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Old February 21st, 2012, 03:47 PM   #1

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The loss of the MV Hela


I'm reading Europe At War 1939-1945, No Simple Victory. by Norman Davis, and I've come across a reference to a ship, the MV Hela which while transporting around 6,000 German refugees from the Hela peninsula during the last days of the war in May 1945 simply disappeared, presumed lost with all hands.
Trouble is, I've been unable to find any information at all on the internet about this event, so does anyone have more info on this forgotten maritime disaster. Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old February 21st, 2012, 04:30 PM   #2

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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
I'm reading Europe At War 1939-1945, No Simple Victory. by Norman Davis, and I've come across a reference to a ship, the MV Hela which while transporting around 6,000 German refugees from the Hela peninsula during the last days of the war in May 1945 simply disappeared, presumed lost with all hands.
Trouble is, I've been unable to find any information at all on the internet about this event, so does anyone have more info on this forgotten maritime disaster. Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
I'm pretty sure I watched a documentary on this a couple of months back. I'll see if I can dig it up for you
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 12:34 AM   #3

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Sorry, I was thinking of the
MV_Wilhelm_Gustloff MV_Wilhelm_Gustloff
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 01:29 AM   #4

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I don't know such ship, of course that doesn't automatically mean, that it does not exist
But SoC is probably correct with the Gustloff. The number of casualties was estimated to 6,000 during some times and it came from the peninsula Hela or exactly Gotenhafen/Gdingen.

Ships which were involved were Cap arcona (27561 BRT), Robert ley (27288 BRT), Wilhelm Gustloff (25484BRT), , "Hamburg" (22117 BRT), "Hansa" (21131 BRT), "Deutschland" (21046 BRT), "Potsdam" (17528 BRT), "Pretoria" (16662 BRT), "Berlin" (15286 BRT), general Steuben (14660 BRT), "Monte Rosa" (13882 BRT), "Antonio Delfino" (13589 BRT), "Winrich von Kniprode" (10123 BRT) und "Ubena" (9554 BRT), ferner u. a. die Frachter "Moltkefels" (7862 BRT), Wangoni (7848 BRT), "Neidenfels" (7838 BRT), "Lappland" (7650 BRT), "Vega" (7287 BRT), "Volta" (7258 BRT), "Göttingen" (6267 BRT), "Sachsenwald" (6261 BRT), "Kanonier" (6257 BRT), "Duala" (6133 BRT), "Vale" (5950 BRT), "Wiegand" (5869 BRT), "Urundi" (5791 BRT), "Tübingen" (5493 BRT), "Albert Jensen" (5446 BRT), "Brake" (5347 BRT), "Tanga" (5346 BRT), "Mathias Stinnes" (5337 BRT), "Goya" (5230 BRT), "Mendoza" (5193 BRT), "Cometa" (5125 BRT), "Eberhart Essberger" (5064 BRT) and a lot others.

The General Steuben sank with more than 3000 people, the goya was sank, too. If there would have been a MV Hela, i supose it would be easier to find sources. So you perhaps really mixed it with the gustloff
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 01:38 AM   #5

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I think I've solved your mystery.

I believe the ship to have been
SS_Albert_Ballin SS_Albert_Ballin
renamed to Hansa because Ballin was Jewish.

It hit a mine and sunk evacuating civilians from Gdynia on the Hel penisular at the end of WW2.

It was later resurfaced and repaired by the Soviets.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 01:42 AM   #6

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There was a fleet tender called Hela. Transferred to the Soviet Union at the end of hostilities.

Hela History

It might not be the ship in question
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 11:58 PM   #7
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I think I've solved your mystery.

Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 05:00 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by beorna View Post
I don't know such ship, of course that doesn't automatically mean, that it does not exist
But SoC is probably correct with the Gustloff. The number of casualties was estimated to 6,000 during some times and it came from the peninsula Hela or exactly Gotenhafen/Gdingen.

Ships which were involved were Cap arcona (27561 BRT), Robert ley (27288 BRT), Wilhelm Gustloff (25484BRT), , "Hamburg" (22117 BRT), "Hansa" (21131 BRT), "Deutschland" (21046 BRT), "Potsdam" (17528 BRT), "Pretoria" (16662 BRT), "Berlin" (15286 BRT), general Steuben (14660 BRT), "Monte Rosa" (13882 BRT), "Antonio Delfino" (13589 BRT), "Winrich von Kniprode" (10123 BRT) und "Ubena" (9554 BRT), ferner u. a. die Frachter "Moltkefels" (7862 BRT), Wangoni (7848 BRT), "Neidenfels" (7838 BRT), "Lappland" (7650 BRT), "Vega" (7287 BRT), "Volta" (7258 BRT), "Göttingen" (6267 BRT), "Sachsenwald" (6261 BRT), "Kanonier" (6257 BRT), "Duala" (6133 BRT), "Vale" (5950 BRT), "Wiegand" (5869 BRT), "Urundi" (5791 BRT), "Tübingen" (5493 BRT), "Albert Jensen" (5446 BRT), "Brake" (5347 BRT), "Tanga" (5346 BRT), "Mathias Stinnes" (5337 BRT), "Goya" (5230 BRT), "Mendoza" (5193 BRT), "Cometa" (5125 BRT), "Eberhart Essberger" (5064 BRT) and a lot others.

The General Steuben sank with more than 3000 people, the goya was sank, too. If there would have been a MV Hela, i supose it would be easier to find sources. So you perhaps really mixed it with the gustloff
The Cap Arcona was sunk along with the Thielbeck and Athen in early May, unconnected to the withdrawal from Russia, they were packed full of jewish camp inmates when they were caught by an RAF Typhoon strike against German shipping with the loss of most of the prisoners.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 05:26 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by beorna View Post
I don't know such ship, of course that doesn't automatically mean, that it does not exist
But SoC is probably correct with the Gustloff. The number of casualties was estimated to 6,000 during some times and it came from the peninsula Hela or exactly Gotenhafen/Gdingen.
No, the author mentions these ships, Gustloff, General Steuben, Goya and even Cap Arcona, by name earlier in the chapter
I asked because I'm fairly familiar with the major ship losses in this campaign, but I'd never heard of this ship until I read it in this book.

ps: I beginning to think the author is mistaken about this, I've checked on the internet and asked at a number of forums, but no one has even heard this story before
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 06:31 AM   #10

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As a question, what does MV mean in current nautical standards of the 30s and 40s?

SS is obviously liners since they were all large steam powered vessels, it was the industry standard at the time but MV or motor vessel implies an internal petrol or diesel engine.
As far as i know of vessels at the time that would limit it to either small coastal traders, military patrol boats and other small vessels. There were a couple of experimental military battleships that used diesel but how common were they and were there any large liners of the time that used diesel engines?
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