Polish Air Force

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by gekho, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    After the joint Nazi-Soviet victory in the Invasion of Poland of 1939, a large part of both the flying personnel and technicians of the Polish Airforce were evacuated to Romania and Hungary, from where thousands of them found their way to France. There, in accordance with the Franco-Polish Military Alliance of 1921, and the amendments of 1939, Polish Air units were to be re-created. However, the French headquarters was hesitant in creating large Polish air units and instead most of Polish pilots were attached to small units, so-called keys. Only one large unit was formed, the Groupe de Chasse polonaise I/145 stationed at Mions airfield. However, it was not until May 18, 1940 that it was equipped with planes - and even then these were the completely obsolete Caudron C.714 fighters. After 23 sorties the bad opinion of the plane was confirmed by the front-line pilots. It was seriously underpowered and was no match for the enemy fighters of the epoch. Because of that, on May 25, only a week after it was introduced in active service, French minister of war Guy la Chambre ordered all of C.710s to be withdrawn. However, since the French authorities had no other planes to offer, the Polish pilots ignored the order and continued to use the planes. Although the plane was hopelessly outdated compared to the Messerschmitt Me 109E's it faced, the Polish pilots nevertheless scored 12 confirmed and 3 unconfirmed kills in three battles between June 8 and June 11, losing 9 in the air and 9 more on the ground. Interestingly, among the planes claimed shot down were four Dornier Do 17 bombers, but also three Messerschmitt Bf 109 and five Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters. The rest of the Polish units were using the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighter, slightly more reliable. Altogether, the Polish pilots flew 714 sorties during the Battle of France. According to Jerzy Cynk, they shot down 51.9 enemy planes (summing fraction kills - or 57 including 16 shared victories), in addition to 3 unconfirmed kills and 6 3/5 damaged. According to Bartłomiej Belcarz they shot down 53 aircraft, including 19 shared with the French. A number of 53 victories makes 7,93% of 693 allied victories in the French campaign. At the same time they lost 44 planes (in combat, accidents and on the ground) and 8 fighter pilots in combat, 1 missing and 4 in accidents.

    After the collapse of France in 1940, a large part of the Polish Air Force contingent was withdrawn to the United Kingdom. However, the RAF Air Staff were not willing to accept the independence and sovereignty of Polish forces. Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding later admitted he had been "a little doubtful" at first about the Polish airmen. British government informed General Sikorski that at the end of the war, Poland would be charged for all costs involved in maintaining Polish forces in Britain. Plans for the airmen greatly disappointed them: they would only be allowed to join the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, wear British uniforms, fly British flags and be required to take two oaths, one to the Polish government and the other to King George VI of the United Kingdom; each officer was required to have a British counterpart, and all Polish pilots were to begin with the rank of "pilot officer", the lowest rank for a commissioned officer in the RAF. Only after posting would anyone be promoted to a higher grade.[4] Because of that, the majority of much more experienced Polish pilots had to wait in training centres, learning English Command procedures and language, while the RAF suffered heavy losses due to lack of experienced pilots. On June 11, 1940, a preliminary agreement was signed by the Polish and British governments and soon the British authorities finally allowed for creation of two bomber squadrons and a training centre as part of the Royal Air Force.

