TARNOV- Imagine being out on the farmstead during the time of WWII, seeing planes circling around in the air and moments later witnessing 100-pound sand-filled practice casings crashing to the ground.
That is exactly what occurred in the town of Tarnov, Nebraska on August 19th, 1943. The U.S. Military may have mistaken the village for a bombing range, but there’s no mistaking the spirited townspeople of Tarnov who could turn a frightening “bomb blast” into a community celebration.
Despite the rain and a brief power outage at the Tarnov Heritage Museum, proud residents still came out Sunday to honor the 75th anniversary of the accidental bombing.
88-year old Norbert Ciecior remembers it all too well. He explained that he was 13 years old when two B-17 planes dropped seven bombs on this Northeast Nebraska community, mistaking it for a Stanton bombing range 25 miles away.
One bomb hit his home around 4:30 a.m. and landed in the kitchen pantry floor. His mother lit a candle to see what happened and rushed Norbert and his two sisters out of the house unharmed.
The town of around 60 people were evacuated as local authorities took over the investigation.
The practice bombs were filled with sand and had a small explosive charge, but apparently, none detonated. The military found 6 out of the seven bombs that landed in the southern part of the village. Several other bombs fell near the school and the dance hall. The military investigated and placed a white sheet in the location where each bomb was found and then photographed the site for documentation.
The 7th bomb was discovered in a potato patch at a later date, and Norbert’s sister now has possession of this historical artifact.
The missiles turned out to be practice bombs dropped from a U.S. Army Air Force bomber on a night training mission. Now, 75 years later, a celebration was held. Tarnov Historical Society director Judy Hanzel says the event featured activities, music, a beer garden and “I got bombed” fundraiser shirts to celebrate the little town and its part of World War Two history.