From a position of superiority earlier in the century, the artillery of Prussia had slipped badly behind that of Austria by the time of the Seven Years War, and while attempts were made to remedy this in the years that followed, most consider Prussian artillery to be amongst the worst of any major power by the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Prussia retained the idea of battalion guns, where guns were used in co-operation with infantry formations, which spread their effect too thinly to have much impact. With no central artillery reserve Prussia could achieve little with her artillery when the crucial battle came, at Jena in 1806, and as a result lost almost everything, including hundreds of guns.
In 1806 Prussian gunners wore a uniform much the same as that of the infantry, which followed the broad fashions of the day and dated back to 1798. The figures in this set are all properly dressed, and wear campaign trousers as might be expected. The equipment they carry – ramrod, match, handspike, bucket and ammunition – are all also correct.
The usual front-line foot artillery company consisted of six 12-pounder guns and two 10-pounder howitzers, with 6-pounders and other howitzers in reserve. The barrel in this set is about 26 mm long, which works well as a 12-pounder gun, which is the best choice for this subject. The carriage too is of a good design and the correct size, and benefits from being in multiple parts, which allows for better detail on the cheeks in particular. All the parts fit together well, making the gun a very decent model.
As with several other recent HaT artillery sets there are only four crew per gun, although one has a choice of items to hold. All the poses are nicely done, and the separate arms mean the fourth figure is better than he would otherwise be as he is much more natural. Clearly the gun is currently having the match applied in order to fire, so all the other poses are waiting for their next task as the gun is reloaded, which means all the figures make sense together.
The sculpting of the crew is good with clear detail and no flash. The optional arms fit quite well but will still need gluing, as will the gun, but this is a well-produced little set.
While the crew are somewhat minimal this set does provide an important element of the Prussian Army of 1806, and everything here is authentic and well made, so it is a very necessary addition to the range of Napoleonic figure sets.