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What happened to the Forward Tower?

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by Seungho Kang, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Seungho Kang

    Seungho Kang Member

    Looking at the wreck photos and maps, I realized that the Forward Tower, the structure beneath of the 3rd funnel didn't have sufficient data other than some partial pictures and the undistinguishable structure(which actually is the forward tower) near the two double bottom pieces.

    Are there any overall diagrams/pictures of the forward tower from the sides or possibly the break section? If there is one is the break section clean or crushed?

    Also if that structure broke away from the stern during stern implosion like the CGI visualizations, why was it so close to the double bottom pieces, which broke away the other way? And if the structure broke away during the breakup, how did it drift away from the stern wreck, unlike the boilers from boiler room 1?
    Was the aft expansion joint a major factor of this structure to break away from the rest of the stern?
  2. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    That was one of Cameron’s team’s biggest obstacles. They never quite tacked that exact question.
    Seungho Kang likes this.
  3. Pardon, but what structures are you describing with the word "tower?" Thanks

    -- David G. Brown
  4. Actually it was. Not only in Cameron's "The final word" but also in "Titanic at 100".
  5. No, the expansion joint was not a major factor.
  6. Seungho Kang

    Seungho Kang Member

    What I thought about is that the forward tower broke away from the stern earlier than the double bottom, the same moment the stern righted itself.
    Then the stern would gradually turn around facing against the sinking bow and the forward tower, while the boilers fall straight down during the process.
    The double bottom then would rip away from the stern to the direction of the falling forward tower.
    Im talking about the area right below the third funnel from the break area, up to the aft expansion joint that lies near the two double bottom pieces.
  7. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    There were a few accounts which mentioned the ship “breaking into three.” Possibly this scenario could be an explanation?
  8. Seungho Kang

    Seungho Kang Member

    Yup. Possibly. But you can’t simply rip a newspaper into three, for example.
    Thats why i am thinking of a v-ish breakup process to explain why it broke into three.
    After the breakup, the bow would slightly go down bodily, and after a few minutes, the bow’s end would be crushed down because water is flowing in the midship section, while the forward tower gets crushed upwards from the boilers and the bottom decks, which haven’t gone through pressure.
    The sound of the middle section going down “like a thousand blazing rockets” would be the sounds of all the decks and metal breaking the forward tower upwards.
    Then after the bow is gone, the crack that i just mentioned would reach the expansion joint, fully detatching the now flooded section from the rest of the stern.
    Not sure if the bridge of the bow would float in this situation though.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  9. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    The problem with the v-break configuration is that forensic analysis doesn't support it. Neither the tower debris or the double bottom. When the ship broke apart, it's most likely that the bow dropped like a stone, but was held up by the horizontal stern for a minute.

    This video shows the traditional breakup theory, but ads in the "third break" idea. The tower debris simply collapses above the waterline (at 2:42:00).
  10. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    Survivor William Lindsay was close to the ship. He said:

    "I was on the ship till the water came up to the funnel and got away on a raft. There were 39 of us on it. Oh, but the sight was awful. I shall never forget it, for she broke in three pieces."

    Survivor Mrs. Chaffee was in lifeboat 4 which was very close to the ship. She said:

    "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."

    Forensics have proven that the broken double bottom pieces were separated when the ship was in a V position, or to put it more accurately an L shape. The pieces are upside down on the sea floor and the edges are bent downward



    This would mean that right side up they broke when the ship was in this position:
    The breaking of the double bottom and the collapse of the tower debris above it would have been the first signs to the public that she had broken apart as they would first hear a terrific noise and witness the middle falling down.

    Nellie Becker
    "She seemed to break right in the middle, and the middle fell in."

    Mrs. Chaffee
    "First the middle seemed to go down"

    Mrs. Hippach
    "The steamer sank towards the center."

    During the initial stages of the evacuation the water rose up to the waterline and the bow only tilted down as far as E-deck. There were reports of a large number of open portholes along her broadside and this would accelerate the bodily flooding of the ship. Once the ship's bow had settled down as far as E-deck the water would wash up the corridors and down into the central parts of the ship, accelerated by the open portholes, and this would cause the forward tilt to ease back and allow the ship to settle down much more bodily by her entire broadside.

    I recall several Third class passengers berthed in the stern could not return as they found water all the way aft, no doubt caused by open portholes, primarily on the port side. There was also a report of a collapsed wall / door in boiler room 5 which would allow the water to significantly filter out of the bow and flood further aft through the breached wall / door, with also the possibility of partially opened watertight doors further aft, and the collapse of walls throughout the ship that were not supported with bulkheads, which would accelerate the flooding of the middle of the ship.

