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V Break Theory

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Kyle Naber, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    Popular opinion of the breakup of Titanic is that the bow sunk until the forward funnel collapsed and then it split just in front of the third funnel. However, this video recreates the survivor accounts that suggest otherwise:

    Because of the at least six eyewitnesses plus a drawing inspired by Jack Thayer stating the bow rising after a break, I am a supporter of what is known as the "V Break Theory." The V represents the angle of the ship after fracturing, flooding the center of the ship at a much quicker pace than that of the bow.

    But one question challenges this: "How is this even physically possible?" I often ask myself this, but I am very confident in this happening. Could the bow regain buoyancy after detaching from the approximately 11 degree rising stern? Or is this something of an optical illusion? I feel as if once the bow is under the surface of the water level, resurrection would be impossible given the laws of gravity. Perhaps trapped air pockets could provide some chance of this occurring. I am not completely sure and some closure would be satisfying.
  2. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    When the ship broke, the bow took a slight but alarming plunge downward as it partially detached. The sudden plunge was only a few feet down as the survivors were in the water up to their hips, and then the bow section a few seconds later regained some buoyancy because the sudden plunge was simply an after effect of the bow losing some stability after the stern section partially broke. Survivors on the bow section felt it reeling for a moment from side side and front to back as it was still connected to the stern and no doubt the rapid flooding at the back coupled with the heavy weight of the machinery pulling the stern up in the air, must have pushed the back of the bow down and caused both ends to compress together.

    The bow was not ready to go down just yet as the upper decks I'm sure were still not flooded and flooding had spread so far back that it had levelled off the downward tilt perhaps by some degree, because survivor Charles Joughin and others believed the list to port was far more noticeable than the downward tilt. When the ship partially broke the heavy machinery in the stern caused that section to quickly tilt down and compress into the bow like a 'V' position and this is when survivors saw coal and large plumes of smoke and sparks (possibly hot coals) shoot out of the funnels. I think this was the result of the bow and stern compressing down together and everything in the middle section being crushed and compressed. Other survivors saw the bow rise up but it's hard to tell if they were really looking at the bow or in fact the stern rising up because after the stern broke off, it rotated and faced the opposite way, so when the stern finally rose up, it may have given the impression to some that it was the bow rising up. e.g.

    Ida Hippach

    "The ship’s bow rose up in the air"

    Lady Duff Gordon
    "The bows of the great ship shot upwards out of the water"

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2016
  3. The wreckage especially the two parts of the double bottom and the large so called debris towers (one with the base of funnel No. 3) speak against the V shape break.
    (No way the bow came up over the water surface again.)
  4. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    It was certainly possible. The flooding had spread back once it reached E-deck and would stop the downward tilt as the flooding moved back. I think the weight of the water near the heavy engines caused the ship to break and buckle upwards (as described by Jack Thayer and others). Survivor Edward Brown was near the bridge when he heard an explosion and felt the bow take a sudden lurch down. He looked back and saw the stern give a tremble and go up in the air and he believed the ship had broke in two. He was asked where he was when the ship broke. He said: "In the water; right before the forward funnel". So the ship had broke before the first funnel had fallen which strongly suggests the sudden plunge which many survivors felt was not caused by the forward flooding, but in fact was an after effect of the ship breaking up and the bow losing buoyancy as it now began to reel and shake as the stern smashed down into the back of the bow causing rapid flooding in the middle. e.g.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2016
    Deleted member 163438 likes this.
  5. That makes no sense!

    Regarding steward Brown he was clear he was in the water and not near the bridge (which was under water by that time) when there was a sound like an explosion. There is no single mention of him he was on deck.
    The break before the 1st funnel collapsed does not fit with any of the other accounts including Thayer.

