The research and discovery of the scout Mustang F6 C, (P 51 C)
Summary of the excavation report by
Pierre Ben and Jean Pierre Ducellier
Saturday, September the 11th of 2010.
The recovery team left at 7:50 AM heading to the small town of Citerne (Northern France) searching for the P51 "Mustang" belonging to the 9th Air Force that crashed on Wednesday, June 7, 1944 - the very first day after D-Day . The crash took place two
kilometers West/Northwest of Citerne city center, some 700m away southwest from the Frucourt mill, a pretty well restored brick mill. The small recovery crew was composed of Pierre Ben; Jean-Luc Brard; Jacky Faudé;
Ghislain Lobel; Albert Berthet; Alain Boutté; Nelly, his mate;
Amadée de Francqueville; also joigned by local officials such as the mayor of Citerne and the mayor of
Bailleul. Helping identifying the crash site, and contacted by Mr Alain Boutté former witness Mr Bué also joigned the team (see photo enclosed). Were also there some group of onlooker.
On Wednesday, June 7, 1944 this F6C P51
"Mustang" serial number 42-103230 from - Squadron 15 of the 67th Tactical
Reconnaissance Group (Recognition Group) of the 9th Air Force, piloted by Capt. Mauritz F. Johnson, was returning from a visual
reconnaissance mission above the Lille - Cambrai area when it was shot
down by the German anti aircraft flak and hit the territory of the town of
American original reports didn't know
the place where the aircraft fell, the wingman located the
fall of his leader around Fauquembergues in the Pas-de-Calais. No
German report, to our knowledge ... no American report on the crash
site ... but a few years after the war, Claude Bué today with us,
had once attended the falling of this airplane. Because of the
German military, he wasn't able to approach the area of the crash at
this time but a few years later while plowing his field with his
horses, he had found on the area of the crash the
the pilot's ID plate.
- Captain Mauritz F. Johnson.
Claude Bué sent this discovery to the
police who informed the Americans officials. Pilot is now buried in
the great American cemetery at Colleville in Normandy (see our photo
of the grave)
Saturday of September the 11th
of 2010, the small team of Pierre Ben was trying to find the remains
of the US recon fighter on the crash site. The young friendly and
very precise crane operator was handling the crawler with great
dexterity. After a superficial soil stripping, many corroded aluminum
pieces were firstly found. The dig up carefully continued releasing a
nearly complete landing gear in a well preserved condition, followed
by some cockpit parts, then appeared the badly damaged Packard Merlin
engine that had apparently continued to burn while buried. The
propeller hub and a propeller blade were also found along with more armour plates.
dig up also revealed the other landing gear, in good condition with
the tire still mounted on, and part of the wing leading edge. By
sorting the earth surface as the team members usually do, 4 harness
belt buckles were also found.
Later, cleaning the parts, team also
found the two focal lenses of the two onboard Kodak K 24 cameras, the
Fairchild Intervalometer - a device installed in the cockpit allowing
the pilot to manually handle the camera speed adjustment according to
altitude of the plane - the Bell & Howell gun camera plate, two
oil/water/glycol coolers and dashboard parts with few readable
inscriptions such as "Gun Sight" (our photos).
Found and restored parts :
- Throttle with specific readable inscriptions ...
- Various rubbers with inscriptions
from the fuel tanks ...
- The green head armor plate,
- An English commando dagger model F &
S Wilkinson (probably earned at Poker!).
- Air compressor
- Propeller blade and hub
- A fuel gauge.
- An oxygen bottle
- Landing gear actuators
- Carburetor parts,
- The Fairchild K 17 camera roll
(our photos), etc …
The F6 is a special photo recon dedicated variant based on the P51 B/C.
It usually carried 2 K24 cameras - one located inthe rear cockpit the other one in teh fuselage just behind the Oil Cooler. The F6 can also be fitted with one K17 plus another K 22 instead the two K24
The June 7th 1944 Mission
Recall that on Tuesday, June 6, 1944
D-Day, all hunters and Allied light bombers of the RAF, the 8th Air
Force and the 9th Air Force US were covered with invasion stripes (3
white and two black ).
