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 Citerne.

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)

This 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.

The 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

- generator

- 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 England.

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.

On 7 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.

Immediately 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 home.

                                                                                                                                                          Lt Ted E. Reger


Telling of M BUÉ taken by members of the association

20100821Citernes1 (Copier).JPG

A Mustang F6 B of Sq 15 - 67th Trg during a reconnaissance mission


A part of the magneto

Magneto (Copier).JPG

Additional tank for Mustang's long range mission

Reservoir supplementaire 360L.jpg

Spare part from the dashboard

Partie tableau de bord (2) (Copier).JPG

Plate of Strumberg carburettor

Plaque Carbu Strumberg (Copier).JPG

Plate of the gun camera

Plaque cine mitralleuse (Copier).JPG

Oil radiator

Radiateur d'huile (3) (Copier).JPG

Glycol radiator

Radiateur Glycol (Copier).JPG

Plate of oil radiator

Plaque radiateur huile (Copier).JPG

Merlin Packard engine explosed on crash

Packard  (2) (Copier).JPG

Merlin Packard engine explosed on crash

Packard 1 (1) (Copier).JPG

Captain's Mauritz FJohnson grave Colleville

Tombe Colleville (Copier).JPG

The characteristics of the P51 F6C

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

FOCALES k 24 Citernes (4) (Copier).JPG

Focal of shooting device K 24

FOCALES k 24 Citernes (6) (Copier).JPG

Rudder pedal

Pedale Palonnier  (Copier).JPG

The 2 rudder pedals

Pedales Palonnier (Copier).JPG

Axis of the K 24 film

axe pellicule K 24 (Copier).JPG

Roll for Fairchild K 17 camera
530 views, 24 cm X 130 m

avec trou pour le k 17 et K24.jpg

Same P 51 F6C as the one piloted by Captain M.F. Johnson

localisation du trou de prises de vues.jpg

Harness loops

Boucles harnais et ceienture (Copier).JPG

Fuel gauge

Jauge essence  (Copier).JPG

Engine spare part

piece moteur (Copier).JPG

Plate of Bendix radio

Plaque radio BENDIX (Copier).JPG

Hydraulic system plate

plaque systeme hydraulique (Copier).JPG

Intervalometer Fairchild

Intervalometre Fairchil Citernes (1) (Copier).JPG

Intervalometer Fairchild to control the camera

Intevalometre Fairchild.JPG

English dagger SAS commando Wilkinson

Poignard commando anglais SAS Fairbairn Wilkinson (Copier).JPG

Built of all large pieces

Bati Citernes (2) (Copier).JPG

Oxygen bottle

Bouteilles a oxygene (Copier).JPG


Compresseur (Copier).JPG

Gear camshaft

engrenage arbre a cames (Copier).JPG

Landing gear actuator

Verins de train d'atterissage (Copier).JPG

On the crash site

Debut de l'excavation (Copier).JPG

Beginning of the excavation

excavation (1) (Copier).JPG

First inventory on the spot

excavation (4) (Copier).JPG

The Frucourt mill

Moulin de Frucourt (Copier).JPG

Gear leg

jambe de train (Copier).JPG

Remains of the engine

reste du moteur (Copier).JPG

Flight above the crash site

Vue aerienne avec legende.jpg

Discovery of small pieces

Excavation (Copier).jpg

Some work ahead......

Diverses pieces (Copier).jpg

Blade and hub

Pale  moyeu (6) (Copier).jpg

Throttle, mixture

Accelerateur Mixture (2) (Copier).JPG

In the local papers


Miscellaneous spare parts

Pieces diverses.JPG
ce site a été créé sur