    The drawing of the break does not only show it break at the wrong spot, it also does not fit with the wreckage and also makes no sense either.
    Logan H and Chris cameron like this.
  6. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    Makes perfect sense. Survivors saw the ship break in front of the third funnel. Emily Ryerson said: "The two forward funnels seemed to lean and then she seemed to break in half as if cut with a knife." Ruth Becker described the sinking and held up her fingers to illustrate the funnels and demonstrated that after the explosion she saw two funnels going in one direction and two funnels going in the other direction. So the first funnel was definitely still in place 'after' the ship broke. George Brayton said: "I saw the waters reach the bridge 'after' the vessel broke in two and the forward portion began sinking first." Survivors said the screams began after the ship broke in two. Doctor Washington Dodge said "I am confident that the Titanic broke in two and that was why she sank." This suggests the water had not reached the boat deck yet and explains why there was no evidence of panic or any screams yet until after the ship broke in two because it was only apparent then that the ship was in serious risk of sinking which created the panic and the screams, not before.

    The bow then took a sudden but slight plunge downwards as the bow naturally would lose some stability by the break up and gave a sudden lurch downward until the people trying to unfasten the collapsible were in the water up to their hips but they said the plunge lasted only for a moment and then they felt the bow rise up again as it was simply settling back and returning to the position it was just in before the break up which caused it to dip.

    Simon Angel's book 'Everything Was Against Us' uses many survivor accounts. It says:

    "Further forward, the water had now spilled on to the boat deck itself and passengers and crew found themselves ankle deep in water. Inexplicably, the ship seemed to struggle to maintain buoyancy, as the water level fell, leaving the area dry once more before surging aft with renewed force in a huge wave."

    This clearly was the ship breaking apart and the bow rocking down and up again as it was still connected to the stern. Before the ship broke the water had reached the huge E-deck corridor and the water would naturally move aft and flood the compartments amidships and eased away the downward tilt. Survivors said the port list was far more noticeable than the downward tilt, so there is every reason to believe that when the ship broke the bow could easy tilt down by the head or the stern because the flooding was at both ends but since the heavier machinery was near the stern the ship broke in a 'V' position as illustrated by a passenger on the Carpathia who heard Jack Thayer's description of the break up.

    Survivors saw plumes of smoke, sparks, and lumps of coal being forced up the funnels after the explosion. One can guess this was caused by the compression of the bow and stern sinking down amidships and forcing everything up through the funnels. Lightoller said he went down with the bow and when he reached the surface he found the stern was already facing the opposite way - "While I was under the water the ship had turned around." So the ship clearly must have broke before he entered the water. Survivors said there were two explosions and how they were up to 10 minutes apart and how the second explosion caused the most damage. If the second explosion caused the ship to break in two and turn around, then Lightoller must have been on the deck of the Titanic when the first explosion occurred which then caused the bow to take a sudden plunge. Hugh Woolner told the newspapers - "It was this second explosion that did the most damage. It blew away the funnels and tore a big hole in the steamer's side and caused the ship to rock as if she were an eggshell."
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  7. I think Wormstedt's paper about the breakup can help here.
  8. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    Good report, but the survivors in the lifeboats saw all four funnels were still intact when the ship broke which would suggest an earlier break up. I think the bow was only partially flooded when it broke and it was the weight of the water amidships and the weight of the engines and the stress put on the hull (owing to the strong list to port) which broke the ship, sending her down amidships.



    Violet Jessop counted the row of lights from bow to stern and she noticed that there was no list (downward tilt) at all until the forward funnel fell.

    "I started unconsciously to count the decks by the rows of lights. One, two, three, four, five, six. Then again, one, two, three, four, five.......There were only five decks now. Then I started all over again. Only four now. She was getting lower in the water, I could not any longer deny it......Only three decks now, and still not a list to one side or the other. I watched Titanic give a lurch forward, one of the huge funnels toppled off like a cardboard model, falling into the sea with a fearful roar."


    There came two distinct explosive sounds up to 10 minutes apart followed by the immediate sinking of the vessel from amidships.



