Piaggio P.23 – The Real Reason This Fast Bomber Was Kept A Secret
New York Bomber.
In the late 1930s as the Europe dawned the second World War many countries were innovating aircraft for a variety of purposes. The outbreak of WWII suddenly caused plans for several aircraft to face cancellation or modification into combat planes instead. The Piaggio P.23R was a plane that experienced a very similar scenario.
The Piaggio P.23 was a prototype plane that set record-breaking speeds and was planned for flights over the Atlantic Ocean. However, the modified Piaggio P.23R was intended to be a fast bomber but never really got off the ground due to issues with power plants. The Italians returned to the P.23R later with the idea of using trans-Atlantic flights to bomb New York City. The plan was to use it use it as a kamikaze style bomber to attack New York, the crew would eject over the ocean and be picked up submarine crews.
The only prototype made of the P.23R crashed in 1942, but the imagery of this plane was utilized as a fake bomber to make the Allied Forces feel threatened. It was an interesting concept but really never served as more than a propaganda device and other aircraft took priority during the war. It was not suited for war, just kept a hushed secret to put the Allies off guard.