How did the Titanic sink to the bottom

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Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

Only Peuchin saw the ship sink and saw the Aurora.

Huh? What do you mean by this statement? That Peuchen was the only person in lifeboat 6 to see the ship go down? Please clarify.

quote:

Since he saw the ship then the Aurora he must have been facing north and his boat the opposite way.

I've just gone through Peuchen's testimony and nowhere is that mentioned. Where are you getting this information?​
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

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Bill. from where he was standing, looking forward, he would be dazzled by the blaze of lights from the ship. Even at that, would he be star-gazing? I don't think so - probably staring in amazement at this huge chunk of ice passing so close to him.
As for seeing the the rudder.. no way!

Jason: apologies! I know full well Peuchin was not the only one who saw the Aurora that night. What I was trying to imagine was how a boat launched from the port side from a ship pointing north could itself be pointing in a north direction. In my last to Sam I quoted what Peuchin stated about how his boat headed out from the ship directly north. Since his boat was launched from the port side, the ship had to, in this case, be facing east. If he saw the vessel sink and Hitchins didn't (Hitchin's statement) and Hitchins was at the tiller then Peuchin must have been facing toward the stern of his boat- looking toward the south. If however, after she sank,when Peuchin changed his rowing position he would indeed have seen The Aurora ahead of his boat. Alternatively, if the vessel was facing west, he would only have seen The Aurora after Titanic sank and without changing rowing positions.

Sam: I see exactly what you mean but it only holds good if Boxhall did indeed use the ship heading as relative and there we differ.
As for Row v. Peuchin. Clearly the latter thought the former was an overbearing idiot with little marine knowledge (buoy in the middle of the Atlantic indeed!). You'll remember, the latter claimed to be an'experienced mariner'. However, this 'mariner' states as I have earlier pointed out that he left directly (at a 90 degree angle) from the port side of the ship and was heading north. How come? He also thought later that Carpathia had gone to anchor (in the middle of the Atlantic indeed?).
As for Rowe's ice encounter - did he not infer that the ice was so close he could almost have touched it? Additionally, it is possible that there was not more damage further aft because the ice protrusions which cause the damage had been shorn off as was the underwater spur which possibly ripped-off the bilge keel. As you know; N. Atlantic bergs are not tabular as are the S. Atlantic ones. From those I have seen; the one described in the evidence does not seem to have been one of the larger versions. 70 - 100 ft max height is not really all that big.
Like you, I have, in over 25 years as a marine accident investigator, come across some very silly mariners. However, the crafty ones were usually very clever at covering their rear ends.

Still enjoying,

JIm
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

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Jim:

The "overbearing idiot with little marine knowledge" was Hichens, the same QM that said he never put the helm over to port, the one who you believe told the absolute truth.

From Page 337 of the American Inquiry:

Maj. PEUCHEN: "...He [Hichens] thought it was a boat of some kind. He thought probably it might be a buoy out there of some kind, and he called out to the next boat, which was within hearing, asking if he knew if there was any buoy around there. This struck me as being perfectly absurd, and showed me the man did not know anything about navigating, expecting to see a buoy in the middle of the Atlantic."

Cheers,
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

Jason: apologies! I know full well Peuchin was not the only one who saw the Aurora that night.

No worries, Jim. Thanks for clairfying.

quote:

If he saw the vessel sink and Hitchins didn't (Hitchin's statement) and Hitchins was at the tiller then Peuchin must have been facing toward the stern of his boat- looking toward the south.

Yes, Peuchen did state in his testimony that as soon as he got into the boat, he went aft and was ordered by Hichens to "get down and put that plug in". But Peuchen wasn't facing the stern of the boat, since he stated that Fleet was on his left, so obviously he would be facing the bow. Hichens would have been facing the south. So Peuchen may have not seen the Aurora, but he does not state either way if he did or did not in any of his accounts that I've read. The only stars he spoke about were the northern lights:

quote:

AGP205. After you took to the lifeboat you proceeded to row in the direction in which the ship had been moving, westward?
- No; we started right off from the port side of the boat directly straight off from her about amidship, on the port side, right directly north, I think it would be, because the northern lights appeared where this light we had been looking at in that direction appeared shortly afterwards.

quote:

the latter claimed to be an'experienced mariner'.

