What would have happened if Captain Smith did not turn the ship?


Michael Smith

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Earlier on April 14th, Captain Smith turned the ship a little bit south after hearing about iceberg warnings. Now makes me wonder, what would of happened if the Titanic stayed on the original path and never turned "a bit" south.

Do you think the Titanic would of still sank?
 
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Dave Gittins

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Don't believe all you read. The navigational evidence and the position of the wreck show that Titanic was right on the usual course, given the limitations of 1912 navigation. Obviously, if she'd been only a few metres to one side of the berg she would have missed it. A lot of time is wasted on these "what if" questions.
 

Michael Smith

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Don't believe all you read. The navigational evidence and the position of the wreck show that Titanic was right on the usual course, given the limitations of 1912 navigation. Obviously, if she'd been only a few metres to one side of the berg she would have missed it. A lot of time is wasted on these "what if" questions.
That's the fun part about a forum, asking questions and seeing what people think about them.

I am not attacking what the decisions the crew did on the Titanic, if I was on the crew, I probably wouldn't of done anything different.

But always makes you wonder, "what if they did this?, would the Titanic survived longer?"

Here is this, what would of happened if Murdoch, after they hit the iceberg and ship started flooding, he opened the watertight doors for a couple seconds and closed it? It would only be a little bit of water cause it would of spread out throughout the whole ship, and by the time the water tight doors need to be opened again, the pumps would of pumped out the water from the last time they opened it.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>It would only be a little bit of water cause it would of spread out throughout the whole ship, and by the time the water tight doors need to be opened again, the pumps would of pumped out the water from the last time they opened it. <<

Something along this lines has been suggested before. Even flooding you may get but tank tests with specially built engineers models demonstrated that the outcome would not have been a good one. In fact, it would have been worse.

As to the pumps, they had all of them going. The problem was that a total pumping capacity of 1200 tons per hour was just no match for the flooding rate they actually got. The problem was not a question of relocating the water, as this wouldn't have made a difference. The problem was that it was getting in so quickly that all the pumps on the ship couldn't possibly keep up!
 

Michael Smith

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Oh, I never thought about that, awesome!

Now, would this been possible? when they saw the Iceberg, they should of instantly released the achors. So the anchors would of slowed down the ship?

I don't know if the achors were done manually or automatically.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Now, would this been possible? when they saw the Iceberg, they should of instantly released the achors. So the anchors would of slowed down the ship?<<

A moot point since they didn't even come close to having the time they would have needed to do this. In order to release the anchors, they would have to muster the deck crew to to do this. By the time they knew they were in trouble, it was already way too late.
 

Jim Currie

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The anchors of a ship cannot be easily deployed from a ship underway at sea. The chains would be held rigid within the tops of the hawse-pipes by 'puddings'. These were burlap sacks filled with a sand and cement mixture which were packed round the chains after the ship left it's last port (Queenstown). They were used to stop the chains moving in a seaway and to prevent sea coming up the hawse pipe when the ship's bow plunged down ward after cresting a sea or swell.
Modern ships had slotted steel plates which could be slid across the opening and did the same job.
It was normally the ship's Carpenter's job to make -up and instal the 'puddings'. It was also his job to break them out and to operate the anchor windlass.

Jim C.
 

Tommy

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>>It would only be a little bit of water cause it would of spread out throughout the whole ship, and by the time the water tight doors need to be opened again, the pumps would of pumped out the water from the last time they opened it. <<

Something along this lines has been suggested before. Even flooding you may get but tank tests with specially built engineers models demonstrated that the outcome would not have been a good one. In fact, it would have been worse.

As to the pumps, they had all of them going. The problem was that a total pumping capacity of 1200 tons per hour was just no match for the flooding rate they actually got. The problem was not a question of relocating the water, as this wouldn't have made a difference. The problem was that it was getting in so quickly that all the pumps on the ship couldn't possibly keep up!
The water poured into the ship at an estimated 400 tonnes per minute - or about 7 tonnes per second. So, I agree with you - the pumps couldn't keep up.
 

Adam Went

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Indeed, the 'leave the watertight doors open' theory has been tried and tested before and it was discovered that the ship, whilst it would have sunk on a much more even keel, would have gone down around 30-40 minutes earlier than it actually did. Of course there are variables to consider in that as well but it has been generally accepted that closing the watertight doors was the right decision - after all, that's what they were there for.

Would the anchors have even been long enough to reach the bottom? That's two and a half miles of chain right there....

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Doug Criner

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It's common to have an anchor ready to drop when arriving or leaving port - so that if propulsion or steering fails in congested, shallow waters, the anchor can be let go on a moment's notice. It first requires an anchor detail on deck to take up the weight off the chain stoppers, disconnect the chain stoppers, and lower the anchor a couple of fathoms to the water level with the anchor windless. Such precautionary measures require perhaps 15 minutes or more to accomplish, and are not taken at sea. The depth of the water at the wreck site is, course, another major factor.