    The first squadrons were 300 and 301 bomber squadrons and 302 and 303 fighter squadrons. The fighter squadrons, flying the Hawker Hurricane, first saw action in the third phase of the Battle of Britain in late August 1940, quickly becoming highly effective. Polish flying skills were well-developed from the Invasion of Poland and the pilots were regarded as fearless and sometimes bordered on reckless. Their success rates were very high in comparison to the less-experienced British Commonwealth pilots.[5] 303 squadron became the most efficient RAF fighter unit at that time.[6] Many Polish pilots also flew in other RAF squadrons. In the following years, further Polish squadrons were created: 304 (bomber, then Coastal Command), 305 (bomber), 306 (fighter), 307 (night fighter), 308 (fighter), 309 (reconnaissance, then fighter), 315 (fighter), 316 (fighter), 317 (fighter), 318 (fighter-reconnaissance) and 663 (air observation/artillery spotting). The fighter squadrons initially flew Hurricanes, then Supermarine Spitfires, and eventually some were equipped with North American Mustangs. Night fighters used by 307 were the Boulton-Paul Defiant, Bristol Beaufighter and the de Havilland Mosquito. The bomber squadrons were initially equipped with Fairey Battles and Vickers Wellingtons, then Avro Lancasters (300 sqn), Handley Page Halifaxs and Consolidated Liberators (301 sqn) and de Havilland Mosquitos and North American Mitchells (305 sqn). 663 flew Auster AOP Mk Vs.

    On April 6, 1944, a further agreement was reached and the Polish Air Forces in Great Britain came under Polish command, without RAF officers. This resulted in the creation of a dedicated Polish Air Force staff college at RAF Weston-super-Mare, which remained open until April 1946. After the war, in a changed political situation, their equipment was returned to the British. Due to the fact that Poland ended in Soviet occupation, only a small proportion of the pilots returned to Poland, while the rest remained in exile. A memorial to those Polish pilots killed while on RAF service has been erected at the south-eastern corner of RAF Northolt aerodrome. On the public highway, it is accessible without entering RAF areas. It is adjacent to a junction on the A40 Western Avenue; the official name for this junction is still "Polish War Memorial". The Polish-American fighter ace Francis S. "Gabby" Gabreski flew his first combat missions attached to a Polish RAF squadron. King George VI, on visiting a Polish squadron, asked a Polish airman what was the toughest thing he had to deal with in the war. The reply was "King's Regulations...."
     
  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The all-metal PZL.23 Karaś ("Crucian Carp") light bombers were originally designed by Stanisław Prauss to replace older models employed by the Polish Air Force. The third prototype that flew in 1935, with a raised pilot's seat and lowered engines for better visibility, was accepted and entered production. The first variants, PZL.23A, were fitted with Bristol Pegasus IIM2 radial engines, but these engines soon proved to be unreliable. The production quickly shifted to using Pegasus VIII engines. 40 PZL.23A aircraft were built in 1936 and 210 PZL.23B aircraft were built between late 1936 and Feb 1938. An additional number was produced for export to Bulgaria with Gnome-Rhone 14N-01 engines because the Bristol engines were licensed for use in Poland only; that variant was dubbed PZL.43. Out of the 250 available to the Polish air force by the end of Aug 1939, 23 were lost in accidents and 110 were held in reserve or used by training squadron, making 117 available for combat squadrons when the European War began. The first combat mission for this design was on 2 Sep 1939 when a PZL.23B bomber of the 21st Squadron bombed a factory in Ohlau; it was also the first bombing attack on German territory. On 3 Sep, PZL.23 bombers attacked German columns, briefly disrupting German movement, but ultimately they were intercepted by German fighters and shot down easily due to low speed and lack of armor. At the end of the Polish campaign, 67 were destroyed in combat and about 60 were lost to other reasons. At least 21 PZL.23 bombers were withdrawn to Romania as the Polish retreated through that country; 19 of them were kept by the Romanian air force, and were used against Russia after the launch of Operation Barbarossa.
     

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  3. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #3 gekho, Mar 26, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    The PZL P.11 was constructed by the outstandingly talented designer Zygmunt Pulawski. It belonged to the aircraft family with a high gull-wing layout. Its prototype was PZL P.11c, constructed in 1929. PZL P.11 was the major production model in the interwar period and it was the basic type of fighter plane in the Polish air force. PZL (National Plane Plant) received an order for P.11 in 1930 from the Department of Aeronautics of the Ministry of Defence. After Z. Pulawski death in an air crash, his works to improve the plane construction were developed by eng. Wsiewolod Jakimiuk. The prototype P.11/I first flew in August 1931. Summary production amounted to 4 prototypes in numerous versions.

