Caudron P.23 / C 23
The P.23 was designed by Paul Deville to be a night bomber able to reach Berlin with a 600 kg (1,323 lb) bomb load. The French BN2 military category indicated a two seat night bomber but the P.23 had a crew of three. It had a much in common with the Caudron C.22 but was almost 50% larger in span, requiring an extra bay and more powerful engines. It was a large five bay biplane, with fabric covered, constant chord, unswept wings with angled tips. The upper wing, which carried the ailerons, had a slightly greater (4%) span and a smaller chord. There was no stagger, so the sets of parallel interplane struts were vertical; flying wires braced each bay. Pairs of V-form engine bearing struts, which supported the two cowled 194 kW (260 hp) Salmson 9Z nine cylinder water-cooled radial engines just above the lower wing, defined the inner two bays.
The P.23 had a flat sided fuselage. There was a gunner's position in the nose, equipped with twin Lewis guns. A roomy open cockpit was positioned under the wing leading edge, with a separate gunner's cockpit behind it under a large, rounded trailing edge cut-out. This was fitted with another pair of Lewis guns and a further gun firing downwards through a trapdoor in the floor. A low, broad fin carried a broad balanced rudder which extended down to the keel. The tailplane, angular in plan and of very low aspect ratio, was mounted on top of the fuselage and its elevators had a cut-out for rudder movement.
The bomber had a fixed tailskid undercarriage, with mainwheels in pairs . Their axles were mounted on longitudinal bars attached to the wing under the engines by N-form struts.
The Caudron C.23 first flew in February 1919, piloted by Jules Védrines. Higher power engines, the 447 kW (600 hp) Salmson 18Z or the 224 kW (300 hp) Hispano-Suiza 8Fb, were considered in April 1918 but the Salmson was not yet fully developed and trials of the Hispano led nowhere.
The P.23 received orders for a total of 1000 under the designation C.23BN.2, but by the time of the Armistice in November 1918 fifty-four C.23s had been deliveredand its serial production canceled. Some served with the 22nd squadron, stationed in Lyuksoyle, until their replacement by the more powerful Farman Goliath in February 1920.
Very soon after the war some C.23s not used by the French Air Force were modified to carry twelve passengers in an open cockpit formed by an opening between the cockpit and mid-upper gunner's position. On 10 February 1919 one made the first passenger flight between Paris and Brussels, carrying five passengers tightly packed together in an open cockpit. One C.23, designated C.23 bis, was modified to carry fifteen passengers internally, flying between Paris and London.
Védrines and his engineer Guillian were killed in a C.23 when an engine failed whilst trying to establish a route from Paris to Rome.
12 seat transport
15 seat cabin transport
Engines: 2 × Salmson 9Z 9-cylinder, 190 kW (260 hp)
Upper wingspan: 24.50 m (80 ft 5 in)
Lower wingspan: 23.57 m (77 ft 4 in)
Wing area: 107 sq.m (1,150 sq ft)
Length: 13.00 m (42 ft 8 in)
Height: 3.40 m (11 ft 2 in)
Empty weight: 2,341 kg (5,161 lb)
Gross weight: 4,170 kg (9,193 lb)
Fuel capacity: 980 lt (216 imp gal; 259 US gal) and 132 l (29 imp gal; 35 US gal)
Maximum speed: 143 km/h (89 mph; 77 kn) at sea level
Cruising speed: 122 kph
Stall speed: 82.2 km/h (51 mph; 44 kn)
Endurance: 6.75 hr
Service ceiling: 3,500 m (11,483 ft)
Time to altitude: 41 min to 4,000 m (13,123 ft)
Armament: two 7.7-mm machine gun Lewis
Bombload: 600 kg (1,323 lb)