Specifics of the Breakup


Kyle Naber

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Two questions that I still wonder about is how quickly the stern actually settled back on a "level keel," and the degree of the port list during this time.

THE PORT LIST:

If the stern were to settle back on an almost level keel, then this testimony would be true to the events that would have happened in a listlessness scenario:

Testimony of Trimmer Dillon:

Did you afterwards notice something about the funnel?
- Yes.
What?
- When she went down.
Was that after you had left the ship?
- Before I left the ship.
What did you notice?
- Well, the funnel seemed to cant up towards me.
It seemed to fall aft?
- Yes; it seemed to fall up this way.
Was that the aftermost funnel?
- Yes.

Wouldn't the funnel fall directly to port given that the list would progressively increase in the time frame between the water reaching the boat deck and the breakup?

IMG_7318.JPG


I'm not sure what his position was when he saw the fourth funnel collapse or if it would affect what he thought he saw.

However, Charles Joughin testified that he saw crowds of people being literally thrown over to the port side of the aft well deck as he climbed over the starboard poop rail.

Any thoughts/opinions?

NATURE OF SETTLING:

The breakup depicted in television shows and films show the afterend of the ship virtually free falling back onto the water, creating massive waves in the water. In my opinion, this would have been an obvious shift in the ship's position and presented the breakup much more straight forward.

Thomas Ranger was asked:

When you saw the fore end of the boat break off, did the afterend come back suddenly or slowly on to a level keel?
- She came back slowly.

In 2006, Parks Stephenson published "More Questions Than Answers, Part 2" online which simulates the sinking through a series of computer generated images. Take note that it closely resembles one of the most recent understandings of the ship's final moments.

In the 7th frame, the breakup starts to take place at an angle of roughly 30 degrees (Only 7 more than what was discovered to have actually occurred):

IMG_7316.JPG

IMG_7319.JPG


Parks believed (not representing his possibly newer opinions) that the stern settled back slowly which matched Thomas Ranger's account of the break. You can review the rest of the presentation here:

More Questions Than Answers, Part 2

Frank Prentice was one of the few people to survive to tell the story of the final plunge. He said that he could actually feel the stern settle back:

(1:04:45)

He describes the feeling as "bobbing up and down" and "like a cork" which is what we see in this simulation:


If he described correctly what it truly felt like, then the stern couldn't have settled that slowly to the point in which people wouldn't have felt the ship drop beneath them as seen in this video:

(8:29)

Any thoughts/opinions?

-Kyle

*all images and simulations are not intended to be taken as fact and are free for criticism*
 

B-rad

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I've posted this before, but here is a much better diagram of what I believe happened.

As Titanic sinks, the stern wants to settle back causing the upper decks to pull apart. The keel begins to compress upwards, as the the weight of the bow section pulls it downwards, and the weight of the stern wanting to settle pushes against the keel. This compressing of the keel allows water to enter from underneath causing whole new flooding. There is an area of buoyancy also between where the keel is compressing and the upper decks are separating, which causes more stress around this area.

The area of which water is now entering via the compressed keel floods the bow section pulling the after end of this section down, as the area of buoyancy in now lose. The keel now is forced downwards and the upper decks on the end of the bow section and the forward end of the stern section compress grinding against one another. The stern begins to settle.

As more flooding at the end of the bow section continues the flooding of this area is greater than the flooding of the forward area. This causes the bow section to flood almost on an even keel, making people (like Thayer) believe that the ship is righting itself, and the bow section rises. This is just an illusion. The keel is now bent outwards and the top decks uncompressed as the stern is almost righted.

The keel area which was compressed both upwards and downwards now breaks away barley holding onto each other in the middle. The area around the third funnel were the deck began to originally separate and then compress against the end of the bow section also breaks away. These two pieces go much further east than any other debris. It is possible that the bow and stern section are still holding on by port side plating.

All connection between bow and stern separate. If port plating was still being held onto, the bow section tears away peeling it off a large area causing the stern to tip port, and rotate. The keel piece separates into two separate pieces.