    The third prototype, after some tests in the Experimental Squadron, was qualified as a standard for the serial P.11a version for the Polish air force. On the turn of 1933/4 50 P.11a were ordered into production (they bore the markings from No 7,4 to 7,52). They entered service with the Polish 111 Eskadra My?liwska (Fighter Squadron) of 1st Pu?k Lotniczy (Air Regiment) in Warsaw. In the meantime, the fourth prototype, named P.11c, for the improved version of P.11, was prepared. In summer of 1934 PZL received an order for 175 P.11 aircraft. The production was completed at the beginning of 1936. The aircraft bore the marking from No 8,2 to 8,176. Since 1935 P.11 aircraft were deployed in all six air regiments.

    One of the P.11 series was equipped with the Merkury VII engine (intended for PZL 50) and it had a cockpit canopy, a changed propeller and an engine cowling as well. After modernization it was marked as P.11g Kobuz. The production of this aircraft did not start because of the outbreak of war. The only plane produced, piloted by ppor. pil. H. Szczesny, participated in air fights and shot two German bombers
     

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  4. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Storch was first flown in 1936. Using a fixed slat over the leading edge of the wing and slotted camber-changing flaps along the trailing edge, the Storch achieved incredible short take-off performance. In a light breeze the Storch could take off in just 200 feet (60 meters) and land in about 66 feet (20 meters). It had a crew of three, and with extensive windows surrounding the occupants, made an excellent observation and liaison aircraft. Production for the German armed forces began with the Fi 156A-1. The Fi 156C, which had the rear glazing raised to accommodate a machine gun for defense, soon replaced the A-1. Other variants included a tropical version with dust filters, an ambulance version carrying a single stretcher, and an enlarged version (Fi 256) with seating for five built in limited numbers in France between 1943 and 1944. Fieseler began building the Storch in Germany, but was soon forced to move production to Morane-Saulnier in France (as the M.S.500 Criquet) and Mraz in Czechoslovakia (as the K-65 Cap). This was done to make room for the BF 109 at the Fieseler plant.

    The Fieseler Storch was the last dogfight victim of the western front. Pilot Duanes Francies and his observer, Lieutenant William Martin, of the 5th US Army Division, spotted a Storch circling below them while looking for ground targets in their Piper Cub. Diving on the Storch, the two men opened fire with their Colt .45s and the plane spiraled to the ground. After a short gun battle, Francies and his observer took the two Germans into custody. Lt. Martin was awarded the Air Medal for his part in the fight, but Francies would have to wait until the story was reported in Cornelius Ryan's book "The Last Battle," to finally be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The USAF was 22 years late. Apart from being the last Luftwaffe plane lost in the west, this Storch was also the only enemy plane downed by pistol fire during the war.
     

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  5. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  6. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #6 Wurger, Mar 26, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
    All is fine. But what does the Stroch have in common with the PAF?
     
  7. Gnomey

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  8. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Well, it is wearing the polish marks, isnt it?
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Yes that's true. But it was a captured aircraft used after the war. The shot was taken in December 1948.
    I've thought if you began with the Polish pre-war planes the Fiesler 156C didn't fit here at the moment. There was really a couple of these used in Poland only.
     
  10. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #10 gekho, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    Oh well, I am not following an order. I am just posting all the aircrafts with the polish flag. It´s a pity, but I dont have many pictures of the Polish Air Force. I am afraid that this thread is going to be a little bit small.
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Comprendo...
     
