Lusitaniamauretania and rescue


Matthew O'Brien

I have often wondered this:

If either the Lusitania or Mauretania had been in the position that the Carpathia was when the first distress calls were made, would the speed of these ships have made them capable of reaching the Titanic before the sinking, or at least in time to save more lives?

Thanks for the imput,

Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Possibly. The Lusitania and the Mauratania were 26 to 27 knot ships whereas the best the Carpathia could ever manage would be about 13.

The problem lies in what to do once they arrive on scene. Tracy Smith, Captain Wood and myself discussed exactly these problems in our Reality Check article. The difficulties we described are not just confined to the Californian as a hypothetical rescue ship, but any ship you care to name. Pulling up alongside would still have been out of the question due to the substantial risks involved, so they would have had to resort to boat operations with all the risks that come with the game!

The key difference is that the Lucy or the Mauratania were larger, much better equipped, and had substantially more manpower for this sort of thing. Had they been as close as the Carpathia, I think either would have made a substantial difference.

Unfortunately, they weren't available.

Michael H. Standart

Dave Gittins

Apr 11, 2001
I fear that if Lusitania or Mauretania had been at the place Carpathia started from, we'd be talking about the double disaster of 1912. Rostron himself nearly hit a small berg at his modest speed.

In fact, even if a big ship had been five minutes behind Titanic, they would have been lucky to save everybody in the time available. Imagine a rescue in dark with no better communications than yelling through megaphones. Not pretty!

Mikael Jonsson

"Possibly. The Lusitania and the Mauratania were 26 to 27 knot ships whereas the best the Carpathia could ever manage would be about 13."

Do I remember wrong or didn't Carpathia go in 17 knots when going to the Titanic?
Jan 5, 2001

I fear that it is not your memory in fault, but rather the book source. I trhink Bisset estimated 16 knots and someone -- is it Dave Gittens above? -- has a detailed thesis on a slower speed.

Best regards,

Dec 7, 2000
I can't remember where I read this, either an article elsewhere or some detailed post on ET, but it was extremely well argued. I wish I could credit the source and the author. If they're among us, they'll probably say something.

The estimated speed of 17 knots was only estimated to be that because of the 58 mile distance. In fact, the Carpathia was much closer and the 58 miles was due to the incorrect calculation of Titanic's position. We all know the inaccuracy of Titanic's calculated position and her real resting place. We also know where the boats were found. Carpathia reached them before she expected to see the Titanic. I can't remember the rest too well, but comparing the real distance and time etc. Carpathia did only reach her maximum speed of about 13 or 14 knots.

I wish I could remember it in more detail or find the source again.


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