The stern gets nearly completely vertical, if not vertical, as it sinks beneath the waves.

The break up process is not all at once, but plays out over a period of time, perhaps as soon as water was seen entering in boiler room 4- being perhaps the fist indication of compression of the keel.
sinking.png
 
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Aaron_2016

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I believe the break up was a slow event. Very likely the water was spilling in from the sides of E-deck and this could account for the water that Charles Joughin saw spilling into his cabin. Instead of flooding the ship from forward, the water was spilling down the corridor from aft and would gradually get worse as the sides buckled and she broke completely. The ship wasn't designed to rest very low in the water. The pressures against the hull at that depth might have been enough to push the sides in and cause her to buckle. The rising of the stern would merely increase the speed in which she was buckling open.

We get most of our evidence from the official inquiries which could be said are suspect at best. Then we have scores of survivors who spoke to reporters and officials and their stories made the papers. e.g. When survivors arrived back in England they were interviewed and congratulated by the mayor of Southampton. A general consensus of what happened was written up and printed. This is what it said:


Titanicbreakstory.PNG



In their opinion the ship broke into 3 pieces on the surface. Hugh Woolner gave a dramatic account of the break up.



View attachment 3617


We also have survivors who heard an explosion and felt the ship "tremble from stem to stern" as they were trying to pull the starboard collapsible uphill towards the davits and get her ready for lowering. In their minds the ship was not sinking rapidly, because if she was, they would not have attempted this. After all, why lower a boat using the formal procedure if you can see the water is just one deck below. Owing to the heavy list to port they would have looked over the starboard side and possibly seen a greater distance to the water and believed there was time to lower the collapsible properly. Then came the explosion and the break up and the bow suddenly shunted forwards. Survivors felt the bow dip down and then bob up again. Reading accounts it appears a large crowd of people were pushed forwards and onto the forward well deck by the wave. This would suggest that the 'wave' was caused by the stern falling back or the collapse of the funnels which created the wave of water and brushed the people forwards and over onto the forward well deck as it began to rise up again (owing to the enormous weight pushing down on the back and the expulsion of air being released forwards.)

Cecil Fitzpatrick was trying to free the collapsible. In a 1950's interview he said the ship suddenly lurched violently forwards. In his 1912 interview he said:


Titanicbowbreak.PNG



There were similar stories of people being thrown violently into the forward well deck. As well as people being thrown over the side of the aft well deck.



titanicintwo.PNG



Dillon gave several interviews. In one of them he said the stern rose up and settled back several times and this would account for Frank Prentice who also felt the stern appearing to bob up and down like a cork. Dillon also gave this account in England shortly before the British Inquiry began.



Dillon1a.PNG




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As the stern appeared to settle back several times and rise up several times before taking the final plunge, there would have been some confusion among the survivors who when under pressure at the Inquiry would only remember key specific events that they had quickly taken a mental note of, but if they were pressed on the question and asked to take some time before answering they may have given a more detailed answer from their own unique perspective of what happened when she broke.


It appears the survivors could not agree if she sank by the head or by the stern.



Titanicsternbow.PNG



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Kyle Naber

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It appears the survivors could not agree if she sank by the head or by the stern.

Only because mixing up the bow and stern (port and starboard) could have easily happened. If someone said "the bow rose out of the water," it could very well have been the stern rising up, and their lack of knowledge of bow vs. stern made them misspeak.

Mrs. Ida Hippach testified:

"We heard a fearful explosion. I saw the ship split open. At the same time the ship’s bow rose up in the air as the steamer sank towards the center."

This could be interpreted as a traditional sinking scenario. "The ship's bow (meaning stern) rose up in the air as the steamer sank towards the center" (rotating at the center of the ship).
 