  12. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #12 gekho, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
    The PZL.37 was designed in the mid-1930s at the PZL factory in Warsaw by Jerzy Dąbrowski. The first PZL.37/I prototype, fitted with a single vertical stabilizer, flew on 13 December 1936. The second prototype PZL.37/II, with twin vertical stabilizers and other improvements, was accepted for production. The first 10 serial aircraft were produced in 1938 as the PZL.37A variant with a single vertical stabilizer, however. The next 19 interim aircraft were built as PZL.37A bis, with a twin tail. They all were powered by Bristol Pegasus XII B radial engines produced in Poland under licence. The main production variant, the PZL.37B (or: Łoś II), was fitted with the twin tail and newer Pegasus XX engines. Production of PZL.37B for the Polish Air Force started in autumn 1938. During the initial period of PZL.37 service, 2 prototypes and 6 serial planes, were lost in crashes caused by technical problems, mostly with rudders. After some structural changes, the PZL.37B became a fully reliable aircraft. By the outbreak of World War II, about 92 PZL.37s had been produced and given to the Air Force, and a further 31 were in different phases of production.

    Before the war, the PZL.37B Łoś was one of the world's most modern bombers. It was able to carry a heavier bombload than similar aircraft, for example the Vickers Wellington, though the size of the bombs was limited. Smaller than most contemporary medium bombers, it was relatively fast and easy to handle. Thanks to a landing gear with double wheels it could operate from rough fields or meadows. Typically for the late 1930s, its defensive armament consisted of only 3 machine guns, which proved too weak against enemy fighters.

    Starting with a presentation at a salon in Belgrade in June 1938 and in Paris in November, the PZL.37 met with a huge interest. For export purposes, new variants were developed: the PZL.37C with Gnome-Rhone 14N-0/1 engines of 985 cv (971 BHP, 724 kW), maximum speed 445 km/h and the PZL.37D with 14N-20/21 of 1,065 cv (1,050 BHP, 783 kW), maximum speed 460 km/h. In 1939, 20 PZL.37Cs were ordered by Yugoslavia, 12 by Bulgaria, 30 PZL.37Ds and license by Romania and 10, raw materials and parts for next 25 and license by Turkey and, finally, 12 aircraft for Greece[2]. Belgian company Renard received permission for license production 20-50 aircraft for Republican Spain but resigned in 1939. Also Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Iran were negotiating. The Polish military weren't allowed a deal with Iran due to "lack of production abilities"[2]. The outbreak of the war prevented the production of these aircraft. At that time, PZL developed the next variant for the Polish airforce, the PZL.49 Miś, but this was not completed before the war. Having slightly bigger dimensions, Miś ("Bear") was to be fitted with Bristol Hercules II engines of 1,350 BHP (1,370 cv, 1,007 kW), maximum speed 520 km/h and an upper turret.
     

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  13. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #13 gekho, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    The PZL P.24 is the best known Polish built fighter aircraft of the pre-WW2 period. It was the ultimate achievement in Zygmunt Pu³ awski’s gull-winged fighter family including prototypes P.1, P.6, P.8, and mass-produced P.7a, P.11a and P.11c. Although it was used by countries such as Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, it was never used by Polish Air Force. The armament, speed and other flight characteristics were much better than characteristics of P.11c, which was the main fighter of Polish Air Force in September 1939. This situation was so unbelievable that even in the German aircraft recognition manualFlugzeugerkennungs-Tafeln from 1939, P.24 was listed as a main Polish fighter plane! However, P.24 was only offered for export and was built under license in Turkey and Romania.

    In 1932 director Weiller of the French company Gnô me-Rhô ne proposed PZL (Polish Aircraft Factory) to equip P.11 with Gnô me-Rhô ne engine and put this aircraft into a contest for a new fighter for Armee de l’Air. This project was given to Wsiewo³ od Jakimiuk, who was in charge of P.7/P.11 development after Zygmunt Pu³ awski’s death in 1931. The prototype was built using the wings, rear fuselage, horizontal tailplanes, rudder and undercarriage from PZL P.7, which was just being introduced into production. The heavier engine required a longer fuselage (additional 45 cm between the cockpit and wings) and a new engine mount. The cockpit was enclosed, but the prototype had an open cockpit. Two 20 mm cannons were chosen as the new aircraft’s armament. Several modifications from P.11 prototypes were also used. Gnô me-Rhô ne supplied a 14-cylinder Gnô me-Rhô ne 14Kds Mistral Major radial engine. The first prototype P.24/I was completed in January 1933 and flown by Captain Boles³ aw Orliñ ski in May 1933. During the first flight the aircraft lost its propeller due to engine vibrations. The pilot landed safely, however, the engine had to be sent back to France for repairs. The tests ended in February 1934 and in March the second prototype P.24/II was flown by captain Orliñ ski.