    As the downward tilt eased back, the survivors watched her decks settle down together in unison.

    When the water spilt into the upper decks (before it had time to filter down into the lower sections and boiler rooms) it would create a dangerous 'top heavy' motion of the ship and the passengers were ordered to balance the ship by moving from the port side to the starboard side and back again in order to keep the ship balanced. Survivors noticed the ship appeared to right herself at various times during the evacuation, and when the top heavy motion increased over time it became harder and harder to keep the ship balanced on a level keel.

    Mr. Hemming
    "The captain was there, and he sung out: "Everyone over to the starboard side, to keep the ship up as long as possible."

    Miss Glynn
    "We watched the Titanic rolling and bobbing like a cork."

    Mr. Haggan
    "The ship was shaking very much".

    Mr. Barkwork
    "I remember somebody shouted: 'Go gently!' as if a sudden shift of weight would have disturbed the ship's position."

    Mr. Lightoller
    "The ship seemed to be heaving tremendous sighs."

    As the ship settled down bodily with an enormous increasing weight in the middle sagging her down, and the constant rolling of the ship from side to side, I believe the stresses on the hull were too much, as the bow would lean heavily over to port and the stern would be pulled over with it, and owing to the flexibility of her structure and the slight delay in the stern responding to the twist of the bow, I believe the friction of this constant rolling had created tears along her side which rapidly grew as she settled deeper in the water, until one more roll became one too many and her hull breached open in the middle.

    Like a suspension bridge twisting in the wind.
    This would account for the twisting motion that Mrs Chaffee witnessed when she saw the ship break into three on the surface.

    Mr. Thayer could hear the steel breaking and he witnessed the bow moving forwards in the water. Percy Oxenham also noticed the bow moving away from the stern as she broke and this would mean the bow and stern would not have compressed into each other as the bow broke away and moved forwards, and possibly the distance of the bow and stern on the seafloor could be very similar to the distance they were in before each section sank independently.

    The forward momentum of the bow would allow itself to detach from the stern and prevent it from crushing and compressing into it as the bow drew away from the stern.

    Mrs. Chaffee
    "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."

    Mr. Oxenham
    "When the big ship parted and the hulks drifted apart before going under we all sat still shivering and afraid. It was the most wonderful and at the same time awful thing I ever saw. The halves seemed to rise out of the water, gaining impetus for the great trip to the bottom 2,000 fathoms deep."

    Mrs. Hippach
    "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."

    Ellen Walcroft
    "She just broke in two and the ends were sticking up."

    Jack Thayer
    "The ship appeared to split well forward to midship, and bow or buckle upwards."

    Susie Webber
    "There was an explosion, and then I saw the leviathan part in the middle. The stern rose high in the air. The bow less high."

    William Mellors (On the ship - near the bridge)
    "Suddenly, her nose (the bow) on which I was on, seemed to suddenly rise from underneath the water."

    Eugene Daly (On the ship - near the bridge)
    "I reached a collapsible boat that was fastened to the deck by two rings. It could not be moved. During that brief time that I worked on cutting one of those ropes, the Titanic gave a lurch downward and we were in the water up to our hips. She rose again slightly, and I succeeded in cutting the second rope."

    Thomas Dillon (On the stern)
    "The bow seemed to bob up and then break off like a piece of carrot."

    A rough idea.



    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2019
  11. Seungho Kang

    Seungho Kang Member

    I highly doubt that the tip of the bow would rise up that high without the support of the stern--
    and that the bow drifted off from the stern that far. What propelled the bow that far away?
    the double bottom would simply be crushed to each other as if the entire bottom of the ship formed a "W" shape.
    the aft keel would bend slightly back, buckling the boilers in boiler room 1 and causing damage to the foremost reciprocating engine, which is seen separated from the rest of the engines in the wreck.
    Only the foremost boat deck section of the bow would rise as water flows in the Titanic. Note that "Jack Thayer's" illustration of the bow rising up that high was drawn by an officer at the Carpathia. It is most likely that the notes below that has more accuracy, as most of the survivors haven't seen the ship sinking torwards the center.
    And I don't think that the 2nd funnel guy wires were that far away. If something like that happened during the break, it would be the 3rd funnel falling, since the guy wires in its front and back would snap because not only the bow is separated but the forward tower is also barely hanging. Of course, this is totally against the survivor accounts.

