During the Great War both sides looked for opportunities to distract their opponents, particularly to draw military resources away from the main areas of battle, and for the Ottoman Empire one such prospect was the Senussi of Libya. With a small amount of Ottoman assistance and advice the Sanussi began incursions into the Egyptian Western Desert from November 1915, which did indeed require some Commonwealth troops to be assigned to defend the area. However it was only after the failure of the Gallipoli campaign and the return of those troops to Egypt that resources became available to properly deal with this threat. In January of 1916 volunteers were recruited for a new camel-mounted infantry corps, at first to patrol the Western Desert, but in August of that year, after more troops were raised from Australia, Britain, India and New Zealand, as an offensive arm. In December the new Imperial Camel Corps was officially created, being mounted infantry plus supporting units of mountain artillery, Royal Engineers, ambulance, signals and headquarters. They went on to participate in many of the campaigns in the Middle East, supporting both the British Army and the Arab Revolt forces, and saw the final surrender of the Ottoman Army, before final disbandment in 1919.
Strelets have already produced a set of British Camel Corps mounted, so for action scenes this set of dismounted troops is vital. As infantry we find all of the usual poses, with men firing and advancing, and the man holding his helmet was our favourite of these. The soldier in the top row perhaps firing a Lewis gun from the hip is a fair pose, although he will have more trouble hitting a target this way, and anyway he really should have the gun on a slant to avoid snagging the rotating magazine on his clothing. This set has a high proportion of kneeling and prone poses, which makes perfect sense in an environment that frequently offered virtually no cover. The prone Lewis gunner is conventional, although his left hand is not steadying the butt of the weapon, which it should. However the other three men down on the ground have been very well thought out and far superior to the usual 'on-all-fours' pose you often see. The officer looks to be blowing a whistle, and we really liked this and all the other poses. The one missing pose is of a soldier holding the camels while his comrades go into action; one in 12 or 16 would be detailed to do this.
The first thing to observe about the men’s uniform is they all wear the British Wolseley-pattern helmet, so are specifically British rather than imperial troops. They wear standard Khaki Drill uniform with puttees round the lower legs, all of which has been correctly modelled here. Our only complaint is that the brim of the Wolseley is quite straight when it should be noticeably slanted and more curved in shape. The kit of these men was the cavalry bandolier of 90 rounds in nine pouches, but as with the mounted set these men have only been given the old 50-round belt. This is incorrect, but the rest of the kit, consisting of infantry waist belt, haversack and water bottle, is properly done.
The sculpting is pretty good, with nice proportions and fair detail. The rifles lack some finer detail, and the bayonets, where fixed, are much too short and look silly. The poses do not look at all flat, and the prone figures in particular are well done and look natural. We found the figures had a slightly rough quality round the seam line, but with no flash worthy of the name.
We can have few complaints about this set. The poses are very good and appropriate, and while the missing pouches on the bandolier are an obvious problem there are no other accuracy errors. Sculpting is very good too, and the figures are fairly clean, so in total we thought this an appealing collection of figures with very few mistakes and a worthy addition to the growing collection of figures suitable for the campaigns in the eastern Mediterranean.
Note The final figure is of a soldier from the Streltsi of 17th century Russia. Though he is unrelated to the subject of this set, he is one of a series of 'bonus' figures which when combined will create a set of this unit for the Great Northern War. See Streltsi Bonus Figures feature for details.