The Iceberg Resurfaced By Henning Pfiefer

Jan C. Nielsen

Senior Member
Dec 12, 1999
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Congratulations, Henning! --So finally, after all these years, we get to see the infamous iceberg (note: it doesn't look like a "black" berg either). Were there any pictures of the Titanic's victims in with the pictures that you acquired, Henning? I'm very interested in what the passengers and crew aboard the Bremen actually saw. Thanks very much for the interesting article.
 
Jul 10, 2001
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Hi Sam, thanks Jan.
There are no victims to be seen in all three photographed pictures (the four other cards are printed souvenir cards Rehorek has bought). The iceberg had been in the vicinity but not among the victims. Maybe there are more pictures Rehorek has photographed, but we do not know for sure. However I don´t think so: he wrote to his parents that he just has photographed the icebergs in the area and did not mention other pictures...
If you like to read more about what the people aboard the "Bremen" saw, please try this link (the Logan Marshall book online):

http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/hst/english/sinkingofthetitanic/toc.html

Then click on Chapter XXI,

Regards Henning
 

Ben Holme

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Feb 11, 2001
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Excellent article! The Rock of Gibralter comparison was convincing enough for me.

I am, however, confused over one detail - most survivors, notably seaman Scarrot remembered the iceberg as having the tallest point on its RIGHT side and from Titanic's position, this would mean the OPPOSITE side from the point of impact, i.e the Titanic's starboard side must have hit the SMALLER LEFT peak based on Scarrot's observations.

Rehorek's photo, however, reveals an iceberg which appeared to have met with collision on it's RIGHT side, which from the point of view of the Bremen, would have been it's TALLER peak.

In other words, Scarrott's testimony
actually conflicts with the photograph rather than supports it.

I hope I explained myself clearly.

Henning, could you put me out of my misery?
sad.gif


Regards,
Ben
 
Jul 10, 2001
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hello Ben,
I hope I can put you out of your misery.

(You wrote) "Scarrot remembered the iceberg as having the tallest point on its RIGHT side".

This is correct.

(You wrote) "...from Titanic's position, this would mean the OPPOSITE side from the point of impact, i.e the Titanic's starboard side must have hit the SMALLER LEFT peak based on Scarrot's observations."

Maybe there are some misunderstandings:
- The steamer Bremen had the same position to the iceberg as the Titanic has had before. You can deduce that from the position of the rammed edge of the iceberg combined with Scarrott´s description.
- So this photograph is showing the iceberg from the same point of view as Scarrott has seen it a few seconds after the collission.
- The taller peak of the berg was closer to Scarrott and to the Titanic (If you look on the photograph, imagine that the Titanic came from the very right side).
- That consequently means that this taller peak has been rammed.
- When Scarrott said that the higher peak was on the other side he did not compare it with the rammed edge of the iceberg. His comparison only concerned the view of the Gibraltar Rock, and the higher point of the Rock would be on the other (left) side.

Sorry, my English is not good enough to express complicated things very clearly. Maybe there is anybody else who can follow my intention and can explain it in a clearly way?

Regards Henning
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Nov 30, 2000
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Hello Mr Pfeifer / All.

I too enjoyed the article a great deal. As I was reading it, one question leaped to mind as follows:

I have already "bought in" to Capt. David Brown's theory about Titanic steaming after the collision towards Halifax, albeit for a relatively short period of time. (Ten minutes or so?) Taking Capt. Brown's theory at face value, this would mean that Titanic sank some distance away from the iceberg that had caused the damage. I'm not too sure how far away; thoughts anyone?

Mr Pfeifer: You stated that: "There are no victims to be seen in all three photographed pictures (the four other cards are printed souvenir cards Rehorek has bought). The iceberg had been in the vicinity but not among the victims." May I assume from this that, although the iceberg was not adjacent to the victims, it was however relatively close to them?

If this is the case, it would seem improbable that the passengers/crew on the Bremen saw the bodies of Titanic's dead floating near to the "guilty" iceberg. Unless, of course, the bodies had drifted spookily towards their nemesis in the time between Titanic's foundering and the Bremen steaming by.

