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PZL P.23 Karas


Reconnaissance / Light Bomber Aircraft


Poland | 1936



"In 1939, Poland could field just under 100 of the outclassed PZL P.23 systems against the German Luftwaffe."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/24/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The PZL P.23 "Karas" (meaning "the crucian carp") series of aircraft was a conventional - yet outdated - monoplane light bomber / reconnaissance platform of Polish design in World War 2. The system was wholly inadequate in speed, firepower and performance against the fighters of the German Luftwaffe and fell in number. Many were lost on the ground while those that did fly in anger, were limited not by their crew's will but moreso in the technological limitations of a by-gone age of military aviation.

Classified as light bomber, the P.23 also undertook reconnaissance sorties as required. Hardly a fighter with very little in the way to defend itself as a light bomber, the aircraft was better reserved to the non-combat reconnaissance role. With Poland clamoring to stem the tide of German invasion, it was a necessity for the P.23 to fight regardless. Armament was purely defensive in nature and numbered three machine guns. A single 7.92mm wz.33 type machine gun was held in a fixed nose position. Two other 7.92mm PWU wz.37 series (or sometimes Vickers F types) were in somewhat trainable gun positioned at rear - on in an underside gun position and the other in a World War 1 style open cockpit dorsal rear gun position. The pilot sat forward on the design with a glazed canopy. The undercarriage was fixed and the overall design was quite traditional in nature. Power from the single engine was derived from a British-designed Polish-produced Bristol Pegasus IIM2 9-cylinder radial piston engine of 670 horsepower (this was uprated to 720 horsepower in the P.23B models which sported the Bristol Pegasus VII).

In service, the P.23 took to the skies in defense of Poland. Though air superiority was far out of the question, the P.23 nonetheless took to the skies to reconnoiter and assess the perilous situation. It was also used to bomb targets in German held territories when possible, though losses most times were horrendous. Despite the limitations of the system, Polish air crews and pilots delivered ordnance and notched a few Luftwaffe kills themselves.

The P.23 was produced in limited numbers - numbering some 253 total examples - and did little to aid the efforts of a falling nation. About 20 or so fled to Romania before the inevitable fall of Poland to fight another day, this time against the might of Soviet aggression from the East.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the PZL P.23A Karas Reconnaissance / Light Bomber Aircraft.
1 x PZL Bristol Pegasus IIM2 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 670 horsepower.
Propulsion
189 mph
304 kph | 164 kts
Max Speed
23,950 ft
7,300 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
783 miles
1,260 km | 680 nm
Operational Range
1,280 ft/min
390 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the PZL P.23A Karas Reconnaissance / Light Bomber Aircraft.
3
(MANNED)
Crew
31.8 ft
9.68 m
O/A Length
45.8 ft
(13.95 m)
O/A Width
10.8 ft
(3.30 m)
O/A Height
4,365 lb
(1,980 kg)
Empty Weight
7,773 lb
(3,526 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the PZL P.23 Karas Reconnaissance / Light Bomber Aircraft .
STANDARD:
1 x 7.92mm PWU wz.33 machine gun in fixed nose position
1 x 7.92mm PWU wz.37 / Vickers F in rear dorsal gun position
1 x 7.92mm PWU wz.37 / Vickers F machine gun in rear ventral gun position

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,543lb of external drop ordnance.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the PZL P.23 Karas family line.
P.23/I - Initial Prototype
P.23/II - Second Prototype
P.23/III - Third Prototype; improved pilot vision from cockpit by repositioning engine and pilot's seat; became basis of production model line as the PZL.23A.
P.23A - Initial Production Model; fitted with Bristol Pegasus IIM2 radial piston engine of 670 horsepower (Poland production under license); 40 examples produced.
PZL.23B - Fitted with Bristol Pegasus VII of 720 horsepower; main production model with 210 examples produced.
P.42 - Single Example Experimental Model; retractable bombardier gondola fuselage position; double tail fins for improved stability.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the PZL P.23 Karas. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 253 Units

Contractor(s): Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL) - Poland
National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Poland National flag of Romania

[ Bulgaria; Poland; Romania ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (189mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
253
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
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Image of the PZL P.23 Karas
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
GROUND ATTACK
RECONNAISSANCE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The PZL P.23 Karas Reconnaissance / Light Bomber Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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