Titanic's Achilles Heel History Channel

  • Thread starter Parks Stephenson
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Hi Parks,
I thought there were massive vertical folds in the hull under the forward expansion joint (caused by impact with the ocean floor), from the bilges up to D deck?



I think that I would defer to Ken Marschall to answer that question for you. I don't want to speak for him about the material he referenced when he included those "folds" in his early paintings of the wreck.

In my study of the hi-def imagery, the sheer strake and plating immediately below the forward expansion joint on both sides of the wreck appear to show no sign of deformation or cracking. Granted, the imagery only carries down to D Deck, at most, but it should be enough to answer the question posed earlier.

I would like to ask a novel question:

What did you learn from this show? From my perspective, there were some interesting tidbits offered up that should have been news to some people. Did any of that resonate with you?

If you like, I can lead off this discussion with an example. I'm glad that they released the information about the promenade screens serving to reduce vibration at the outer edges of the superstructure decks. For those inquiring techies, the rest of the thought (not included in the broadcast) is that the hull stiffening created by the double hull (and other measures) in the retrofitted Olympic made the screens unnecessary in that ship. I hope this finally puts to rest the myth that the screens were installed primarily to reduce spray on the promenades.

If what you say is true, then why put screens on Britannic's A deck promenade? I see a lot of things said in these specials that have only fleeting references given for them,if that, then they assume the status of gospel. The shallow angle break up is another example of something that the special seemed to state as proven fact rather than a theory which needs greater research and elaboration. Almost every aspect of new information needs to be vetted in a medium where evidence can be examined.

Bob Read
Tell you what, Bob, since you raised the question, why don't you look into it and get back to me with what you find? Time to share the load a bit.

It was you who presented the screen thing as fact, not me. This burden is all yours. Look, I'm really not trying to be difficult. I just get uncomfortable when I feel like I'm being spoon fed theories purported to be fact without substantiation. I'm not sure a question like this could be even answered adequately
in this forum. I think the heavy lifting on these controversies will have to be done by dillegent researchers who write and present scholarly papers backed up by solid research. There is where we really learn the meaning of what happened. As has been reiterated in this forum many times: The purpose of these TV specials is entertainment.

Bob Read
I imagine I'll catch more flak for this than a B-17 over Berlin, but all the doc did was convince me more of a bottom to top failure. Weight of the bow (inc. water) pulls her down by the head, and lifts the stern until the screws are approx. clear of the water. This ever increasing forward weight has been trying to compress the keel, and the bending of the ship makes the bottom want to bulge outwards at the pivoting point, which is about where she clears the water, and about where the after expansion joint is. Finally, the bottom fails catastrophicly, blowing whole fore to aft sections out all the way port to starboard. The bow is now free to pivot forward at the weakest point under the greatest stress-the after expansion joint. Without the keel, the forward part of the ship simply shears away and sinks, taking the electrical system with it. The stern settles back gently, and slowly fills and sinks perhaps as much as ten minutes later-even if it were much less time, it would still be a horrific feeling, knowing what was coming. We should discount Lightoller saying she didn't break up for one simple reason only; when it occurred, he was already in freezing water fighting for his life.

You obviously don't want me to answer your question for you...I'm notoriously unreliable. Better that you ask someone else or maybe even dig for the answer yourself.

Hi Parks.

I really enjoyed the documentary last night and am watching it again as I type this. Very interesting stuff.

I was just wondering if the Britannic special was still in the works since a lot of Britannic stuff was shown in this show. I think there is even a scene which includes you in Greece speaking with other experts.

just got me to wondering if they rolled two documentaries into one or if the Britannic one was still in the works.
I have never studied the breakup in any depth. What I
was more concerned about in this program was the
possibility that someone was going to try to prove
that Titanic did in fact have an Achilles Heel. It
turns out from the research done that she did not so
any rebuttal is moot now. I read Mark Chirnside's
article over on TRMA and I think that "straps" was not
his term. He uses quotes in the article so I'm
guessing he is quoting some other source for that
term. I can't say I fully understand everything
either in his paper or the issues you raised. It has
not been an area of particular interest for me but it
is surely worthy of investigation. I'm not sure how
much more money will be available in the future for on
site Titanic research. I think an even greater wealth
of information could be mined from H&W archives if
they ever become accessible to the public again. Sad
to say I have also heard that they have been heavily
looted. I hope that is incorrect.

Bob Read
water pipes parted by flexing. Not damaged directly by the collision.
The example of mentioning the plumbing was an example of future investigation.
Now that I've mentioned that, a few years from now people will seriously look at it.
I left what I said as an 'open ender' for people to look into. I looked into that several years ago regarding flooding. No one was interested than.
But I can see collective eyebrows raising by researhers thinking at that now.
It's like telling someone that the swimming pool was drained after the collision. Or if it wasn't - where did all the water go when the ships angle became pronounced. It didn't run 'up hill'.
On a side note;…….
I have no idea why certain people work on these documentaries and certain others don't. All I can say is, if I was doing one - I'd get every expert in the field of Titanic together and throw around ideas. Just because this bloke don't like that bloke, who gives a monkeys rect#*%.
Instead of the networks looking for 'ideas for doco's - why don't people plan out a research program and submit it to a mob for consideration.
Often all this chest-buffing and I, said - you said, is laughable.
If some believe they can do a better job, than get off your old Mcduff and formulate a chain of investigation.

I still think the open spaces created by the aft grand staircase & uptake for the reciprocating engine room were far more instrumental a cause in the breakup,than the aft expansion joint...
"I still think the open spaces created by the aft grand staircase & uptake for the reciprocating engine room were far more instrumental a cause in the breakup,than the aft expansion joint..."

Tarn, I'd put my last dollar on that being the reason. Forget all these 'big-thinking' ideas. The ship snapped at the weakest point. And that's where you've indicated.
But they cannot make a TV doco based on the obvious can they. There's always got to be an angle. And that usually means someone getting to dive to the wreck.
I like the way the foam cup compresses.
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To be perfectly honest I would agree with Tarn and Steve on this one. I'm not very in depth on the in-depth structure of Titanic, but I know the basic design well enough to know where the spaces mentioned are and this makes much more sense in my mind than a lot of the "newer" theories.

I'm still very much with the "Traditionalist Theory" as shown on Parks' site www.marconigraph.com.
It good to see the heated debates going back and forth once again on this forum. To be brutally honest, most of these threads had become rather dull since the '05 Cameron expedition wrapped up.

Maybe now I can get excited enough to finish up my Titanic model in time for my son's 1st birthday!