If the impact had been on the Port side......


Arun Vajpey

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What if the Titanic was hard-a-ported in the first instance and so struck the iceberg on its port side sustaining exactly the same type of damage as it actually did on the starboard side? Would it have made the ship sink faster or any differently?

I suppose we have to also imagine that to sustain exactly the same type of damage, the iceberg would have to be reversed (ie a 'mirror image' of the actual one) while the ship remained as it really was.

I expect the answer would depend upon what people believe caused the eventual port list of the sinking Titanic in real life. If the list was due to the larger volume of open spaces on the port side (such as the "Scotland Road"), then would the ship have flooded and sank a bit faster?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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The issue would have been how many watertight sections would have been in open communication with the sea. Some of the dynamics may have been altered but the math remains brutally and ruthlessly the same:

Five or more compartments breeched, she sinks.
It's really just that simple.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I am not doubting for one moment that the Titanic would have sunk with a portside impact as well but in view of the different internal anatomy of the ship on that side, I am interested is what those "altered dynamics" of the sinking would have been.

For instance, would there have been an earlier and more pronounced port list? If so, how could that and anything else affected the sinking pattern as compared with what actually happened?
 
A

Aaron_2016

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What if the Titanic was hard-a-ported in the first instance and so struck the iceberg on its port side sustaining exactly the same type of damage as it actually did on the starboard side? Would it have made the ship sink faster or any differently?

I suppose we have to also imagine that to sustain exactly the same type of damage, the iceberg would have to be reversed (ie a 'mirror image' of the actual one) while the ship remained as it really was.

I expect the answer would depend upon what people believe caused the eventual port list of the sinking Titanic in real life. If the list was due to the larger volume of open spaces on the port side (such as the "Scotland Road"), then would the ship have flooded and sank a bit faster?


The ship took on a 5 degree list to starboard soon after the collision. A port side collision would certainly cause her to list immediately to port. Survivors also noticed the ship was already listing to port during Sunday afternoon and this could mean the port list would be much greater immediately after the collision and alarm the passengers enough to cause a panic. Lightoller said he ordered the forward gangway door on the port side to be opened. If the ship was already listing badly then I doubt he would give that order. This could mean the rate of water rushing in might have decelerated and bought them some more time. Then again, in the original evacuation the starboard list gradually changed to a port list and this gradual change allowed the lifeboats to be lowered on a ship that was settling evenly, but if she only had a port list which continued to get worse then it would make it increasingly difficult to lower the lifeboats as the starboard boats would be pinned against her side and her port side lifeboats would be swinging out so much that passengers would be reluctant to jump over the gap or shimmy across deck chairs that were used to bridge the gap, and possibly the evacuation would have taken much longer to achieve which could have resulted in a heavier loss of life.

If the iceberg struck the port side then I believe Murdoch would have swung the stern out of the way and turned the ship towards the south. This would mean the 'mystery ship' would be off the stern, instead of the bow. If this mystery ship was the Californian then her crew would have seen different lights and may have come to a different conclusion.


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Arun Vajpey

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Stretching my original question a bit.....

In the actual event, the starboard impact resulted in an initial starboard list (as might be expected) which gradually changed to a port list as the Titanic sank. I think the general opinion for this is because of more open internal spaces on the port side like the Scotland Road.

That being the case, am I right in thinking that a portside impact (with ALL other conditions remaining the same) would have resulted in a port list that got progressively worse with increased flooding and NOT become a reciprocal starboard list?
 

Cam Houseman

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What if the Titanic was hard-a-ported in the first instance and so struck the iceberg on its port side sustaining exactly the same type of damage as it actually did on the starboard side? Would it have made the ship sink faster or any differently?

I suppose we have to also imagine that to sustain exactly the same type of damage, the iceberg would have to be reversed (ie a 'mirror image' of the actual one) while the ship remained as it really was.

I expect the answer would depend upon what people believe caused the eventual port list of the sinking Titanic in real life. If the list was due to the larger volume of open spaces on the port side (such as the "Scotland Road"), then would the ship have flooded and sank a bit faster?
maybe a worse list to port?
 

Tim Gerard

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The ship already had a little bit of a port list prior to the collision, due to them shifting coal in response to the coal fire. If the exact same type of iceberg damage happened on the port side, it would increase that port list. The port list would likely end up being too much for them to be able to launch the starboard lifeboats, especially once flooding reached Scotland Road. Ultimately less people survive since they'd only be able to use the port ones. Up to 589 people could fit into those (7 full size boats holding 65 people each, 2 collapsibles each holding 47, and 1 emergency cutter holding 40).

Once flooding does reach Scotland Road, the list starts increasing more rapidly, especially if they still open that shell door on D-deck. At this point people become more worried and are less reluctant to get into lifeboats, so at least they can be launched more full. But somewhere along the way the ship rolls onto its side before going under, not unlike the Andrea Doria or Costa Concordia.
 
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