Romania provided the largest contingent of troops to aid Hitler’s war in the East, and suffered enormous casualties during those years of fighting. Strelets released a number of sets relating to the Battle of Stalingrad around the same time as this set, so it is pertinent to observe that the Romanians held long stretches of the German lines around that city, but were unable to stop the Red Army’s counter-attack which was to mark the start of the long road to Berlin.
Another factor that makes us think of Stalingrad is that all these figures are in winter uniform. All wear the greatcoat, which was not up to the severe Russian winter but was often all the troops had. This naturally obscures the rest of the uniform, although it looks like the men wear a mixture of boots, anklets and puttees (hard to tell however). A third of the figures wear the usual Dutch-style helmet, while a third wear the caciula wool cap (a traditional peasant item) and the last third have the capela side cap with peak. All these are perfectly correct for Romania’s troops, but in the front line the helmet was almost always worn, so those without one here are less than ideal, particularly as none are even carrying one on their person. Those helmets that are present all have a plain badge on the front, although as the helmet was increasingly unadorned as the war progressed some might want to trim this off. Given their position in the Russian winter, the troops did what they could to keep warm despite a shortage of warm clothing, so more variety could have been offered here, including other forms of cap, but there is nothing here that is not authentic.
The Strelets chunky style means some items such as ammunition pouches are considerably larger than they were in reality, while finer details such as on the weapons are missing. This rough quality is nowhere more apparent than in the faces, which are far from attractive, and the prone figures suffer enormously from poor or zero definition around the heads. However this vagueness does mean the weapons are more open to interpretation, which some might see as a good thing. The rifles could be one of several models, although the first figure in the top row is probably holding a vz. 30 machine gun. Two figures hold submachine guns, and again these are too crude to identify properly but we thought they could equally be either the Beretta M38A or the M1941 Orita 9mm (which only entered service after Stalingrad), or indeed something else - there are plenty of possibilities!
The poses are fairly standard for this kind of period, and there is no particularly significant pose that we would expect for Romanian soldiers. Those here are all reasonable choices, with several apparently keeping their heads down, which is always nice to see. Whilst in reality most if not all these figures should be wearing a helmet, and all should certainly be carrying one when in action, there is otherwise nothing particularly wrong with any of these figures historically. The poses are functional but the sculpting is quite poor if largely free of flash, so it is hard to get excited about this otherwise adequate product.