    P24/II was initially equipped with a 14Kds Mistral Major engine, which was later replaced by Gnô me-Rhô ne 14 Kfs offering more power (661 kW instead of 515 kW). Also a new three-bladed propeller was installed. The prototype was designated P.24 Super and first flown in June 1934. On 28 June 1934 captain Orliñ ski established a world speed record of 414 km/h (recognised by FAI) for fighter aircrafts with radial engines. Later, during summer, the P.24/II was equipped with two Vickers 7.9 mm machine guns and two Oerlikon FF 20 mm cannons and was shown on International Airshow in Paris in November 1934. At the time it was one of the most advanced fighter aircraft and one of the first to be equipped with cannon. However, P.24 could not be even put into a contest for a new French fighter because of the protests from French aircraft industry. Despite this set-back several other countries displayed interest in a new Polish construction and in 1936 P.24/II was shown to military representatives of Bulgaria, Estonia, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia and Romania.

    In 1935 Hungary wanted to buy a licence for P.24, but Polish government declined the offer due to military restrictions applied to Hungary after WWI. Also in 1935 a new Polish fighter P.11c was introduced into production and PZL decided to build the third prototype of P.24 based on P.11c. The P.24/III or P.24bis Super was a hybrid of P.11c (rear fuselage, wings, horizontal tailplanes and rudder) and P.24/II - engine and cannons. This version also had an enclosed cockpit (P.24/I and P.24/II had an open cockpit). The P.24/III was advertised in two versions: P.24A with 2 x 20 mm Oerlikon FF cannons and 2 x 7.9 mm Colt-Browning MG40 machine guns and P.24B with 4 x 7.9 mm Colt-Browning MG40 machine guns. Both versions could carry 4 bombs under the wings (10 kg or 12.5 kg).
     

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  14. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    PZL-46 project was a light bomber aircraft and exploratory, to replace the obsolescent PZL P-23 Karas . The first prototype was completed in August 1938 and was subsequently presented at the Paris Air Show that year. He was unarmed and had not yet nefunčnú gondola shooter. The second prototype PZL P-46/II of March 1939 had been revised gondola shooter. Both prototypes powered engine Pegasus XX. In the summer of 1939, appears the third prototype PZL P-46/III powerful engine with Gnome-Rhone 14N21. This version under the name Sum B was intended for export. Bulgaria has ordered 12 pieces from this version.

    Order Sum And Pegasus XX engines sounded to 300 pieces, the first to join the service in the spring of the 1940th At the time of attack, the Germans were in the factory PZL WP-1 in Warsaw number of pieces in various stages of development. 5. September 1939 to fly the second prototype with an engineer S. Reiss on the board via Lviv to Bucharest. The first prototype for the remaining technical problems at the airport in Warsaw. A second prototype was not yet returned to Warsaw to 26th September 1939 Major Galinat evacuated and tens W. Hackiewicz and W. Urbanowicz (who later flew with the Flying Tigers in China and became the ace) 27 September 1939 Reiss fly from Warsaw to Lithuania, where he received the prototype Russians.
     

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  15. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #15 Wurger, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    A short note to the post about the PZL P-24. The first and the third images show PZL P-11 but not the P-24 fighter. The second shot presents PZL P-24/III.

    And here you are a photo-supplement to the post about PZL 46 Sum. Source - Internet, different sites.
     

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  16. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Thanks, ufff I am not able to distinguish them...
     
