Did only 2 ft doom the Titanic?

Sururain

Sururain

Member
It's well-stated that Titanic could have remained afloat if her first four forward compartments were flooded. With hull ruptures across six compartments Titanic was a doomed ship. However, my question is if it wasn't for the two feet of ruptured plating into Boiler Room 5, could Titanic still have remained barely afloat? While this would have meant technically five compartments were ruptured, compartment 1 was not like the others. The damage was localized to the forepeak tank, which was self contained with was watertight horizontally meaning once filled the water wouldn't rise up the upper decks. Indeed compartment 1 only flooded from water spilling over from compartment 2. So instead of five compartments being compromised in this scenario, it's really more like 4 1/3 compartments. If Titanic had been a second faster in turning and avoided scraping the hull into boiler room 5, could she still have remained afloat with only 4 1/3 compartments filling with water? Was there enough wiggle room in the calculations for that?
 
Rose F.

Rose F.

Member
No. Wilding's original calculations stated she would have sank with 5 compartments, and modern digital analysis still suggests she would have sank with 5 compartments flooded. She technically wasn't even meant to float with 4 flooded; it was "any three of her four forwardmost compartments." her being able to survive with 4 flooded wasn't calculated as being possible until the Inquiries afterward.

When 5 compartments are flooded (maybe even as few as 4, I'd have to find Wilding's original analysis again) the water would overflow into the top half of compartment 1.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I have a feeling a more pertinent question would be whether the Titanic would have remained afloat longer if those 2 feet of damage extending to BR5 had not occurred and if so, for how much longer. I feel the best person to calculate this and give the answer is Sam Halpern.

There was also the separate damage to the "floor" of BR4 which became obvious only much later that can affect this equation.
 
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J

J Sheehan

Member
I feel that Titanic certainly could have stayed afloat a little bit longer if the berg hadn't opened two feet into the forward coal bunker of No.5 Boiler Room.

Whether it would've been an extra five or ten minutes or so, I don't think it wouldn't have made too much difference in the end. The ship would still have sunk.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
It's not feelings but the Cold Equations. Those cold, unfeeling, uncaring numbers which are the floodable length curves of the ship which seal the deal. Up to four of the forward compartments breeched was survivable.

Five or more?

Sayonara!
 
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Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
Up to four of the forward compartments breeched was survivable.

Five or more?

Sayonara!
Thanks MHS. So if we get back to the OP and consider a scenario where the damage from the iceberg had not involved those 2 feet into BR5, how much longer do you think that the Titanic could have remained afloat? Or are you saying it could actually have survived?

I also wonder how the separate, lesser damage to BR4 would fit into the permutations.
 
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Charles C. Deroko

Charles C. Deroko

Member
If, in fact, the D Deck gangway door was opened, it certainly didn't help the situation. Lightoller testified that he ordered it opened.
 
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kevijeps

kevijeps

Member
I have wondered the same thing as to whether removing the damage to BR5 would have made much of a difference.
The cold reality is that it would have made almost no difference at all ultimately, as others have said. The rate of flooding from the damage into the coal bunker was like that of "a firehose" and even had it not been contained by the coal bunker door would not have filled BR5 very far before the flooded BR6 over-topped the bulkhead. The weight of the flooded coal bunker probably made little difference to the speed at which she was sinking. The main effect of the damage to BR5 was that it misled investigators early on into thinking that the WT Bulkhead between BR5 and BR6 had failed. Barrett's description of the green flood between the boilers at 1:10 Titanic time is mostly responsible for that. By that time, BR6 and the three large compartments forward plus the forepeak were full above the tops of their WT bulkheads and the loss of buoyancy from that alone had doomed her.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
If, in fact, the D Deck gangway door was opened, it certainly didn't help the situation. Lightoller testified that he ordered it opened.
Yes, that's a very good point. There have been a lot of different opinions not only about the gangway door order itself but also whether Nichols and his men carried it out - and if they did, to what extent. Research by Thomas Krom with supportive photos and documents posted recently in other threads do suggest that there was some human operation with the D-deck door on the port side; I understand that it lies open on the wreck and its condition (and that of the inner grille) indicate that it could not have been entirely the result of the impact of the bow section with the ocean floor.

That said, the fact that no one in lifeboats #8 or #6 even mentioned an open gangway door suggests that it was not opened at all or opened but closed again. I think that Nichols and his men opened the D-deck door, decided that it was not a safe or practical option to use the opening to load people into partly filled lifeboats, and closed it again. Thomas has suggested the interesting possibility that in re-closing the door, the men did not - or were unable to - do it properly and it might have blown open when the bow section impacted with the ocean floor. IMO, that possibility is certainly worth considering because I cannot see an experienced and responsible sailor like Boatswain Nichols leaving the gangway door open with the sea already so close to its threshold.

That in turn raises yet another interesting consideration, related what you said above. IF the port side D-deck gangway door was not closed properly, would it have contributed to increased flooding when the bow dipped far enough for the sea to reach it? Thomas reckons that it would have happened around 01:20am, a full hour before the Titanic finally disappeared. It was an outward opening door and the pressure of water from outside could have theoretically pressed it harder shut initially. But of course, when the area flooded from within, the pressure gradient would have changed.
 
Charles C. Deroko

Charles C. Deroko

Member
Another possible source of flooding is the stem hawse being open. The famous Beken of Cowes photo shows Titanic outbound with the hawse uncovered. I don't know if it was secured for sea or not.

As long as gravity is greater than buoyancy, a ship will sink.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Thanks MHS. So if we get back to the OP and consider a scenario where the damage from the iceberg had not involved those 2 feet into BR5, how much longer do you think that the Titanic could have remained afloat?

I don't know if anybody has crunched the numbers beyond 4 or less, you survive, 5 or more, make yer peace! What is known from the floodable length curves is that five or more is non-survivable.
 
J

João de Camões

Member
Had Boiler Room 5 not been flooded, could the pipes in Boiler Room 6 had kept the flooding at bay enough to allow the carpenter to repair the damage and end up with effectly only 4 comparments flooded and therefore, the Titanic surviving?
 
Charles C. Deroko

Charles C. Deroko

Member
That would require working underwater freezing temperatures. Even a trained and prepared Navy damage control team would have troubles. Locating sprung rivet points and seams wouldn't be easy. And those spaces couldn't be closed up to introduce air pressure to counteract the flooding.
 
Arun Vajpey

Arun Vajpey

Member
I don't know if anybody has crunched the numbers beyond 4 or less, you survive, 5 or more, make yer peace!
You could be right but it would still be interesting for someone like Sam Halpern to work out the process of flooding and the resultant eventuality (either way) IF, there had not been that 2-foot extension of the damage into BR5. Even if the outcome was that the Titanic would still have sunk, I am interested in knowing how much longer the process would have taken.
 
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Charles C. Deroko

Charles C. Deroko

Member
2' into the bunker. Accessible to secure? What repair equipment was available and was an attempt made to close it up beyond securing the bunker door? If the damage was at the 14'draft mark (as other damage has been stated), the hydrostatic pressure would be considerable at over 20psi.
 
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