TITANIC vs LUSITANIA


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Beth Miller

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Hello everyone, I was wondering why the Titanic receives so much attention, I myself am fascinated with the story it was such a tragedy, but so was the lusitania disaster,they're were also wealthy passengers aboard such as- Walter Vanderbilt. Why has the Titanic grabbed our attention so much more than any other maritime disaster? you're thoughts please. Beth Miller
 

Mike Smith

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Mar 19, 1997
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The main reason is that the Lusitania and the people on board were casualties of war. However the people on Titanic, it was an innocent situation, corrupted by greed of a select few. When the people travelled on the Lusitania they knew there was a war and that there was a chance of danger, unlike Titanic.
 

Steve Arnold

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Jun 28, 2000
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The thing for me that is so gripping and fascinating about Titanic is the role which coincidence plays in the tragedy. It is a virtual tapestry of errors, and with any one thread removed from that tapestry the tragedy either doesn't happen at all or is greatly diminished. Compounding the string of human errors are such added coincidences as the novel Futility and its fictional ship Titan, and all the hype surrounding Titanic before the voyage.

Titanic is a tragedy that should never have happened -- the odds against that many things going wrong are surely incalculable. Had it been a work of fiction it would have been dismissed as totally implausible because chance plays too great a role in its happening at all.

Another element of interest for Titanic that Lusitania lacks is the length of time the two ships took to sink. Lusitania went down in 18 minutes versus 2 1/2 hours for Titanic. Those 2 1/2 hours really gave the Titanic tragedy time to breathe and deepen in its impact, allowing all on board to contemplate what was happening and to make choices that continue to fascinate us all. The level of drama, heroism, and human interest I think is higher here because of the amount of time involved. The story of each life saved or lost becomes that much more poignant because there is time to reflect on the situation while it is happening.

The Lusitania tragedy was almost inevitable. Passengers were warned in newspaper ads placed by the German government that ships flying a British flag were liable to destruction. Lusitania was hunted down and destroyed intentionally, but the iceberg never took aim at Titanic -- it just happened. The two are such different kinds of tragedy, but the element of chance in Titanic is for me the thing that elevates fact into the realm of myth.

If Titanic is the number one shipwreck story of all time, though, Lusitania is likely number two, and I would suggest that Andrea Doria is number three, in a story where human error actually approaches Titanic in terms of the cause of the tragedy but where the loss of life was thankfully greatly diminished from 1912.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Steve, I wouldn't say the Lusitania was actually hunted down. The U-20 had been prowling around the western portion of the British Isles for some time befor the Lucy even left New York and just plain got lucky. Fortunes of war and all that. All that aside, there was really no way a U-boat of that era could make a concerted effort to hunt down a specific ship. These craft were very slow(Especially when submerged) and they had to work at it , sometimes for hours in order to set up a viable firing solution. This would sometimes mean running on the surface-risky in broad daylight-then submerging and lying in wait. And they didn't always have any way of knowing the identity of a specific target. This assumes spotting the target vessel in time to get into position in the first place. As low to the water as they were, this was no small accomplishment.
Cordially,
Mike
 

Richard

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Dec 26, 1997
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Lusitania sank in 15 min.

Titanic took hours to sink. Therefore there is more info about the sinking. Also it adds to the tragedy that it sank reletively slowly and still
took 1500 lives.

I also agree about the war comment. I was thinking the same thing.

Plus there are more mysterious things about the
Titanic disaster. The only mistery about Lusitania
is whether it was carrying explosives. But this
does not count the Germans started it to validate
destroying the ship. NO EVIDENCE shows that there were explosives.

P.S. There was also that question about the # of torpedoes but who really cares. (If you do read Robert Ballard book about the subject as he went down to that wreck too.)
 
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Martin Jarvis

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Correction, Lusitania sank in 18 minutes, which indeed is still very quickly!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Richard, I'm afraid there is no question about the torpedos at all. The U-20 only fired one...and got very lucky. As to the cause of the secondary explosion which effectively lilled the ship, that much is controversial and likely will be. The possibility of ammunition was has been mooted, but since were only talking about some gun cotton and small arms ammunition, that seems a bit far fetched. Likelier is the possibility of a boiler explosion when the water rushing in came into contact with the hot casings. Unlike the Titanic, the engineers on the Lusitania didn't have time to shut dampers, let off steam or bank the fires.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Stephen Stanger

