The Battles of the American Revolution PBeM tournament concluded on June 1, after two years of sustained hostilities over the course of 36 games fought by 23 entrants. The Final pitted Bill Byrne against Chris Easter in the Battle of Saratoga. These players had previously met in round 4 of the tournament at Monmouth (Holding Action scenario) and battled to a draw. Both players got their preferred sides with no Army Morale impact.
The British (Easter) enjoyed clear weather on Turns 1-2 allowing for a rapid advance and reaching the Freeman's Farm area by the end of Turn 3. Byrne was careful not to expose the Americans to the initial overwhelming superiority of the British forces and formed a defensive line at the south edge of Freeman's Farm, protecting the Middle Branch Ford. Turns 4-8 were a classic dance of maneuver as both sides sought a weak spot to exploit. There were a couple of minor skirmishes and several volleys of rifle fire exchanged to little effect other than the British capture of the Middle Branch Ford on Turn 6. The Americans deftly deployed their forces taking advantage of 1) the strength of Arnold combined with Morgan/Dearborn and 2) using the terrain by anchoring their left flank in proximity to Bemis Heights.
On Turn 9 the Americans were able to successfully attack the Hessians on the British left flank and inflict a step loss on v. Specht infantry. This was the first casualty and VP score of the game other than the British capture of Freeman's Farm. Turn 10 saw both sides form solid lines and ended with the situation as follows:
British VPs = 1.0 Army Morale = 12
Americans VPs = 0.5 Army Morale = 13
The British had held the initiative throughout until Turn 11. Behind on scoring the Americans had no option but to attack the well formed British line. Gates finally did release as the Americans advanced which helped protect their flank as Arnold advanced. The Americans were forced to attack at relatively poor odds resulting in no losses and each side down another Morale point. The more critical result, however, was that Dearborn was disrupted with Arnold and had to fall back off the main line.
The British Turn 11 counterattack was certainly not a sure thing. They could not afford to fall back with only a 12 VP lead. Any withdrawal would risk their control of Freeman's Farm and although attacking at better odds than the just completed American assault, it would likely result in a weakening of the British line as the forces mixed. That said, the British attacked in force and took advantage of the better odds and DRM modifiers to exact a toll on the American forces. As the turn ended, the British had secured another VP (two each 12 step American losses) as well as disrupting Morgan's rifles and effectively taking them out of play for the final turn.
British VPs = 2.0 Army Morale = 13
American VPs = 0.5 Army Morale = 8
The final blow was dealt as the British took the initiative on Turn 12, securing a double move against a very weakened American line. The British again attacked in force knowing that both Morgan and Dearborn were out of play. The results were not as dramatic as the previous turn but further strengthened the British control of the battlefield. As the day ended, the British held the upper hand with a hard fought marginal victory.
British (Easter) VPs = 5.5 Army Morale = 14
American (Byrne) VPs = 0.5 Army Morale = 8
The other laurelists were Dave Stiffler, Jim Tracy, Rob Doane, and Adam Deverell in that order.