Are Capt. Brown's and Mr Pfeifer's theories incompatible? Or, (more likely), please tell me what am I missing.

Regards,
Paul.
 

Ben Holme

Member
Feb 11, 2001
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Dear Henning,

Thank you for clearing that up, and your English is better than you think!

I now understand what had me baffled - Scarrott saw the berg AFTER the collision i.e when he looked aft. In other words, he saw the the TALLEST RIGHT peak striking the ship from his position. I had simply assumed that Scarrott had seen the berg COMING...I can't think why..

Apologies for the confusion, and thanks again.

Best Regards,
Ben
 
Jul 10, 2005
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Incredible work Henning and thank you! We would have never known that this picture exsisted. Amazing how it showed up in April 2000. Anniversary link??

There are scars, but no paint. On the other iceburg, there is red paint, or so it was said.

I would think that if Titanic grounded on it(the iceburg), and (IF) red paint was visible on the iceburg, then the iceberg rolled slightly onto Titanic, thus the ice in the fwd. well deck and the red paint on the side of the iceburg. The iceburg did damage below the water level which would not have been visible on the outside of the ship. But, if she grounded on a shelf and it rolled the iceburg into her, the motion may have brought the ice down and back up again like a bouy, kinda bobbed there like a cork. (no movie pun intended)
I believe that what Captian Brown is telling us is correct.
Wouldn't there be some black paint as well???

Maybe it was a much bigger iceburg under the water line and it broke into 2 or more pieces on the impact???

Am I making any sense here, sometimes what I am trying to explain, doesn't always come out right.
Especially after being up since 5:30 am and tending to a teething, cranky, clinging grandson for 10 hours. LOL

Help me out here friends!!!!

GOd how I LOVE a good mystery!!!
Thanks

Beverly The Landlubber
 
Dec 4, 2000
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A couple of thoughts regarding "The Iceberg."

First, I wouldn't rely on anyone's memory of specific details regarding the berg's appearance. After all, they only had a few seconds to view the berg on a dark night. The descriptions seem to confirm the fatal berg had points, but I wouldn't form any hard and fast conclusions beyond that.

Something else -- Titanic was not traveling in a straight line during the accident. It was turning to the right at the moment of impact. This wold cause a constant change in the "face" of the berg as seen from the ship.

Assuming the Fatal Berg was photographed, the position of the paint scar may have nothing to do with the attitude of the iceberg at the time of the accident. Bergs are unstable and being hit by an ocean liner would do nothing to improve that situation. The scar might well have been vertical a day or so later, if it was still visible.

Finally, bottom paints are relatively soft as compared to those used on topsides. This is to allow the antifouling chemicals to "leach" out of the paint binder in service. I am not sure of the composition of the paint used on Titanic, which would have been quite different from the materials used today. Topside paint has always been intended primarily as a protection to the steel and secondarily for good looks. I am not surprised that the softer bottom paint left a mark, but the harder topside paint did not.


Special to Paul -- Thanks to Parks Stephenson, I'm chaning my opinion about the ship steaming for Halifax. I still believe that it did make way for up to 20 minutes after the accident...and that Halifax was the destination...but, Parks has me convinced that Captain Smith had a better motive than the one I postulated in my book. Smith was probably heading north toward the steamer track where he would presumably have had a better chance of finding assistance.


-- David G. Brown
 
Jul 10, 2001
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hello Beverly, Paul and David and thanks for all your remarks!

To Paul: I think we will never know how far (or close) the iceberg exactly has been to the place of sinking. We even don´t know how far away from the victims the iceberg was that has been photographed by Rehorek. But from some reports before the Councils we know that there were not so many bigger icebergs in the area. I am convinced that the number of bigger icebergs (I don´t mean crawlers) in a (certain) vicinity to the place of sinking were pretty low. For that I believe that it was possible to find out which one was the unfamous one, even some days later.

