A medical student when the war began, Dossenbach abandoned his studies to join the army. Within weeks, he was promoted to Unteroffizier and by the end of his first month of service, he was decorated for saving the life of his commanding officer. In 1916, he transferred to the German Air Force and graduated from Jastaschule in June. Later that year, while serving with FA 22, Dossenbach became the first two-seater pilot to receive the Orden Pour le Mérite ( Blue Max). Following single-seat fighter training with Jasta 2, he assumed command of Jasta 36 on 22 February 1917. Teaching by example, he scored the squadron's first aerial victory on 5 April 1917, downing a French Caudron. On 2 May 1917, having already scored 14 victories, Dossenbach was severely wounded while bombing an enemy airfield. When he recovered, he assumed command of Jasta 10. Scoring his final victory on 27 June 1917, he shot down an observation balloon near Ypres. Six days later, he was killed in action, shot down by a British two-seater. Witnesses reported they saw him jump or fall from his burning plane. His was buried in Frieburg with full military honors.