In early 1939, he was assigned to Jagdgeschwader (fighter-wing) 433 and served as adjutant to Condor Legion veteran Adolf Galland. Steinhilper "volunteered" to command the group's radio communications unit and worked hard to integrate this new technology into flying operations. In April 1939, the group was redesignated I/JG 52 and in the summer moved to an airfield east of Bonn. During the blitzkrieg into Poland, the group defended the Ruhr industrial region. In September 1939, Steinhilper was assigned a Messerschmitt 109 numbered "yellow 16." During the sitzkrieg or "phoney war," the group moved south and engaged in sporadic combat over France until May 1940 when a new blitzkrieg to the west began. In early August Steinhilper's group began operations across the English Channel.
In early August 1940, I/JG 52 returned to combat in the opening days of the Battle of Britain. Steinhilper destroyed his first three enemy fighters, Spitfires, during a ground attack on RAF Manston. On 19 September, he achieved an aerial victory and by month's end counted four. Nearing the end of October, he had logged over 150 sorties across the Channel and had become an ace. On 27 October he was shot down-his flying war was over and the tide had turned against the Luftwaffe! In two exhausting months, Steinhilper became an ace before being shot down and captured.
Oblerleutant Ulrich Steinhilper
Hand signed 5in x 7in photograph - numbered and certified on reverse.
Accompanied by matching biography card giving a brief outline of their flying career with the Luftwaffe.