Me 109 By: Jay Ashurst Signed by: Ulrich Steinhilper Ulrich Steinhilper (14 September 1918 – 20 October 2009) was a World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace who made numerous attempts to escape after he was shot down and captured. As a post-war IBM typewriter salesman, he was an early proponent of word processing, considered by some to have either coined the phrase or even originated the concept. He earned his Pilotenabzeichen (Pilot's Badge) and in 1939 was assigned to Jagdgeschwader (fighter wing) 433, where he was Adolf Galland's adjutant.As the youngest officer, he was also made the Staffel Nachrichtenoffizier (communications officer), a job no one else wanted (or even knew much about).Steinhilper learned that he was supposed to provide pilots with ground-to-ground and ground-to-air communications using two 1.5 kilowatt radio stations and two field telephone units. He tried hard to promote the use of radios, but most pilots were against the idea, among them Galland, considering the equipment an unnecessary additional weight and the concept a waste of their time.Steinhilper managed to demonstrate its advantages during a large training exercise commanded by General Hugo Sperrle involving a simulated bombing attack on Stuttgart, only to have the results dismissed by Galland and ignored by the rest. His unit, now redesignated I/JG 52, was assigned to protect the Ruhr region in the west during the 1939 invasion of Poland in the east. Steinhilper saw sporadic combat in the Battle of France, flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter.Beginning in August 1940, he participated in the Battle of Britain. In two months, he flew over 150 sorties against England,seven in a single day. He became an ace. He destroyed two or three Spitfires on the ground at RAF Manston on 19 August, but it was not until 19 September that he got his first aerial victory, another Spitfire. According to one source, his other four aerial victims were two Spitfires on 24 September, another on 30 September, and a Bristol Blenheim on 4 October. He was shot down on 27 October over Canterbury, possibly by fellow ace Squadron Leader Archie McKellar or by Sergeant Bill Skinnerof 74 Squadron, and made a prisoner of war after parachuting to safety. (The "substantial remains" of Oberleutnant Steinhilper's Bf 109E were recovered in 1980 and are displayed in the Dowding Memorial Hangar of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum. The Messerschmitt Me 109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid-1930s.It was one of the first truly modern fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, a retractable landing gear, and was powered by a liquid-cooled, inverted-V12 aero engine. The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring German fighter aces of World War II, who claimed 928 victories among them while flying with Jagdgeschwader 52, mainly on the Eastern Front, as well as by Hans-Joachim Marseille, the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign,scoring 158 victories. It was also flown by several other aces from Germany's allies, notably Finn Ilmari Juutilainen, the highest scoring non-German ace on the type with 58 victories flying the Bf 109G, and pilots from Italy, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Through constant development, the Bf 109 remained competitive with the latest Allied fighter aircraft until the end of the war.
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