Would Titanic had done better to keep on steaming


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James Eldridge

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Greetings,

I just joined the forum and enter these waters with fear and trembling after reading many previous posters messages here. Let me preface my questions with the qualification that I am not a Titanic scholar but an interested lay person and have not been ordained into the canon of orthodoxy about what is or isn't accepted facts and methods of research. With that caveat offerred here's my humble question for the forum:

I always wondered if Captain Smith had continued steaming ahead if the flooding would have been reduced and have allowed the RMS Titanic more time to reach the ship showing lights before sinking. Of course I don't know whether or not the 'lights' were visible at the time the Titanic hit the berg or they appear later in the tragedy, but it seems to me that given the inhospitable local of the accident that steaming as far toward rescue as possible under the circumsatnces might have been a better idea than stopping. What do you erudite folks think?

Eldridge
 
Wow, erudite...hmmmmm...well while I look that up...let me say. I have proven myself on many occasions to not be a scholar of any type, but will take a stab at something that I have no clue about.

My opinion is that they (the crew) handled things as they should given the situation, but vision here for us being 20/20 froma hindsite perspective and knowing things that the crew may have not and could not have been aware of...I would keep going. But by doing so would have flooded my engine room while the engines were hot and have caused such a major explosion that I would have killed everyone, where the crew saved many.

The only stupid thing I have in my experience on which to base my stupid decision to keep going this is a hurricane in New Jersey. I was caught in the low lands of Upper New Jeresey during a rather sudden unexpected hurricane and many of those lowere areas flooded rather badly. The guy in front of me lowered his MG top down and began to take off across a rushing stream and then decided to stop. His car lowered and filled to the brim with the rushing water. There was no way to know that the water was so deep at first and the rushing water came quite quickly, so I instead of stopping continued my trip at the same speed and made it to the other side.

That is what I would have based my decision and I would have killed everyone by doing so.

Hope that was an okay answer.
Maureen.
 
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Well answered!

I think the boiler rooms not already flooded would not have exploded because they would not have been in danger from flooding due to the water tight compartments holding firm. Speed might have slowed the flooding (just my guess here) and allowed the Captain time to consider more options eg. turning towards the mysterious lights. Afterall, he had alrady hit one iceberg so whats the worse thing to happen,...sinking faster? The boats could still have been readied for embarcation and the time used to better organize the passengers into lifeboat stations. Like I said I'm no expert so hope I don't attract any flames from those who are, but this is an honest question and I do hope the more knowledgeable posters will take a moment to answer it gracefully.

Eldridge
 
Hi James, given the damage, to keep on steaming would have been the worst possible thing they could have done that night. The water was already coming in a 7 tons a second and forging ahead would have forced it in at a faster rate. Since this would have meant keeping up steam and stoking the fires, this would have magnified the risk of a boiler explosion once the water flooded the boiler rooms. Lets not forget also that Boiler Room Six was flooded from the very start.

Also, steaming ahead would have made it impossible to safely launch the lifeboats. A fact which was graphically illustrated when two lifeboats were launched from the sinking Britannic three years later while the ship was still had way on. The lifeboats were chopped to bits by the propellers. Ah...so were some of the unfortunate blokes who were in it.

Mo, I'm afraid that the chap in the MG was screwed the minute he chose to take a chance on the water. You were lucky, VERY lucky to make it to the other side. I'm betting you were driving a heavier car and that was probably your salvation. The depth...as you pointed out, was an unknowable factor...and the current in even reletively shallow floodwaters is a proven killer. I hope you never chance it again. I hate reading the obituary of a freind.

Still shuddering at the thought,
Michael H. Standart
 
At the time, I was in a Chevorlet Vega...not much heavier. But I would never try anything that stupid again. When I was in Korea, I was trapped in flood waters that rose so fast and I took my two step daughters, my infant daughter and myself as quickly as possible to higher ground whcih was a straight shot up the mountain. Some men in a quarter ton truck thought me foolish and they took the bridge that went across the flooded river figuring that they would be safe in the truck. But they all perished and did not find the quarter ton truck until days later way down stream. Made me think of that day in New Jersey. I take water very seriously now.
Thanks Michael for caring about me and for thinking of me as a friend.
Maureen.
 
There is some evidence that the Titanic stopped and then started to steam ahead again. I haven't investigated it fully. It comes from various testimony of passengers and crew.
Steaming ahead did not help the Arctic which only hastened the sinking as she made a wild dash for land.
Mike
 
Hi, James:

I'd have to agree with Michael Standart's excellent analysis here. To have proceeded toward those lights might well have been suicidal. The explosion danger was presumeably apparent, and the additional pressure induced by forward acceleration might have further weakened the already critically damaged bow and bulkheads. Whatever mistakes were made prior to collision, I'd have to assume that the consultations between Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, Chief Engineer Bell, and others resulted in a strategy befitting the circumstances.

As was pointed out in a similar discussion on the Newsgroup alt.history.ocean-liners.titanic, there also wasn't sufficient time under the prevailing circumstances of inundation to ready and fill ALL of the available life boats -- the last two collapsibles merely floated off as the bow went under, one capsized and the other empty save for those who made the last-ditch leap aboard. Had there been more time, these boats might have been properly filled. Had there been even less, perhaps none of the collapsibles (or worse) might even have been readied.