To Beverly:
I am pretty sure that scars of damage at the iceberg were clearly visible above the waterline as well. Otherwise it is hardly possible that chunks of ice were thrown on deck. I don´t think that the berg has been "moved" from the collission very much. Instead of moving parts of the berg have been chipped away.

To David:
I think if Scarrott resembled the Rock of Gibraltar he must have seen something like that. Why should he report this very special comparison if he did not had got that impression? You expect a "constant change in the face of the iceberg". This is exactly the case with the Rehorek iceberg: the whole face of the one edge is damaged and of course we don´t know how much ice has been chipped away and how this edge was looking before the collission.

Generally:
Every doubt is welcome! I specially would have certain doubts if we get a photograph of an iceberg with the inscription "Titanic has hit me"
happy.gif
 
Jul 10, 2001
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WHAT IF NOT THIS ONE...

What we know for sure is that Rehorek made this photograph in the area of disaster when victims and parts of the ship were still afloat.

If we state: "No, the Rehorek iceberg is NOT the one the Titanic had collided with", we then are doing pretty hard to find convincible answers which can explain all the indications I have listed at the aned of my report. These answers only could be:

- Parts of the iceberg were lost not because of a collission but because of a natural weakness of this edge of the berg. Another collision between another ship and another iceberg is not known.
- This natural break coincidentally happened about the same time (fresh breakline) when the Titanic collided with another iceberg in some distance.
- This damage coincidentally happened at an edge where the Titanic has hit another iceberg.
- The shape of this Rehorek iceberg matched coincidentally the description of the Titanic iceberg.

I cannot believe that there was a second very similar iceberg in the vicinity showing so many indications that are speaking for the collission iceberg as well.
 

Paul Rogers

Member
Nov 30, 2000
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Hi David / Henning,

David: Would you be kind enough to answer a question for me please? How fast would you imagine that Titanic steamed after the collision? Here's my thinking to explain the question:

Assume Titanic steams at 6 knots for 20 minutes. (Is this a realistic speed for 'Slow Ahead?') I think this means that she'd be 2 nautical miles from the point of collision when she finally stopped. That's a fair old distance from the iceberg...and that's what raises the doubts in my mind about Henning's 'berg being "the one."

Henning: Despite my doubts, your article was fascinating, and you do make some excellent points to defend your theory. I have never even got close to doing any useful and/or original research, and so I take my hat off to you Sir!

Regards,
Paul.
 
Jul 10, 2005
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Ok, I know, too many questions again!!!

How long would it take Titanic to stop after the ALL STOP had been ordered??? Does it take a mile?
Considering she was RVSR Engines, would she stop quicker? I don't recall an anchor being dropped after the ALL STOP order. How much drift would there be? Wasn't Hitchens still at his post at the wheel for 45 mins. after the collision? Getting back to the frequented shipping lanes makes perfect sense to me.

How much area was there between where the passengers were picked up from the wreck site, the actual wreck site, and the CQD/SOS collision location given that was sent marconi?

How much drift would have been on that iceburg after impact? Would it still be moving along on the same current that it was before the collision?

Sorry, I know I did it yet again.

But, thank you for answering my questions.
happy.gif


Beverly
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Paul -- I would speculate that the ship made roughly 8 knots. Anything slower would have made steering too difficult. There is no way of knowing the exact speed or the exact number of minutes it steamed. In my mind I've always considered the distance on the order of 3 nautical miles.

Beverly -- you have asked excellent questions that should tax some of our "rivet counters" for answers. I'm a bit too tired at the moment to tackle most of your inquiries. Perhaps Captain Erik can answer the question about how far a ship will "shoot" ahead if no effort is made to stop it with reverse thrust.

-- David G. Brown
 
Dec 2, 2000
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One thing also to consider, the evidence for the Titanic reversing her engines is so scanty as to be unreliable in the extreme. Boxhall is the only one who asserts this, and this based on a conversation he said he overheard between Smith and Murdoch. Second hand in other words, and it's very probable that he got some details mixed up. None of the survivors on the bridge at the time this was actually happening reports such a thing.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Jan C. Nielsen

Senior Member
Dec 12, 1999
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Paul raises an interesting point. Was the site of the sinking (and bodies) so distant from the iceberg that drawing any linkage is next to impossible?