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Aaron_2016

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Not sure if Boxhall had confused the bow with the stern as he later spoke about the sinking and said "You could see her stern was getting pretty low in the water." If others were confused by it (if there was confusion) after the ship broke in two it might be because the stern had turned around after she broke and was facing the opposite way, so when a survivor heard the explosion and looked over their shoulder they would think her bow was rising high into the air when it was her stern which had simply turned around. They would only see a black mass owing to her keel being exposed, but this entirely depends on where their lifeboat was, as we can only assume they were mistaken, so quite possibly they were actually observing the bow rising upwards, because if the ship was flooding heavily in the middle and sinking rapidly in the centre owing to the break, and if the stern was violently pushing the bow downwards against its will, the water that was in the forward section would immediately rush aft as the back pulled downwards and flood the centre of the ship, causing the middle to go down fast, and the air that was between the decks would be pushed forwards into the bow section and possibly compress in the sections where water had previously been, and allow the buoy to bob upwards again as the forward compartments were no longer heavily flooded as the water had moved back.

Dillon was in boiler room 4 and stated to the Inquiry that the water in the boiler room was only a dampness and not serious, and that the watertight doors were open aft of boiler room 4 and that they were only opened enough to allow people to pass through them, and he also told the Inquiry that the ship did not break in two. Yet he told in great detail to a British reporter that the water was actually up to his knees in boiler room 4 (so the water would have been travelling aft through the partially open watertight doors aft as that is how he testified he escaped) and he told the reporter that the ship did break in two and observed the bow bobbing up again, as did William Mellors, Eugene Daly, Ida Hippach, and the sketch provided by Jack Thayer which was drawn by himself and then filled in with shading and more detail by a passenger on the Carpathia.

Beauchamp was in boiler room 6 and did not observe any water for some time after the collision. Dymond was also in one of the boiler rooms told a British reporter that he also did not observe any water at first, but when he went up top and then returned to the boiler room some time later he then discovered the water. This suggests the official events described by the surviving officers and especially fireman Barrett are suspect at best. e.g. Barrett told the Inquiry that the order 'Stop' first appeared and then the collision followed and he was just calling out "shut the dampers" when the water rushed in and he fled the boiler room, but he told Senator Smith inside the Olympic that the collision actually happened first and the order 'Stop' was given after.


nytbarrett.PNG


Hichens also gave a detailed account to a reporter and did not mention any helm orders at all before the collision. I agree with Lightoller when he said the Inquiry was "nothing but a complete farse" and a "whitewash". They simply had to show that their speed was justified and that they saw the iceberg in time to turn the ship away, reverse the engines, and also stop the engines in order to protect themselves from negligence. The problem was the survivors gave conflicting answers because 'in my opinion' they were told what to say. One of the big reasons why there is so much interest in understanding what really happened is because the 'official story' when examined does not make any sense at all. I think the company were all too happy when the Inquiry was over and they could put this disaster behind them. I think if the public had called for an independent inquiry the White Star Line and the Board of Trade would have done everything within their power to stop it. They had to make sure that 'their version' was the only version.



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Kyle Naber

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"You could see her stern was getting pretty low in the water."

I think the whole "was getting" is an indication that he was mistaking the stern as the slowly and progressively sinking bow. I just think he slipped up on his words.

If not, he actually could have been seeing some portholes in the stern section being pulled down as the ship sank bodily.
 
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Aaron_2016

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What is puzzling is that he said in 1912 that he 'tried' to pull around to the starboard side but she was listing too much to port and it was too dangerous, so he must have stayed on the port side around the stern, and if she was listing more to port it would dip her porthole lights much lower than if he were observing her from the starboard side. The puzzle is that in his 1962 interview he said he did successfully pull around to the starboard side and may even have rowed 'underneath' the propeller blades. I think the more plausible answer is that the stern was rotating and instead of him rowing around the ship to the starboard side, it was the stern itself that was turning around.

