V Break Theory

Kyle Naber

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The trouble is, the survivors who felt the bow rise under their feet (Mellors and Daly) were standing near the forward collapsible which was still fastened to the deck at the forward part of the boat deck. Explosions were heard and the bow took a violent lurch as the ship broke and dipped a few feet, then both sections became unstable, rocked and bobbed, then flooded rapidly and finally sank.


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But who was the person who quotes something along the lines of “...throwing the middle piece up...”?
 

Rob Lawes

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I sat through the incredibly dull Nat Geo documentary "Drain the Titanic" recently and there was a claim (frankly absurd if you ask me) that Titanic didn't break up at the surface but some way under water.

To back this claim up, the voice over claimed that this was supported by testimony from 3 people who were on the rear of the boat deck at the time the ship went under and never said they saw the ship break. The documentary failed to name these so called witnesses.

Does anyone have any idea to whom the documentary was referring and what they stated?
 

Kyle Naber

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No clue, but I’ve also seen that documentary. Don’t get how the best view of the break would be someone standing at the end of the boat deck. Where did that idea come from? You wouldn’t see anything. Joughin said that he didn’t get the idea that the ship broke apart, but that the stern suddenly lurched over to port. Certainly someone observing the ship in a boat would have a better view of the motions of the stern than someone trying to survive on the ship.
 
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Aaron_2016

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But who was the person who quotes something along the lines of “...throwing the middle piece up...”?
Mrs. Chaffee in lifeboat 4. She saw the ship break and the middle go down as the water rushed into the broken decks in the middle. She also described how the bow and stern both rose up together as the middle continued to go down, and then they detached and the bow let go and dropped down again and the stern let go and dropped back again.

e.g.

Mrs. Chaffee - Lifeboat 4
"The ship sank steadily until just at the last, when it plunged rapidly. Just before going down it seemed to writhe(twist), breaking into the three parts into which it was divided. First the middle seemed to go down, lifting bow and stern into the air. Then it twisted the other way, throwing the middle up. Finally the bow went under, and it plunged, stern last."

Mrs. Hippach was also in Lifeboat 4
"The boat listed so much to one side (port list) that I felt sure we would be swamped. When we had rowed about 150 yards away from the Titanic we heard a fearful explosion. I saw the ship split open. At the same time the ship's bow rose up in the air as the steamer sank towards the center."

Mr. Scott was also in Lifeboat 4
"We pulled away from the ship’s side and we had not been away long before the ship started breaking up, and her stern went up in the air, and you could see her three propellers nearly the same as you can see them on the model." "She broke off at the after-funnel, and when she broke off her stern end came up in the air and came down on a level keel and disappeared."

Mrs Ryerson was also in Lifeboat 4
"I was in the bow of the boat with my daughter and turned (hears explosion) to see the great ship take a plunge toward the bow, the two forward funnels seemed to lean and then she seemed to break in half as if cut with a knife."


The key is that the survivors in the different lifeboats had witnessed the ship break apart from a different perspective and this is why they were conflicting the actual location of the break. Some saw it break just behind the 1st funnel while others saw it break just behind the 4th funnel. The easiest explanation is that funnel 3 fell down when she broke, and then funnel 2 fell down afterwards which created the impression that she had broken just behind the first funnel, and then funnels 1 and 4 fell down last, and when the stern floated and turned around it created the illusion she had broken just behind the 4th funnel. All a matter of each survivor's perspective and the moment they turned and looked.



A rough idea. Titanic settles bodily and lists over to port.


sinkingangle1.png



An explosion is heard and smoke rushes out of her funnel. The ship twists apart. The stern trembles and settles back and keels over to port. The bow breaks and reels over to starboard and washes almost everyone off the forward boat deck as the men try to free the collapsible from the deck.


sinkingangle2.png



The heavy middle goes down and thrusts the forward boat deck and the stern upwards. The weight of water shifts the balance and pivots each section differently as they become unstable and continue to reel.


sinkingangle3.png



The stern turns around and moves over the spot where the bow had just submerged (possibly sucked over the spot as the sea closed over the bow and spun the broken stern and pulled her towards it.) The stern then slides under and disappears.


sinkingangle4.png




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Aaron_2016

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No clue, but I’ve also seen that documentary. Don’t get how the best view of the break would be someone standing at the end of the boat deck. Where did that idea come from? You wouldn’t see anything. Joughin said that he didn’t get the idea that the ship broke apart, but that the stern suddenly lurched over to port. Certainly someone observing the ship in a boat would have a better view of the motions of the stern than someone trying to survive on the ship.