That's because Peuchen was experienced on the water. He had considerable experience as a yachtsman, as he had owned a yacht for several years. Plus, his crossing on Titanic was his fortieth.​
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

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Hi again Sam!
Don't recall his saying he never put the helm over to port - he just never said anything else about it! I notice you made no comment about Peuchin inferring he did not think there was any light or his inane remark about the Carpathia anchoring. Additionally, you will note that earlier I conceded there might have been an ahead movement and an aport-wheel order but I also gave the reason why I so conceded. Actually A QM does not usually have any true knowledge of navigation. He does not need to - just how to read a compass, steer and obey orders. He would probably have an AB's ticket as well- perhaps not then but certainly soon thereafter. His main expertise would be in cordage and ship maintenance.
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Jason,

Hitchins stated he did not see Titanic sink but Puchin said he did. The boat pulled directly north and stopped - presumably facing north.
We know Hitchins was at the tiller so being at the tiller he would be looking ahead i.e. north. It follows that if he did not see the ship sink and Puchin did then the latter must have been looking south in the opposite direction.
Additionally, if Hitchins boat was launched on the port side and headed due north at right angles to the Titanic's fore and aft line then Titanic would be heading east! Actually the Northern Lights are not stars but the Aurora Borealis - the 'aurora' I was talking about. In the southern Hemisphere they are called the Aurora Australis.
As for the gallant Major: he may well have been a yachtsman but unless the Titanic was in very shallow water and heading east, I would not like to have had him calibrate my compass or supply me with anchor cable. Anyone with money can own a yacht. Unfortunately, even today there are people out there with very sophisticated floating things they call yachts but the rescue services are employed full time risking their lives extricating people exactly like the gallant major from holes they have confidently sailed into. Like my old grannie used to say 'It's not what you are but what you think you are'. I've carried lots of passengers all over the place - very few of them I would class as competent mariners.

Nice to hear from you

Cheers,

Jim.
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Jim,

quote:

It follows that if he did not see the ship sink and Puchin did then the latter must have been looking south in the opposite direction.

Yes, that would have been when Peuchen turned to watch Titanic sink. I thought you were referring to Peuchen facing south, the entire time.

quote:

Additionally, if Hitchins boat was launched on the port side and headed due north at right angles to the Titanic's fore and aft line then Titanic would be heading east!

That's right, but we know that isn't obviously true.

quote:

Actually the Northern Lights are not stars but the Aurora Borealis - the 'aurora' I was talking about.

You're right, my mistake.

quote:

I would not like to have had him calibrate my compass or supply me with anchor cable.

I take it you are not too fond of Major Peuchen. May I ask why?

quote:

Anyone with money can own a yacht.

Sure they can, but experience is another matter.

quote:

or his inane remark about the Carpathia anchoring.

I know this was directed at Sam, but are you referring to this part of Peuchen's testimony?

quote:

AGP239. Did you see the boats as the Carpathia reached them? Did the boats come to the Carpathia or did the Carpathia go around and pick up the boats?
- I do not know whether she came to anchor; I think probably she did. However, she was in the lee of all the boats. That is, we had all come down; we were to the weather of the Carpathia, and so she stayed there until we all came down on her.

quote:

Nice to hear from you

Yes, good chatting with you too. It is an interesting discussion.

Cheers,

Jason
Happy
 
Jason D. Tiller

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Sam,

quote:

I'd rather the Major in my lifeboat than Hichens.

That makes two of us.

quote:

Peuchen was able to figure out direction without having look at a compass. Something Hichens apparently could not do.

Good point. That says it all right there.

Cheers,

Jason
Happy
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
First Sam:
I sailed the Great Lakes in 1959 when the Seaway opened at first and several times thereafter so I know the area well. right up to Duluth/Superior.
A for Peuchin and Hitchins rowing off - I think your bending things a bit here Sam. If I remember correctly, they rowed directly out from the ship as Peuchind said - agreed not in the direction the ship had been travelling. which to me means away from the ship. This was a ship which was sinking - the boat had only two men rowers at that time - the immediate priority I would think, would be to get away from the ship's side asap. It would have been very difficult to deploy the huge oars these boats had and move off any other way than straight out. Actually Major Peuchin did not seem to believe there was a light there at all - just a glare or reflection I think he said.
 
B

Bill Wormstedt

Member
Jim said "Bill. from where he was standing, looking forward, he would be dazzled by the blaze of lights from the ship. As for seeing the the rudder.. no way!"

"Blaze of lights", Jim? I don't think so! Not at that time of night, the lights would have been turned down by that point. And he has very little else to do other than watch what is going on. It would be natural for him to be looking for anything to tell him what was going on - including noticing the stars changing position.

Of course, Rowe was not the best witness - there was lots that he *must* have seen, but never mentioned in his testimony.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
quote:

Of course, Rowe was not the best witness - there was lots that he *must* have seen, but never mentioned in his testimony.
Like the fact that QM Bright finally did show up and was with him when he left to poop deck to get those boxes of detonators to take to the bridge.

