As the Great War progressed all armies had to admit to the increasing redundancy of men mounted on horses. Modern accurate firepower made them vulnerable and the motor vehicle and rapidly developing aircraft made them inefficient. Germany dismounted much of its cavalry in recognition of this, yet some remained to survive into the post war period.
The figures in this set are clearly for the later war period, since all the troopers wear the excellent but expensive M1916 helmet. Dragoons had traditionally been mounted infantry, but by now all cavalry largely fitted that role, and the dress differences between types were in minor detailing, so the figures in this set can be described as generic late war German cavalry of any type. They wear the standard infantry uniform including the simpler tunic with falling collar, and on their chest is another sign of the rapidly changing face of war, the gas mask. The officer alone has retained his old spiked helmet, perhaps preferring its smarter appearance, although this of course marks him out for enemy snipers.
As we have said, actually going into combat still mounted was increasingly rare in the war, yet many of these poses seem to be doing just that. Lances and swords are useless against machine guns, artillery and rifle fire, and those firing from the saddle (and therefore presumably within range of the enemy) would be an obvious and easy target while delivering little real service. This leads to the conclusion that appropriate poses would also be very dull, being men on the move or stationary, usually well behind the front line, which is at odds with the usual Strelets desire for maximum action, so some may be glad the poses are more exceptional than mundane.
The standard of sculpting is on a par with most recent Strelets output, which is to say reasonable but lacking any elegance or sharpness. The separate lances for those men with ring hands fit well enough, and the men fit their horses very tightly. However as with many of the men so many of the horse poses are geared toward a charge, and some of the poses are plain bad, although happily none are as bad as the bizarre white horse on the box!
The First World War was by no means the first to show the redundancy of mounted soldiers, and nor was it the last to see such men in action, but by 1916 their role in Europe was minor, even on the Eastern Front. Strelets have tried to capture something of the lost glamour of the full cavalry charge in these pretty well produced figures, which might not be typical of the time but would add an interesting extra dimension to a wargame.