    History Channel simulation

  9. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    Also Lightoller said that when the sea reached the deck officer's roof he jumped into the sea and instinctively tried to swim towards the crow's nest which he could see was now just above the water. This is important because it shows how little the downward tilt was.


    4 degrees down by the head.


    When the ship broke, all of the weight of the stern would crash down onto the back of the bow and this together with the added weight of the water in the rapidly flooding aft section of the bow could have made the 4 degrees tilt downwards shift to 4 degrees backwards and if the stern continued to push it down further then the 'backward tilt' would increase further creating the 'V' position.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2016
  10. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    With all of this information, it surprises me how much videos like these can receive so much praise when they virtually defy all survivor accounts

    Logan H likes this.
  11. I like the use of "survivors" which is used here to sound as if all survivors agree which is not the case. Here are some accounts (I do not have the time to make a long list) who disagree about what is represented here. I have also included Lightoller to show it is not as claimed here in post #6. Also accounts are used out of context only to get it fit as it is the case with the made up newspaper account of Woolner (who did not said anything like that be it in his letter he wrote aboard Carpathia or his testimony at the American Inquiry).
    Jack Thayer was directly in front and disagree. I think I will leave it at that.

    In post #9 it is stated that the ship hat a trim of 4°. That is not true it was 10° when the crows nest was in line with the roof of the bridge at the water level.

    "I came up facing the ship, and one of the funnels seemed to be lifted off and fell towards me about 15 yards away, with a mass of sparks and steam coming out of it. I saw the ship in a sort of red glare, and it seemed to me that she broke in two just in front of the third funnel."
    Jack Thayer, 1912

    Senator NEWLANDS. Did you see the ship go down?
    Mr. MOORE. Yes, sir.
    Senator NEWLANDS. What was the appearance of the ship at that point of time?
    Mr. MOORE. I saw the forward part of her go down, and it appeared to me as if she broke in half, and then the after part went. I can remember two explosions.

    Senator BOURNE. And you left the ship how many minutes or hours after she struck?
    Mr. CROWE. It might have been an hour; it might have been more. After getting clear of the ship the lights were still burning very bright, but as we got away she seemed to go lower and lower, and she almost stood up perpendicular, and her lights went dim, and presently she broke clean in two, probably two-thirds of the length of the ship.
    Senator BOURNE. That is, two-thirds out of the water or two-thirds in the water?
    Mr. CROWE. Two-thirds in the water, one-third of the aft funnel sticking up.
    Senator BOURNE. How long did that third stick up?
    Mr. CROWE. After she floated back again.
    Senator BOURNE. She floated back?
    Mr. CROWE. She broke, and the after part floated back.
    Senator BOURNE. And the bow part, two-thirds of the ship, sank.

    Thomas Ranger
    4094. Just tell us what you saw of the ship going down; describe it to the Court? - The forward end of the ship went underneath and seemed to break off, and the afterpart came back on a level keel.
    4095. Then, when she came back on a level keel, what happened to the afterpart of her, then? - It turned up and went down steadily.

    Charles Lightoller
    14076. (The Commissioner.) If you saw it - if you saw what happened, tell us what it was? - After the funnel fell there was some little time elapsed. I do not know exactly what came or went, but the next thing I remember I was alongside this collapsible boat again, and there were about half a dozen standing on it. I climbed on it, and then turned my attention to the ship. The third if not the second funnel was still visible, certainly the third funnel was still visible. The stern was then clear of the water.
    14077. Which do you call the second and third? - Numbering them from forward, My Lord.
    14078. The second was visible? - The third was visible - I am not sure if the second was visible, but I am certain the third was visible, and she was gradually raising her stern out of the water. Even at that time I think the propellers were clear of the water. That I will not be certain of.
    14079. Had the funnel broken away? - Only the forward one.
    14080. But you are not sure about the second one? - I am not sure whether that was below water or not, that I cannot say.
    14081. That is what I mean. I want to know from you. Was it below water in the sense that the ship had sunk so as to immerse it in the water, or had it broken adrift? - No, the second funnel was immersed.
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  12. I have included here the newspaper account of Woolner which is used in post #6 only to show how such stuff is used here.

