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

Photos

PZL P.23 Karas bomber:
Poland's PZL P.23 Karas bomber
PZL P.23 Karas bomber:
Poland's PZL P.23 Karas bomber
PZL P.23 Karas bomber:
Poland's PZL P.23 Karas bomber
PZL P.23A Karas bomber3:
Poland's PZL P.23A Karas bomber

Design

The Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL) P-23 Karas was designed in 1932.2,4 The P.23 was based on the design for the PZL P.13 passenger transport that wasn't built.3

The skin was made from a light allow and balsa wood sandwiched together.3

The construction of the PZL P.23 was of metal.4

Landing Gear

The landing gear of the PZL P.23 was fixed.4

Prototype

The P-23/I prototype first flew in August 1934.1,2,3,4 The prototype had a 590 HP engine which drove a wooden two bladed propellar.2

Production

An initial order for 40 P-25As was made in 1935.2,4 210 of the P-25Bs were ordered.2,4 Production started in 1935.3

The P.23A first flew in June 1936.3

  • Prototypes: 33
  • PZL P-23a / PZL P.23A: 401,3
  • PZL P-23b / PZL P.23B: 2101,3
  • Total: ~2502, 2533
    • Manufacturer: Pantswowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL)4
  • PZL P-43: 541 Ordered by Bulgaria.1 Nine were used by Poland.1
  • PZL P-43A: 12 ordered by Bulgaria.2
  • PZL P-43B: 42 Ordered by Bulgaria.2
  • PZL P.43A and PZL P.43B: 543

Variants

  • PZL P-23/I: Prototype.1,3 Had the Pegasus IIM.2 engine (590 HP).1
  • PZL P.23/II: 2nd prototype.3 Engine lowered.3 Bomb bay was redesigned.3 Canopy was redesigned.3
  • PZL P-23/III: 3rd prototype.1,3 Had Pegasus VIII engine (680 HP).1
  • PZL P-23a: Entered service in June 1936.1 Performance wasn't adequate so all models were turned into trainers.1,3
  • PZL P-23b: First operational version.1 Entered service in 1937.1,3
  • PZL P-42: Experimental.2 Had a twin tail fins.2
  • PZL P-43: Had Gnome-Rhône 14 NO 1 engine (970 HP/980 HP2).1
  • PZL P.43A: Built for Bulgaria.3
  • PZL P.43B: Built for Bulgaria.3
  • PZL P-46: Experimental.2

Usage

The PZL P.23 was used by Bulgaria (46), Poland, and Romania (41).3

There were twelve2,3,4 Polish squadrons equipped with 150 P-23s.1 Five Bomber Brigades and seven reconnaissance units.1

Heavy Losses

There were 112 P-23bs lost in 16 days.1 90 of them were lost in aerial combat.1

Bulgaria

Bulgaria received 33 P-43s by August 1939.2,4 These were used by four squadrons.3

Specifications

  PZL P-23 Karas1
PZL P.233
Type Bomber3
Light bomber1
Reconnaissance3
Crew 31,3
Engine (Type) PZL built Bristol Pegasus VIII piston1
Cylinders Radial1
Cooling  
Net HP 6801
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 45' 9.25"1,3
13.95 m1,3
Length 31' 9 1/8"1, 31' 9.5"3
9.68 m1, 9.69 m3
Height 10' 10"1,3
3.3 m1,3
Wing area 288.5 ft2 1
26.8 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 4,250 lb1
1,928 kg1
Loaded 7,716 lb1
3,400 kg1
Performance  
Speed at sea level  
Speed @ 6,560' /
2,000 m
186 mph1
300 kph1
Climb to 6,560' /
2,000 m
4.75 minutes1
Service ceiling 23,950'1
7,300 m1
Range 782 miles1
1,260 km1
Armament  
Forward firing 1: 7.7 mm MG3
1: 7.7 mm KM Wz33 MG1
Dorsal position 1: 7.7 mm MG3
1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG1
Ventral gondola 1: 7.7 mm MG3
1: 7.7 mm Vickers MG1
Bombs 1,543 lb1,3
700 kg1,3
  PZL P.23A3
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) PZL (Bristol) Pegasus IIM23
Cylinders Radial 93
Cooling  
Net HP 5803
Propeller blades 23
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,250 lb3
1,928 kg3
Loaded 7,771 lb3
3,525 kg3
Performance  
Speed at sea level 170 mph3
273 kph3
Speed @ 11,975' /
3,650 m
199 mph3
320 kph3
Climb to 6,560' /
2,000 m
4.8 minutes3
Service ceiling 23,950'3
7,300 m3
Range 783 miles3
1,260 km3
Armament  
  PZL P-23B2
PZL P.23B3,4
Type Attack2,4
Crew 31,4
Engine (Type) PZL-Bristol Pegasus VIII2,3,4
Cylinders Radial 92,4
Cooling Air2,4
Net HP 6802,3,4
Propeller blades 23
Dimensions  
Span 45' 9"4, 45' 9.5"2
13.95 m2
Length 31' 9"4, 31' 9.5"2
9.68 m2
Height 10' 10"2,4
3.3 m2
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 7,773 lb2,4
3,526 kg2
Performance  
Speed at sea level  
Speed @ 11,975' /
3,650 m
198 mph2,4
319 kph2
Climb  
Service ceiling 23,950'2,4
7,300 m2
Range 782 miles2,4
1,260 km2
Armament 2: MG2,4
Forward firing 1: MG4
Dorsal position 1: MG4
Bombs 1,543 lb2,4
700 kg2

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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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