PZL P.11 C Fighter
First flying in August 1931 the PZL P.11 was, for a time, the most advanced fighter plane in the world. The end result of several years of design and prototyping, the P.11 featured a unique gull wing that became known around the world as the Pulawski or Polish wing. The final variant for the Polish air force, the P.11 C, had a new fuselage and the engine was lowered in the nose to give the pilot a better view. The central part of the wing was also modified. By 1939 the PZL P.11 was outclassed by the newest fighters such as the ME-109 and the I-16. Due to the lack of a new design and the inability of Poland to purchase new aircraft abroad, the P.11 was Poland's primary fighter during the Polish campaign of 1939. At the beginning of WWI on September 1, 1939 Polish fighter squadrons were deployed to outlying airfields to escape German bombers. In spite of being obsolescent, the P.11 gave a good account of itself during the war. While the exact numbers will never be known, it is believed that the P.11 shot down 285 enemy aircraft for a loss of 100 P.11s. At dawn on September 1st 1939 Capt. Mieczyslaw Medwecki was shot down by Rottenführer Leutnant Frank Neubert of I./StG 2 (Stuka), becoming the first aircraft shot down in WWII. 20 minutes later Wladyslaw Gnys shot down two Dornier DO-17s becoming the first Allied pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft. Production of the P.11 began in 1934 with a total of 185 made. There was also an export version; the PZL P.24. The PZL P.11 was armed with either two or four 7.92 mm machineguns and could carry 110 lbs. of bombs. This model shows a PZL P.11 flying with the 111 Eskadra Mysliwska squadron in September 1939. Also see the PZL P.24 for the export version.