The accidental bombing of Boise City, Oklahoma during World War II

Very few people know what happened to Boise City, Oklahoma, in the state manna, in 1943.

In early July, Air Force Air Force pilots at Dalhart Army Air Base were preparing four B-17 bombers for a training mission. The training mission was to begin in the wee hours of the night. And on July 5, 1943, at 12:30 a.m., the people of Boise City quickly woke up to a sequence of six clicks and crashes that resembled the fireworks they had lit the day before to celebrate the 4th.e July.

The citizens of Boise City had no idea that their city was in fact being bombed. The 4 B-17 bombers took off from Dalhart base to drop dummy bombs at an army firing range near Conlen, Texas, about 20 miles northeast of Dalhart. The air target was a small area, lit by four lights in each corner. One of the bombers deviated from its course and identified the lights in the Cimarron County Courthouse Square as the firing range.

The bombardment

The B-17 bombers then made six passes over Boise City. On each pass, the B-17 bombers dropped a bomb. Fortunately, the dummy bombs consisted of 97 pounds of sand and three pounds of gunpowder. The first bomb landed in an alley adjacent to an apartment where dozens were sleeping. It left a crater about four feet deep.

The B-17s then made another pass over the unfortunate city. The second bomb barely missed a church. The third bomb hit the ground in front of the Style Shoppe building. The fourth landed just yards from a guesthouse and nearly collided with a parked fuel truck. The fifth exploded just a few meters from a residential house. A final bomb hit near the railroad tracks near the outskirts of town.

The “air raid” lasted for about 30 minutes and the actual property damage in Boise City was less than $ 25 and not a single person was injured in this unplanned “attack”. As for the pilots who accidentally bombed their fellow human beings, they became among the most decorated pilots of the war after leading a daytime raid of 800 planes on Berlin.

More than one time

The crazy part of this story is that it has happened multiple times. Includes the erroneous dropping of five dummy bombs on the town of Dickens, Nebraska, in December 1943 and on Tarnov, Nebraska, on August 16, 1943. No injuries were reported in either incident. But the latest incident was not so lucky and had fatal results. August 11, 1944, near Defuniak Springs, Florida. A bomb drop door malfunctioned during training and rained 20-pound cluster bombs on a farm, killing four people and seriously injuring five others. The house no longer exists and its location has been declared a Florida Heritage Site.

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