  17. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    #17 Wurger, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    I see. The easiest way is to have a look at the fin and rudder. There was tha main type of aircraft printed usually. If you look at these pics with PZL P-11 you can see P11 at the tail top. These letters were either red or black. Also there was a military serial number on the port side of the fuselage , in front and down of the vertical stabilizers ( something like the RAF serial but on one side only ) Each aircraft type had their own number consisted of two digitals. For instance PZL P-23 Karaś had number 44. And all these serials started with the number "44" For example 44.214, 44.62. These were black ( sometimes white ) or red and it is quite difficult to notice them on khaki painted fuselages. PZL P-11C had number 8. and PZL P-11A had 7.. PZL P-37 Łoś had 72. and PZL P-7 was of 6. PZL P-24 wasn't used by the PAF.

    Of course there were shape differences in aircraft frames tails etc... for instance the main difference that can be noticed between P-11C and P-24 is the cockpit conopy of the P-24. P-11C didn't have this ( except P-11G Kobuz. But the aircraft wasn't introduced to assembly lines ) PZL P-1 and 8 were powered by line engines. The entire rest of Pulawski's fighters were equipped with radial ones of different types. So the engine cowling can help with distinguishing of these.
     
  18. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Before WWII, Polish pilots were trained on two major types of trainer aircraft - the RWD-8 and PWS-26. The basic training was done on RWD-8 then pilots moved to the advanced training on PWS-26. Although only 320 aircraft were built (compared to 600 RWD-8s) the aircraft was the ultimate development of a long family of trainers initiated in 1929 by PWS-12 designed by Augustyn Zdaniewski. PWS-12 was followed by PWS-12bis, PWS-14, PWS-16 and PWS-16bis. PWS-26 was designed at the beginning of 1935 and the concept was based on PWS-16bis. The major changes included overall strengthening of the airframe, which allowed performing fast diving and training in dive-bombing. The aircraft could perform a full set of advanced aerobatics, which was not possible on the previous models PWS-16 and PWS-16bis. The aircraft also carried a single 7.92 mm machine gun and a gun camera.

    The type was introduced into production in 1936 and 320 aircraft were built before the onset of the war. As the type was being introduced into service Augustn Zdaniewski was designing its successors PWS-27 and PWS-28, however, the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 did not let him finish his work. After the war, for today unknown reasons, the communist regime did not let him go back to the aviation industry. Zdaniewski retired in 1968 and died in Poland in 1988. The PWS-26 was used in all flying schools in the pre-war Poland. Apart from Polish pilots the Bulgarian Air Force also trained a group of pilots on the type during the period of May-June 1939 as a part of a contract for the purchase of PZL P.43 bombers.

    In September 1939, most of PWS-26 were destroyed on the ground during the first days of war. Those which survived were mainly used for liaison and reconnaissance duties, but some of the crews from the 13th training squadron attached to the Army Group "Polesie" used their PWS-26 to bomb German units using hand grenades. PWS-26 from this unit were the last aircraft bearing the Polish checkers to be seen on the Polish skies in 1939. After the war some PWS-26 were flown by the Polish pilots to Rumania where all of the aircraft were ceased by the Rumanian authorities and incorporated into the Royal Rumanian Air Force. Those captured by Germans were sold to Rumania later on (30 aircraft). One PWS-26 survived the war and today is a part of the collection of the Aviation Museum in Krakow.
     

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  19. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The PWS-33 Wyżeł was a Polish twin-engined military trainer aircraft from a period before World War II constructed by Podlaska Wytwórnia Samolotów or PWS ("Podlasie Aircraft Factory"). Although destined for production it got no further than the prototypes before Poland was invaded.With an expected advent of a twin-engine heavy fighter, the PZL.38 Wilk, which was supposed to be a basic fighter and bomber aircraft in the Polish Air Force, there appeared the need for a twin-engine trainer aircraft for pilots. In 1936, the PWS works were ordered to build a trainer of cheap wooden construction, similar in layout to the PZL-38. The main designer was Wacław Czerwiński, known for designing several successful sailplanes.