Dillon saw the ship break while he was inside the smoking room. The men rushed out and he looked over the side and saw the bow had broken and was bobbing 'like a carrot' on the water before it finally went down. Mr. Brown was in the water on the forward boat deck beside the 1st funnel. He looked back and saw the stern tremble and break free. He believed "the bow had fallen off". There were reports of people cheering as the stern became its own lifeboat, but it soon keeled over to port and went down.


Brown testified that he was next to the 1st funnel here when he looked back and saw the stern break away and rise upwards.


shipbrown1.png



I believe the rapid flooding of the bow would make it much closer to the water compared to the stern when she broke into three.


ship23a.png



Brown may have seen the broken decks of the stern towering like a 5 storey building behind the ship as the bow settled lower. People amidships were washed off the boat deck at the same time the people forward were washed off. This could indicate the bodily sinking of the bow when the ship broke apart.


shipbrown2.png



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Kyle Naber

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I doubt there was ever “cheering.” The screams probably sounded like a baseball stadium with the home team hitting a home run.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Edith Rosenbaum was in lifeboat 11. She described the screams and thought they were cheering.


"There was a loud cry, as if emanating from one throat. The men in our boat asked the women to cheer, saying 'Those cheers that you hear on the big boat mean they have all got into lifeboats and are saved!' And do you know, that we actually cheered, believing that the big shout was one of thanks giving."

The sound of hundreds of people struggling and slapping their hands against the water as they panicked and tried to stay alive in the freezing water may have created the false impression that hundreds of people were clapping and cheering. Survivors began to sing in their lifeboats to drown out the cries and if Edith was cheering with the other survivors in lifeboat 11 then it may have created the impression to the other lifeboats that everyone was simply singing, clapping, and cheering, with perhaps a subconscious desire to believe they were not screaming for help.

Mr. Harder thought the screams were actually coming from the survivors in the lifeboats.

"We heard a lot of these cries and yells. You could not hear any shouts for help, or anything like that. It was a sort of continuous yelling or moaning. You could not distinguish any sounds. It was more like what I thought it was; the steerage on rafts, and that they were all hysterical. That is the way it sounded in the distance."


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Dec 2, 2000
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Peeps, don't forget that it was extremely dark out there and with the lights on the ship blazing up until the very last couple of minutes, a lot of the people there would have been....if not blinded....at least partly dazzled. I expect that the people in the boats would have had some advantage by being at a distance so they would have at least some partial night vision, but as to anybody ON the decks, being dazzled at close range, it's a wonder they saw anything at all once the power failed.
 

chrismireya

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I have been reading through this thread. I'd like to add a couple of things (some which merely echo what others have said):

1.) It was very dark and the eyewitnesses were in different positions with different perspectives. Most were in boats. Others were at various places on or near the ship. However, most were far enough away in boats -- at sea level -- to which the sinking might have simply seemed different from vantage to vantage.
2.) Memory is a fickle thing. We've all seen examples of how eyewitness testimony can be wrong. This is especially true during an increasingly rapid catastrophe that produces a sort of "fog of war" on recollection. Some might have been persuaded by the "power of suggestion" or "false memories" due to interaction with one another aboard Carpathia. Consider Lady Duff-Gordon's recollection (finally written twenty years after the sinking). She heard stories and, yes, tales from survivors aboard Carpathia (such as Chief Baker Charles Joughin's story) that was already different from what he later recited under oath. Don't forget that some testimony might not be trustworthy too.
3.) The one truth that we know is that Titanic broke apart and where it happened.
4.) We know that the ship went down by the bow because the breach to the hull (*by the iceberg) was to the forward watertight compartments on the starboard side. Thus, the imagery of other ships where the hull breach was closer to the amidship of those ships -- meaning that they were sinking by that point (depicted in many of the photos of sinking ships in this thread).
5.) Scientific principles declare that the bow of Titanic -- which went down due to a breach in the forward starboard bow -- would lack buoyancy to "rise."

So, how do we rationalize the differences in eyewitness testimony? Some said the ship went down whole. Some saw it break. A few claimed to see the bow rise.

I think that the best thing is to remember points #1 and #2 from above.

I think that the best and most credible testimony would be the most specific testimony that more closely aligns with or corroborates the testimony of others -- testimony that can actually coincide with the obvious and most accepted timeline of the sinking. For instance, Chief Baker Joughin was the last guy aboard Titanic. He never saw the breakup. However, you can deduce from his testimony when it happened -- because he describes it without having seen it (particularly since he was focused on getting to the aft of the stern). The sound that he heard ("ripping steel") and a sudden shift to port coincides with the "explosions" that others thought that they heard.

It would be great to have a three-dimensional map that shows placement of each eyewitness at different points of the sinking timeline. This could explain how vantage point and perspective could be deceiving.

