Acquitting the Iceberg


Philip Hind

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Peter Elverhøi has been brave and submitted his book Acquitting the Iceberg for publication on ET. The first two parts have now gone up and we'll put up the remaining 20 or so (!) chapters at regular intervals.

Peter is very keen to get constructive feedback on the book much of which are his opinions and theories relating to the Titanic disaster formed over 50 years of research.

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Jim Currie

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I have just finished reading chapters 1,2 & 3. A lot of work in this and a lot to think about already. I trust comments are OK?

I would point out first that the idea of an 'unsinkable' ship goes way back before 1858 and Brunel. Leonardo da Vinci had already posulated the double hull and bottom system. See here:

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The use of the adverb 'practically' in conjunction with 'unsinkable' by naval architects simply meant 'almost unsinkable'. Captain Smith and every one of his officers were trained in ship construction and would know perfectly well that their ship was not unsinkable. They would also know how to construct a virtually unsinkable vessel. The term could be prefixed by 'all things being equal'. That was what Captain Smith meant when he said he 'couldn't imagine a situation'. He did not lie. He most certainly could not have imagined what happened to Titanic any more than he could have imagined her running aground or ripping a 200 feet long hole in her side on an uncharted submerged mountain in the middle of the Atlantic.

Water tight doors as fitted to Titanic and Olympic would not leak as described. Nor would rivets leak if properly caulked. Even in 1912, WT doors, like WT bulkheads would have been subjected to non-destructive WT tests. Both ships were new. The doors would only have been tested a few times so there would be no wear on the knoife edges or seals. I any case, in the case of a flooded compartment, the effectivenes of the door would be augmented by the differential in pressure between a flooded and non-flooded compartment. Only drydock gates leak as described in the article. If water had leaked through the doors and into the 6' void beneath the boilers as suggested, these doors would have been as effective as a chocolate fireguard.

Jim C.
 

Jay Roches

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Mr. Elverhøi has done very well in creating suspense at the end of each article. Each time I come to the end of one, I'm left wondering what the next will contain. I'm looking forward to the continuation and conclusion. It's unorthodox and controversial, but in a way that provokes thought.

I've taken notes for many bits but here is something about Chapter Seven.
The first compartment was not flooded. Forward of WTB A, there is the forepeak tank below the waterline, a store area on D, E, F, G and Orlop decks, and anchor equipment on C (if memory serves). Even if the forepeak tank itself was breached (and it apparently wasn't), the tank itself was watertight, so there was no breach in the compartment forward of WTB A.

The bit about the upcoming war is interesting. Personally I doubt that the British thought their supply of oil was in jeopardy. The naval balance of power was so much in favor of the Triple Entente that a blockade of British ports was unthinkable. The Germans, on the other hand, knew they needed to stockpile oil because they would face a blockade and Bismarck's feared two-front war. Interestingly, in looking into exactly when oil became the fuel of choice for the Royal Navy, 1911 or 1912 does seem to be the time. The RN was already spraying oil onto coal to make it burn faster; then a certain figure (you get one guess as to his name) came along, and before long the Queen Elizabeth-class battleships were launched (1914) as the first oil-burners.
 

Jim Currie

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Up until now, I have tried very hard to maintain an open mind but now?

Surely this man isn't serious? You say he's studied Titanic for 50 years? Are we discussing THE Titanic?

If the answer to all three questions is 'Yes' then we have once more an example of a researcher who has not read all the evidence or if he has; is unable to properly interpret it. One thing I'll say for him; he has hit on a novel way to have his work edited.:rolleyes:

For a start: Titanic was never on a quest for speed. From the moment she past Daunt Rock in Ireland until she hit the ice berg, she covered a distance of about 1807 miles in 84.167 hours giving her a general average speed for the voyage of 21.5 knots (rounded-up.

Contrary to popular belief, she was not intentionally speeded-up after Noon on April 14.
For certain, extra boilers were lit before 8pm that night but the firemen were told to ease back firing.
For certain, a short burst of speed was contemplated but it never took place and was certainly not planned before Noon on April 15.

The proof for the last bit of information lies with the planned clock change of 47 minutes between Noon April 14 and Noon April 15.
That would have been a decision made by Captain Smith and he would base it on his estimate of how many degrees and minutes Titanic would change her Longitude (and how many miles he expected to cover) between his April 14 Noon fix position and where he expected his vessel to be at Noon on April 15.

47 minutes of time translates to 11 degrees 45 minutes of longitude. If we know the courses steered, we can calculate Smith's calculated distance and hence his estimate of speed during the following day's run.