There is no "push-button" on the bridge or elsewhere to release anchors.
 

Rusty_S

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Indeed, the 'leave the watertight doors open' theory has been tried and tested before and it was discovered that the ship, whilst it would have sunk on a much more even keel, would have gone down around 30-40 minutes earlier than it actually did. Of course there are variables to consider in that as well but it has been generally accepted that closing the watertight doors was the right decision - after all, that's what they were there for.

Would the anchors have even been long enough to reach the bottom? That's two and a half miles of chain right there....

Cheers,
Adam.
I dont think he ment using the anchor to hit bottom and slow the ship, if the anchor got lodged in good it could in theory pull the bow of the ship down while she was still moving or at the very least break the chain. I think what he was meaning was using the anchor as sort of like a sail, lower the anchor and let the anchor act like a drag chute slowing the ship down through increasing water resistance.

But even if this was possible to be done, it wouldnt have slowed the ship down quick enough. The only thing that I could potentially see as making a difference would be if the port engines were runned full astern and the center and starboard engines were run full ahead. This would have in theory increase drag on the port side and reduced drag on the starboard side and with the helm hard over could have increased the turn rate. But in 1912 this kind of ship operation wasnt even known, even if you could go back in time and tell them to do this this technique would be all alien to them.
 

Jim Currie

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If anchors were of any use at all to Titanic at the time of the accident, it would have been after hitting the iceberg and she was flooding. It [I]might[/I] have been usefull to let go both anchors and chains completely to the bitter ends then cut them loose. Then dumped the spar bow anchor and moved everyone to the stern as well and pumped out any forward ballast as well as the forward boilers. Thus the ship would have lost a considerable weight from the bow and it would have risen and reduced water pressure in the forward compartments. It would be the eqivalent of pumping out many tons of water. It may even have prevented water flooding forward over the top of the collision bulkhead. Perhaps someone might like to do the sums - just for a laugh?

Jim C.
 

Rusty_S

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If anchors were of any use at all to Titanic at the time of the accident, it would have been after hitting the iceberg and she was flooding. It [I]might[/I] have been usefull to let go both anchors and chains completely to the bitter ends then cut them loose. Then dumped the spar bow anchor and moved everyone to the stern as well and pumped out any forward ballast as well as the forward boilers. Thus the ship would have lost a considerable weight from the bow and it would have risen and reduced water pressure in the forward compartments. It would be the eqivalent of pumping out many tons of water. It may even have prevented water flooding forward over the top of the collision bulkhead. Perhaps someone might like to do the sums - just for a laugh?

Jim C.
While it is a novel idea, it wouldnt change the fact that water was still pouring into the ship and that weight saved would have been quickly added back to the Titanic as water pours in. Dumping all of Titanic`s anchor chain`s and anchors on the bow probably wouldnt have reduced enough weight to raise the bow up more than maybe a couple inches at best. Now putting everyone to the stern of the ship though would cause some problems, now you have water in the bow trying to pull the Titanic down and the weight of every passenger on the stern trying to keep the stern down. This will cause the center section of the Titanic to act as the fulcrum and she will basically bend in the middle.

To be brutally honest what would have probably help lengthen the time Titanic had of staying afloat was if Lightoller had not sent two crew men down to the first class reception room on D-deck and open the gangway door. If this large hull door remained closed it is in my opinion that Titanic wouldnt have slipped below the surface of the ocean at around 2:20 am but closer to 2:35 maybe even 2:40 am. Now given this wouldnt have resulted in creating enough time to save everyone cause Carpathia would still be a few hours away but it would give the potential possibility of more passengers clinging to life in the water when the lifeboats returned to rescue survivors. In my opinion saving a few more lives is preferable in my book and I would be inclined to believe that the actions Lightoller took actually caused Titanic to sink 15 to 20 minutes sooner than she could have. At the time of this gangway door reaching the ocean the waters were so calm that Titanic was in a very delicate balance between being stable and tipping over and taking a plunge. Her rate of sinking into the ocean was slowing down and was quickly getting to the point of reaching a stable water line. Given it wouldnt have lasted with weight shifting around from people moving about the ship but Lightoller`s gangway door as it is refered to allowed water to enter into the first class reception room on D-deck and this allowed water to pour down the Grand Stair Case onto E-deck and deeper into the ship, and it also allowed water to pour up into the ship as she sank deeper into the water.
 

Jim Currie

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I said it might have been an idea, but I wasn't serious. However, if Titanic's bow could have been raised a couple of inches before the water overtopped the collision bulkhead, the story might well have changed. Because the pumps would not have had to handle such a sudden surge of downflooding forward.

