How The Lusitania Wreck Originally Was


ash briers

Member
May 1, 2008
148
0
46
i had a thought that the state the Lusitania is in today couldn't have been caused with its impact with the ocean floor, i became curious and i ended up making a rough model of the wreck (with 2 holes from the explosion and no funnels)
the model sank just like the real Lusitania and i got decent results, when the model hit the bottom of the container i was using and landed upright, and much like the titanic wreck, as the model went aft it sloped down and was flattened at the stern with the aft promenades in rubble and the decks above fell off, then i got a cocktail stick and made small holes representing the depth charge damage. after a few seconds the whole model capsized and it actually looked as the wreck did today, the results were too good to explain to be honest, could this be how the wreck really was? let me know what you think....
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
418
283
Easley South Carolina
>>(with 2 holes from the explosion and no funnels)<<

Why two holes? There was only one torpedo and the internal explosion has all the earmarks of steam lines and/or boilers bursting.

>>could this be how the wreck really was? <<

I can't say with 100% assurance that it wasn't. The ship was known to be rolling onto her side but this may have been arrested as soon as the bow hit the bottom. Even if she was listing as she went under, it's not impossible for the ship to have righted herself as she settled on the bottom.

I don't suppose there were any dives carried out at the time which recorded her original state, are there?
 

ash briers

Member
May 1, 2008
148
0
46
hi, you asked "why two holes?" well, one was from the torpedo and i put one from the second explosion, but that would have been below the waterline so no-one would really know if there was a second hole, even now they wouldn't because she lays on her starboard side.

from what i know i havn't ever come across any information about how the wreck originally was, i just made a model and recorded the results, which did seem realistic. And i watched 'lusitania murder on the atlantic' and the last view you see of the lusitania is its poop deck going down almost horizontal.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
In her death throes, the Lusitania rolled far enough to starboard that her funnels hung directly over boat #15, which had more than 85 people in it and was less than six inches from being swamped. The accounts from 15- and there are at least two dozen of them- seem to agree that the funnels seemed "almost close enough to touch" and several people buried their heads in anticipation of being crushed. Then, the ship began to right herself again as she sank, and the funnels swung away from #15.

It is hard to get a feel for how the Lusitania actually went down, because most of the reliable accounts were written by people who actually sank with her, or who jumped from her before the sinking~ in either case not the best position from which to judge such things. But from the accounts left by those in #15, and a handful of detailed accounts left by those who escaped in the other boats, it seems that she went down with a slight list to starboard. And probably hit bottom angled to starboard as well, and then spent the decades collapsing and compressing downward in that direction.
 

ash briers

Member
May 1, 2008
148
0
46
hi, i agree with your point about the lusitania sinking with a slight list to starboard, i have some pictures from 'lusitania murder on the atlantic' here that go with what you said.on the bottom two pictures i see what you mean, she is going down with a list

[Moderator's Note: Edited to remove images, due to copyright issues. JDT]
 

Grant Carman

Member
Jun 19, 2006
348
0
86
You also have to remember that the Lusitania was extensively depth charged and bombed during WW2. From what I've read, the British War Ministry was worried that Nazi subs would be able to hid on the bottom near the wreck and not be caught, so the decision was made to destroy as much of the wreck as possible, to take away their hiding place.

Did that have any impact on the wreck? Who knows. But I beleive there were dives on the wreck in the 1920's. Those records would show the position of the wreck at that time.

Also, Brittanic is on her side. My understanding, (while no where near as good as Michaels) is that a ship needs time while it's sinking to right itself. In other words, the deeper the wreck, the better chance it will be upright on the bottom. Not only Titanic, but the Bismark is also upright. I think it has something to do with the weight in the bottom of the ship righting it as it goes down.l
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
418
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Did that have any impact on the wreck? Who knows.<<

Depth charges used a fairly substantial charge. Up to 300 pounds of TNT for circa WWI weapons and up to 2000 pounds for the Mark X of WWII vintage. None of these could have done the wreck a whole world of good.
 
May 3, 2002
800
24
148
58
Wellington, New Zealand
For an idea of the last moments I find Oliver Bernards' two drawings most helpful. He left in a boat and had a good view of what transpired.