Titanic was at longitude 44-35' West at noon on April 14. Captain Smith planned to turn her at longitude 47-00'West.. 126 miles away. This would use-up 2 degrees 25 minutes of the expected longitude change and 126 miles of the expected day's run between April 14 and 15. leaving 9 degrees 10 minutes of logitude to use up of the total expected change from when Titanic turned at 47-00'West until Noon the next day, April 14. Then.she would be put on a course of 265 True and maintain that course until near her destination. If we translate 9 degrees 10 minutes of longitude into distance, we get 414 miles. Thus we can deduce that Captain Smith expected his ship to cover a distance of between 126 + 414 miles = 540 miles and 126 + between Noon April 14 and Noon April 15. This means that Smith did not plan a hike in speed before Noon April 15 but more than likely worked his planned clock change using the same distance run as between April 13 and April 14...546 miles. Otherwise, he would have ordered a greater clock chnage.. 48 minutes instead of 47 minutes.
As for extra boilers:he would need the extra power these would provide to combat the adverse effect of the Gulf Stream which he and every other captain knew(and still knows) , he would encounter some time after Noon on April 14.

It never ceases to amuse me when I see alegations of lying to a Wreck Commissioner. Like many others; the author of the article in question does not understand the value a Deck Officer places on his 'ticket'. Get caught lying to a Commisioner and he can kiss his career goodby. Lightoller was in front of the best in the business. He also had the uncertainty of not knowing that at any time, any one of the surviving deck crew or over 700 passengers might do an "Ernest Gill" on him. Additionally he had the one unknown element to contend with; 5th Officer Lowe. Lowe was a rebel and a perfectionist. He would most certainly not have lied for Smith or anyone else. He was not a Company man in the true sense having been but 15 months with the WSL.
Additionally; Lightoller lied to his 'friend. In fact, he told his questioners that the engine revolutions remained at 75 with a short period of 76 on one engine. This was the same revs for the previous day's run.

The truth is seldom intersting or dramatic enough for most story-tellers. That is evident from this work so far. But the man's not alone.

The idea of speed from day one dismisses the 'day's run' evidence supplied by 3rd Officer Pitman.

However that information was not only of interest to Ismay et al.
Passengers gambled on the day's run figure. A number- The Captain' Number - would be posted on the notice board each morning. This was the captain's 'best guess' for the number of miles run since noon the previous days. In fact the captain didn't have anything to do with it. The job of providing that ficticious number was usually given to the 2nd Officer.
Passengers would either bet on the Captain's Number or pick a number or numbers on each side of it. Shortly after Noon,when the vessel's position was known, the proper Day's Run number would be posted. The passenger with that number or the one nearest to it would win the pot or share it with others. For a hidden speed agenda to be successful, that noon figure would need to be fudged. No way sunshine! Can anyone inagine the damge such a revalation would do to business?

Another is the idea that Ismay would risk a mid-Atlantic break-down on the maiden voyage. Utter rubbish!

Ill leave it there. As others have pointed-out on FB, there's a plethora of inacuracies so far.

Jim C.
 

loudenaro

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I just read Chapter 13, with an eye towards what the Officers may have been thinking with the idea of loading passengers through the gangway doors. I just noticed upon reading On A Sea Of Glass where Boxhall is quoted as saying he was afraid to get near the "mob" standing by the doors on the starboard side, as they would have swamped his boat had they chosen to jump, but in all my years of research I must have somehow missed McGough's overhearing Murdoch's ordering Nichols to go down to the gangway to get out this wooden slab that might hold 40 or more people. This points conclusively to some sort of plan to really use the doors, perhaps there was even an organized effort to gather passengers, and I wonder whether or not this mob of unfortunates were among the people Gracie witnessed emerge on the boat deck shortly before the end when it became obvious that the only boat located off the starboard side was not coming to their aid after they had so patiently gathered below?
 

TimTurner

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That e-mail keeps bouncing back to me undelivered.

This study never really proves that Titanic was on the Northern route, nor does it prove why Officer Wilde was transferred. It sets forth a plausible scenario for this, then assumes that that scenario is true. While this doesn't make it wrong, it does not constitute proof.

If Titanic was on the Northern Route, then the Californian would also have to have been on the Northern Route, because they were north of Titanic. It also strongly implies that Carpathia was on the Northern Route. Titanic hit the sea floor 13 miles south of the position reported in the news and in the American Senate and British Board of Trade inquiries. This implies that Titanic made a sudden turn and headed south for dozens of miles just before or after she hit the iceberg.
 

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