[Moderator's note: This post and the one above it, originally posted in separate threads, in different subtopics, have been moved to merge with this original thread; which is discussing the same subject. JDT]
Actually, what you had with the Lusitania was people behaving considerably BETTER than aboard the Titanic.
The Lusitania's officers did not have to resort to gunplay at any point to keep passengers at bay.
One must ignore the later, lurid, popular accounts of the disaster and read only what people wrote in the first week. The results are polar opposite.
Only one boat got away from the port side, and only barely. By 1918 the story had pretty much cmeemnted itself...heroic crewmen trying to push the boats "uphill" against the list. Panicked passengers. Collapsibles and boats sliding down the deck, wreaking carnage.....
...however, if you read portside survivor accounts from that first week, written independently from one another and not intended for publication, the details mesh PERFECTLY. There were three boat accidents in rapid succession early on (One fell by its bow, a second overturned and dumped its passengers who, unfortunately, had a third boat freefall on top of them) and an order was called down from the port side of the bridge ordering the remaining filled boats unloaded. A "fat man" came along the deck ordering "everyone out." The boats were unloaded, and everyone stood around waiting for subsequent orders during the period when the ship was on close to an even keel. At the end, people got back in to the boats, not by any spoecific order, and at least two were launched. #14 got away, but was damaged and repeatedly overturned until only a handful of its occupants remained. A second boat reached the water only to be struck by the ship as she heeled, and was overturned.
Had the panic of later, popular, mass-market accounts actually occurred, the unloading of already loaded boats would NOT have been possible. One would have had a situation more akin to the Titanic, in which boats would have had to have been cordoned and guns drawn, to keep passengers and crew from crowding in. it didnt. What one finds is poeple who did not know each other and who had no time to either make up stories or coordinate details writing identical (Usually very angry) accounts in which they said "I was already in a boat. The crew made me get out. Then, I just stood there with the others. We received no further orders."
As with the Titanic, most of those who did not drown immediately had frozen to death, or were in terminal shock, within the first hour after the sinking. (The water was about 50F... by about 3:30, people's arms and legs had stopped working. They slid off of overturned boats, relaxed their grips on debris, and either sank like stones or drifted away, inert) HOWEVER, unlike the Titanic's passengers and crew, those who occupied the boats aboard the Lusitania went back after the ship sank (with two exceptions. One boat DID row away lightly loaded, and #14 lost its oars and could only drift and overturn) Assistant Purser Harkness got 103 into his boat. (It may be noted that although he was in the midst of hundreds of frantic, drowning, people, his boat, which had between three and five inches of freeboard, was NOT overturned, as defenders of the Titanic crew often cite as a justification for not rowing back) At least two of the collapsibles which washed off the ship were assembled in the water, by passengers and crew, and also rescued people from the water.