The Prussian Landwehr or militia constituted a significant portion of Prussia’s army during the last years of the Napoleonic Wars. The national budget was extremely tight, and to begin with the Landwehr had to make do with the very worst of clothing and equipment, with often little semblance of a uniform and no firearm at all. Matters did improve however, and by 1815 much of the Landwehr was a recognisable and useful military arm, but the inexperience of its men could at times cause huge casualties when discipline and rudimentary training broke down in the face of the enemy.
The ideal Landwehr uniform was a Litewka coat and a peaked cap, which is what all these figures are wearing. Footwear was often a problem but all these figures appear lucky enough to have decent shoes or boots rather than clogs or even barefoot. All except the officer have rolled up the bottom of their trousers, which was common practice. As with uniform so kit was highly variable, but all these figures have done extremely well, with a largely complete set of knapsack, haversack, blanket and cartridge pouch.
Poses for dead men can be almost anything. Those that are dead by the time they hit the ground can assume any posture, and depending on their wounds their body could be distorted in any conceivable way. More common was those who were wounded but still clung to life as they lay on the ground. Woefully inadequate evacuation and medical services meant many of these men would have to try and crawl to assistance, and that effort was often fruitless. Therefore many of the dead would have positioned themselves to an extent, perhaps curled up like the second man in our picture.
The form of these figures is a little basic, with fairly chunky details and not very appealing faces. Of course again we must remember the nature of the subject, so what would seem unnatural in a living person is quite possible on a corpse. Nevertheless we would say the standard of these figures is adequate rather than impressive.
Included with the figures are four muskets made of metal. As general battlefield litter these are fine, particularly since none of the men (except the officer) still hold a weapon, and the level of detail is really good. Given the unusual nature of the subject these are very useable figures, and the second pictured figure could easily serve as a sleeping soldier in some camp scene too.