PZL P.24

The PZL P.24 was a Polish fighter aircraft, designed in mid-1930s in the PZL factory in Warsaw. It was exported to several countries, but not used in Poland.


PZL P.24
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer PZL
Origin Poland
Country Name Origin Year
Poland 1933
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Bulgaria View
Greece View
Poland 1936 1960 View
Romania View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
PZL View

The PZL P.24 was developed as an export version of the PZL P.11, a gull-wing all-metal fighter designed by Zygmunt Pulawski. The P.11 was powered with a license-built Bristol Mercury engine. The license did not permit export sales, so the French Gnome-Rhône company proposed using their engines in the P.11. The first P.24/I prototype, based on the P.11a and powered by a Gnome-Rhône 14Kds 760 hp (570 kW) engine, was flown in May 1933. The second P.24/II prototype, named the "Super P.24", set a world speed record for radial engine-powered fighters (414 km/h). The third P.24/III prototype was the "Super P.24bis" with a more powerful 14Kfs engine. The type was shown at the Paris air show in 1934 attracting great interest from the participants.

The aircraft was conventional in layout, with high wings. It was all-metal and metal-covered. The wings had a gull-wing shape, with a thin profile close to the fuselage, to provide a good view for the pilot. This configuration was developed by Zygmunt Pulawski and called "the Polish wing". The canopy was closed (apart from prototypes). An internal 360 liter fuel tank in the fuselage could be dropped in case of fire emergency. It had conventional fixed landing gear, with a rear skid.

The armament was a combination of 20 mm Oerlikon FF cannon and 7.92 mm Colt-Browning machine guns in the wings.

P.24A, P.24E and P.24F had two cannon and two machine guns.

P.24B, P.24C and P.24G had four machine guns.

Despite being a better fighter than the P.11, there were few acquired by the Polish Air Force, which preferred to wait for the PZL.50. When it became clear the PZL.50 would not be ready in time to counter the imminent German attack, the PAF resumed production of the P.11 and ordered the P.24. However, no PZL.24s were produced before the war started, and only two were used in the Polish Campaign. The aircraft had greater success abroad, though.

Turkey

Turkish P.24s were used for training until the late 1940s. Some were refitted with Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines.

Romania

The Romanian Air Force already used PZL P.11Fs built under license in the IAR factory, and decided to acquire the P.24 as well. Romania bought five P.24Es and a production license, and built 25 IAR P.24E aircraft at the IAR factory between 1937 and 1939. Some components of the P.24E, mainly its tail section, were used in construction of the Romanian low-wing fighter IAR 80. The fighters were used to guard Bucharest and the Ploiesti oilfields from Soviet bombers at the start of Operation Barbarossa. Flying from Otopeni military airbase, the PZL P.24 fighters managed to shoot down 37 unescorted VVS bombers. The P.24E was also used for ground attack missions until the end of 1941 and after 1942 it was relegated to training duties because of its obsolescence.

Greece

The Royal Hellenic Air Force (EVA) is the only air force during WW2 to operate the PZL.24 as its main fighter type. Two subtypes, thirty P.24F and six P.24G, were ordered and delivered in 1937-38. They were split between three Mirae Dioxeos (Fighter Squadrons): the 21st at Trikala, 22nd at Thessaloniki and 23rd at Larissa. The only other operational Greek fighters, stationed further south, were eight Bloch MB.151s and two each Gladiator Mk I and Avia B-534 II, both of which were of limited value. When Italy attacked in October 1940, the Polish fighter was the Greeks' only modern type in adequate numbers. However, by 1940, the PZL.24 was no longer a front-runner despite a powerful powerplant and satisfactory armament. It had no speed advantage over the Fiat Cr.42 nor could it outfly the nimble Italian biplane, while it was much slower than the Macchi MC.200 and the Fiat G.50 it was pitted against. Its armament was the only real advantage against the Italian fighters whose reliance on the slow firing Breda-SAFAT 12.7mm machine guns proved detrimental.The PZL.24F armed with two 20mm Oerlikon FF cannon and two MGs gave the Greeks a temporary edge in combat until lack of ammunition and spares forced EVA to re-arm all P.24Fs with 4x Colt-Browning 7.7 mm MG40 machine guns. Overall, the PZLs performed gallantly during the early period of the conflict, holding their own against impossible numerical odds and despite the fact that their main target were enemy bombers which forced them to fight at a disadvantage against enemy fighters. Italian claims of easy superiority over the Albanian front were vastly over-rated and their kill claims even exceeded the total number of operational fighters on the Greek side. Total Greek fighter losses -in combat- came to 24 a/c with the Greek fighter pilots claiming 64 confirmed kills and 24 probables (about two third bombers). By April 1941, however, lack of spares and attrition had forced EVA to merge the five surviving PZL.24s into one understrength squadron supported by five Gloster Gladiators Mk I and II and the two surviving MB.151s. These fought hopelessly against the Luftwaffe onslaught in April 1941 scoring 4 kills (two Hs-126, one Ju-87B and one Do-17) and losing most of their surviving a/c on the ground. None of the Pulawski fighters survived.

