Photo: Kurt von Schleinitz via Wikimedia Commons
of MFJ II. In all, five naval Jasta units were formed.
Sachsenberg got his first two kills on May 1st, 1917. The first was
a Farman over Dixmuiden. It may have been an aircraft belonging
to the Belgian 3me Escadrille. That aircraft was crewed by Sergent
Jean Pauli and observer Lieutenant Jean de Bersaques, rookies who
were attacked by six fighters. Two of them were kept busy by the
only aircraft that was escorting the Farman. It was flown by Adjutant
Jacques Goethals of 1ere Escadrille, but the crew of the Farman did
not survive the attack of the others. This version of events would be
consistent with the loss of the Farman, which was credited to Jasta
28’s Lt. Schafer.
The second victory came on the same day when Sachsenberg claimed
a ‘Sopwith 2’ at Oudekapelle. Another destroyed Sopwith was claimed
by Flgmt. Bertram Heinrich as his first (of eventually twelve), also of
MFJ I. No shot down aircraft correspond to the claims. However, their
opponent was likely future Belgian ace 1.Sgt. Willy Coppens. At the
time, he flew Sopwith ½ Strutters with 4me Escadrille. During a flight
over the Front, he was attacked by four enemy fighters. He escaped
the attackers after some five minutes of maneuvering. However, they
fired with extremely good aim. One round hit Coppens’ helmet and he
ended up with some 32 hits to his aircraft, 28 of which were counted
in the cockpit area!
In August, 1917, and after his sixth victory, Sachsenberg was awarded
the Knight’s Cross of the House of Hohenzollern with Swords. Before
the year was out, he added another two kills to his total, and his friend Osterkamp had six at the time. MFJ I flew the Albatros D.III, later
the D.V and D.Va, as well as the Pfalz D.III and D.IIIa. From the summer
of 1918, the unit flew the Fokker D.VII and also the Fokker E.V. briefly.
Sachsenberg championed the formation of a naval fighter wing that
would have under its control several Jagdstaffel, in much the same
fashion as was the case with their army colleagues. In June 1918, he
managed to form Marine Jagdgruppe, which was made up of three
naval Jastas. Sachsenberg simultaneously commanded one of them,
INFO Eduard - April 2021
Photo: Bundesarchiv via Wikimedia Commons
After basic training, Gotthard Sachsenberg underwent naval training on board the protected cruiser S.M.S. "Hertha." The vessel has served as a colonial cruiser in Asia and Africa
since 1899. This image shows the cruiser in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. From 1908 "Hertha" served as a training ship for cadets. The future commander of the Kriegsmarine, Karl
Dönitz, also underwent training on board.
At the beginning of the war Gotthard Sachsenberg served aboard the battleship S.M.S.
"Pommern". This vessel was sunk on June 1, 1916 in the Battle of Jutland and none
of the crew survived.
his existing MFJ I. He cared for not just his men and their equipment,
but also placed a lot of emphasis on the development and effectiveness of unit identifying markings that served under his command. The
bottom line identifying feature of naval fighter units was the colour
yellow, combined with black details as a general rule. In June, 1918, he
also shared in the testing of prototypes at Adlershof, and he ensured
the purchase of all-metal Junkers aircraft for his unit.