    (from V Break Theory)
    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.
    (right before the forward tower broke away)
    The 3rd funnel would still stand in this position, because the guy wires at behind didn't snap, as the forward tower is still attatched to the stern without any gaps between them.

    Note that the people who saw the ship parting just before the third funnel suggest that all of the 4 funnels were intact, and the testimony I mentioned at the top says it broke when 2/3 of the third funnel was underwater and intact.

    (this is not the sequence after the photo before)
    the second funnel would fall after the first funnel, since its where the water from the bow and the break area would meet, causing the boilers to explode.

    I am posting the entire sequence, since I have been only giving pieces.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
    Rob Lawes likes this.
  12. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

  13. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    My two cents...

    George Crowe was in the same lifeboat as 5th officer Lowe and Miss Cameron, but Lowe did not see the ship break and yet Miss Cameron said - "She just broke in two and the ends were sticking up only for about five minutes." As various occupants of each lifeboat would be facing towards, facing away, or turned to look and focus on the brightest noticeable part of the ship, or shifted their bodies to peer over the heads of the other people in the lifeboat without rocking and upsetting the boat, it is easy to understand why survivors in the same lifeboat saw different stages of the breaking and sinking.

    e.g. Lawrence Beesley and Ruth Becker were in lifeboat 13. Lawrence was positive there was no explosion and she did not break in two, while Ruth Becker said there was a tremendous explosion and she saw the ship break in half on the surface.

    The famous sketch by Jack Thayer had a description next to it says the drawings were originally outlined by Jack Thayer himself and Mr. Skidmore (a famous artist) added some shading and made it look professional for publication.



    Other artists used Thayer's original outlined sketches and descriptions of the sinking and published their work e.g. Postcards.


    His original outlined sketches probably looked like this before Mr. Skidmore added extra detail.


    Survivor Percy Keen said: "It appeared to us that when the ship listed heavily to port the engines fell out and crashed through the side. The second funnel broke off, and killed a number of people in its fall."


    Percy noticed the ship breaking and the 2nd funnel falling over. A number of survivors would notice the 2nd funnel collapsing at the same time she broke in two, and this would create the impression that she had broken in two between the 1st and 2nd funnels. e.g.

    John Poingdestre
    Q - Now will you describe to us what you saw happen when she sank?
    A - Well, I thought when I looked that the ship broke at the foremost funnel.

    Thomas Ranger
    Q - Can you say in relation to the fore funnel at what point the ship broke off?
    A - About the second funnel from forward. Between the first and second funnel from forward.

    The rolling of the ship from side to side may have been enough to throw the funnel over but there were reports that possibly the port side collapsible was pinned against the funnel guy wires and they were cut with a knife which resulted in the 2nd funnel falling over.

    Jack Thayer was on the ship and said - "Occasionally there had been a muffled thud or deadened explosion within the ship. Now, without warning, she seemed to start forward, moving forward.......accompanied by a rumbling roar, mixed with more muffled explosions. It was like standing under a steel railway bridge while an express train passes overhead, mingled with the noise of a pressed steel factory and wholesale breakage of china".

    This I believe was the ship breaking as the bow moved forwards and detached itself away from the stern, as both sections would have been settling low down in the water and partially flooded owing to the bodily flooding of the ship, and the rapid twisting and rolling would assist in the detachment of the ship until the bow broke and moved forwards owing to the rapid expulsion of air bursting out and influx of water rushing rapidly into it which would increase its forward momentum. There were also reports that the bulkhead walls may have collapsed which would send an avalanche of water inside the bow to jettison out through the back and accelerate its forward propulsion and tip the bow up into the air as the water inside burst out.

    The bow must have drifted quite some distance away, as the majority of the victims were on the stern and had fallen into the sea when the stern rolled over to port. Charles Joughin witnessed hundreds of people thrown into the sea from the aft well deck, and he had to climb onto the side of the stern as the list became so bad after she broke and rolled over. Lightoller was on the forward collapsible boat which had been freed from the forward boat deck. He was asked:

    Q - I understand, but I wanted to know whether there was any effort made by others to get aboard?
    A - Not that I saw.
    Q - There must have been a great number of people in the water?
    A - But not near us. They were some distance away from us.
    Q - How far?
    A - It seemed about a half a mile.

