier production vehicles, such as this one, differed from the later vehicles in many ways, including the two vision blocks forward of the side doors on either side.

Production vehicles, unlike the prototype, had a rear hatch as well as the side hatches. The earlier vehicles, such as this one, differed from the later vehicles in many ways, including the two vision blocks forward of the side doors on either side. 

This early Commando is equipped with the T-70 turret, mounting a 20mm cannon in addition to the machine gun. Despite extensive testing, this turret was never placed into production.

This early Commando is equipped with the T-70 turret, mounting a 20mm cannon in addition to the machine gun. Despite extensive testing, this turret was never placed into production. From this angle the flat-topped hatches on the driver’s compartment, characteristic of early vehicles, is evident. 

The final stage in the turret evolution was the T-50, shown here, which featured the twin machine guns mounted adjacent to each other.

The final stage in the turret evolution was the T-50, shown here, which featured the twin machine guns mounted adjacent to each other. This is the turret most often seen on the V-100 and subsequent V-150. 

This ARVN XM706 was produced somewhere in the serial number range of 10076 and 10457, as indicated by the combination of rounded wheel wells, side engine door and lack of a grille guard.

This ARVN XM706 was produced somewhere in the serial number range of 10076 and 10457, as indicated by the combination of rounded wheel wells, side engine door and lack of a grille guard. 

The early XM706E1 featured rounded wheel well edges, one vision block on the upper side plate of the vehicle to the front of the side door instead of two, and, barely visible, the Molotov cocktail guard on the radiator cover, to the left of the turret in this photo.

The early XM706E1 featured rounded wheel well edges, one vision block on the upper side plate of the vehicle to the front of the side door instead of two, and, barely visible, the Molotov cocktail guard on the radiator cover, to the left of the turret in this photo. 

Seven early XM706E2 Commandos (notice the four vision ports in the side) await delivery outside Cadillac Gage’s Detroit plant in 1969.

In addition to the turreted versions of the Commando, vehicles with armored parapets were built as well. These vehicles, designated XM706E2, were particularly popular with the United States Air Force, who utilized them for base security. Here, seven early XM706E2 Commandos (notice the four vision ports in the side) await delivery outside Cadillac Gage’s Detroit plant in 1969. 

The later production XM706E2, like the M706, had fewer vision blocks and firing ports on each side.

The later production XM706E2, like the M706, had fewer vision blocks and firing ports on each side. The muzzle of a M16 can be seen protruding from one of the firing ports on this vehicle, while other crewmen man the M60 machine gun on top.

Despite the success of the Commando in Vietnam, after America’s withdrawal from that conflict the vehicle saw only limited use by U.S. forces. Upon return to the United States, many of the vehicles were expended as range targets, although a few went through a rebuild program for use as security vehicles in Europe.

A V-100 Commando used by USAF Security at Osan Air Base October 1980.

A V-100 Commando used by USAF Security at Osan Air Base October 1980.

Other examples were supplied to large cities for use in riot control and by police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams. Though developed in 1962, the design of this 4x4 amphibian still appears modern, and its descendants continue to see service around the globe. 

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