Nebraska Town Gets Bombed!

“Unknown Planes Drop Six Bombs on Tarnov.”  This was the headline from the Columbus Daily Telegram on August 16, 1943.  The article states that, “Two unidentified planes dropped practice bombs on the village of Tarnov between 4 and 4:30 a.m. today.  By noon authorities had accounted for six bombs.”

Unknown Planes Drop Six Bombs on Tarnov

Newspaper article from the Columbus Daily Telegram, August 16, 1943.

Luckily, there were no injuries, and the only damage was to the home of Joe Ciecior.  The bomb that hit the Ciecior residence apparently tore through the back porch, ripped through a portion of the pantry and lodged in the ground beneath the house.  Several other bombs fell near the school and the dance hall.  The article states, “…two planes circled the village about 15 times in dropping the bombs.  Closest bombing range to Tarnov is the one at Stanton.  No official word has been released as to why the bombs were dropped at Tarnov.”

The missiles turned out to be practice bombs dropped from a U.S. Army Air Force bomber on a night training mission.  The crew had mistaken the lights of Tarnov for a lighted bombing range a few miles south of Stanton.  The newspaper article ends with, “The whole village was excited today and the incident was the talk of the town.”  Hopefully you’re having a better morning than the residents of Tarnov, Nebraska did 67 years ago today!

- Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

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One Response to Nebraska Town Gets Bombed!

  1. Joel Torczon says:

    I had heard about this story from my parents, whose grandparents immigrated to this village from Poland. During my visit there a dozen or so years ago for a family reunion, Dad and I would walk around to check out the place in the afternoon in the sweltering summer heat. I’d look around and imagine where the bombs fell. There’s more to this story at:

    I live in California, where my folks moved after my father, Gene Torczon, and family moved after a time in Hutchinson, Kan. Before that we lived in Columbus, where he coached basketball and golf and taught P.E. at Platte College (now Central Community College). He grew up in Tarnov on my grandparent’s farm, then attended St. Francis High in nearby Humphrey. He led the St. Francis and Humphrey American Legion baseball teams to state championships in 1954 before going on to star for the Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball team. This past February he was enshrined into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame:

    We had a great time, plus Mom gave what may have been the speech of the night:

    Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to check out the Tarnov/Humphrey area. Mom will be coming back in June for her 55th high school class reunion, so she may have the opportunity to do that then.

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