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M/S Vega
Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen

(Norwegian Homefleet WW II)

Back to Vega on the "Homefleet Ships starting with V" page.

Both pics were received from Bjørn Milde, Norway (from his postcard collection).

 Pre War History: 

Launched Jan. 5-1938. Delivered in May-1938 from Cantieri Riuniti dell Adriatico, Trieste, Italy (1205) as passenger liner Vega to Det Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, Bergen. Steel hull, Cruiser stern 424.6’ x 58.3’ x 28.5’, 7287 gt, 1950 tdwt, 2x 10cyl 2tev Sulzer dm (Cantieri Riuniti dell Adriatico) 12.400bhp, 21 knots. In service with passenger and cargo Bergen-Stavanger-Newcastle together with the company's Venus.

Here are 5, very old pictures from the ship, received from Carl Ottersen (see this message in my Guestbook), taken by his father, Finn Georg Ottersen. Carl's grandfather Reinhold Bastian Ottersen, was the resident surveyor in Trieste for Det Norske Veritas.
Picture 1 | Pic 2 | Pic 3 | Pic 4 | Pic 5

 WW II: 

When war broke out in Sept.-1939 BDS made the decision to take the more expensive vessels out of the Bergen-Stavanger-Newcastle run, and Vega and Venus were both laid up at Stanghelle in Osterfjorden near Bergen (as was Stella Polaris). Both were still there when Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940. Requisitioned by the Germans on Sept. 11-1940, returned to owners on Oct. 16 that year and laid up again. Requisitioned by Kriegsmarine on March 18-1941, rebuilt in Bergen, and used as target ship Wega ("Zielschiff") by 1. U-Lehrdidvision, Pillau, (or by 27th U-flotille, Gotenhafen?) Germany from June 1-1941. From March-1942 she was used as accommodation vessel by 25th U-flotille, Travemunde, Germany, and from 1943 by 25th U-flotille in Gdansk, back in Travemunde in 1945. Bombed by (Russian) aircraft near Staberhuk on Fehmarn on May 4-1945, voyage East Prussia-Lübeck with refugees. Caught fire and had to be beached, burnt out completely. 1 died (Egon Paul Lange).

Vega in German control - Picture taken about 1942.
Vega after the attack - The ship on the right is Swakopmund.

On my Ship Forum there's a long thread on this vessel, started by the nephew of the man who was killed on Vega during the attack. As can be seen there's some disagreement on whether she was renamed Wega when in German control, and also on the date of attack as well as nationality of attacking aircraft.

One of the postings in this thread states that 5 other ships were also victims of this attack, namely Pioneer (ex Parkston), her sister ship Kurassier (ex Esbjerg), Messina, Swakopmund (Ex. Egemen) and Bolkoburg (Ex. Ostwind, Ex. Warzawa II).

The following is a summary of Flemming's post on the forum:

 The attack as seen by the captain of Pioneer: 

All six ships were south of the Fehmarn Island, when they were attacked by aircraft at 15:00 Hours on May 3-1945. The ships were well dispersed and none was hit. The nearest bomb fell 300 metres from Pioneer and further away from any of the other ships. After the attack the ships were further dispersed because of the number of aircraft in the area. Pioneer, Messina and Kurassier went to a position north of Fehmarn where Pioneer was beached, while the other ships remained south of the island, where they were attacked again, probably on May 4. Pioneer's captain believed that Vega and Bolkoburg were burnt out and that Swakopmund capsized in shallow water.

 The attack from the aircrew's point of view: 

On May 3-1945 between 11:35 and 19:40 hours, 7 Typhoons of 183 Squadron attacked 6 large ships off the southeastern tip of Fehmarn. Thirteen 500 lb. bombs were dropped and two direct hits on the stern of one of the ships were claimed, as well as near misses on another ship. Bolkoburg was attacked by 8 Typhoons of 197 Squadron at 09:35 hours on May 4, south of Fehmarn. Sixteen 500 lb. bombs were dropped and two very near misses were claimed, one near the bow and another on the stern. The target was also strafed with 20 mm. cannon fire. At 12:15 on the same day, 8 Typhoons of 193 Squadron also attacked Bolkoburg with sixteen 500 lb. bombs. The ship was seen to be stationary. Two near misses on the bows, one direct hit and three near misses on the stern were claimed. Many cannon strikes were seen and the ship was left burning. At 19:00 on May 3, 11 Typhoons of 193 Squadron attacked four ships south of Fehmarn. Twenty-two 500 lb. bombs were dropped. Two direct hits aft of the funnel and two near misses on the port side were claimed on Vega. Two direct hits amidships, two near misses to port and two near misses to starboard of Swakopmund were claimed. Both ships were left burning, Vega listing to starbord.

For more responses to the intitial query on this incident, please go to the thread in question. I will update as more information becomes available.


Wreck taken over by Den Norske Krigsforsikring (insurers) "as-is, where-lies" in July-1946, but not moved. Sold in Oct.-1948 to Sigurd Skaugen, Oslo "as-is, where-lies". Divided into 3 sections, midship section salvaged and towed to Howaldtswerke where the two engines were removed before the section was broken up. The remaining 2 sections were broken up "in situ". The engines were later installed in the Norwegian ships Kollgrim (ex Norheim, ex Empire Pearl) and Haukefjell (ex Norholm, ex Empire Druid).

Back to Vega on the "Homefleet Ships starting with V" page.

(Misc Sources, incl "The World's Merchant Fleets", Roger W. Jordan, info from T. Eriksen, Norway and others as named within above text).

Other ships by this name:
There was also a Finnish ship by this name, a steamer. The Italian Navy had a torpedo boat by the name Vega, sunk by the British cruiser Southampton on Jan. 11-1942.

A barque named Vega of Gothenburg became famous for Nordenskjold's Northeast passage in 1878-1879. This vessel was a seal catcher, built Bremerhafen 1872, owned by Thor Dahl, Sandefjord from 1902. Sold to John Coory, Scotland in 1903, broken down by ice that same year in Baffin Bay. ("Damp - Dampskipets æra i Vestfold").

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