Little information will be known about
this reconnaissance mission above the regions of Lille - Cambrai,
made by these 2 P51 "Mustang" F6 C Squadron 15 of the 67th
TRS of the 9th Air Force USA which tragically ended with the death of
leader Captain Mauritz F. Johnson. this Wednesday, June 7, 1944. The
Mission was uneventful until the small caliber artillery batteries
(Light Flak) kick in the passage of these planes returning to
However, obviously, the two US
reconnaissance planes were not on the return journey provided during
the briefing. The 2nd Lt Ted E. Reger, however, seems to think that
they were still there. Indeed this pilot indicate that Flak is in
Fauquembergues area southwest of St Omer and north-east of Hesdin
while F6- C3 plane of Captain Mauritz has crashed in Citerne south of
AbbeviIle. This crash came certainly very fast because the aircraft
only flew 750 meters high (confirmed by debris | aircraft found at an
average depth), also confirmed by the fact that immediately the wingman quickly lost the view of his leader when he was shot down by the first flak.
It seems very possible that the wingman 2nd
Lt Reger, had not realised the flight position was further south since he had followed his leader and that the orbit's by the leader had carried them from the planned route.
Let's read the official report made
after the return of this reconnaissance mission by the 2 "° Lt
Ted E. Reger, wingman of Captain Mauritz F .Johnson: 15th Tactical
Reconnaissance Squadron, AAR APO 595, US Army 9 june 1944.
june 1944 at approximately 16.15, Captain Mauritz F. Johnson and I
were returning from a Visual Reconnaissance Mission ( Mission Number
67/231/31, Field Order Number 185) over enemy-controlled territory
and flying at about 2500 feet altitude at a minimum cruising speed
when I noted intense accurate light tracer flak comin up over the
vicinity of Fauquembergues, approximately fifteen miles southwest of
St Omer and Fifteen miles north of Hesdin.
upon discovering the flak, I called to Captain Johnson to break our
formation, which we did with Captain Johnson breaking off to the
right. On resuming my normal course, I could not see Captain
Johnson's plane anywhere and unsuccessfully tried to contact him by
radio about eight times. I circled the territory a number of times
and again attempted to make radio contact with him, but could not do
so, nor was I able to see his plane in the air or on the ground or did
I see him parachute. In due course, I resumed my course and returned
Ted E. Reger
Telling of M BUÉ taken by members of the association
A Mustang F6 B of Sq 15 - 67th Trg during a reconnaissance mission
The characteristics of the P51 F6C were identical to those of the Mustang B and C and those of the Mustang III.
91 Mustang P 51 C F6 will be produced. 71 from the production of P 51 B in Inglewood, California and 20 from the production of the Mustang P 51 C in Dallas, Texas.
Rolls-Royce Motor Packard V-1650-7 12 cylinders and developing about 1550 hp. . Wingspan: 11.28 meters. Length: 9.83 meters. Height: 3.71 m. Curb Weight: 3200 kg. Maximum takeoff weight: 6300 kg. Maximum speed: 700 km / h. Cruising speed approximately 580 km / h Autonomy 1 600 kilometers and additional tanks. Ceiling: 12 750 meters. Armament: 4 guns of 12, 7 mm.
The F6C P51 "Mustang" # 42-103230 of the 9th Air Force of the USA. piloted by Captain Mauritz F. Johnson, shot at Citern 7 June 1944 had the inscription "5 M" written on the fuselage, identifying the 15 Squadron of the 67th TRG of the 9th Air Force. It was equipped with a Malcolm Hood canopy and its color was "Neutral Grey"
Focal of shooting device K 24
Focal of shooting device K 24
The 2 rudder pedals
Axis of the K 24 film
Roll for Fairchild K 17 camera 530 views, 24 cm X 130 m
Same P 51 F6C as the one piloted by Captain M.F. Johnson