Jan Bobek

We have written about the Czech aviator Eduard

Kleinkönnig several times on the pages of Eduard

INFO magazine. He fought against giant birds in

a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and a Curtiss P-40 in the Arctic

Circle. Later, with the MiG-15 „Bunny Racer“ he searched for dinosaurs during races around Africa. And finally, he fought in the legendary „War of the Carrot“

with the MiG-21 „Bunny Fighter“. We unexpectedly tracked down this machine in Hungary about ten

years ago. A hitherto unknown chapter of Kleinkönnig‘s aviation career is his service in Tempest fighters

aboard an aircraft carrier.

Mar del Plata,

November 1945

The American admiral hurried on to the pier

with a Secret Service agent and an Argentine escort at his heels. He stared in disbelief at

the rusting submarine being towed into the

harbour by a US Navy destroyer.

„Another U-Boot XXI! Shall I guess? Armament dismantled, commander and crew refuse to talk.“

„Exactly, Admiral. Like all previous cases...“

„And where did we find them?“

„They had an engine failure. They were off the

island of South Georgia.“

„Damn, that doesn‘t make any sense, what is

everyone doing down south?“

„Like the others we intercepted, it looks like

they were carrying cargo and unloading it

somewhere. Just like the Japanese did last


„Was that the submarine with the hangar on



the bow?“

„Yes, and she wasn‘t the only one. We think it

was just the tip of the iceberg.“

„Don‘t even talk to me about icebergs, have

you heard what the British are building in Canada?“

„Yes sir.“

„Looks like they‘re all going crazy and going

on dates down here in the south!“

Moscow, June 1946

The atmosphere in the office of the military

attaché at the British Embassy was rather


A British diplomat and his New Zealand colleague in Air Force uniform were reading

intently from a file on the desk. Occasionally

they glanced briefly at the visitor sitting in

front of them, and then they looked at each

other in disbelief. The visitor was beginning to

look a bit uncertain.

Tempest „Bunny Lady“ on patrol off

the Antarctic coast in the summer

of 1946/1947. In this form it was piloted

by Ensign Eduard Kleinkönnig after the

incident with the killer whales.

Photo: IWM, retouched by Kateřina Borecká

„Um, so you were at the base outside the

Arctic Circle, right?“ the British officer finally


„Yes, sir, on the island of Kolguyev. „

„Hmm... how long were you there?“

„From the end of 1944, that‘s when the airfield was set up and we were there until April

this year. Then the Russians occupied us.“

„But you weren‘t taken prisoner, were you?“

„No, they didn‘t, we thought we were meant

to Siberia, but they needed us because... Well,

there were some big animals there, they needed to get rid of them. We had been killing

them for almost two years already. So the Russians sort of kept us busy and let us fly for a

few more months.“

„And what kind of animals were they? Polar


„No sir, something else, you know, I don‘t really want to explain it, it would sound strange.

There were walruses, the occasional polar

bear, but that was easy to handle. The Soviets are doing some experiments with those

walruses to breed them. And then there were

some big animals, there were difficulties with

them. They also killed the commander.“

„Look, sir, sir...“

„Kleinkönnig, sir, Eduard Kleinkönnig.“

„Kleink... I can‘t even pronounce it properly.

You‘re German, right?“

„No sir, I am Czechoslovak. From Žatec.“

„Well, I can‘t pronounce that either. You have

a German name and you‘re Czech?“

„Yes, many Czech people have it like that.“

INFO Eduard - January 2022