I hate to say it, but I think what would have happened is a serious PR blow that would have destroyed White Star. Think about it: during maiden voyage Olympic looses prop, then incident with Hawke, then if she sank by berg? I think the reliability and safety of the Olympic class, if not White Star, would have been seriously called into question.
Errrrrr...the Olympic was the vessel hit by the Hawke, not the other way around. Personally, I don't think the Olympic's loss would have been enough to kill White Star. The concern did quite well up in spite of the high profile fiasco with the Titanic. At least until The Great Depression threw a monkey wrench into the works. I don't see how losing the Olympic on her maiden voyage would have changed anything, other then perhaps the name of this forum.
I'm not sure that a single torpedo hit would have been enough to take out the Olympic by and of itself. It was with the Lusitania, but there were some other aggravating factors such as the side compartments which tended to confine flooding to one side of the ship and put her over. If any of the portholes on the lower decks were open, then that would only serve to speed things up.
Curiously enough, it's rarely the primary damage itself which does the ship in. The Britannic should have survived the damage she took, even with damage to the structure caused by the mine's explosive charge. However, having the watertight doors and the portholes along E-Deck wide open was sufficient to kill the ship.
would anyone care to elaborate about the "torpedo dent" Haven't heard of that one, and have been looking. I have heard of the u-boat that ran afoul of the prow of the Olympic, and that didn't fare well for the Germans, but never the torpedo. Did it hit, but not detonate? Obviously, I suppose. Happy Holidays!
Right on both counts. At this point in time, locomotive torpedoes were reletively new. Reletively because Mr. Whitehead developed the first self propelled weapon back in 1866. Their first use in combat was in 1891 when the Almirante Lynch fired scored a hit on an ironclad which sank immidiately. (See http://www.btinternet.com/~philipr/torps.htm for a complete history.) Even by World War I, these weapons weren't always that reliable and duds were a common problem. A problem that Olympic benefitted from.
"Even by World War I, these weapons weren't always that reliable and duds were a common problem."
Michael, change World War I to World War II. Remember the Mark 14 torpedo? At the start of WW-II the Mark 14 had 3 major problems:
1) It ran about 15 feet deeper than it was set.
2) It had a poorly designed contact exploder that caused it to not blow up when it hit a target perpendicularly.
3) There was a flaw in the design of the magnetic exploder that was supposed to blow up when passing under a ship.
It took 18 months to correct these problems before that torpedo became a reliable weapon. There were many a Japanese ship who's hull got dinged and sometimes penetrated by a dud that never exploded.
>>Michael, change World War I to World War II. Remember the Mark 14 torpedo?<<
Oh yeah. There's quite a bit more to that story, but at the very core of this mess was that the beast was rushed into service without adaquate testing. If I recall correctly, out of two known tests, only one was made at a target vessel. I'm as certain as a lot of WWII era submarine vets that some of our Pacific Theatre submarine losses were due to this weapon not working when it was most needed.
She would have had an almost identical fate to Titanic. Perhaps Titanic would be the one to live Olympic's later life, maybe she would have had her double bottom extended into a double hull, and would have gotten more lifeboats. Just take pictures of Olympic and doctor them into Titanic to see what she would have looked like.
>>maybe she would have had her double bottom extended into a double hull<<
Britannic tried that, and IMO this hastened the sinking by making the gap between the two hulls a giant water tank, essentially creating the same effect as a submarine when it dives, only slightly more fatal to the ship in this case.
That torpedo hit right between funnel #3 and 4 in the middle of the ship at boiler rooms 3 and 4. It would have stopped the ship dead (or at least slowed it down quite a bit) and left it a ripe target for torpedo #2 or #3. Being that the ship was packed with troops at the time most of them would have died because the ship would have sunk before many of them could have got out to the deck. It would have been the worst ship disaster of WW1.
>>If Oylimpic was the one that sank that fateful night, would the A-Deck cause any difference in the sinking?<<
Only to the most trivial degree, in that it might have been a bit easier to load the boats from there. As far as the physics of the sinking itself, if the damage had been the same, the overall result would have been the same. The only difference would be the name on the bow of the wreck.