Alternate Action After Collision


Ralph Lee

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Feb 9, 2019
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I have wondered if anyone has tried an alternate set of orders after the collision which might have delayed the sinking. Specifically, stopping the center screw, putting the port screw into reverse and the starboard screw into forward with the rudder turned to starboard ( I understand that the order would be "hard to port" at that time.) The speed of the screws could be 1/3 back with the port screw and 1/3 forward with the starboard screw (or whatever speed would be possible for the ship to handle structurally.) The idea is to decrease water pressure on the damaged starboard side of the ship to slow the leaking and extend the surface time of the ship.
Has anyone tried a simulation like this?
 
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Tim Gerard

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There's a book I read and really liked, "The Last Log of the Titanic" by David G. Brown, and he explores this pretty thoroughly, taking into account as well the fire in the coal bunker weakening a watertight bulkhead that turned out to be very critical.
 
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I'm proud of my work...and deeply appreciative that T. Gerard mentioned it here...but keep in mind that what I published is first-hand research for me, but third-hand evidence for today's active researchers. A book is never iron-clad, rock-solid evidence.

--- David G. Brown
 
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mitfrc

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If you had a detailed computer readout of the damage on the bridge, it might have made sense to implement from the perspective of the bridge crew. Unfortunately the reality is the 1912 Titanic crew did not have the ability to understand the nature of the damage that well, that quickly.

Counterflooding port tanks might have also helped... And that relies on the ability to counterflood, which Great Eastern had, but again, damage control methodologies weren't advanced enough yet.
 
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Thats true. Even in the US Navy it wasn't until after the big carrier fires of the 60's that it was mandated that every sailor will be a fire fighter. In my 4 years active duty I had to go to 3 different fire fighting schools.
 
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Thanks Steven-
Just a comment of how much the USN has changed over the years.
I am an ancient dinosaur from the Post-Korean Conflict Era.

During Boot Camp we were supposed to have a day of fire fighting but it was cancelled due to other training priorities. That was the closest I ever came to any fire fighting training.

During a stay at the then Long Beach Naval Shipyard, our liberties would often be to Los Angeles via the then popular Pacific Electric Railway interurban "Red Cars."
An elderly gentlemen joined us on one trip.
He showed us a photo of him in his dress whites, complete with lanyard and bo's'n's pipe and regaled us with his ''sea stories'' of how '' I served under Admiral Dewey during the Spanish-American War.,"
This old gentleman looked very much like an actor of our times - Charles Coburn -after.he got off train somewhere along the line, we all had sort of a ,"double take ".
We wondered if it might have really been Charles Coburn and he had an idea to take his act for the morale of the troops ?
I wonder if our generation would seem as ancient to the present generation as this gentleman did to ours ?
About the same number of years in the age span . LOL

Not to be critical of any other members of these forums - I'm just as guilty as anyone - but I think some of us are looking at these year 1912 incidents and problems with sort of a 20-20 hindsight year 2012 viewpoint.

Cheers !
Robert
 
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If you had a detailed computer readout of the damage on the bridge, it might have made sense to implement from the perspective of the bridge crew. Unfortunately the reality is the 1912 Titanic crew did not have the ability to understand the nature of the damage that well, that quickly.

Counterflooding port tanks might have also helped... And that relies on the ability to counterflood, which Great Eastern had, but again, damage control methodologies weren't advanced enough yet.

Post Script to my previous Post -
What if Thomas Andrews had had a laptop ??? ?
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Thanks Steven-
Just a comment of how much the USN has changed over the years.
I am an ancient dinosaur from the Post-Korean Conflict Era.

During Boot Camp we were supposed to have a day of fire fighting but it was cancelled due to other training priorities. That was the closest I ever came to any fire fighting training.

During a stay at the then Long Beach Naval Shipyard, our liberties would often be to Los Angeles via the then popular Pacific Electric Railway interurban "Red Cars."
An elderly gentlemen joined us on one trip.
He showed us a photo of him in his dress whites, complete with lanyard and bo's'n's pipe and regaled us with his ''sea stories'' of how '' I served under Admiral Dewey during the Spanish-American War.,"
This old gentleman looked very much like an actor of our times - Charles Coburn -after.he got off train somewhere along the line, we all had sort of a ,"double take ".
We wondered if it might have really been Charles Coburn and he had an idea to take his act for the morale of the troops ?
I wonder if our generation would seem as ancient to the present generation as this gentleman did to ours ?
About the same number of years in the age span . LOL

Not to be critical of any other members of these forums - I'm just as guilty as anyone - but I think some of us are looking at these year 1912 incidents and problems with sort of a 20-20 hindsight year 2012 viewpoint.