    This would indicate the distance in which both sections had drifted apart before going down. There is a mile long road of coal extending out of the stern towards the south of the wreck and it has been hypothesised that the stern had remained afloat for quite some time and was drifting and swinging down with the current before it sank, and this would create a great distance between Lightoller (on the collapsible) and the screaming crowds in the water who fell into the sea when the broken stern rolled over and sank.

    After Jack Thayer heard the wrenching and tearing sounds and felt the bow moving forwards he decided to leave the ship and swim away. When he looked back at her he noticed the following:

    "She continued to make the same forward progress as when I left her. The water was over the base of the first funnel......The rumble and roar continued, with even louder distinct wrenchings and tearings of boilers and engines from their beds." (He then noticed the final stages of the break up and the separation of the bow and stern, and the collapse of the 2nd funnel.) "Suddenly the whole superstructure of the ship appeared to split, well forward to midship, and blow or buckle upwards. The second funnel, large enough for two automobiles to pass through abreast, seemed to be lifted off, emitting a cloud of sparks."

    As the ship broke the bow would take a momentary lurch as it rapidly became unbalanced.

    Ruth Becker heard a terrific explosive sound and used her fingers to demonstrate the two forward funnels leaning forward as she broke.


    Mrs. Ryerson described the same thing and said: "I was in the bow of the (life)boat with my daughter and turned (after hearing the 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."

    Jack Thayer was in the water and turned around to see the ship separating when the water was over the base of the first funnel.

    Edward Brown was in the water in front of the first funnel when he also noticed the ship had broken in two and he watched the stern rising up on its own and he realized she had broken.

    Q - Did you notice whether the bow broke off?
    A - With the first report of that explosion I saw the afterpart of the ship giving a tremble like this, and I thought by the afterpart going up like this, and giving a bit of a tremble that the bow had fallen off. I might be wrong.
    Q - But that was your conclusion from it?
    A - Yes.
    Q - When the afterpart gave this tremble, where were you then?
    A - In the water; right before the forward funnel.
    Q - Did you notice whether the lights of this afterpart were still lighted or not?
    A - There were lights burning then.
    Q - Could you see that?
    A - Yes.

    This I believe confirms that the ship had broken before the first funnel had fallen.


    The broken bends of the double bottom are bent in a V position.



    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2019
  14. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    The survivors mentioned in an earlier post had witnessed the bow rise upwards and I believe the lights would have extinguished in the bow section and as many people would have turned and looked at the ship after they heard the tremendous explosive sounds they would have focused their eyes on the stern as it rose dramatically into the air and was ablaze with light, while others (mentioned previously) could see the bow rising up as she settled down rapidly in the middle, like Mr. Dillon who saw the bow first break and dip down and then break clean off and "bob" back up. When he was questioned at the Inquiry he denied the ship had broken, along with the surviving officers (despite the fact other survivors in their same lifeboats had witnessed and described her breaking), which indicates the censorship around the Inquiries to suppress the idea from the public mind that the Titanic could have broken.

    The breaking of the ship and the collapse of the 2nd funnel would cause a wave of water to wash forwards and wash almost everyone off the boat deck and forwards and throw them over the bridge and down onto the forecastle as the bow took a violent lurch down as it broke free and then rose upwards and scooped the people forwards.

    Cecil Fitzpatrick described the moment everybody around him was washed forwards as the ship broke and the bow lurched down and then upwards.


    Jack Thayer and Percy Oxenham both noticed the bow moving forwards as she broke. This would cause the port side collapsible to drift backwards and pin itself against the funnel guy wires. I recall reports that indicated the funnel guy wire may have been cut intentionally with a knife to free the collapsible boat which was pinned against it, and this may have resulted in the funnel falling over as she continued to twist and roll from side to side and the funnel fell over, and I recall a survivor who was on the collapsible and he noticed the collapsible appeared to be drifting aft and he saw parts of the wooden deck ripping up underneath him and breaking away and floating all around the collapsible boat and they used these panels of wood to push the people away.

    Lightoller said he was sucked against the forward grating and was pinned against it as enormous volumes of water rushed into the dry sections of the bow. He felt a series of explosions and was burst back up to the surface. He said he grabbed onto a broken piece of wood which was connected to a broken guy wire from a funnel - presumably a broken guy wire from the 2nd funnel, and when he reached the surface he noticed the stern was facing the other way. When the 2nd funnel fell down and was submerging Jack Thayer said he was sucked towards it and presumably the collapsible boat was sucked towards it as well. When Lightoller reached the surface he found the collapsible boat. He then looked up and saw the first funnel falling down and he believed the collapse of the first funnel had pushed the collapsible a considerable distance away.

