The Break up

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I recently watched A&E's special "Titanic Missing Pieces" and "Achilles Heel". How could this scenario have taken place? I also don't think even with Titanic Settling to an almost even keel with remaining forward section down by the bow would have made any difference in the number of lives saved since the lifeboats were already gone.
>>How could this scenario have taken place?<<

That was pretty well explained in the documentary. When the bending loads on the keel exceed the loads the ship was designed to survive...and it did...the results are exactly what you see: A broken hull sinking to the bottom in a shower of steel.

Perhaps if you would be more specific about what you want to know about, we can help you out with some information.

[Moderator's Note: This post and the one above it, originally posted in an unrelated subtopic, have been moved to the one which is discussing the same subject. JDT]
I am asking about how the break-up would have progressed as shown. With the forward section already mostly filled it seems that the stern would have been pulled forward & downward resulting in a higher angle than shown. with the keel breaking under #1 boiler room and the engine room. This would cause the bottom to be littered with boilers and portions of the engine as found. I just don't understand how the keel break would produce the upward bending described in the show.

I just don't understand how the keel break would produce the upward bending described in the show.


The stern, it has been suggested, didn't go vertical. This is because the stresses created by the sinking bow extended beyond the containment capabilities of the ship's design. The bow had become so heavy that the stern never had a chance to become suspended in the air, and the keel snapped in several places around the aft expansion joint (although the argument continues as to whether or not the expansion joint itself influenced the break in the first place). As a result, the aft mid-section broke away. This was the eventual giveaway reaction to the interplay of conflicting stresses involved between the bow and the stern.

Chief Baker Charles Joughin, who was among those nearest to the break and on the stern when it sank beneath him, testified that several people ran past him on the promenade and that he eventually made it to the outside starboard guardrail of the stern where he clung on for dear life. He claimed that the ship, which had maintained more of a horizontal orientation, listed to port and eased back down into the water before slipping under the surface. None of this is indicative to a high-rise, nor would anyone have been able to run along the deck had the stern gone perpendicular. This is one reason why it is believed the stern maintained a low angle through the end.

Another would be the breakup itself. Roy Mengot, who has developed the "bottom-up" theory, suggests the keel snapped first and that, as the bow sank further away, the detached keel rose up through the decks to sheer away everything else and bring about separation. This might explain why the stern never assumed a totally perpendicular orientation.

HOWEVER, this wasn't likely the only dynamic at play that night. The condition of the stern suggests more than just a "bottom-up" sheering, as literally everything from the third funnel casing aft beyond the GSC and the upper decks further to the 2C entrance was obliterated long before the stern hit the bottom. In addition, physical evidence at the wreck site shows that the stresses at work shattered the hull away, especially on the starboard side. The indication, too, was that the keel snapped in various places, since a considerable span of keel and hull is missing between the end of the bow and the front of the stern. This doesn't seem to correlate entirely with a solely "bottom-up" scenario. The break away occurred before any high-rise could be obtained. Joughin's testimony, as well as those of others, corroborate this.

As for the documentary, I am sorry, but I haven't had a chance to see it, so I am at a loss as to what it was explaining and to the specific point to which you might be referring. Everything above is in line with current developments. Perhaps what you saw was an older documentary.

For further information on this topic, please go to these two sites:

* Parks Stephenson: (go to the menu on the left and follow it through. He has a model of the sinking for visual clarification)

* Roy Mengot:

Sorry for carrying on. Did I miss anything? And did I answer your query?​
Thanks. "Titanic Achilles Heel" is a follow up to "Titanic Missing Pieces" Both shows recently aired on the History Channel altho I don't Know the original air dates. It was filmed to support Roy Mengot's bottom up theory with dives to the Britannic. I didn't get to see all of the show either so I don't now what conclusions were proposed. The after expansion joint probably wouldn't have much effect on the actual breakup as it was not a part of the hull structure but was intended to help relieve stress on the superstructure (A Deck and the Boat Deck).
The documentary "Titanic's Achilles Heel" was magnificent. I did not know anything about where, when, or how the Brittanic sank. However, as I was watching that, I became entranced in the story of Titanic's other sister ship. Mind you, I'm not as interested in the Brittanic as I am the Titanic, but it is still a formidable ship with a tale to be told. It also helps show the Maritime Enthusiast that Harland & Wolff may have known what was going on long before the general public did. It was definitely interesting. Just thought I'd add my two cents. Take from it what you may.

On a side note, I was not a big fan of the head researcher and his "Brittle Titanic" theory.
My apologies to Robert Long and associates. As I see from checking the specifics page. I see that the shows were originally broadcast in 2006/7 and were a repeat performance. I have been interested in Titanic ever since I was very young and the only theories were from Walter Lord's "Night to Remember" and the movie of the same name. If we hadn't looked and questioned we would never have known anything about what happened that night. I hope we continue to explore and question however to quote Walter Lord "It is a rash man indeed who would set himself up as FINAL arbiter all that happened the incredible night the Titanic went down." And I'm really, really carrying on. Thanks again.

"It is a rash man indeed who would set himself up as FINAL arbiter all that happened the incredible night the Titanic went down."

I agree, Dale. We are far from knowing all of the facts, and will likely never know them all. That's why speculation and ongoing research continue.

As far as my long-windedness above, I never meant to assume the role of a final arbiter; I was merely providing some of the information available for you to make your own assessment. Since very little is actually confirmed at this point, that is all we can do.

Anyway, I just felt a need to clarify my position so that, perhaps, I may not have been misunderstood.​
Parks Stephenson worked on those programs. I'm sure he will be happy to reply to your thoughts. He's been a member of ET for many years. I'm sure he'll respond with his thoughts and observations.
>>It was filmed to support Roy Mengot's bottom up theory with dives to the Britannic.<<

Not quite. They had ideas, proposals and theories, but the idea was not to go in with any preconcieved notions one way or the other. The idea was to take a good hard look at the evidence and see what it had to say.
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