Osprey Cummerbund

The Osprey Mk IV body armour was designed to have far more flexibility in its set up than earlier patterns and it could be ‘scaled’ to meet different levels of threat. This meant that additional armour could be added when the danger was high, and removed to reduce the soldier’s burden when the battlefield was judged to be safer. One of these additional parts was the cummerbund that was used to add extra armour to a soldier’s flanks to protect the vulnerable under arm area. These cummerbunds consist of two parts, a left and a right:

The cummerbunds are designed to be used with the small armoured plates that were originally introduced for use with the ECBA set, a small velcroed pocket is sewn into each cummerbund half way along:

The user manual shows how these pockets are used:

The front face of the cummerbunds have a series of loops for the Molle system of pouch attachment:

The cummerbund attaches to the rest of the vest on the rear using a set of MOLLE straps that pass through the loops on the main vest, securing at the bottom with press studs:

Again the manual gives detailed instructions on fitting the cummerbunds:

The rear face of the two ends of the cummerbunds have the hook side of a Velcro fastener to allow them to attach to the front of the vest and be undone to allow the vest to be secured when worn:

A set of Fastex clips are also fitted to secure the two halves of the cummerbund together:

With the cummerbunds attached together with the armoured collars, the set is described as being a ‘complete fighting order’:

Each cummerbund has its own label and NSN number and they are sized to allow them to accompany different sizes of body armour:

One of the joys of collecting modern webbing is that the accompanying manuals are so good that it is easy to see all the different components available for a set and exactly how they are put together. Although the Virtus set manual is not yet available online, the earlier Osprey manuals are all easily available online for download by the collector and are well worth tracking down to better understand your set of equipment.

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