One thing that is rarely discussed is how slowly or quickly did the stern rotate e.g. Was it already turning before the bow had completely submerged or was it turning simultaneously as the break up was occurring or was it an after effect that followed the break up and right before the final plunge. Frank Prentice said he was on the poop and when he looked over the rail he could see "hundreds" of bodies "dead and alive" around the stern. If he was on the port rail and the ship was listing heavily to port after the break up he may have been able to see the people in the water from his position as the port side of the stern may have been very close to the water. I wonder if the "hundreds" of people he saw in the water had fallen over the aft well deck - the people that Charles Joughin saw just moments before.


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Kyle Naber

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What is puzzling is that he said in 1912 that he 'tried' to pull around to the starboard side but she was listing too much to port and it was too dangerous, so he must have stayed on the port side around the stern, and if she was listing more to port it would dip her porthole lights much lower than if he were observing her from the starboard side. The puzzle is that in his 1962 interview he said he did successfully pull around to the starboard side and may even have rowed 'underneath' the propeller blades. I think the more plausible answer is that the stern was rotating and instead of him rowing around the ship to the starboard side, it was the stern itself that was turning around. One thing that is rarely discussed is how slowly or quickly did the stern rotate e.g. Was it already turning before the bow had completely submerged or was it turning simultaneously as the break up was occurring or was it an after effect that following the break up etc.


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I highly doubt that he rowed under the propellors as they weren't fully visible until the last 10 minutes of the sinking. Also, I think the stern appeared to rotate because of the port list. As the stern settled back, the port list became especially noticeable as crowds were chucked over to the side and into the water. Once the bow began to pull the stern back up, there would have been a 90 degree port list allowing it to face her decks away from survivors like Jack Thayer. The keel would detach at an angle of about 60 degree elevation and the stern would appear to "stop" and become "motionless" as the natural flooding would have been dramatically slower than forced sinking.
 
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Jonstone
3497. You came back to the "Titanic"? - Yes, round the stern of the "Titanic."
3498. How far off from the stern did you come round? - I should think about 800 yards.
3499. How long was that before she sank? Did you see her sink? - Yes.
3500. How long before you saw her sink did you get back to her? - We went back and rowed round, and the Officer said to the ladies, "Do you think we should go back or not?"
3501. How long before she sank did you get back to the region of the "Titanic" after you had been looking for the light? - I suppose a good half-hour before she sank.

Osman
There was no suction whatever. When we were in the boat we shoved off from the ship, and I said to the officer, "See if you can get alongside to see if you can get any more hands, to see if you can squeeze any more hands in." So the women then started to getting nervous after I said that, and the officer said "All right." The women disagreed to that. We pulled around to the starboard side of the ship and found we could not get to the starboard side because it was listing too far. We pulled astern that way again, and after we got astern we lay on our oars and saw the ship go down.

Allen
We were rowed round the stern to the starboard side and away from the ship, as our boat was a small one and Boxhall feared the suction. Mrs. Cornell helped to row all the time.
As the Titanic plunged deeper and deeper we could see her stern rising higher and higher until her lights began to go out.

All 3 were in boat No. 2.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Osman said in the quote you provided that they did not go to the starboard side, "We pulled around to the starboard side of the ship and found we could not get to the starboard side because it was listing too far. We pulled astern that way again, and after we got astern we lay on our oars and saw the ship go down."

This would suggest that they attempted to get the starboard side and realized that it was too dangerous because the ship was listing too far to port and the people were eager to jump over, so they abandoned their attempt and "pulled astern that way again" i.e. pulled away from the port side.


titanicboxhall.PNG

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Kyle Naber

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What my question is, is how heavy of a port list the stern section obtained after settling. I have a hard time believing is was virtually sideways initially, but it must have been considerable enough to match some accounts.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Mr. Evans was asked:
Q - How long was the stern afloat in that horizontal position?
A - About four or five minutes, I should judge.

Mr. Buley agreed with him and said, "She uprighted herself for about five minutes, and then tipped over and disappeared."

