Funnel Distance Actual From Wreck


B

Brigitta Lienhard

Guest
After watching Ballard’s Britannic expedition, I notice that the explorers discovered one of the ships large funnels some considerable distance from the wreck itself. I was looking to find and reports that one of the funnels had fallen off the ship prior to its sinking.
How could a funnel have dispatched itself from the ship so far from its eventual resting location.
Sorry about my English.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
692
483
Easley South Carolina
I think it would depend at least partly on whether or not the ship was still moving. If she was when the funnel came off, or if she surged forward when she took her final plunge, then the funnel would not be all that close. We have a couple of members here who know a hell of a lot more about the wreck then I do. Hopefully, they'll speak up on this.
 
Jan 14, 2001
226
5
171
According to Britannic's chaplain,Rev.John A.Fleming the funnels fell and crashed upon the decks sometime before the ship took her final plunge.Only one funnel was found very close to the wreck.The other three were all found by Dr.Ballard in 1995 following the debris field left behind the wreck.I don't know the actual distances though.

Best regards,
Michail
 
B

Brigitta Lienhard

Guest
Yes Michael. How could a funnel be over 400 metre from the actual wreck. That is a considerable distance for a disabled and foundering ship to proceed. A funnel falling would have surely attracted some attention.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
692
483
Easley South Carolina
I'm sure it did, but keep in mind that after the explosion, Captain Bartlett attempted to turn to shore in the hope of beaching the ship. Eventually, he realized that this was a fruitless exercise, but one has to wonder just how far the ship traveled after the engines were stopped and at what point the funnel came off as well as the effects of any local currents. 53,000 tons of mass doesn't stop on a dime.

It's an intriguing question.
wink.gif
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Jan 6, 2001
322
9
171
Indeed a very interesting question, here are some thoughts:

Problem is that there is little known about the wreck site. What do we know more then Ken Marschall's painting and some fuzzy wreck pictures?

Anyway, I assume that the 400m figure is for the funnel which is the one most far away from this wreck, so the other 2 funnels are between #1 and this one.(#1 is next to the wreck). 4 funnels in 400 meters is not a really large area.(the ship itself is 270 m!)

So I think it's quite important to see the 400 meters in comparison with the other important sizes.
The ship is about 270 meters, the depth of the wreck is 110 meters and a funnel itself is, IIRC, around the 18/19 meters.
110 meters is quite a drop, but it's not a solid object. It's quite large in size, but it's weight is relativily low. I can image that it drifts/moves in it's downfall to the bottom, it will not fall down like a rock. And the (slow)forward momentum of the ship and a current can/will do this.

So, I have to agree with Rev. Fleming, who says the funnels 'melt like wax and crash onto the decks one by one' before the ship 'leaves hardly a ripple behind'.
The aft 3 funnels fall off one by one, the ship travels about 1x it's lenght from the moment the first one falls off, and then hits the bottom and sinks.

It wouldn't have to do much with Bartlett's beaching attempts, 400 meters isn't far, and when I would have been captain, a funnel crashing onto the deck would *not* be a good sign...(certainly not when you think this deck is full with lifeboats/liferafts and perhaps people. If it happened when the ship had still people/nurses onboard, some reports would have existed of falling funnels causing panic, damage, casualties etc.)

Hope this all makes some sense!
Comments are very welcome.

Regards,
Remco
 

Steve Smith

Member
Mar 20, 2011
151
1
71
Further to Remco's points above - is it possible that the funnels have shifted during their years on the bottom? I've heard that whole ship wrecks have been known to shift. Large but relatively light objects like the funnels could conceivably be prone to currents and tidal action
 
J

Joshua McCracken

Guest
There are alot of possible contributing factors to the funnel's distance from the wreck. First of all, as Michael and Remco pointed out, the ship was moving as she took her final plunge, and so the forward momentum of the ship might have alot to do with why funnels can be found so far from the wreck. But on the other hand, remember that the funnels were made from very thin metal, and compared with the rest of the ship they were VERY light, and I wouldn't rule out the possibility that they drifted with the current a little bit as they sank. Finally, as Steve pointed out, if the current has been strong enough at the bottom over the past 87 years, it is possible that the funnels were pushed away from the wreck a little bit. They are largely intact after all, unlike the forward funnel, which was smashed after it fell from the ship when it hit the bottom. Just my crazy theories, but hey.
 

Steven Hall

Member
Dec 17, 2008
648
10
113
A funnel falling in that depth would not have been effected by tide. (as it fell) Where it departed from the ship to where it is today.
The funnels are not round - so they would not just roll around on the bottom.
Importantly - the current in the channel would have taken the funnel in the opposite direction to where it is today anyway. So forget the current - or the fall to the bottom.
Looking at the ships apparent movements leading up to the sinking. (and the location of the funnel) She may have been performing a zigzag manoeuvre.
 
Jan 14, 2001
226
5
171
Wrong thread for the previous post.I'm getting old....

Regarding, the funnels, there is a very nice image (from the 1995 expedition) obtained from the side-scan sonar, which shows Britannic's hull and the exact location of each of the four funnels on the sea floor.

I will ask Simon Mills' permission to publish it at HSB.It would be a nice addition.

Regards,
Michail
 

Similar threads

Similar threads