I do think that the eyewitnesses who thought that the bow rose might have seen something that led them to that opinion. My guess is that they either saw debris....or even the aft part of the separated bow. How so?

When the ship finally broke, many people (including those who didn't realize that it broke) saw the stern "settle back." The force of the separation was significant -- including the remaining buoyancy of the stern. Something that is rarely mentioned in this is whether or not the break caused the stern to move away from the bow. If it was a complete break, then it possibly moved significantly apart. Any remaining debris from the bow (or the mid-parts from the breakup) might have seemed to have been part of the bow -- simply because the stern bobbed away from it. This is coupled by the fact that some survivors indicated that the stern also pivoted (probably due to the last part that was holding the bow and stern together).

For me, the most incriminating evidence of the stern never coming up again is in the very testimony of the people who thought that Titanic went down in one piece. They didn't see the breakup. Thus, it had to have happened at an angle in which most of the bow was underwater. I think that vantage point and perspective might explain away why some didn't see the breakup. However, it wouldn't explain why most didn't see the bow rise back up again.
 

William_2019

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here is a animation of that theory:
Here is another. I believe this is a very close representation of how the ship twisted, broke into three, and the forward end bounded up again as she sank heavily in the middle. The water rose up to E-deck and pretty much stalled there for a very long time as the water moved aft, and with open corridors and open portholes and possibly walls breaching open above or below. I believe the traditional (bow continually going down theory) does not hold water. No pun intended. Survivors who only saw the bow go down had probably witnessed the bow sink down to E-deck and when they rowed towards the Californian they looked back at the Titanic and they did not see much light (if any) on her bow as it is very difficult to see any lights on a ship's bow at night time. But those who could see the ship's broadside would be in a much better position to focus and remember exactly what was happening to the bow when she broke and her bow lights went out and her bow sank heavily at the back and her prow tilted up.


 

mitfrc

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William_2019, I must confess to ask, do you happen to be Aaron_2016 under a different name back to continue promoting the V-break theory? I just want to know so that I can reference your past posts if true. I don't mind talking to you, but I think it's fundamentally fair to identify yourself beforehand so I don't have to repeat myself over the course of these discussions.
 
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William_2019

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No. I have monitored his posts and we have spoken frequently here in Belfast as we share a similar opinion on ship wrecks. I have spoken to the visitors at the Titanic museum in Belfast and have found many who agree with the eye witness accounts and in principle Jack Thayer's sketch, and I have shared my knowledge on the subject with Aaron who agrees, although he told me he is unwilling to return to this board. I registered so that I could contribute to the V break theory to show that many factors could have led to the bow temporarily rising up again in the same fashion that the survivors described. My interest in the Titanic is modest as I prefer to study architectural history and the structural integrity of modern and classic building design. I believe the Titanic disaster has become too commercialized. I just hope the fundamental lessons learned from the sinking will still be remembered so that such a disaster will never occur again.
 
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how many survivor said that the bow did raise up? Also what are the physical possibilitty explaining that one? and PLEASE dont pick thiing that only arrange your theory,don't be selective concerning the breaking
 

William_2019

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15 survivors recorded on public record.


Collapsible A - Mr. Williams
Collapsible D - Mrs. Futrelle
Lifeboat 4 - Mrs Hippach
Lifeboat 4 - Mrs. Chaffee
Lifeboat 4 - Mr. Dillon
Lifeboat 7 - Mr. Snyder
Lifeboat 11 - Mrs. Becker
Lifeboat 12 - Miss. Webber
Lifeboat 13 - Mr. Oxenham
Lifeboat 14 - Miss Cameron
Lifeboat 16 - Miss. Silven
Boat deck - Mr. Daly
Boat deck - Mr. Mellors
Boat deck - Mr. Fitzpatrick
In the water - Jack Thayer


There are probably more, but as there were far fewer who saw the iceberg strike and very few mentioned the Titanic firing rockets, or breaking at all we therefore can't really base what happened by comparing numbers.

From what I have read and studied I would imagine that E-deck and the open portholes changed the entire pattern in which the ship rolled over, broke and sank.

Unfortunately the survivors who spoke on public record were just a tiny minority and the majority of the survivors never repeated a word of their experiences on paper or audio, which would mean we are entirely dependent on the few bits and pieces that the minority of survivors had to say.

Each survivor would also relate specifically what stood out to them in their minds at the time as they focused their attention on a key event that was possibly unique to their perspective e.g. Gazing at the stern towering in the air would make quite a noticeable spectacle when the survivors turned and looked, with little attention (if any) to see what the bow was doing.

