Württemberg was one of the myriad of small German states that had been a part of the Holy Roman Empire until France’s intervention meant they joined the newly constituted Confederation of the Rhine. The fundamental purpose of this alliance was to provide troops and support for Napoleon, but Württemberg had already signed a treaty with France in 1802 and remained loyal to that country until 1813 when it became obvious that France would be defeated. For Napoleon’s campaign to Russia in 1812 Württemberg supplied around 14,000 all arms - a force which was virtually annihilated during that winter.
As with any army of the Napoleonic wars that of Württemberg went through a number of changes in uniform, and since this set has no dates on the box we must first decide to which period they relate. The line infantry wear the leather helmet with caterpillar crest that first appeared at the end of 1806 and which was to be retained until a shako appeared in 1813. They also wear two crossbelts, with their sword held by a belt over the right shoulder rather than a waistbelt, plus a regular pack. This French-style equipment appeared in 1811 or 1812, and was carried on the Russian campaign, so we can be quite precise in saying that these men are specifically intended for just that disastrous adventure.
The first nine figures pictured are of ordinary line infantry, and for the period we have discussed are accurately clothed. They wear trousers over their gaiters, as would be expected when on campaign, and the helmets are correctly without plumes, although the officer should perhaps have one. The next six figures are Jägers, with their shakos (and cords, which may have been removed when in the field) and rifled weapons. The latter are particularly short, suggesting that they are carbines rather than muskets, but again these are correctly kitted out for the 1812 period. One man has his sword-bayonet attached, which is fine except that he has another in his scabbard! The bottom row are grenadiers. The evidence for the uniform of these men shows a helmet with a metal crest and a fur front, which is what has been modelled here, so again we have no complaints about accuracy.
While 20 poses is a lot for a set, this does of course cover three different types of infantry. Still all the important poses have been included, and there is even room for a drummer and a hornist. The line infantry have both an officer and an NCO, while the Jägers have another officer and the grenadiers another NCO. There are no figures that lend themselves to easy conversion to holding a standard, but that is a minor point. Overall this is an intelligent choice of poses.
The sculpting is reasonable and of a similar quality to much recent HäT output. Minor detail is not always present (for example the drummer’s plain swallows-nest epaulettes), but the general standard is fair. Flash is to be found, but is limited to a few areas on certain figures rather than a general problem, although the soft plastic means this is a little more difficult to remove.
With so many small German States it is not surprising that most have no specific figure sets dedicated to them. However it is pleasing to see their contribution recognised with this set, and since their army was generally considered one of the best it is fitting that Württemberg was chosen. By including so many different infantry types this set gives good coverage to these soldiers and will doubtless be welcomed by many Napoleonic enthusiasts.