Putting people on the stern would work as long as the forecastle head and C deck were above sea level but only marginally. I wasn't serious about that one either.

How do you know that the lower gangway doors were in fact opened? How many portholes were left open?

After an hour in the water, all of those in it would be dead from hypothermia. Carpathia arrived on the scene in darkness. She would not have been able to see people in the water until after 4-30am. This means that for anyone to have survived, they could not have been in the water before 3-30am, over an hour after Titanic went down.
Even when those on Carpthia were able to see, there were no sign of any of those who ended up in the water.

Jim C.
 

Rusty_S

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I said it might have been an idea, but I wasn't serious. However, if Titanic's bow could have been raised a couple of inches before the water overtopped the collision bulkhead, the story might well have changed. Because the pumps would not have had to handle such a sudden surge of downflooding forward.

Putting people on the stern would work as long as the forecastle head and C deck were above sea level but only marginally. I wasn't serious about that one either.

How do you know that the lower gangway doors were in fact opened? How many portholes were left open?

After an hour in the water, all of those in it would be dead from hypothermia. Carpathia arrived on the scene in darkness. She would not have been able to see people in the water until after 4-30am. This means that for anyone to have survived, they could not have been in the water before 3-30am, over an hour after Titanic went down.
Even when those on Carpthia were able to see, there were no sign of any of those who ended up in the water.

Jim C.
Yep it might have been an idea, but I dont think it would have crossed their minds at the time as everything was happening in the matter of seconds.

The only downflooding that I can without a doubt say really did happen would be from the opened D-deck gangway door. Other than that, no witness that I came across ever indicated overflowing but they did indicate flooding from the bottom up.

The way I know that the D-deck gangway door was opened was because during testimony it came out that Lightoller sent two men to open the door. But he did not know if the door was opened or not but with finding the wreck the door was found open. Given the fact that these doors were latched with six latches that rotated and locked to the back side of the hull plates its a good indication in my book the door was manually opened. I even seen the door in person few years back and all the latches were in the open position which further provides evidence that the D-deck gangway door was opened during the sinking. The other thing is I have strong belief that there was another opened gangway door on E-deck under the forward well deck. Testimony that Ive read indicated that there was a high chance of it being opened but have not without a doubt proven that one.

I know of a few port holes that were left open. I want to say that Thayer`s stateroom window was left open, if I am thinking of the right man, he was climbing into bed as he felt the ship list slightly as if nudged and he mentioned that his stateroom window was opened. There was also another witness in a lifeboat that testified that she watched a port hole slip under the surface as her lifeboat was lowered and she watched the stateroom flood through the opened window. I would probably bet theres a good chance of atleast a dozen or two portholes were left opened. Considering the cold weather most wouldnt have had their windows open but there are some people out there that enjoy the cold and they would have had their windows opened.

There were people standing atop the overturned collaspable boat and it was sinking under them all the time, they were in ankle deep water when a lifeboat finally came to rescue them. Given thats not completely in the water but its enough to cause your body temperature to drop.
 

Brad Rousse

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Rusty, I understand your feeling about the gangway door, and agree that the physical evidence on the wreck supports that Lightoller's men opened it, but to say that it hastened Titanic's demise by upwards of fifteen or even twenty minutes doesn't sit well. Water would already be easily finding access into the ship via Scotland Road and up from the E Deck entrance, and any number of open portholes before that point. While it may have accelerated local flooding to a certain extent, I don't see it bringing about the entire loss of the ship any faster.
 

Scott Mills

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Well, its unknown what would have happened in a head on collision. Hundreds in the forecastle would have died instantly, people all over the ship would be killed and injured when they were thrown by such a catestrophic collision, but perhaps she would have floated. In the end I think Murdoch reacted appropriately in trying to save the ship.

And the only thing I know would have saved Titanic--for sure--is if the iceberg was sighted and Murdoch's maneuvers initiated 30 seconds to a minute before they were in reality.
 

JMGraber

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Don't believe all you read. The navigational evidence and the position of the wreck show that Titanic was right on the usual course, given the limitations of 1912 navigation. Obviously, if she'd been only a few metres to one side of the berg she would have missed it. A lot of time is wasted on these "what if" questions.
That's interesting. So Captain Smith did not steam an extra ten miles south to avoid more ice? Who can up with the myth?

Anyway, I believe that a head on collision would have been wrong. My feeling is that the rivets through the hull would strain so much that they would pop sinking the ship so fast that the wireless may had not been sent out in time, killing everyone even if they go to a lifeboat. The chaos would have been at the front were crew and third-class passengers wold likely suffer fatal wounds.
 

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