This week we are looking at the collars that can be attached to an Osprey Mk II set of body armour. The osprey Mk II was designed to be scalable, meaning that soldiers who needed extra protection, but were less mobile than normal infantry, could add extra pieces of soft armour to the basic vest. This applied to troops such as gunners on vehicles where they were not moving about, but were more vulnerable to enemy fire. In this case extra collars and arm brassards were issued:Two types of collars were issued, a full depth example, and a half depth version:Each of these collars divides into two halves, with Velcro at the centre:This allows a ballistic filler to be fitted inside, a small flap opening at the wider end to allow it to be fitted:I don’t have the filler, so I have used cut up yoga-mats to fill out my collar and give it some stiffness. I can’t speak for the actual filler, but in this case it was a real pain to pit the yoga-mat filler as it was hard to get it to the end of the cover and I had to resort to a long wooden spoon to get it to sit correctly! Each half of the collar is separately labelled:The collar fits to the vest with both Velcro and lift the dot studs:A loop is also fitted to the rear that loops around the carry handle on the back of the neck of the vest:Once fitted the collar fits securely to the vest:A Velcro tab is included to secure the front of the collar around the wearer’s neck:The neck armour was never popular amongst British troops, but it was noted by one army surgeon that the lack of uptake of the armour led to British troops having three times as many neck wounds as their American counterparts whilst on active service in Afghanistan. It has been suggested that their unpopularity was due to the uncomfortableness of wearing them, the difficulty of aiming a rifle when wearing a collar and that they interfered with other equipment soldiers had to wear. As few as 4% of officers who had served in front line operations had worn the collars, despite them being available.
Having tried my collar attached to my Osprey, I can confirm it was bulky and the weight with the proper fillers would be quite high so it is perhaps unsurprising they were not more widely adopted, despite their potential to save lives.