Yes, one more post about adapting Chainmail combat systems for D&D combat. Yesterday I told myself to give up on this and just play D&D, but this morning I'm thinking about it again.
One thing that the fantasy supplement makes clear is that while in normal Chainmail mass combat a troop's armor and mounted status determines their total combat effectiveness for melee, both offensively and defensively, that doesn't have to be locked solid. There are some fantasy troop types, like Dwarves/Gnomes and Goblins/Kobolds that attack as Heavy Foot but defend as Light Foot (why? I have no idea, especially when the stereotypical Dwarf is in at least chainmail).
So if I do ditch man-to-man combat (which I'm again considering), weapon choice could still matter. We just need to reconceptualize Chainmail mass combat offense as tied to weapon class, not armor type.
Light weapons (daggers, clubs, and so on) -- Light Foot
Medium weapons (swords, maces, axes, etc.) -- Heavy Foot
Heavy weapons (great swords, polearms, etc.) -- Armored Foot
Now, things get interesting. A plate mail & shield armored knight forced to fight with a dagger because he lost is sword is now rolling to attack as Light Foot, but opponents still need to roll to hit him as if he's Armored Foot. A naked barbarian with a greataxe rolls to attack as Armored Foot, but monsters only need to roll to hit Light Foot to damage him.
This means Magic-Users are pretty much always going to be Light for both attack and damage, unless they have a Shield spell or something. Clerics and Thieves will be Light or Medium to attack. Clerics will most often be Heavy or Armored for defense, but Thieves will be stuck with Light. Fighters will be whatever they want, but mostly will be Medium or Heavy to attack, and Heavy or Armored for defense.
Another possibility, considering how some monsters attack as if cavalry (like Wights/Ghouls) even though they are on foot. In a D&D type game, maybe a good way to make the Fighter better without lots of special abilities like feats and combat maneuvers would be to let them fight as cavalry (light, medium, or heavy depending on their weaponry/armor) instead of foot, even when they're not mounted. This would be a BIG boost for the Fighter. And it would only be applied to characters of the Fighter class, not NPC men-at-arms. Men-at-arms would still need to be mounted to count as cavalry if I went this way.
This might be something for me to play test with my boys over the winter break and see how it works.