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Here I am again, out of my element on some technical issue that confounds me.

I've followed the "Hydrodynamics and Suction" thread with much interest but as yet have noticed that no one is mentioning the fact (or what I have thought was a fact) that following the break-up of bow and stern, the stern twisted around over the spot where the bow disappeared. This must surely have been caused by the still-attached bow portion tearing the bottom plates of the stern off and in so doing causing the stern to pivot completely around.

Jack Thayer in his drawings show this explicitly.

Also we know that Baker Joughin was on the stern poop deck when the final plunge came and was able then to swim fairly quickly to overturned forward Boat B, which would not have been possible unless you figure in the stern circling around over where the bow had been.

Plus Cook Collins in his testimony at the American Inquiry made clear that, though he was washed off by the Titanic AMIDSHIPS by the wave caused from the falling funnel, when he came back to the surface he looked around and saw the STERN directly behind him. The only logical explanation for this, to me, is that in the seconds/minutes he was underwater the ship had broken in two and the stern had twisted around.

Cameron's film doesn't show this, nor to my knowledge does Lynch's book mention it, though Thayer's sketches were reproduced.

Lastly, isn't what is left of the stern portion in a reverted position now as it lies on the ocean floor?

Surely other survivors saw the stern pivot/twist. Does anyone know of other testimony or accounts mentioning this? Why isn't more said/written about the twisting stern? Surely we accept that this happened?

I'm very interested to know what everybody else thinks.

Hi Randy. Maureen here. I may be mistaken but I believe that some have been mentioning the twisting. It may not be under the thread you cite though. But I believe that Michael Standart and Dean have been studying out that very thing due to a question that I asked about the three pieces and the sinking. But we never came from it from this angle, the passenger witnesses, but were approaching it from the technical, let's look at the stress factors of the ship itself.

But perhaps someone like Mike P can shed some light on this side of the questions since he has quite the passenger witness info.

(Poor Michael and Dean were even trying to help me with Keel understanding and I was using a loaf of frenchbread as my example.)

Enjoy your day. Maureen.
Thanks Maureen,

I felt sure the experts like the guys you mentioned HAD been talking of this before on ET but I haven't been able to find the discussion. It also isn't - to my knowledge - in any books. Is it?

So hopefully, one of our kind gentleman - or lady - companions on board today will be able to offer us some insight.

For the time being, though, your mention of French bread has made me hungry so I'm heading out to breakfast!!!

I'll look for you on deck later, pull up a chair next to yours (if you don't mind my being so bold, madame) and we'll have a nice chat while watching passers-by.


Dear Randy,
That seems quite nice kind sir. Wouldn't that be a sight, you with a quite dignified look, hair just so with your latte and cinnamon pastry lined appropriately on the tea table and me with a two foot loaf of gravey laddened, meatball stuffed french bread broken in three places at the bottom screaming out I think by jove I've got it. oh, wouldn't it be loverly Mr Higgins!

Only Dean and Michael and anyone on that other thread will get this. Maureen.

Bill DeSena

Hi Randy, Maureen, Michael, et al,

That's a nice piece of reasoning about the stern Randy and just goes to show you that artistic people (fashion) can handle the technical stuff too.

Yes, I agree from the position of the stern facing backwards to the bow on the bottom it would appear to have twisted around at some point but when, on the surface or during its decent to the bottom? Your conclusions drawn from eyewitness accounts and location of lifeboats nearer the stern than they should have been does seem to lean toward a twisting while it was still on the surface. Hmmm,..I may have to get back in the pool and try that out.

Hello all, I hardly consider myself an expert on the matter, and I have to take into account the fact that eyewitness testimony is not always reliable. The forensics models I've seen on this don't indicate a twist on the surface. The last computer model I saw, if memory serves, was on "Titanic, Answers From The Abyss," which indicated that the stern didn't twist or even go completely vertical, but sank at about a twelve degree angle. Another model proposed that the stern landed on it's rudder once it hit bottom.

Still, the position of the stern on the bottom indicates that it twisted around at some point. If not on the surface, then certainly after it was submerged. The flow of water over the mangled and shattered plates and frames structure may have been sufficient to corkscrew the stern as it went down or the implosion may have forced it around or both.

When my vidio arrives, I'll watch it and let you all know more.

Michael H. Standart
Senan. I look forward to reading your book.

I have a great interest actually in reading your book of all the ones listed. My grandfather was born in Ireland and was actually a member of a crew on another ship (definitely not the titanic) but I often think, he wrote letters speaking of The Big Ship and wanting to be able to sail on her. What if he had made it there in time for her sailing? Wow.

Guess you wouldn't have to put up with my wise remarks about one sending rockets from their portly side if he had been on the Titanic... But I really try to say all that in jest and hopefully the wise poet/journalist/author will see my humour. You msut be a wonderful father! Maureen.
Hey everybody,

I think using the models are great and I imagine that they are pretty accurate. But surely not full-proof. It would be hard to get the exact same conditions and positioning as the real ship at sea. The weight of the real ship, the way the bottom was intricately constructed, the bad grade of steel, the temperature of the sea and air, the shifting of the weight of movable objects inside the hull, all this can hardly be duplicated.

I am going to check out the Eugene Daly references in Senan's book which I've not been able to get yet but definitely want to as I agree with Maureen that it is the most appealing of the new books out on Titanic.

I just feel very strongly that the pivoting of the stern happened at the surface. The plummeting but still-attached bow I think just pulled the stern right around. And by the way, I don't think the bow half "dragged" the stern down; I believe after it twisted around, the plates separated, the bow and center portion planed away, and the stern, once released from the stress of the bow, popped back amost upright, filled with water, and went under.

