I had a (mostly) bronze-clad military, and I opened a way into a beetle nest (it was a shaft which I had discovered earlier, and where I built floors, which I lit, one by one, starting from the top, in order to be on the safe side, spawn-wise)
But, of course, such a process takes time, especially when the shaft goes from -5 to -32. So, when I dug by -10, ready to create floors there, I had already got messages about undead dying "alone" in the shaft. A sure indicator of roaches.
Well, long story short, I got a slew of roaches pouring out of the newly dug stairwell. My 10 fighting gnomes were nicely trained, with "taunters", good killers, etc. , and they did a slaughter (like, killed maybe 30 to 40 beetles, with only minimal losses, like a beetle finding the heart of a gnome).
However, as the fights lingered on, I noticed that more and more gnomes became maimed or killed, and that they didn't drop armor (or not much), but dropped, instead, the materials from which their armor was made (bronze armor plates, padding, etc.). So, I'm wondering, do beetles destroy armor and reduce it to its components during fights ? It's somewhat annoying to lose highly-trained, well-equipped gnomes merely because they become highly-trained naked gnomes...
So, has anyone suffered a similar fate ? I read about drowning the bastards, or about crossbows, and I might do just that (by piercing far from their slopes), but I kinda wanted to rock them in melee, not lame-slay them from afar