You write,, "Always nice to know some background, even if it doesn't much contribute to the outcome of an event, as is the case of Ulm."
Ulm is an example where the background is the story.
The story of who Mack was and the degree of his incompetence -he never won a battle as a general- and that he is then selected to lead the army for an offensive attack is to understand the Austrians lost the war before the fighting ever started. The particulars of N. against Mack and details of Ulm are irrelevant; it was never a real fight.
Ulm was very much like a champion heavy weight pro fighter against a 15 year-old kid in his first real fight; the results are known beforehand, the details of how the pro punched-out the kid may well be the description of the most decisive fight in history, but the particulars just don't mean a thing. Fans of the pro will celebrate his brilliance in victory. Opponents of the pro, if they have a heart, will have some pity for the poor kid. And, the story of how a 15 year-old came to be in the ring with a top pro is the much more fascinating and informative than anything that can possibly be said about the pro.
Mack certainly is the underdog in the history of this era. Every side ended up hating him. -Not a real easy thing to do to get absolutely everyone against you; but Mack managed it.- I think the best picture of Mack is seen in his misadventures as head of the Army of Naples where he ended up surrendering to the French to escape the mobs of Naples who were determined to kill him. 1805 was in many ways a replay of 1799 Naples only on a larger scale.
The only impression of Mack 1805 can be one of utter incompetence, but Mack was a very bright person. He rose from the very bottom to the very top. His is an exceptional story in the Habsburg Army.