Tipped over could refer that she keeled over to port. This is what Charles Joughin had described as he climbed over the rail on the side of the ship. Eva Hart used her hands to describe what happened after she broke in two and said the stern "keeled over."


sternwitness.PNG



The above accounts would suggest that after the ship broke the stern settled back and did not immediately keel over to port, but maintained an even keel for perhaps a long time. Charles Joughin then climbed over the rail as she rolled over. He was asked:

Q - You said this vessel took a lurch to port and threw them in a heap. Did she come back; did she right herself at all?
A - No, Sir.
Q - She took a lurch and she did not return?
A - She did not return.
Q - Can you tell us what happened to you?
A - Yes, I eventually got on to the starboard side of the poop.
Q - ..........you got to the starboard side of the poop?
A - Yes, on the side of the ship.
Q - Were you holding the rail so that you were inside the ship, or were you holding the rail so that you were on the outside of the ship?
A - On the outside.


The contradictions really depend on how close the observer was e.g. Jack Thayer was looking up at the stern when he was in the water and he saw the ship break and the stern turn around. He said, "The stern then seemed to rise in the air and stopped at about an angle of 60 degrees. It seemed to hold there for a time and then with a hissing sound it shot right down out of sight"

Yet Thomas Ranger who was in a lifeboat saw things slightly differently. He was asked:

Q - ....when she came back on a level keel, what happened to the afterpart of her, then?
A - It turned up and went down steadily.
Q - Turned up that way, stern up. (Showing.)
A - Yes.
Q - Did she remain like that at any time?
A - No.
Q - Will you just describe to us what you mean?
A - She just slowly turned up and went down. You could see the three propellers in the air.

This suggests that the stern did not simply rise high into the air and just stay still, but instead she settled back and keeled over, exposing her propellers above the water and giving the impression to those in the water that the stern was sticking up into the air.



shipport.PNG


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Kyle Naber

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This suggests that the stern did not simply rise high into the air and just stay still, but instead she settled back and keeled over, exposing her propellers above the water and giving the impression to those in the water that the stern was sticking up into the air.

As seen at 2:02?

 
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Aaron_2016

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Similar, although they do not show the stern turning fully around and facing the opposite way, and it may have been a very slow turn before she went under. Frank Prentice felt her bobbing. The stern may have submerged, separated completely and then bobbed up again, flooded properly, and sank again.

Here is another version from the PC game - Titanic Adventure Out of Time.


Skip to 5:20. Not exactly accurate, but interesting to see another version.



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Dec 13, 2016
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If I may chime in for a moment. I do have a question regarding the double bottom pieces from under the third funnel area. Looking at those pieces, I'm no engineer so please take this with a grain of salt, but it appears that the plating at the tank top and at the bottom of the double bottom gave way rapidly, while the keel has somewhat of a torchered appearance, suggesting it was among the last parts to fail. Maybe this can explain some of the gyrations and movements of the ship as she broke in half. Simulations and documentaries tend to show a, almost cartoon like, rather simple top down and clean break.
 

Kyle Naber

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It's important to remember that most simulations are indeed in accelerated time and aren't able to show every aspect and angle of the breakup in one or two seconds. It had been observed that the keel is stretched which indicates that the section was able to hold the two pieces together for a time. In "The Final Word" documentary, they discovered that the ship actually buckled in on itself at the bottom before any shell plating and decking separated. It is described as a "greenstick fracture," which when summed up, is the bending of a structure, causing failure in the top of an object and buckling underneath.

 

Millerpsc

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Similar, although they do not show the stern turning fully around and facing the opposite way, and it may have been a very slow turn before she went under. Frank Prentice felt her bobbing. The stern may have submerged, separated completely and then bobbed up again, flooded properly, and sank again.

Here is another version from the PC game - Titanic Adventure Out of Time.


Skip to 5:20. Not exactly accurate, but interesting to see another version.



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I'm having a hard time understand why the stern section would turn around. Any idea on what would cause that?
 

Millerpsc

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I'm still having a hard time understand why the stern would make a 180 degree turn. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what is being said. Are you staying that the stern went from facing...say east to facing west?
 

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