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Actually they had admitted back as far as the 70's that the ship was indeed carrying an illicit load of 1248 (?) three inch shells in the forward part of the the ship just under the first funnel.
There is a room there if you check the blueprints that seems to have no purpose but storage.
Schweiger got bloody lucky as his torp hit the Lucy under the waterline right at the first funnel.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Stephen Stranger

i think you must have been reading Simpsons book too much, the Ammunition and all other cargo was stored in the cargo holds, 150 feet from where the torpedo struck, the only other place cargo might be stored was in the Third Class Section as it was an eastward crossing (third class not used as cargo space on westward crossings). this was a common a practice w/ many lines at the time especially HAPAG and North German Lloyd, Cunard also had vessels equipped for the purpose mainly Carpathia and her sister ships, and i think the Caronia and Carmania also did this, whether or not the lusitania did im uncertain of, that is realy a question for Eric Sauder who knows more alot more about the Lusitania than me. it is also possible that the 6th boiler room not being used at that time could have been used for cargo, but that is also something im uncertain of and another question better suited for Eric Sauder to answer.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I find it hard to believe that a boiler room would be used for cargo of any description. These places are crammed beyond belief with piping, conduits, auxilary machinary, and so on. Also, they aren't all that easy to access for anything larger then a man.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Michael

I was only suggesting that boiler room # 6 might have have been used as cargo space as it wasnt in use, i never made any claim that sort, and i also said that it would better for Eric sauder to determine whether or not that would be possible. im not sure if you were criticizing me, but i still appreciate what you had to say about boiler rooms being crammed
 
May 3, 2002
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Michael H says...

"...the engineers on the Lusitania didn't have time to shut dampers, let off steam or bank the fires."

from my reading steam pressure was lost rapidly leading to a ship surging forward under the momentum of her own weight. Mike i know about dampers but could you please explain the process of banking the fires?

As to where she was hit my money is under the #1 lifeboat. Do any of the survivors talk of the side wall of the ship disintergrating in a deluge of water?

Martin
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I was only suggesting that boiler room # 6 might have have been used as cargo space as it wasnt in use,<<

I'm aware of that. You made a proposition and I responded to it. This is based on knowladge aquired from a career at sea spanning 20 years. Boiler rooms are pretty useless as cargo space.
 

Tom Bates

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Aug 16, 2002
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Are you talking about the LUSITANIA's #6 boiler room. The LUSITANIA did not have a #6 boiler room. Also you can not use a boiler room as a cargo hold.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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Tom

lusitiania as far as i know from all books i have on her and have read had 6 boiler rooms, the the 6th was not in use on that voyage, which is why the ship was cruising at her full speed of 25 - 26 knots, as the # 6 boiler room was shut down she could only make 20 - 21 knots, so around the same speed as titanic.
 

Tom Bates

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The LUSITANIA only had 4 boiler rooms. I have a engineering reprint of the lusitania and it has deck plans, boiler room plans, etc. But there was 6 boilers in each room.
 

Robert Hauser

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Aug 18, 2005
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Comparison of Accomodations between Olympic class and Lusitania class

How do the accomadations compare in terms of comfort and luxury between the Olympic and Titanic, versus the Lusitania and Mauretania? Was it mostly just a question of size, or were the fittings and general luxury substantially better on the White Star vessels?

From looking at photos, it often looks as if the Mauretania was equal. Since I'm not that familiar with the actual deck plans of the Cunarders, I was just hoping to get some opinions.

Rob H
 

Steve Olguin

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Mar 31, 2005
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I like the fact that the Lusitania had sweeping promenades for the third class. Other than that, theres nothing I like on the Cunarders more than on the Olympic class.
 

Mindy Deckard

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Aug 29, 2005
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Honestly, I think it has something to do with the modern romance aspect of it all.

Ship A: The Titanic...she was on her maiden voyage as a ship rumored to be unsinkable (a tragic irony?). A slower sinkage time combined with the amount of wealth and fame and the utter avoidablity of it all make this in tune with a classic Greek Tragedy.

Ship B: The Lusitania....she was not on her maiden voyage. There is almost a "Told you so" aire about her last voyage (the notice a cryptic reminder and, unfortunately, a tragic joke in some circles...people actually had copies of the message from Imperial Germany on board the Lusitania). Rich and famous were on board but, with the exception of Alfred Vanderbilt and Charles Froman, not as many. There was talk of Imperial Germany gunning for her since the beginning of the war. Not to mention that this, in every conceivable notion, was an act of war. There were no last songs or the slow, unbelievable sinking of a great liner as seen with the Titanic. It was chaos, pure and simple, for less than 20 minutes.

However, that being said I still prefer the drama and the story of the Lusitania to the Titanic. It is in the stories of the children and the dead that make the Lusitania so different from the Titanic. It was a true survivor's tale, with out the sweet moments that make the tragedy almost bearable.
 
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