Following the battle of Froschbach, the remaining armies are of virtually identical size. What with Aschenbach's superior discipline and leadership, this should mean they have the edge. What can General Felix Von Hentsch do to ofset this? After much head-scratching and pondering to harpsichord music, there appear to be two options: entrench and fight from behind several feet of earthworks, or launch a surprise attack to negate the enemy advantage.
Aschenbach is marching back across the countryside and then rejoining the road to Blinzburg, the Luftberg source of supply into the province. With it's fall, Aschenbach can dictate peace terms. With the Luftberg army reformed and steadied by Von Hentsch's firm disciplinary hand, they have reassembled at their depot near the Rotenwasser bridge. Initial plans for a dispersed and low-intensity war of raiding parties have been abandoned, in the light of Blinzburg coming under threat. Taking the southern road, the Luftberg army has further to cover but makes better time, getting between the enemy and the city. A few miles short of the city, in the woodland surrounding it, the Aschenbach army encounters the Luftberg outposts and realises it's opponent is present for a fight. The critical battle, in fact - neither side can carry on the war if they take heavy losses.
They pitch camp, expecting to have to attack a defended position the next day. Because of this assumption, they make no camp defences of their own. The cunning Von Hentsch orders a dawn attack on the unsuspecting enemy, planning to rudely interrupt their dreams of a battle in the morning, and dinner in Blinzburg. He'll oblige them on the former at least, and on the latter only as his prisoners!