When the US declared war on Germany in April 1917 it was by no means ready to participate in the huge industrial conflict then raging in Europe. Another year would elapse before significant numbers of American troops, sufficiently trained and equipped, joined the struggle. With a relatively low body count (around 50,000) compared to their allies (over four million), the cost in human life to the US was relatively small, but the American contribution made all the difference in 1918, and Hindenburg would later write "The American Infantry on the Argonne won the war".
The US uniform of four-pocket tunic, breeches and puttees is correctly portrayed on these figures, which all wear the Brodie-style helmet. The officer wears a peaked cap, which while regulation is almost never seen in photographs, particularly at the front, when they usually wore a standard helmet, or sometimes the overseas cap, to avoid being obvious targets for the enemy. While the uniform is OK on these figures, the webbing has some problems. The riflemen have eight ammunition pouches round the waist, rather than the correct 10, but they do have the standard canteen and first aid pouch. None of these men have chosen to carry their bayonet scabbards on their belt, so we must assume they all have it attached to their packs, which they are not wearing here. The man with the light Browning Automatic Rifle (third figure in second row) seems to have two belts - one carrying a canteen, pistol and the first aid pouch, and the other carrying some large pouches. This was one of several possible arrangements for such troops.
Once again HaT have gone to some lengths to provide a broad range of weapons for this set. Apart from the riflemen there is one man with a Winchester shotgun (first row, fourth figure) and another with a rifle-launched grenade (first row, fifth figure). The soldier with the light Browning we have already mentioned (note that the Browning only appeared in the last few weeks of the war). The first figure on the third row is firing the much-maligned French Chauchat light machine gun, while his comrade at the other end of the row is using a Lewis machine gun. The two men either side of the officer in that row are meant to be crew for the mortar, which is a Newton six-inch, and a rather simplified model. The two men on the bottom row are manning the tripod-mounted weapon, of which there are four alternatives (i.e. four tripods in each set along with four of each gun type). The choices are the Hotchkiss machine gun (top left), the 37mm M1916 Infantry Gun (also called the 'one-pounder' - top right), the Colt-Browning M1895 machine gun (nicknamed the 'potato digger' - bottom left) and the M1917 Browning machine gun (another very late war weapon). All these are simplified, and the one tripod is not technically correct for many of them, but HaT say this is a compromise necessary to fit so many weapon choices in the set. Some of the figures, designated as trench raiders, are carrying the appropriate side-arm, which is good.
These figures are made in the now standard HaT soft plastic and don't have much flash or excess plastic. The sculpting is adequate but not as good as many HaT have made before and since. Detail is OK but there are a lot of flat surfaces in areas such as the front of the legs and some arms which does not make these figures particularly attractive. However this is certainly a very diverse set, and while not the best-looking WWI Americans ever made, you could hardly ask for more types of weapons.