German Uhlans

The First World War is often seen as the death of cavalry, but in truth it had been in decline for most of the previous 100 years. Ever more reliable and accurate infantry and artillery weapons were fast making the cavalry ineffective, and the appearance of both motorised vehicles and the airplane meant horsed soldiers were becoming irrelevant, much to the distress of conservative elements in many European armies. Yet in 1914 cavalry was not yet entirely redundant, as particularly on both the Eastern and Mesopotamian fronts there was still scope for their activities. As with all the major combatants, the Germans maintained a large cavalry force, including their lancers, or Uhlans, which are the subject of this set. 

Unlike some countries Germany had been relatively quick to learn the lessons of modern warfare and by the outbreak of war in 1914 almost the whole army was in practical field-grey uniforms. The Uhlans in this set show their version of this uniform, with the distinctive czapka-style headgear in its cloth covering and the ulanka tunic with the plastron front and standing collar. The czapka shows little sign of the cockade that normally appeared, but the sculptor has gamely included the cords that were supposed to ensure it was not lost if it fell off. 

The traditional lance was still carried at this time, and four of the 12 poses are thus armed. The pennant was usually furled when on campaign, as has been done with all but one of the lances in this set. Two of the poses have ring hands for the separate lances and all the lances have been very well done, being slender and a good length. The rest of the men are armed with rifles and swords.  

The sculpting is as good as anything Strelets have yet produced. The detail is fine and even the men’s facial expressions are nicely done. The lances are particularly elegant, although they are actually too slender for the ring hands, meaning they must be glued to stay in place. Elsewhere items such as firearms are less elegant, yet there is no flash and overall these are a very good effort. 

The First World War is often seen as the death of cavalry, but in truth it had been in decline for most of the previous 100 years. Ever more reliable and accurate infantry and artillery weapons were fast making the cavalry ineffective, and the appearance of both motorised vehicles and the airplane meant horsed soldiers were becoming irrelevant, much to the distress of conservative elements in many European armies. Yet in 1914 cavalry was not yet entirely redundant, as particularly on both the Eastern and Mesopotamian fronts there was still scope for their activities. As with all the major combatants, the Germans maintained a large cavalry force, including their lancers, or Uhlans, which are the subject of this set. 

Unlike some countries Germany had been relatively quick to learn the lessons of modern warfare and by the outbreak of war in 1914 almost the whole army was in practical field-grey uniforms. The Uhlans in this set show their version of this uniform, with the distinctive czapka-style headgear in its cloth covering and the ulanka tunic with the plastron front and standing collar. The czapka shows little sign of the cockade that normally appeared, but the sculptor has gamely included the cords that were supposed to ensure it was not lost if it fell off. 

The traditional lance was still carried at this time, and four of the 12 poses are thus armed. The pennant was usually furled when on campaign, as has been done with all but one of the lances in this set. Two of the poses have ring hands for the separate lances and all the lances have been very well done, being slender and a good length. The rest of the men are armed with rifles and swords. As we have said, opportunities to use these weapons while mounted were few, but for those occasions when they did occur the poses in this set are reasonable. 

The sculpting is as good as anything Strelets have yet produced. The detail is fine and even the men’s facial expressions are nicely done. The lances are particularly elegant, although they are actually too slender for the ring hands, meaning they must be glued to stay in place. Elsewhere items such as firearms are less elegant, yet there is no flash and overall these are a very good effort. 

This set contains the same horses as can be found in the Strelets sets of Hussars and Dragoons, so 12 different poses have been provided. As usual this is a mixed bag, with some very good poses being overshadowed by some very poor ones. Our frequent complaint about the impossibility of horses galloping from one side to the other has not stopped Strelets from continuing to produce this impossible gait, but in fairness the majority of the horses are usable. Their saddlery is OK and most have a sword, the hilt of which will need to be removed where the rider is already holding this weapon. The men fit the horses very tightly – a little too tightly in some cases, causing the man to ‘pop up’. However by mixing and matching the horses everyone can be seated. .These figures wear the standard German M1911 small ammunition pouches Overall this is a very decent set, and supplies a dash of romance and movement for a conflict that is mostly remembered for having little of either.
 

Scale 1/72 Strelets Figures

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