Role fighter
Manufacturer PZL
Designer Zygmunt Pulawski
First flight May 1933
Introduction 1936
Retired 1960 Turkish Air Force
Primary user Royal Romanian Air Force
Bulgarian Air Force
Hellenic Air Force
Developed from PZL P.11
Variants IAR 80


Specifications (P.24A, P.24B, P.24C)

  • General characteristics

    • Crew: 1

    • Capacity: fighter

    • Length: 7.50 m (22.96 ft)

    • Wingspan: 10.71 m (32,80 ft)

    • Height: 2.69 m (8.82 ft)

    • Wing area: 17.90 m² (192.7 ft²)

    • Empty weight: 1,327 kg (2,925 lb)

    • Loaded weight: 1,870 kg (4,121 lb)

    • Max. takeoff weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)

    • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome-Rhône 14Kfs 14-cylinder double row radial engine, 900 hp / 930 hp (max) (671 kW / 693 kW (max))

  • Performance

    • Maximum speed: 410 km/h (254 mph)

    • Range: 700 km (435 mi)

    • Service ceiling: 9,000 m (29,527 ft)

    • Rate of climb: 11 m/s (2,160 ft/min)

    • Power/mass: 0.376 kW/kg (0.230 hp/lb)

  • Armament

    • P.24A

      • 2 MGs

      • 2 20mm cannon

      • 2 x 50 kg (110 lb) bombs

    • P.24B, P.24C

      • 4 MGs

      • 4 x 12,5 kg (27,5 lb) bombs

Specifications (P.24E)

  • General characteristics

    • Crew: 1

    • Capacity: fighter

    • Length: 7.50 m (22.96 ft)

    • Wingspan: 10.71 m (32,80 ft)

    • Height: 2.69 m (8.82 ft)

    • Wing area: 17.90 m² (192.7 ft²)

    • Empty weight: 1,327 kg (2,925 lb)

    • Loaded weight: 1,900 kg (4,188 lb)

    • Max. takeoff weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)

    • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome-Rhône 14KIIc32 14-cylinder double row radial engine, 900 hp / 930 hp (max) (671 kW / 693 kW (max))

  • Performance

    • Maximum speed: 408 km/h (253 mph)

    • Range: 700 km (435 mi)

    • Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,808 ft)

    • Rate of climb: 11 m/s (2,160 ft/min)

    • Power/mass: 0.376 kW/kg (0.230 hp/lb)

  • Armament

    • 2 MGs

      • 2 20mm cannon

      • 2 x 50 kg (110 lb) bombs

Specifications (P.24F, P.24G)

  • General characteristics

    • Crew: 1

    • Capacity: fighter

    • Length: 7.81 m (22.96 ft)

    • Wingspan: 10.68 m (32,80 ft)

    • Height: 2.69 m (8.82 ft)

    • Wing area: 17.90 m² (192.7 ft²)

    • Empty weight: 1,329 kg (2,930 lb)

    • Loaded weight: 2,000 kg (4,409 lb)

    • Max. takeoff weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)

    • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome-Rhône 14N-07 14-cylinder double row radial engine, 970 hp (700 kW)

  • Performance

    • Maximum speed: 430 km/h (267 mph)

    • Range: 700 km (435 mi)

    • Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,808 ft)

    • Rate of climb: 11,1 m/s (2,165 ft/min)

    • Power/mass: 0.376 kW/kg (0.230 hp/lb)

  • Armament

    • P.24F

      • 2 MGs

      • 2 20mm cannon

      • 2 x 50 kg (110 lb) bombs

    • P.24G

      • 4 MGs

      • 4 x 12,5 kg (27,5 lb) bombs

End notes