Who do you think was to blame

James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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who would it be?
the man who risked safety for glory-Ismay
a jinx captain who had already damaged her sister-Smith
new but untried technoligy-Ismay
an insuarance scam-company
i would say
1st reason
3rd reason
has anyone here noted that the triple screw made her clumsy,hard to manovore,hard to respond to the engines,and stop.decide for yourself.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi James, unfortunately, it isn't that simple. As I posted in another thread, disasters seldom happen in a vaccuum but are preceeded by a long chain of events, each small in and of themselves, which finally lead to a lot of trouble.

Ismay: While I would ever confuse the man for a saint, were his attitudes really that different from those held by his contemporaries? Not really. Ocean liners had been operating for nearly four decades with little incident, so why shouldn't the trend continue? Why shouldn't they continue to think they could beat the odds when they had been doing it for so long?

Smith A jinxed captain? Jinxed how? He had his share of incidents, mostly minor, and that collsion with the Hawke had little to do with his own skills, so much as it did the hazards of navigation in restricted waters and a poor understanding of what happens when really large ships get too close to each other.

Insurance scam: Doesn't wash, but I suspect you may already understand that. A fact overlooked by the conspiracy theorists is that the Titanic was underinsured by 2.5 million dollars...which was not small change by 1912 standards. People intent on insurance scams don't do so with an eye towards taking a loss.

And how did the triple screw arrangement make the Titanic any more difficult to manuever then her contemporaries? The Titanic was not a warship and had no real need for the sort of agility assocciated with same. Merchent vessels are designed to carry passengers and/or cargo from point A to point B with maximum efficiency and minimal cost.
 

Dave Moran

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Apr 23, 2002
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For the record most German battleships and heavy cruisers in both World Wars 1 & 2 had triple screw propulsion.

Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse ( the battleship, not the liner ), Konig, Bayern, Bismarck, Scharnhorst and more than a few others.

Quadruple screws were used in British and US warships, and it is really a question of chanelling the power output . It could be argued that with a propellor working directly on the rudder a triple screw ship is actually more manouverable in certain circumstances.

Regards

Dave
 
May 19, 2009
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The most simple reason is - the public greed for speed.....in a hurry gotta get there.....thats why we still build high speed trains and the concord.....and next....the space plane to better the concord's time?
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Probably a failure to grasp the basic tenant in physics that two objects occupy the same space only with great difficulty. The ship's officers knew what time to expect the ice field, yet continued on at a high rate of speed. Other ships had sense enough to stop for the night (Californian)
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Larry and Charles both make very good points. I would only add one extra thing:

Why would Smith go at 22 knots through a known ice field and why did Fleet and Lee report the ship rotating to the left while they where on the phone??
 
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Andrea Jane Rice

Guest
Capt. Wood,

What are you a Captain of, ship, flight, armed forces?

Another question - was there any truth in the question of an explosion in the boiler room. If so, that would indicate that the excess force, to push the ship towards an early arrival in NY, would hold an element of blame.

Personally, I think it was a mix of stupidity, showing off and snobbery.

Andrea
 
Aug 14, 2002
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Andrea,

If you double click on the member's name on the message board, their profile will be displayed. As for the question of an explosion, I don't recall any testimony of an explosion before the Titanic struck the iceberg. Some people reported explosions just before the ship sank. It is likely what they were hearing were the boilers and other heavy equipment sliding through bulkheads as the ship rose into a vertical slant.
Welcome to the board!
Chuck
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Andrea, I can assure you that there was no explosion in the boiler room, at least not as a result of driving the ship too hard. When the Titanic stopped for the last time, the safeties lifted and vented out the excess steam. Also, in the boiler rooms no longer needed to maintain steam for the dynamos, the fires were drawn to stop excess production of steam.

The "explosions" reported can be attributed to two events. One being the break up of the ship just befor she took her final plunge, and the implosion of air filled stern spaces in the stern section when it sank to the depth where the pressure was enough to cause collapse.

The prospect of an early arrival and perhaps a speed run on Monday morning has been discussed here a number of times. Unfortunately, the evidence to support this is far from conclusive.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I have an article by an eminent Edwardian engineer, who points out that 'the boiler blew up' was no more than a journalistic cliche that was trotted out every time a ship sank. In fact, what often happened is that a great quantity of cold water would rush into the furnaces and a great swoosh of steam and smoke would go up, giving observers the impression of an explosion.

A more realistic danger was that steam pipes might fracture as the hull distorted, releasing high pressure steam.

Edward Wilding said much the same thing in evidence.
 
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Andrea Jane Rice

Guest
I've always been interested and saddened by the titanic disaster, but only recently actually started researching it. I've printed stuff off from the web and bought some books as well.

It appears that the bulk of you are current or ex naval and obviously have a far better idea of the possibilities than me.

Maybe also general access to historical records in the States is better than here in the UK, I don't know. I'm sure the weather is at least!
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Andrea Jane -- If you watch the weather, it will change. So do the theories and opinions about Titanic. That's what makes the subject so fascinating. You would think that an event now 90 years in the past would have few remaining surprises, but the ol' ship keeps her secrets well.

As you research, I suggest that you use primary sources such as the transcripts of both the British and U.S. hearings. You want to get as close to the people involved as you can.

== David G. Brown
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Andrea Jane, whereabouts in the UK are you based? I moved to London from Australia, and have found access to historical records here in the UK is excellent. Of course, much depends on precisely what you're after, but archives such as the Public Records Office, Greenwich's Caird Library, the British Newspaper Library etc. are both rich in material and user-friendly.