But I do agree that there was no way that Rowe could have looked at the rudder. And even if he could, why would he? You don't have to see the rudder to know if the ship was swinging under its helm. If it were at the time, the stern would be up against the berg and certainly swing around the face of it after it passed aft. That is not what it looked like to him. But the berg passed very close by, within 20 ft I believe he said.

The other thing about the ship being in a hard turn to port at full speed is the fact that the hull would heal away from the turn. I've been on the USS Saipan when she executed a hard turn to port at just over 20 knots. You can easily tell when your well into the turn without looking. It is interesting that nobody reported noticing any sense of heal toward starboard before the ship struck ice.​
 
B

Bill Wormstedt

Member
Sam, mainly I was asked was *could* Rowe see the rudder, if he tried? I really don't know. But if possible, it would be from the end of the poop, not the docking bridge.

But you are right, there are ways he could tell the ship was in a turn, and which way it was going.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Bill. I understand. But even from the end of the poop the overhang was too great to be able to see back to the rudder. At it was too dark. Now if he was able to see the ship's luminous wake...
 
Jim Currie

Jim Currie

Senior Member
Bill:
Titanic had a 'counter stern' i.e. it had an enormous overhang as Sam says. So even when light ship you would not see the rudder. You might just see the outer tips of the wing props.
As for lights. The lights that would have been turned down would be the lights in public rooms etc. However the outside deck lights and allyway lights would most certainly have been left on. These alone will seriously effect night vision. In any case, Rowe was possibly on the poop deck having a 'quiet interlude' as they say. He walked over to the starboard side - about 8 to 10 feet from where he was and saw the ice coming down the side - very close to the ship. In his own words:"it was so close I thought it was going to strike the bridge". When asked: " only 10 or 20 feet?". He replied: "Not that far. sir".
One of the main reasons for a counter stern in the old days before the advent of power (apart from aesthetics) was to protect the stern gear from damage from contact with quays and other vessels. It would have been very difficult for the ice to get in amongst the props and rudder - even if the vessel went astern onto the berg unless it was a 'growler'or smaller.
Sam,
Your mention of 'wake' is probably nearer the mark. However, I'm sure you'll agree; the man was probably flabergasted by this most unusual state of affairs and would not be looking at the wake. If the vessel had been turning to port he- looking astern- would have seen it curving to his right. If in the other direction; it would have been obscured by the berg from his viewpoint.
Some of his evidence intrigues me though. First: why did he go to the starboard side if he did not hear the bells? The only reason I can think of was that he was aware of a sudden change in engine vibrations. If so, why pick that side? - the nearest one? It is unlikely he would have heard the actual engines from where he was. The ice passing in isolation was in itself no reason to go up onto the docking bridge and stand by the phone. If as you say, the wheel was hard over to port, it did not seem that it was having the desired effect - particularly if there was threat from an underwater spur. I take it you were involved with the Navy. If so, you'll probably remember the man overboard drills which themselves used the hard over on the casualty side principal. You'll also remember that everyone was ready - on their toes and the wheel went over double time. Even then, it depended very much on how far from forward the guy or 'dummy' fell off from. Speed was a factor as well. As you point out- a long, fine vessel moving at + 20 will usually heel over toward the turn side. Your example was a warship - different animal all together. I've seen destroyers doing exactly the same thing when executing an emergency turn.
It is reported that Titanic heeled slightly to port as she went to port during contact with the ice(lookouts. I take that with the usual 'pinch' though because she could have heeled due to hitting the underwater part of the ice.
 
Samuel Halpern

Samuel Halpern

Member
Jim.

If I recall correctly, Rowe was not on the docking bridge when the accident happened but was pacing the poop back and forth from port to starboard trying to keep warm I suppose. This was from a letter he wrote in the 1960s, so take it for what its worth. He also said he saw the berg when he got over to the starboard side and thought it was going to hit the bridge. But he also said that he did not believe the ship was under starboard helm at the time. After the berg passed by he went onto the bridge and took the log. He also mentioned in the letter that he felt the engines reverse, but he did not say if the berg had gone by by that time. We know that Lightoller believed the engines were not put full astern when the accident happened, and he should know since he took part in the ship's trials when they actually did that to see the stopping distance. We also have quite a bit of evidence that it took some time (a minute or two) before the engines came to a stop following the collision, and then they were put in slow reverse to take some way off the ship for a very short time.

>>Your example was a warship - different animal all together. <<

That warship, USS Saipan, was an amphibious assault ship which was 833 ft X 106 ft X 27 ft and displaced about 40,000 tons. It's like a relatively small aircraft carrier with a flight deck for Harrior jets and helicopters. Sadly, she was decommissioned in Apr last year.

Anyone interested in more info about her, click on LHA-2.
 
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