This contradicts the images of Norman Wilkinson and recruitments poster showing the Lusi "doing a Titanic"
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
15
198
And, as far as 1915 era wrecks go, the Lusitania is in a fair state of preservation. Most wrecks- to judge by scores of diving books-seem to compress and collapse downward, leaving their bow and stern recognizable but everything in between a low relief jumble of debris. That seems to be the case here as well. As has been said, the depth charges surely did not HELP with her preservation, but I think that what one is seeing is just the normal sag-and-collapse pattern.

Would be interesting to see if all the 'stiffening' added aft, to reduce vibration, holds the second classs section together a bit longer.
 

Grant Carman

Member
Jun 19, 2006
348
0
86
Jim

That makes sense. The Empress of Ireland wreck is collapsing in the middle as well. And she hasn't been bombed.
 

Kathy Evans

Member
Aug 5, 2008
3
0
31
Hi All! I'm working on my theses and was looking for a citation for a comment that Grant Carman made on May 8:

"From what I've read, the British War Ministry was worried that Nazi subs would be able to hid on the bottom near the wreck and not be caught, so the decision was made to destroy as much of the wreck as possible, to take away their hiding place."

Does anyone happen to know if this was policy, and if so, can you direct me to the quote. Or, if you can direct me to ANYWHERE where it is written? I'm going nuts trying to find this!

Thanks!
 

Grant Carman

Member
Jun 19, 2006
348
0
86
Kathy

I distinctly remember reading this somewhere, and one of the disadvantages of age is remembering where. I will try and find where I read it and post a link.

Second thoughts are that the depth charge practice that a couple of other sites mention (you can google "depth charge of the Lusitania") might also have damaged a lot of the wreck.
 

Tom McLeod

Member
Sep 1, 2005
186
0
86
I've read about the submarine hiding theory as well. But even if we find footnotes to such a theory, I would imagine it would stay as such. Unless we could get the Royal Navy to release any sonar hits of subs on their way to Lusitania's resting site, may be hard to prove, interesting thought though. I think a good example of what a ship looks like after sinking is the Andria Doria. There are pictures and dives made weeks after the ship sank that shows the ship looking ready to sail, minus the damage she sustained to make her sink! As some salvaged the Andria Doria, they took pictures of staterooms with floating suitcases and other stateroom items suspended in the water. Over the years much of the super structure has fallen in or our onto the sea floor. The Britannic seems to be in the best shape for her age. Some say the marine growth on Britannic helps, there are other theories out there as well. Hope some of these ideas help Kathy and if I come across any good references in the coming weeks to the Lusitania being used as a place for subs to hide around, I'll pass them along.

Best-Tom
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,614
418
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Unless we could get the Royal Navy to release any sonar hits of subs on their way to Lusitania's resting site,<<

I doubt very much that you would find records that detailed beyond a notation in a warship's log about prosecuting and attacking a submarine contact.

Sonar systems of the period weren't that incredibly sophisticated and much of what exists in military service even today would be hard pressed to differentiate between a wreck and something snuggled up next to it.
 

Tom McLeod

Member
Sep 1, 2005
186
0
86
I pretty much figured such Michael. I was just throwing out how hard it would be to prove that theory unless there is information found of sub-logs, orders from German officials or other solid information of such practices. Getting that, my guess may be a process.
 

Tom McLeod

Member
Sep 1, 2005
186
0
86
They were posted on-line 5 years ago or more. I know red-flag with the on-line thing. I haven't seen them since. I do know the wreck was salvaged shortly after sinking. Plus it has long since been a spot for divers to check out, although quite a dangerous dive due to depth, currents and the like. Sorry not to be of much more help. The Edmund Fitzgerald for all of her massive damage, was photographed many times and several times shortly after her sinking by the coast guard and minus the damage, she looked pretty good. A lot of the ships that are sunk for use as coral reefs look pretty good the first few years they are underwater. The U.S.S. Arizona looks pretty good for being underwater since 1941 and all of her damage. As do the Bismark and other WW 2 wrecks. Some food for thought.
 

Similar threads