Osprey Mk II Shoulder Brassards

Continuing our weekly study of the various marks of Osprey and their accessories, tonight we are looking at the brassards that were issued to enable the Mk II Osprey to be up-armoured:imageBrassards are pieces of soft armour, designed to deflect shrapnel from fragmentation devices that protect the shoulders and upper arms of the wearer. Before the introduction of Osprey, Kestrel sets of armour had included these as permanent parts of the vests to be used by troops in static but exposed positions. The Osprey system made the brassards detachable to allow a set of armour to be scaled up or down depending on threat level and operational requirement. The brassard set consists of four separate pieces of soft Kevlar armour in DDPM covers:imageThe two larger shield shaped pieces are designed to sit over the shoulders. They have a large tab at the top with Velcro and a press stud to attach to the corresponding fasteners on the vest:imageThe long strap at the bottom of the brassard wraps around the upper arm to hold the armour in position:imageThe brassards are not matching, one has a Union flag sewn to it:imageThe other has a small pouch secured with a Velcro flap:imageThe back of the brassard has a ribbed fabric to help draw sweat away from the body and prevent the brassard sliding around too much:imageThese brassards need to be held securely, but still be able to move easily to mirror the wearer’s movements. To accomplish this tabs are provided with female press studs either end of an elastic strap:imageThe brassards do not completely cover the shoulder region of the wearer, so two smaller panels are also provided that fill in the gaps on the rear of the vest:imageThese attach securely to the vest itself with Velcro and press studs and use one of the elastic fasteners to attach to the main shoulder brassard:imageEach of the components is labelled and has an NSN number, however it was intended that they were issued as a complete unit along with vest and collars. The stores catalogue does list the brassards separately to allow them to be ordered as a replacement for damaged components, but again they can only be ordered as a full set of four pieces of armour rather than as individual components.imageIt seems very unlikely that extra brassards would ever have been ordered as they were never very popular and most soldiers discarded them to reduce the weight and bulk of the Osprey system.

As with the collars, these brassards are packed out with cut up yoga mats to give them the right stiffness and weight.

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