With enough eye-witness accounts from various locations I think it can be established as at least a real probability that the stern reversed position before sinking.

Another clue that the ship did a little swinging action at the surface may be the oblong pattern of debris on the ocean floor which tends to emulate the shape of the hull itself.

Thanks to Maureen, Bill, Michael, and Senan for all the great imput.


Dean Manning

Hi everyone!

This is interesting, looking at what might have happened according to the passengers. It sort of forces you to think of scenarios that you might not have thought about otherwise.

My personal opinion is that I just don't trust passenger stories. There a lot of examples of people (Lightoller's sticks out in my head) who said they saw one thing, but it wasn't quite the truth.

For what it's worth, I think I'm going to stick with what the finite element analysis and physics seem to suggest. What I find most difficult to come up with is an explanation of the forces that could possibly turn the ship around on the surface. Even if the breaking were to occur on one side, then the other (as opposed to the same time), I just can't imagine any forces of a high enough magnitude to cause a rotation. However, what I can say is that I truly think that the stern turned after it left the surface and separated from the bow, and for two reasons. For one thing, the distance that the bow and stern have between each other on the bottom suggest that they separated on the upper echelon of the 12,000ft depth they lay at now. Secondly, the forces acting on the stern hull due to escaping air, which was tearing it apart, seem to be the most likely to be able to generate enough force to create moments that would turn the stern around.

just my $.02.


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Your comments are worth way more than 2 cents.

As to your feelings about passenger recollections. I agree they can be unreliable but we ought not discount testimony or personal accounts because remember how many survivors said the ship broke in two at the surface and yet nobody believed them until the ship was discovered broken up.

I am no expert in this field of technology which may be fairly obvious but I would say that it seems more than plausible that a rotation of the stern could have happened on the surface if something as catastrophic as the ship pulling apart happened on the surface, which we know happened. I think the extreme weight of the submerged bow could easily have created the pivoting of the stern.

By the way in looking over Baker Joughin's story again today I found even more interesting info to indicate that the stern twisted over the area where the bow went down. He says specifically he was on the STARBOARD side of the poop which puts him at an absolutely impossible location to have been able to swim to forward boat B (which had been washed even further off by the falling funnel) - UNLESS we accept that the stern rotated in the last few minutes, in which case he would indeed have been deposited right near B as he claims.

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your expertise.

Hello, all! I just got my copy of Titanic, Answers From The Abyss where the matters of how the ship sank were dissected at length. There's definately some intrigueing material there, fro analysis of the steel from the Big Peice (It turned out to be a lot tougher then anyone thought it would be) to details of the sinking itself.

Two caveats are in order here. Eyewitness testimony is not renowned for it's reliability. People caught up in such events aren't always trained observers and they do make mistakes in what they report after the fact. The witnesses aren't lying...mostly...but they often have problems making sense out of what they saw. Secondly, as useful as computer models are, they're only as good as the assumptions upon which they are based. If the assumptions and data are flawed, so nesseccerily will be the conclusions drawn from them. That said, lets have some fun with this.

A few highlights then. In regards to the break; The models indicated that the initial break happend at the aft expansion joint when stresses on same exceeded 65,000 psi, followed be a crumbling of the structure at the break with the keel breaking last. Not the hinge type break as portrayed in Titanic 1997, but an ongoing process which started on the surface and ended after the ship was completely submerged. Apparently, it was a section of the double bottom which was the "string" holding the ship together.

The computer modeling was based on the new data gleaned from the analysis of the steel and indicated that conterary to what the witnesses stated, that the ships angle didn't exceed twelve degrees.

The double bottom section found in the debris feild had edges which were bent, not cracked indicating that it was slowly pulled apart and not cracked.

The documentary had some interesting data gleaned from the drop tests which were done at the Naval Surface Warfare Center which indicated that the bow fell in a seesaw like motion at around 22 knots.

As to the near total destruction of the stern, that is attributed to air pockets in the engineering spaces and the cold storage rooms which imploded when the pressure became too great. the escaping air appears to have been forced up through the third class staircase, and was sufficently violent to blow back the deck so that it ended up draped back over the poop deck as it is today.

By the way, our freind, George Behe, is listed in the credits as a source, specifically, the George Behe Collection.

George, old man, you do get around. ;-)

Mo, I suspect, Dave Gittens as well as some others will have a few points (Or counterpoints) to raise and I for one look forward to them. I would be interested in any problems he, and anyone else for that matter, identified in the data as it was used and presented.

Michael H. Standart
This is really a great thread and I love the discussion. Thanks to Randy for thnking to ask this and thanks to Dean, Michael, George and Senan...and anybody I missed for sharing their infomration here. The people who share their experise with groups like A&E and The Discovery Channel really provide great learning tools for those of us who are still just beginning to touch the tip of the ice berg with all of this.

Maybe the technical and personal testimonies toegther can help us to get a little glimpse into what happened. But I saw tape video as well and it was great to see the technological advances that they have made to check things ...even so many years later and with the vessell partially in the mud.

Thanks Michael Standart for the should be the next author we review! You and Dean can put an article together about this. I missed my chance when I brought out the loaf of french bread...but...who knows.
I can't remember which survivor said it, but to that effect he said basically that they thought the stern would land right on top of them, but slowly turned away from them. It was someone who was in the water. Hmmm. Gracie, R Norris Williams, I just can't think of the person at the moment. But my point is that someone else said the stern pivoted in another direction.
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