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Poland's FlagPoland Air Force's marking

Poland's PZL P-23, PZL P.23, bomber
Nickname: Karas (Crucian Carp)

Design

The Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL) P-23 Karas was designed in 1932. The P.23 was based on the design for the PZL P.13 passenger transport that wasn't built.

The skin was made from a light allow and balsa wood sandwiched together.

The construction of the PZL P.23 was of metal.

Landing Gear

The landing gear of the PZL P.23 was fixed.

Prototype

The P-23/I prototype first flew in August 1934. The prototype had a 590 HP engine which drove a wooden two bladed propellar.

Production

An initial order for 40 P-25As was made in 1935. 210 of the P-25Bs were ordered. Production started in 1935.

The P.23A first flew in June 1936.

  • Prototypes: 3
  • PZL P-23a / PZL P.23A: 40
  • PZL P-23b / PZL P.23B: 210
  • Total: ~250, 253
    • Manufacturer: Pantswowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL)
  • PZL P-43: 54 Ordered by Bulgaria. Nine were used by Poland.
  • PZL P-43A: 12 ordered by Bulgaria.
  • PZL P-43B: 42 Ordered by Bulgaria.
  • PZL P.43A and PZL P.43B: 54

Variants

  • PZL P-23/I: Prototype. Had the Pegasus IIM.2 engine (590 HP).
  • PZL P.23/II: 2nd prototype. Engine lowered. Bomb bay was redesigned. Canopy was redesigned.
  • PZL P-23/III: 3rd prototype. Had Pegasus VIII engine (680 HP).
  • PZL P-23a: Entered service in June 1936. Performance wasn't adequate so all models were turned into trainers.
  • PZL P-23b: First operational version. Entered service in 1937.
  • PZL P-42: Experimental. Had a twin tail fins.
  • PZL P-43: Had Gnome-Rhône 14 NO 1 engine (970 HP/980 HP).
  • PZL P.43A: Built for Bulgaria.
  • PZL P.43B: Built for Bulgaria.
  • PZL P-46: Experimental.

Usage

The PZL P.23 was used by Bulgaria (46), Poland, and Romania (41).

There were twelve Polish squadrons equipped with 150 P-23s. Five Bomber Brigades and seven reconnaissance units.

Heavy Losses

There were 112 P-23bs lost in 16 days. 90 of them were lost in aerial combat.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria received 33 P-43s by August 1939. These were used by four squadrons.

Specifications

  PZL P-23 Karas
PZL P.23
Type Bomber
Light bomber
Reconnaissance
Crew 3
Engine (Type) PZL built Bristol Pegasus VIII piston
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
Net HP 680
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 45' 9.25"
13.95 m
Length 31' 9 1/8", 31' 9.5"
9.68 m, 9.69 m
Height 10' 10"
3.3 m
Wing area 288.5 ft2
26.8 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,250 lb
1,928 kg
Loaded 7,716 lb
3,400 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level  
Speed @ 6,560' /
2,000 m
186 mph
300 kph
Climb to 6,560' /
2,000 m
4.75 minutes
Service ceiling 23,950'
7,300 m
Range 782 miles
1,260 km
Armament  
Forward firing 1: 7.7 mm MG
1: 7.7 mm KM Wz33 MG
Dorsal position 1: 7.7 mm MG
1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG
Ventral gondola 1: 7.7 mm MG
1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG
Bombs 1,543 lb
700 kg
  PZL P.23A
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) PZL (Bristol) Pegasus IIM2
Cylinders Radial 9
Cooling  
Net HP 580
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,250 lb
1,928 kg
Loaded 7,771 lb
3,525 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 170 mph
273 kph
Speed @ 11,975' /
3,650 m
199 mph
320 kph
Climb to 6,560' /
2,000 m
4.8 minutes
Service ceiling 23,950'
7,300 m
Range 783 miles
1,260 km
Armament  
  PZL P-23B
PZL P.23B
Type Attack
Crew 3
Engine (Type) PZL-Bristol Pegasus VIII
Cylinders Radial 9
Cooling Air
Net HP 680
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 45' 9", 45' 9.5"
13.95 m
Length 31' 9", 31' 9.5"
9.68 m
Height 10' 10"
3.3 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 7,773 lb
3,526 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level  
Speed @ 11,975' /
3,650 m
198 mph
319 kph
Climb  
Service ceiling 23,950'
7,300 m
Range 782 miles
1,260 km
Armament 2: MG
Forward firing 1: MG
Dorsal position 1: MG
Bombs 1,543 lb
700 kg

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Complete Book of World War II Combat Aircraft, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, Pierluigi Pinto, 1988
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
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