    "Not long after the ship struck there came the first big explosion, then, a moment later, the second. It was this second explosion that did the most damage. It blew away the funnels and tore a big hole in the steamer's side and caused the ship to rock as if she were an eggshell.
    The Titanic careened to one side and passengers making for the boats were spilled into the water. The ship filled rapidly and I jumped into a boat as it swung down the side." Denver Post, 19 April 1912.

    AS already pointed out it is only in this made up version where explosions are mentioned not long after the collision!
  13. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    If you google pictures of HMS Antelope sinking during the Falklands Conflict in 1982, you'll find pictures of the bow and stern of the ship above the water.

    Antelope suffered massive internal damage midships where she eventually flooded, broke her back and sank. The water tight doors were closed throughout the ship resulting in the bow and stern remaining buoyant for a while.

    There is no way the configuration of damage the Titanic suffered would have enabled the forward area of the ship to retain enough buoyancy for the bow to reappear in the way described in some of the previous posts.
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  14. I fully agree.
    Arun Vajpey and Logan H like this.
  15. leviathan

    leviathan Member

    Well, to be fair with the H&G team, they are already aware of some inaccuracies, their work is a work in progress and they also stated in their podcasts that the real-time sinking video was rushed in order to get it done by the 102th anniversary (some sleepless nights and many coffee to get it through).

    They are doing a full recreation of the entire ship, and from my point of view they have done a great work so far. Just take a look at the couple of demos published in their website. They are only a team of three people working during their free time. Still, they have produced great pieces of art, like this recent video. Hope it helps to better understand their efforts:

  16. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    So what do you propose those 7+ eyewitnesses saw? In my opinion, they sounded pretty confident in their testimonies.
  17. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    It was extremely dark. They could hve seen the shape of anything. I'm willing to guarantee though that with the amount of water in the forward area of the hull it would have been way beyond its buoyancy threshold.

    When the ship broke up the crows nest was just above the water. The height of the crows nest above the forecastle deck was approximately 42 feet (12.8 meters) which is the approximate height of two, two storey houses. I can't see how the bow would possibly lift up that far.

    As far as eye witness testimony, a large number of survivors claimed the ship went down in one piece. How do we explain that?
    Arun Vajpey likes this.
  18. Buoyancy. Nothing floats without it. As Titanic neared the time known as “the breakup” it’s stern was rising out of the water. Thus, virtually none of the cubic volume of more than a quarter of the vessel was creating buoyancy. It was simply dead weight hanging in air. If the bow were chuck full o’ water, then it would not have been creating buoyancy, either. No buoyancy, no float. That’s about as simple as things get. But, Titanic was still afloat. Doomed, yes, but floating. Where was the necessary buoyancy coming from?

    The answer is obvious. The bow section still must have contained sufficient air to create enough buoyancy to keep the hull from plunging down like a rock. There was no place else for that collection of steel to have been hiding enough buoyancy.

    As shell plating began to fail in way of boiler room #1, water entered that otherwise dry compartment as well as the reciprocating engine room. It probably also found its way into boiler room #2. A rather precipitous loss of the hulk’s remaining buoyancy must have followed. But, the stern still relied on the buoyancy of the bow to stay up in the air. It’s weight would have pressed downward in the direction of gravity causing a rapid downward movement of the butt end of the bow section.

    Even though no longer an intact ship, the bow would have reacted like any other hull. When one end goes down, the other must go up. Think teeter-totter. In this case, with the butt end sinking rapidly, the prow must have come up. There is no physical reason why it should not have briefly appeared above the surface just as those eyewitnesses said happened. Of course, the prow was not suddenly gaining bouyancy. Quite the opposite. The whole bow section was now losing buoyancy at a prodigious rate. Titanic and those 1,500 souls had moments...

