Part 72: Q&A - December 31
Empire Total War: The Second 80 Years War quick online Q&A
Q: Their seemed to be greater variance in the Japanese armies than there was in the European armies. Was there the potential for that variety in Europe as well?
A: The variety of weaponry and composition was a relic of fighting in the medieval era. By maintaining formations armed with a wide variety of weapons, an army could manage cavalry, infantry, rough terrain, ranged combat and heavily armoured infantry or cavalry. With the advent of the bayonet fitted musket, most every other form of weaponry became obsolete.
For example, in Europe, an army would be expected to contain crossbows or matchlocks, archers, pikes, shields and hand weaponry, halberds, massive swords, hammers or other heavy infantry weapons and possibly even cannons or other field artillery. Japan was in a similar state during their medieval period, and likewise phased out their outdated weapons post industrialization. Only the Katana, which was a side arm and not a primary weapon as some would have you believe, survived into the new era as a status symbol, much as the saber remained in active service until the 1900s and remains in some units as a symbol of leadership.