Break up starting where the superstructure met the hull.


Jul 1, 2015
Tacoma, WA
I was moving a rather heavy model of a ship the other day and I noticed that when not lifting it evenly at the bow or stern the model (just like a real ship) began to hog. What was interesting though is that this model, which was made up of several pieces put together, started to come apart from where the superstructure would be on Titanic. This got me thinking about the break up and rather it occurred not from the top down or the down up but from beneath the superstructure, so I threw this together. Hope it makes sense; it’s a word vomit of the idea so anyone feel free to mess around with it.
  1. The stern wants to go down, this creates an upwards pressure on the hull, and this causes a separation that begins at the superstructure. The stress is centered between the forward and aft towers. The double bottom is also compressed upwards.
  2. Either individually or at the same time the forward edge of the forward tower and aft edge of the aft tower begin, and the forward edge of the forward double bottom piece and the aft edge of the aft double bottom piece give in.
  3. The superstructure breaks allowing the stern to fall.
  4. The two superstructure tower pieces come off, with the forward probably going first and the forward one disconnecting as soon as its submerged due the water pushing it upwards but the sinking of the hull forward pushing it downwards allowing the hinge that was created on its aft side to break. (This could also indicate what some may have thought was the ‘bow’ resurfacing.) It is also possible that the aft tower piece is connected to the forward tower piece and they eventually break apart.
  5. The forward edge of the double bottom is bent downwards as the stern lands on an even keel, but as the stern rises it is again compressed upwards, this edge gives and the bow section floats away.
  6. The boilers and coals spill out. Possibly the forward engine as well or this engine stays until the double bottom tears off.
  7. As the stern begins to sink the double bottom pieces flips aft (maybe even folding back on itself).
  8. The double bottom comes off as a whole, hardly holding together, but they eventually break apart close to the ocean floor. The large wreckage next to the double bottom also comes off.

Attached is a rough pictorial of the above.
titanic drawing 2.png

Seungho Kang

Mar 5, 2019
South Korea
I had a similar thought from last June, I believe.
most of my theory is based off of carrie chaffee's testimony, which i think is one of the most detailed testimonies.

"The ship sank steadily until just at the last, when it plunged rapidly." (ship sinks faster after around 2:05) "Just before going down it seemed to writhe (twist), breaking into the three parts into which it was divided." (the evening of the list causes some, not all, stress on the ship, and then the ship breaks. B deck and the double bottom fail almost simultaneously, and the decks between them hold, while the aft, expansion joint opens up, creating the forward tower section and parts of the aft tower section) "First the middle seemed to go down, lifting bow and stern into the air." (tower sections are dislocated from the decks below them, and the bow gets a slight starboard list, making that illusion that the bow rose up) "Then it twisted the other way, throwing the middle up. " (as the bow turns to starboard, the forward tower falls to the starboard side, and the aft tower falls to the port side, as the stern starts to list to port) "Finally the bow went under, and it plunged, stern last." (bow is now completely underwater, followed by the stern)

This is in the condition that both keel and B-deck failed almost simultaneously. I call this motion a "weak nutcracker", lower decks being the nut being cracked, and the B-deck as the week hinge part of the nutcracker. As the nut(lower decks) cracks, the compression causes the weak hinge(B-deck) to pull apart and fail as well.

This is my diagram of the breakup, made back in July, right after the keel fails, B-deck fails and causes a top-down tear in front of the 3rd funnel. The galley decks are the ones that is holding the ship together.

As you can see the forward tower is breaking off of the stern, as the galley decks lower down, since the bow is connected to it and drops down because of the loss of buoyancy. As the stern's list levels out and the bow still having a slight port list, a "twisting" motion is simulated, creating more cracks around the 3rd funnel area and the reciprocating engine uptakes.

the forward tower is now dislocated, as well as the aft tower.

note that the bow's list evens out starting from 2:05, so in this diagram above, because of inertia, the force that made the bow's even out causes the bow to list to starboard a little bit, causing the now dislocated forward tower to fall to the starboard side.

aft tower detaches to port, and bow detaches.

as the stern starts its descent, the keel pieces peel off, and the other objects break off of the stern. As the stern starts its spiraling motion, that's when the galley decks separated, hence being near to the wreck.

This is also correct in the positions of the pieces, because the aft tower is at the west(port) side of the hypocenter(the boilers) and the forward tower is at the east (starboard) side of the hypocenter.
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Seungho Kang

Mar 5, 2019
South Korea
Thanks :)
This theory also supports the positions on the pieces on the wreck, because the 2nd class smoking room and the galleys are closest to the stern, meaning it broke at the later stages, but the forward tower is the farthest from the wreck, since it broke the earliest(and fell to starboard). The double bottom pieces are an exception, since it is peeled off of the stern during the stern descending vertical.