According to Logan Marshall's book, the iceberg spotted was in the "vicinity" of the bodies. However, Marshall also relates a telegram from the McKay-Bennett to B. Ismay wherein it is reported that the steamer Rhein had bypassed the bodies about 8 miles from three icebergs, as follows:

Two wireless messages addressed to J. Bruce Ismay, president of the International Mercantile Marine Company, were received on April 21st at the offices of the White Star Line from the cable ship Mackay-Bennett, via Cape Race, one of which reported that the steamship Rhein had sighted bodies near the scene of the Titanic wreck. The first message, which was dated April 20th, read:

"Steamer Rhein reports passing wreckage and bodies 42.1 north, 49.13 west, eight miles west of three big icebergs. Now making for that position. Expect to arrive 8 o'clock to-night. (Signed) "MACKAY-BENNETT."

Further, aboard the Bremen, how would Captain Wilhelm, or anyone, for that matter (other than someone who had been aboard Titanic or Carpathia) --have known what the original berg looked like --so as to identify any iceberg as the one that Titanic collided with? Wilhelm probably assumed that because one berg was "in the vicinity," it must have been the iceberg that Titanic collided with. Maybe by "vicinity" he meant within a couple of miles. Or alternatively, the whole thing could have been made up to make the story more dramatic.

Carpathia was a considerable distance from the wreck site when it arrived on the morning of April 15, 1912. From there, apparently Mr. Cooper saw the iceberg --and drew a picture of it.

In sum, the iceberg could have been a considerable distance from the wreck site, and the bodies. From the Carpathia, the iceberg was seen. But, no one reported seeing any bodies.

As such, distance doesn't defeat Henning's thesis. The Rock of Gibralter description and the similarities in Cooper's drawings to the photograph probably are the best evidence that the photo iceberg is the Titanic's iceberg. How likely is it that there would have been two Rock of Gibralter type bergs out there on April 20 or 21-- when the Rhein or Bremen passed by --with collateral damage on them? Assuming the facts as they are, this berg works for me.
 
Jul 10, 2005
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Thank you Captian Brown, now where is Captian Erik? I would LOVE to know what everyone's hypothesis is!!!

I truely thank you.

Beverly
 
Dec 4, 2000
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In assessing drift, keep in mind that the bodies and the iceberg would not have drifted together for any length of time. The iceberg was tall, so exposed considerable "sail" area to the wind. It was also deep, so was greatly influenced by the speed and direction of sub-surface currents. The bodies floated in the top few feet of the sea and exposed little to the wind and not much more to the current.

-- David G. Brown
 
Jul 10, 2001
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Hello again and thanks to Jan for this analysis, which I fully support (who wonders
happy.gif
). I really think that discussions about distances hardly can argue against the Rehorek iceberg - and they cannot argue for this iceberg either. That´s why we don´t have any exact figures of these distances we could work with.

I think we can state that there first was a certain distance between the iceberg and the place of sinking. If you are right, David, and there were different drifting speeds of the iceberg and of the victims - is it then true that the distance between the iceberg and the victims became only bigger - or maybe smaller as well?

I am somehow glad that the question of drifting seems to be the only real cause for doubts according the Rehorek iceberg. What about all the other indications I have listed in my report? Let me stress that only all indications together have convinced me of the authenticity of the Rehorek iceberg, a single one wouldn´t do that.

Please don´t misunderstand me: although it is very theoretical I am very curious to read more about the drifting problem because I think we maybe could get some good results in the question how far away the collission iceberg was from the place of sinking.
 

Jan C. Nielsen

Senior Member
Dec 12, 1999
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Here's a statement that one of the other members made about the iceberg that struck Titanic (I don't really know where it came from), but it's interesting to think about when you look at Henning's photographs:

And out there in the starlight, with no trace
Upon it of its deed but the last wave
From the Titanic fretting at its base,
Silent, composed, ringed by its icy broods,
The grey shape with the palaeolithic face
Was still the master of the longitudes.