    A number of survivors saw the stern rising almost vertical with lights still blazing and how she looked like a skyscraper standing on end as her broken stern began to rotate and face the opposite way, and then there came another series of explosive sounds and the lights finally went out and the stern settled back a second time as it detached from the tower debris.

    Percy thought the engines (tower debris) had crashed through the side of the ship as he saw her list heavily to port. The wreck shows the broken ends of the bow and stern have been torn away side ways, and quite possibly Percy was right and the tower debris broke away and fell over to port as the stern twisted and pivoted around and faced the other way.


    Just my two cents on the evidence I have so far researched.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2019
  15. Kyle Naber

    Kyle Naber Member

    I guess I’ll just throw out my copy of this then...
  16. Rancor

    Rancor Member

    As a layman I'm struggling a bit to understand how the bow section would pop up again while being full of water and the part that was dragging the rest of the ship down.
  17. Likewise, I'm having difficulty understanding how they could cut through steel hawsers (funnel guy wires) with a knife???
  18. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Guest

    The flooding of the forward compartments caused the ship to tilt down by the bow as far as E-deck. For a significant length of time the bow remained in that position and there was great optimism that she would not sink any further. The sea had reached the open corridors on E-deck were spilling up the corridors towards amidships and down the staircases into various sections on F-deck that were sealed off from the bow. This allowed the ship to ease back and settle down bodily, and a number of survivors noticed the ship was now sinking bodily by her entire broadside.


    Many open portholes were seen on the port side and this would accelerate the bodily flooding of the ship and the increasing list to port. Albert Pearcy was in collapsible C and noticed the ship was not sinking by the bow when his boat rowed away, and Boxhall was in lifeboat 2 near the stern and he noticed the stern was getting low in the water, and Dillon was on the stern and looked over the side and he noticed the stern was getting low in the water as well.

    All the water that entered via the top decks (regardless if the bow or stern were underwater) would have to circulate down to the lowest unflooded spaces in the middle before it could rise up and fill the bow, even when the forward well deck was submerged the water would circulate down and into the middle.

    Mr. Edwards represented the Docker's Union and during the summing up of the evidence he stated at the British Inquiry that - "It is pretty clear that the Titanic, when she went down, went down very gradually, and that the evidence which has been given about her going down head first and practically perpendicularly is not true......It is pretty clear on the evidence that, as the sinking was gradual, there must have been water coming in a good way aft."

    Charles Joughin was in his cabin on E-deck all the way aft when he saw water enter his room and he noticed the ship was not down by the head. This was after 1.30am and he felt the ship beginning to buckle open soon afterwards.


    When the ship buckled (possibly by the weight of water sagging down in the middle with the additional weight of the engines) the bow and stern rose up as the middle broke and sank down.


    The sound of bulkheads were heard breaking and I believe the water forward would rush aft and pivot the bow upwards


    Just my two cents based on the research gathered.

  19. Seungho Kang

    Seungho Kang Member

    As I posted the sequence, the lifted stern would push against the bow, and along with the water spilling into the break section, it would force the foremost boat deck section of the bow to rise, like a lever. The whole tip of the bow cannot physically rise up that high. Survivors near the collapsible lifeboat felt the ship rising, but that wouldn't happen if the tip rose up like Jack Thayer's illustrations.
    And Aaron_2016, I still don't understand how the flooding of Scotland road to the under decks of the midship section would cause the ship to break.
    But I agree that the ship twisted to opposite directions during the breakup.
  20. mitfrc

    mitfrc Member

    I am afraid the physics of the situation doesn't support the V-break. Crack initiation in the hull strength girder would, from known evidence, have started in tension at the upper strength deck and proceeded downwards until the only point remaining connected was the double bottom. Each time a deck failed, the next deck down was overloaded and failed. This is why survivors heard a series of intense cracking booms.

    This is also why the double bottom failed in tension despite being in compression initially. The top (i.e. outer side, if Titanic had been pushed up the "top" would be the keel) of a strength member being flexed is always in tension. So as each deck failed the point of inflection of the stress curved changed to be lower in the hull. This is just a macro-scale equivalent of crack propagation.

    The curvature seen on the parts of the double bottom Aaron showed is purely the result of that tension loading and the spring coefficient of the steel responding to the final failure in tensile stress. It indicates that the bow was already sinking and indeed probably sinking aft--but we expect that because of the filled condition and the heavier weight amidship.
    Samuel Halpern and Kyle Naber like this.