The Polish-Built Hero Of Eastern Europe

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The PZL.24. is a fairly underrepresented Polish aircraft during the Second World War. It would be the last of a long, rich lineage of Polish-designed fighter aircraft.

Design Modifications

Further modifications to the design were explored by PZL as late as 1939, with a planned K variant carrying four 20 mm cannons, and an L variant being a fighter bomber for close air support. 

An Oversight

Do you know that the Polish Air Force avoided buying any P.24s for themselves? They opted to wait instead for the P.50 fighter. 

But this turned out to be a huge mistake. By the time the country needed a fighter newer than their ancient P.11, the P.50 wasn’t ready in time, and Poland fell before squadrons could take delivery.

Total Planes Built

In total, there are only 184 P.24s built, mostly going to Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria. It also served and made its mark in the Royal Hellenic Air Force in Greece. 

Hellenic P.24s

Hellenic P.24s, though outnumbered significantly in virtually all engagements, would see a fair level of success the following six months when Greece was under attack from the Axis forces. 

A number of Greeks would earn their ace title in P.24 and the most notable was Marinos Mitralexis, who achieved legendary status in Greece for his acts of bravery during the war. 

Final Thoughts 

Although neglected in history books, these aircraft were remarkably advanced for their time and the cutting edge of fighter development in a lot of ways. While some still served after it became obsolete, many still managed to put on a decent fight against superior opponents.