Cheers !
Robert
"I wonder if our generation would seem as ancient to the present generation as this gentleman did to ours ?
About the same number of years in the age span"
I'm sure thats the case. A pretty natural thing. My dads navy during WW2 was a lot different than my navy during the cold war and from what I've seen the navy today is a lot different than when I was in. Even when I was in the aviation community had a lot different attitude than surface fleet guys. It was almost like 2 different branches of of the military. But at the end of day the job is still the same from 1775 to today...put steel on the target when it becomes neccesary.
P.S. From news stories I've read and seen I probably wouldn't make in todays navy. The way we did things on the job and especially liberty which were considered normal for those times would get you booted out today.
P.P.S. I don't really see it on this board but you are right in general about history. Revisionist history is a pet peave of mine. Applying todays standards to what people had to do in the past is total BS to me.
 
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Post Script to my previous Post -
What if Thomas Andrews had had a laptop ??? ?
If he was running Windows on it it probably would have crashed before the ship did. No seriousley I dont think anything they could have done that would have made a big difference the way she was opened up to the sea and the bulkhead height. I watched a documentary the other night and they had a boat builder who built a replica of one the lifeboats. He said the number of survivors averaged out thru the boats was 39 per boat saved. He showed that they could have safely overloaded the boats to 80 passengers...doubleing the amount saved. I wish they could have done that but most everybody on this board know the problems of the lifeboats on Titanic.
 

mitfrc

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The issue with the lifeboats was that their design rating could be loaded from the boat deck and this should have been known. All passengers should have been sent to the boat deck, the gangways should have been left dogged, and every possible measure taken to slow the flooding internally by the crew as the boats were filled to capacity and lowered. I have heard something about one of the foremost tanks in the ship's bow not being damaged but that it was never dogged and sealed early after the collision, and that might have given some level of aide to the ship's trim and reduced the flooding rate -- but I don't know whether or not that's true. That seems like the biggest "alternate action" immediately after the collision: Ordering teams below to dog all hatches and secure all doors, vents, etc, forward of Boiler Room No.6--but again, we are getting into the world of "these kinds of damage control practices didn't exist yet". Britannic ran in submarine infested waters with her watertight doors open; this seems like the decision of a lunatic, but that's with two world wars of experience behind us.
 
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Yes your right about that. Hindsight makes geniuses of us all. I know its been debated wether or not it was factor but Brittanic was said to have had a lot of her portholes opened too because of the warm climate in the Med. I still remember to this day when I was going thru training they singled out the Battle of Jutland as an example of poor damamge control and the ships lost as result of that. On the other side of the coin some of the stuff those WW2 tin can sailors were able to do with their decimated ships and still fight was amazing. Those guys were like double bad ass.
 

mitfrc

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Mostly the issue at Jutland was sloppy ammunition handling procedures in Beatty's battlecruisers. None of the British battleships sank, even the torpedoed Marlborough. The German damage control was conversely actually very good. I am not sure at what point that innovation occurred though. Wars learn people fast, or kill them, and the Germans had a hard lesson at Dogger Bank.

But here's a counterargument to my own previous post: What if Titanic's officers had engaged in more aggressive damage control.... And the conserved buoyancy forward had led to instability and capsize? Most ships sink by capsizing. So while we use hindsight to be so smart we may actually kill more people...
 
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"In the end, the British lost fourteen ships and over six thousand men at Jutland and the Germans lost eleven ships and just over twenty-five hundred men." Yes the German model was very much so that the US Navy pretty much ditched its and the british model and adopted lessons learned from the germans. And by damage control I don't just mean fighting fires and plugging holes but by the way warships are constructed to take battle damage and still stay afloat to fight. Although with todays modern weapons it might be a mute point if the majors go at it. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a613481.pdf
 
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There are no engine orders which could be given or measures taken which would have significantly reduced any of the water pressure on the damaged areas. Pressure increases by a full atmosphere for every 15 feet you go down and any maneuvers attempted in the end would have made it impossible to launch the boats. The way to reduce water ingress would have been to NOT have the accident in the first place but it didn't work out that way in the real world.