If you can't make it to London, it's still worth checking out local archives (libraries, local history centres etc). Many of these have materials such as local newspapers and access to census returns and the General Record Office (GRO) indexes - births, deaths and marriages.
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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It would appear as though all the questions have been answered. I quess I will go hide in another thread now.
 
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Stephen Stanger

Guest
Personally I would put the blame straight on Smith.
He was the last and final word on Titanic when it came to decisions regarding her speed and trajectory and I for one don't believe that he would have been "influenced" by Ismay considering Smith's extensive experience.
Those that blame the construction forget that Titanic wasn't designed to play tag with icebergs but for luxury, comfort and safety as I have said (somewhere) before.
Before Titanic there hadn't been a North Atlantic sinking for a couple of years and remember it was the industrial revolution. These people were gullable with a capital G (they called it unsinkable didn't they?!) and to them it just looked like the people in charge are finally getting their act together and getting the ships out of trouble before damage is done.
Ergo, what would have been the point to keep building ships in preparation for disaster anymore y'know? They didn't want double hulls, full compartments and 64 lifeboats just in case when they could concentrate more on the passenger comforts instead.
Tis' sad that she is known as the most luxurious ship ever, because they literally sacrificed every piece of safety (that could have kept her afloat) just to make her that way.
 
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Colin John James

Guest
Ismay gets my vote.........i believe it to be his interference more than Smith's fault the ship was steaming too fast
 
Dec 2, 2000
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While ship owners and their representatives are hardly the sailors best freind, Ismay's presence or non-presence would hardly be a factor in the matter of speed. What appears to be lost on a lot of people is that the Titanic was really operated no differently then any other ship of her time. They had a schedule to keep, and they would go at their best speed to meet that schedule in all conditions short of poor visibility. All the mail boats did this...as was brought out in both inquiries.

Ismay not being on the ship wouldn't have changed this.
 
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Robbie Tresham

Guest
First thanks for allowing me on board. I have been keenly interested in Titanic for many years. May I say that Capt. Smith, seems to be the most culpible in my opinion. Not withstanding the lack of adequate life boats, he must ultimately be the deciding factor. In fact he altogether seems to have been completely disoriented once the collision occurred. His behaviour seems very strange. Even in Cameron's movie he seemed to be wandering around, almost in a daze, without any sense of direction or leadership. But then again, that was a movie, and perhaps in real life he was more a man of leadership.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Robbie hits a nail squarely on the head, in my opinion. I would say that the popular conclusions about Captain Smith's state of mind after the collision are based more on individual interpretation than actual fact. As I see having happened in Ismay's case, a mythical persona has wrapped itself around Smith that may not provide us with -- in fact, may actually prevent us from developing -- an objective and historically-accurate evaluation of the real man. There just isn't enough evidence to definitely state what Smith was thinking or doing in those final moments. Those who knew Smith best were too busy to discuss intentions with him, or didn't survive long enough to give us a decent perspective. Inger can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that among the surviving officers, only Lightoller had previously sailed under Smith.

When considering the period of time between the collision and the ship's ultimate foundering, the best we can do is judge Smith not by his personal actions, but by the results of his crew, of which he was their commander. The facts are that decisions were made that allowed for the orderly and successful launch of all 16 standard lifeboats, an accomplishment that is rare in the history of maritime disasters. This, in spite of the fact that no boat drills had previously been conducted and half the officers had never worked together prior to this voyage. Panic amongst the passengers was kept in check until the very end. All available means of distress communications were attempted. The decision had to be made to stop the ship so that the boats could be lowered, despite the presence of the light of another ship nearby. That decision was monumental and rarely given its due by historians, because it left the Master with few options to save his ship. However, that decision, along with the efforts to avoid panic, ensured that all standard lifeboats would end up being safely launched. Judging by what was accomplished, it appears to me that Smith was effective in his style of leadership, after the collision had occurred.

It is significant to note that Chief Officer Wilde is another man about whom we don't have much information. Because of that, Wilde doesn't receive much credit for any leadership contributions after the collision. The fact remains, though, that despite the apparent non-participation of both the Master and Chief Officer, Titanic's full complement of standard lifeboats was successfully launched before the ship foundered. I realise that there are those who find fault with the manner in which the boats were loaded, or are critical of the notion that there was any leadership coordinating the efforts between the two sides of the ship. But I personally don't see how the scene could be set and the boats lowered in the time given without active leadership by Titanic's highest-ranking officers.

None of this, however, addresses Smith's decisions that led to the collision. A disaster of this magnitude is rarely the result of one man's actions, and I don't see the Titanic disaster being an exception. However, the law of the sea gives a ship's Master both ultimate privileges and ultimate responsibility. In terms of that "law," Smith charted the course that led to disaster, the responsibility was his alone.

I am interested in the statement above that "Tis' sad that she is known as the most luxurious ship ever, because they literally sacrificed every piece of safety (that could have kept her afloat) just to make her that way." This flies in the face of another quote, this one from Handbook of Transportation Science, 2nd Edition: "However, the claim of a high level of design safety was well justified, notwithstanding many later questions about the quality of the steel sheeting, the absence of tops on the watertight compartments, and the number of lifeboats. The Titanic contained the best crashworthiness that had ever been engineered into a ship....If the Titanic had not processed such superior crashworthiness, it would have sunk in minutes rather than hours, with the near-certain loss of all on board." The latter quote by and large corroborates (the author of the quote evidently overlooks the Great Eastern) what I have found during the couse of my own research, and therefore represents my own opinion in the matter.

Parks
 
Dec 6, 2000
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I don't know about the 'non-participation' of Smith & Wilde, Parks.

Wilde helped load #8, #14, #2 and Collapsible D on the port, and Collapsible C on the starboard.

Smith helped load and launch #8, #16 and #2, in addition to being spotted at #6, #7 and D.