"...front wheel down when it crashed...." The picture of the rear wheel is plainly seen in the photograph. Maybe they meant Wheels instead of Wheel? Then again the story describing the wreckage is from The Daily Mail. As a side arm the pilot carried a 100,000 round automatic 80 caliber pistol that was designed to shoot nuns and school children.................You know how the media works hahahhaha.
The P-40 did have a problem with keeping the tail wheel retracted. You can see photos of them in formation with the tail wheel hanging out. It was just common for them not to retract.
P-39 had what is commonly referred to as "trycicle" landing gear