    The prototype of the PWS-33 first flew in August-September 1938. The aircraft appeared successful with good flight characteristics and the maximum speed turned out to be even higher than had been estimated. It was given a name Wyżeł (Polish: "pointer"). The prototype was soon shown at the Paris Air Show, in November-December 1938 (under the name PZL Wyżeł) and met with an interest in the world press. In January 1939 the second prototype PWS-33/II flew. It was also capable of aerobatics. The plane was quite light and small and comparable to the single-engine trainer PWS-26.

    After trials, the plane was ordered into production. In the meantime, the PZL.38 Wilk program was appearing unsuccessful due to lack of proper engines and was canceled. However the PWS-33 could still find a place as a trainer for pilots of PZL.37 Łoś medium bombers, which were also similar in appearance to the PWS-33, and for future heavy fighters such as the PZL.48 Lampart. In summer 1939 production of the first series of 25 aircraft started but they were not completed due to the outbreak of war.
     

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  20. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The RWD-14 Czapla was a Polish observation, close reconnaissance and liaison aircraft, designed in the mid-1930s by the RWD team, and produced in the LWS factory from 1938. The aircraft was designed in response to a Polish Air Force requirement of 1933 for a new army cooperation plane, a successor of the Lublin R-XIII. The RWD team of the DWL workshops (Doświadczalne Warsztaty Lotnicze) initially proposed the RWD-12 project, based on the RWD-8 trainer. It was however considered as not as good as the R-XIII, and another aircraft, the RWD-14 was designed by Stanislaw Rogalski and Jerzy Drzewiecki. Designer Tadeusz Chyliński prepared its technical documentation.

    The first prototype was flown in late 1935. It won the contest over the Lublin R-XXI project and the Podlaska Wytwórnia Samolotów factory project, but factory trials showed that its performance was still not satisfactory. Between 1936 and 1937 two modified prototypes were built, designated RWD-14a, but both crashed during trials due to steering mechanism faults (the pilots survived). Finally, in early 1938 the fourth prototype, designated RWD-14b, was built. It was ordered by the Polish Air Force, receiving the name Czapla (Heron), but due to the long development process, it was regarded as only an interim model, to replace the R-XIII until the advent of the more modern LWS-3 Mewa. In return for refunding the development costs, the DWL gave the rights to produce the RWD-14b to the state factory LWS (Lubelska Wytwórnia Samolotów - Lublin Aircraft Works, a successor of the Plage i Laśkiewicz). The LWS built a series of 65 RWD-14b Czapla by February 28, 1939 (they are sometimes called the LWS Czapla).

    The Czapla entered service in the Polish Air Force in the spring of 1939, equipping some observation squadrons (eskadra obserwacyjna). Due to its long development, it was not a modern aircraft, only a little better than the Lublin R-XIII. Its advantage was its short take-off (140 m) and landing (120 m), enabling it to operate from fields and meadows. Its modern successor, the LWS-3 Mewa, did not manage to enter operational units due to the war. In the invasion of Poland in 1939, the Polish Air Force had 35 Czaplas in five observation squadrons (out of 12): No.'s 13, 23, 33, 53 and 63. Each squadron had seven aircraft. Squadrons were distributed among the field Armies. The remaining 30 Czaplas were in reserve (probably only four supplemented combat units during the campaign). Like the R-XIII, the Czapla was no match for any Luftwaffe fighter, bomber, or even reconnaissance aircraft, being much slower, and armed with only two machine guns. In spite of this, they were actively used for close reconnaissance and liaison tasks. Most RWD-14b were destroyed during the campaign. About ten were withdrawn to Romania (there are quoted numbers from 10 to 16) and one probably to Hungary. They were taken over by the Romanian Air Force and used for auxiliary duties. No RWD-14b has survived.
     

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