North Vietnamese Army Carrier Collar for Heavy Loads with Padding
It is a fact that Hanoi made some of its own field gear. This was documented in various issues of the MACV’s Combined Material Exploitation Center (CMEC) circular entitled ST66-24. This publication, sent monthly to various field commands in Vietnam, documented recently captured NVA and VC equipment. On occasion CMEC would identify that a particular item was made in North Vietnam. The publication had a picture on one page opposite a short synopsis of the material with a conclusion about its construction and quality. I will try to post the issues I have here.
NVA made field gear, such as this piece, can be distinguished from Chinese made gear in many ways:
1) It is often made from lightweight and loosely woven cotton, not tight like a ChiCom SKS or AK pouch, of various colors;
2) Often shades of green, brown, blue or maroon are used;
3) The closures vary between wafer thin plastic buttons, thick plastic buttons with concave centers,torpedo shaped wooden toggle buttons with sharp points, short fat wooden toggle buttons, cast aluminum toggle buttons or maroon plastic toggle buttons;
4) Often tie-ties are made of black, white or other colors cotton;
5) The edge trim, if any, is often more loosely woven than the body;
6) Lesser quality thread, in colors, which vary from the color of the pouch, like white, blue, gold and black are used for assembly;
7) Hardware varies to include un-plated D rings and other materials such as aluminum;
8) Belt loops are more often cotton rather than web;
9) Webbing, when present is often lime green;
10) Edge trim, found in black, tan, green, blue, will often differ in color than the body of the pouch;
11) Stud closures, made of brass or aluminum, if used, will have crude cast marks;
12) If an inner lining exists it is often unbleached cotton;
13) Leather, if any, will be of pigskin or thick water buffalo, rather than bovine.
These traits can also be found in Viet Cong Main Force manufactured field gear but VCMF gear is even more crudely made and often employs captured US materials.
This canvas collar was won over the shoulders of NVA soldiers who were designated to carry very heavy loads. It has integral pockets in which to add padding such as cotton strips, perhaps bandages or similar padding. You would expect to see People’e Porters, as those who carried loads on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, wearing this. You could also find NVA carrying 122mm Katyusha Rockets, cases of ammunition, 12.7mm and other heavy machine-guns wearing this collar. Keep in mind that any open sores caused by consistent rubbing put a solider out of action when jungle infection sets in.
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