    – David G. Brown
    Mel Sharp likes this.
  19. The bow section had a certain trim down forward before the breakup, and the sudden loss of buoyancy at the breakup area of the bow would have significantly reduced that trim, or nullified it, or reversed it with the prow as the new highest point of the bow section. But this can't make the prow 'rise' from under the surface. Instead, the breakup area would descend deeper underwater while the prow 'stays put'.
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  20. Christophe -- agreed, the entire bow would have floated lower in the water after the break, but that does not preclude a rotation of the prow upward. The bow still had all of the characteristics of a ship. There would still have been a "tipping center" around which the length of the hull section would have rotated. In an intact vessel, if you load one end of the hull you cause it to sink down (called "negative trim" ). The other end rises up (called "positive trim"). Overall, the hull rides lower reflecting the need to create more displacement to support the new weight. Just so with the broken bow end. At the break, the loss of buoyancy caused by new flooding would have increased the draft of the bow as a whole, but as long as it was still supported by any buoyancy in that broken section there would have been this teeter-totter effect.

    Think of Titanic as a teeter-totter sitting in the middle of a barge. Things are balanced at first with the board (hull) horizontal. If we add weight to one end of the ship the barge will sink down as it displaces enough water to support that new load. As the barge sinks down, so does the fulcrum (tipping point) of the teeter-totter. And, also simultaneously, the other end of the board (hull) will rotate upward. Or, in Titanic's case the whole ship would sink down with the prow rising up.

    kBack to 1912. There would have been another rather imponderable result of the break and sudden negative trim at the butt end of the bow. In an intact ship we worry about something called "free surface effect" liquid. Floodwater can be quite dangerous in this regard. A sudden motion of the hull can cause this water to move quickly and "pile up" against the low side of the hull. The result can be a quite sudden capsize even of rather large vessels. Inside the bow section there must have been free surface water created by the pockets of air trapped by the interior subdivision. With the butt end trimming down, that water would have moved aft, increasing the rotational motion around the tipping point. In any compartment the effect may have been small, but over hundreds of feet of bow section this would have been a major factor.

    As I said, there is nothing to prevent a brief resurfacing of Titanic's prow as observed by survivors. It happened a lot to cargo vessels torpedoed amidships during both world wars. Photos I've seen clearly show the prow and fantail rising up as stricken hulls plunge downward into the depths.

    The question is not whether the prow could of resurfaced. It could have happened and was observed. The problems to be addressed are when did it take place and what was the negative trim by the bow at that moment. Modern computer models seem to show Titanic stayed intact under more strain than it was designed to sustain. But, that's not etched in stone. While a computer can calculate the strength of the hull girder with great precision, we are using educated guesses and opinions when it comes to the time and condition of the ship at breakup. Results in any problem can never be more accurate than the least accurate piece of data used. Perhaps the break began earlier than we have previously thought. Perhaps Lightoller's description of the crow's nest vis-a-vis the ocean surface was inaccurate. Many if not most of the factors which have to be considered are imponderables. We just don't know with scientific accuracy the trim of the bow or the exact moment when the first rivet or girder or shell plate failed.

    What we do know is that we can't rewrite history just because the eyewitness accounts are at odds with our latter-day perceptions of those events. Personally, I have trouble believing the prow did resurface. (Surprised?) But, as an historian I cannot rule out the observations of people who were there that night without solid proof they were wrong. What they said has to lie outside the realm of Newtonian physics or be contradicted by the iron on the bottom of the ocean. What they said in 1912 is not contradicted by either. So, modern opinions have to be discounted in favor of the eyewitnesses until some still unknown fact "surfaces" to prove otherwise.

    -- David G. Brown
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