In the end, stopping the ship to assess the damage was really the only option they had, after which they moved to option two: Begin to evacuate the ship by filling and launching the boats. This is not an operation which could have been safely accomplished while the ship was moving.
 
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mitfrc

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Also free surface effect would have increased the likelihood of capsize at that point, which more than outweighs any temporary benefit.
 
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There are no engine orders which could be given or measures taken which would have significantly reduced any of the water pressure on the damaged areas. Pressure increases by a full atmosphere for every 15 feet you go down and any maneuvers attempted in the end would have made it impossible to launch the boats. The way to reduce water ingress would have been to NOT have the accident in the first place but it didn't work out that way in the real world.

In the end, stopping the ship to assess the damage was really the only option they had, after which they moved to option two: Begin to evacuate the ship by filling and launching the boats. This is not an operation which could have been safely accomplished while the ship was moving.
I agree. Stopping the ship was about all they could do. It took time to figure on what was going on.Once they realized the situation the only other thing I could see that would have made a difference was to be more aggresive in getting people in the boats. But like I and others have said, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Not to be picky but that would be 33 ft down for one atmosphere increase.
 
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A fair point but even at 15 feet down, it's close to half an atmosphere and that's backed up by the weight of the whole ocean. It ain't gonna trickle in! ;) ;)
Yes. With the way she was opened up and the pressure behind it I think by the time they got down and inspected her it was already too late. Thomas Andrews seemed to have come to that conclusion pretty quick.Throw in the time to organize, retrive whatever damage control equiptment they had if any and start, they were way behind the curve with water coming in at a rate around 15 times the pumps could handle.
 
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"I wonder if our generation would seem as ancient to the present generation as this gentleman did to ours ?
About the same number of years in the age span"
I'm sure thats the case. A pretty natural thing. My dads navy during WW2 was a lot different than my navy during the cold war and from what I've seen the navy today is a lGerot different than when I was in. Even when I was in the aviation community had a lot different attitude than surface fleet guys. It was almost like 2 different branches of of the military. But at the end of day the job is still the same from 1775 to today...put steel on the target when it becomes neccesary.
P.S. From news stories I've read and seen I probably wouldn't make in todays navy. The way we did things on the job and especially liberty which were considered normal for those times would get you booted out today.
P.P.S. I don't really see it on this board but you are right in general about history. Revisionist history is a pet peave of mine. Applying todays standards to what people had to do in the past is total BS to me.

Just another comment on "I probably wouldn't make in today's Navy" .
Very likely if I had made it in Boot Camp I wouldn't have made it in today's ET School if you consider the 1950's studies in math and electronics with those of 2019. But the present studies probably have kept up with the times. We weren't studying the theory behind spark-gap transmitters and how to build them in lab in my courses in the 1950's.

Which brings up another question.
In the Marconi.Schools ,did the students also study the theory and construction of the Marconi Equipment , trouble-shooting,etc or was the course mostly centered on sending and receiving Morse Code ? Apparently Phillips and Bride knew enough about the Marconi System to find the trouble and how to fix it - according to Bride's comment ?

''Applying today's standards to what people had to do in the past is total BS to me" I'm probably as guilty of this as anyone...."What if Thomas Andews would have had a laptop ?" I think I deserve a great big ROTFLOL on me for that ???
 
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Just another comment on "I probably wouldn't make in today's Navy" .
Very likely if I had made it in Boot Camp I wouldn't have made it in today's ET School if you consider the 1950's studies in math and electronics with those of 2019. But the present studies probably have kept up with the times. We weren't studying the theory behind spark-gap transmitters and how to build them in lab in my courses in the 1950's.

Which brings up another question.
In the Marconi.Schools ,did the students also study the theory and construction of the Marconi Equipment , trouble-shooting,etc or was the course mostly centered on sending and receiving Morse Code ? Apparently Phillips and Bride knew enough about the Marconi System to find the trouble and how to fix it - according to Bride's comment ?

''Applying today's standards to what people had to do in the past is total BS to me" I'm probably as guilty of this as anyone...."What if Thomas Andews would have had a laptop ?" I think I deserve a great big ROTFLOL on me for that ???
''Applying today's standards to what people had to do in the past is total BS to me" My comment wasn't directed at something like your laptop speculation. It was about applying todays PC madness to events from history's past. Speculation about what if's is pretty common. I do it all the time. Its just a thought game.
 

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