Württemberg was one of the many small German states which found themselves at the centre of events during the Napoleonic Wars. As part of the Holy Roman Empire it initially fought against the French, but in 1802 and again in 1805 treaties were signed, the latter being a military alliance with France, and henceforth Württemberg was a French ally, contributing troops to Napoleon’s armies until abandoning him in 1813. Naturally as a small state such contributions were also small, and in 1809 the artillery could boast just 22 guns, but the arm grew during the Wars and the French had a very high opinion of the Württemberg artillery.
As might be expected Württemberg guns were Austrian at the beginning of the period, but by 1809 these were augmented by French guns, and in that year Württemberg adopted a new artillery system closely following that of Gribeauval. As a result guns were standardised as 6- and 12-pounders plus 7-pounder howitzers - lighter 3-pounders had already been relegated to regimental artillery and the reserve. On occasion captured guns were also used, so over the course of the Wars a variety of guns could be found in action. The gun in this set has a barrel 25mm in length, which scales up to 180cm. As such it is a little shorter than the old Austrian 12-pounder, and a little longer than the French-inspired M1809 6-pounder. As a result it could serve as either equally, but in fact it is a later 6-pounder for the horse artillery as it has the padded chest which was placed between the cheeks of the gun to allow two crew to ride, and the running boards for them to place their feet. The gun is very nicely done, and benefits from the carriage being in several parts, so the detail is better.
As for the crew, they too have been correctly done. All wear the raupenhelm style of helmet first introduced in 1804 and not replaced with shakos until 1813 - around the same time as the Württembergs left French service. They have the crest but no plume, which was usually reserved for parade. On the front of the helmet is a large plate which dates from 1810 - prior to that year an oval example was worn. Moving down, all the men have the correct tunic with the unusual pattern of lapels, along with overalls and boots. All wear a sash around the waist, long swords and metal shoulder scales, which identifies them as horse artillery, so they are a perfect match for the gun, both in terms of regiment and date (1810 to 1813). The sword is held by a belt over the right shoulder, but not all sources show the belt over the left shoulder, which supports a cartridge pouch. However this would seem a reasonable item so even if not always worn it does not seem out of place here.
Although there are only four crew members they are in cracking poses. One man carries a round while another is holding the match. The remaining two have no right arms, allowing the customer to choose from the available separate arms, which hold a ramrod, handspike and thumb-stall. The separate arms also allow a more natural pose, which we very much liked. None of the poses are obviously interacting with the gun, so you don't get the situation where the poses are both firing the gun and using the ramrod at the same time, but in this case the first figure could easily be feeding the ammunition in while his colleagues wait their turn.
By using more parts the gun is a very fine model, and this applies equally to the crew. Detail is very good, as are the proportions, and there is no flash. The separate arms fit the pegs in the figure’s shoulder very nicely, although gluing is required, so it is good that this plastic takes ordinary poly cement very securely.
A larger crew per gun would have been nice, but the separate arms work very well to allow some variety as well as improve the poses. The figures are great, as is the gun, which makes the whole set...er...great!