The majority of the survivors never mentioned the ship breaking, and this would itself not be confirmation that they did not see her break. It quite possibly could be that many of them did not care to go into detail about it and were not prepared to discuss what happened as describing how 1,500 people died would be a very private matter which many would possibly prefer not to discuss in graphic detail, and they would only relay the bare essentials when questioned by someone e.g. She appeared to go down by the bow at the start, and there was a series of explosions, and her stern stood up into the air. They may have seen and remembered much more detail, but were just not prepared to say any more. Much in a similar fashion to war veterans who were prepared to mention only a few details of their experiences of a key battle, and were not prepared to go into further detail.
 

Kyle Naber

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Here is another. I believe this is a very close representation of how the ship twisted, broke into three, and the forward end bounded up again as she sank heavily in the middle. The water rose up to E-deck and pretty much stalled there for a very long time as the water moved aft, and with open corridors and open portholes and possibly walls breaching open above or below. I believe the traditional (bow continually going down theory) does not hold water. No pun intended. Survivors who only saw the bow go down had probably witnessed the bow sink down to E-deck and when they rowed towards the Californian they looked back at the Titanic and they did not see much light (if any) on her bow as it is very difficult to see any lights on a ship's bow at night time. But those who could see the ship's broadside would be in a much better position to focus and remember exactly what was happening to the bow when she broke and her bow lights went out and her bow sank heavily at the back and her prow tilted up.


The creator of that video actually made it as a joke.

Analyzation of the wreck and the plain laws of physics disprove this theory in every aspect. A bow filled with any capacity of water will find it easier to sink.

Mr. BRIGHT: i was 50 to 100 yards away, I would say, when she went down. I could not be exact, but about that.
Senator FLETCHER: Did she break in two?
Mr. BRIGHT: She broke in two. All at once she seemed to go up on end, you know, and come down about half way, and then the afterpart righted, itself again and the forepart had disappeared.
Mr. BRIGHT: It settled down in the water on an even keel
Senator BOURNE: But the bow had disappeared?
Mr. BRIGHT: Yes, sir.
 
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William_2019

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The creator of that video actually made it as a joke.

Analyzation of the wreck and the plain laws of physics disprove this theory in every aspect. A bow filled with any capacity of water will find it easier to sink.

Mr. BRIGHT: i was 50 to 100 yards away, I would say, when she went down. I could not be exact, but about that.
Senator FLETCHER: Did she break in two?
Mr. BRIGHT: She broke in two. All at once she seemed to go up on end, you know, and come down about half way, and then the afterpart righted, itself again and the forepart had disappeared.
Mr. BRIGHT: It settled down in the water on an even keel
Senator BOURNE: But the bow had disappeared?
Mr. BRIGHT: Yes, sir.

Collapsible D was quite close to the ship and Mr. Bright possibly was thinking primarily about getting away as fast as possible and tried to avoid looking around out of curiosity and any unnecessary movements on the collapsible would rock and unsettle their boat which was possibly discouraged when the survivors first boarded the collapsible e.g. 'Once you are in the boat, please be seated and sit as low as possible to keep warm, and please do not attempt to stand or move about, or else you will upset the boat.' Mr. Bright said "the forepart had disappeared" which might represent the bow lights extinguishing when she broke in two. Three survivors saw the ship breaking into three sections. Perhaps Mr. Bright did not turn to see the first break and what the bow was doing, and when he eventually looked over his shoulder he saw the broken stern rising up and breaking and falling back, and this was the broken stern which was breaking a second time and settling back and the ship became divided into three. The bow was in one piece, and the stern was in two pieces. Mrs. Futrelle was I believe in the same boat and said - "We saw her break in two. The bow, which had been pointing downwards, dipped, turned up again, writhed and sank with the stern. Exactly as though one had stepped on a worm." My impression of a worm being stepped upon would result in the poor worm wriggling and twisting its body and dying with both ends sticking up.
 
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mitfrc

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This is probably where this thread should have ended nearly three years ago...

I agree completely. The rotational dynamics make it impossible for the bow to lift up. Three dimensional thinking is hard, but it's just physical reality that the bow could not rise. The rear of the bow rotating downwards would not be happening over a centroid in the bow because the bow is unsupported by any force. It would all be sinking from the baseline position at separation at the same rate in addition to the rotational motion if any.
 
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I like the list of the 15 survivors in post #215. Not all of them said that the bow rise, some as Cameron or Oxenham mentioned the two ends showing up. Dillon was at the poop deck at the time of the break and went down with the stern before he got to boat No. 4. Thayer never mentioned the bow coming up in his 1912 newspaper accounts, nor in the letter to the parents of Long. Daly mentioned the deck rising (no mention of the bow rising). And so it goes on and on...
 
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