Michael, thanks for sharing that somewhat disquieting revelation on Brittanic's abortive moving lifeboat launch. Certainly not an exodus I'd like to try!

Cheers!
John Feeney
 
James,

Steaming ahead would only compound the problem. You want a real thought to ponder? Is after striking the iceberg, reverse the engines and have the ship travel at full speed in reverse. This is an attempt to create suction at the bow of the ship where the damage was. To pull the water away from the bow from the huge hull in motion. This would have to be attempted immediately after the collision. Only the outboard wing propellors could be used in reverse.
The turbine engine was for forward only. This would of course be used to get the ship to shallow waters. You may remember reading about the Olympic/Hawke accident.
This accident was based on this theory, which caused a great disturbance in 1911, to which Captain Smith was to blame.

Gary
 
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Thanks for the all the information everyone!

The reverse move sounds very interesting and revolutionary thinking that while it may have had some benefit probably would have required a quiditive debate by Smith, Andrews and any number of others that night before trying it out,...too bad there wasn't more time!

The Britannic movie did show a pretty graphic recreation of the dangers of lifeboats and propellers still revolving!

On the question of the 'light' seen on the horizon I was wondering if this might not have been caused by reflected moonlight on another iceberg or some other natural cause. Pardon me if my ignorance here is too apparent but as I already stated I'm not an authority on the tragedy so if this question has been muted by copious pills of evidence than please excuse it.

Eldridge
 
re: should Titanic have continued steaming ahead.

As a matter of fact, one of the recent books on the Titanic discusses this subject specifically (albeit just in the last chapter).

The author, Jim Clary, promotes the theory that Titanic WAS driven at half speed for 20 to 30 minutes after she hit the berg; and that this action severely shortened the stricken liner’s last moments afloat.

His book is called The Last True Story of Titanic. isbn# 1-58345-000-9.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) Tennaro
 
J

James Eldridge

Guest
Greetings,

My reason for posing this question is based on my own experience with my yacht striking a log and getting holed near the starboard bow a few years ago. While the damage looked minor (a slight crack) water seemed to be seeping through fast I was terrified of the idea of losing my vessel and headed full speed for the nearest marina which fortuantely, I made safely. I suppose after reading the learned posts above that a vessel like the Titanic would have sunk faster or exploded had Captain Smith ordered the same action and he was a bit farther from a friendly shore than my Corinthian was.

Eldridge
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Hi Maureen,

I just read your post and you're very fortunate to have gotten out of that one.

I'm glad you're ok.

Best regards,

Jason
 
Hi Mo, and with a volunteer fireman in the family(My dad) I'm all to aware of how quickly floodwaters can ruin your day. Where my youngest sister is living(Las Vegas) is an area notorious for flash floods so I have yet another source of information.

John, I'm always happy to share information when I have it. Glad I could help. It's too bad some people on the Britannic had a go at launching while the ship was moving and notably without authorisation. A very pricey mistake! Like Robert A. Heinlein once said, "You live and you learn...or you don't live long!"

Gary, I don't think that steaming in reverse would have helped much if at all. Remember that water pressure goes up as you go deeper and as far down as it was in some places, your talking about a pressure of two atmospheres. As to the damage nearer the waterline(Boiler Room Six), you're dealing with a plate sprung wide enough so what you had going into Boiler Room Six was a waterfall. Moving in any direction would only have forced it in faster.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Michael,

The Titanic was designed to stay afloat with any 2 compartments flooded. She could even stay afloat with the first 4 compartments flooded. The pumps were controlling the water in boiler room #5. Boiler room #6 was severely damaged, but a considerable distance from the bow. Even if boiler room #6 filled to the waterline, it is reasonable to believe that this theory has merit.
It is the bow section of the ship where the suction would have the greatest impact. If you have seen pictures of the Olympic/Hawke accident,
the starboard aft section of the Olympic is where the Hawke hit.

Gary
 
Dear Gary,
I am clearly no expert at anything except cheesecake recipes on this board, but I have read a lot and heard many great folks on this board.

As I have come to understand it, the ship (Titanic) was compromised at the bow end not the stern end of the ship. It is my understanding that in the time between iceberg impact and the time of assessment of damage that the water had already compromised more than 4 compartments and that the water had risen at least as high as the mail room.

If the watertightness had been "watertight compartments" and not "watertight bulkhead doors" perhaps it would make a difference. But the bow was already laden with water and was beginnning to sink bringing it lower and more water.....

The Californian was to the north east of Titanic and Titanic was traveling south west nearly due west. If they were headed toward the Californian as the mystery ship in an effort to reach her, they were going the wrong way to catch her. But I do not wish to enter a debate on that.


It is my belief that given all the facts that the crew had at their disposal at the time, that the Titanic Crew made the best possible choice in stopping to evacuate the passengers to life boats.

One thing that is critical to remember here too in regards to coming to the rescue is that travels times today are in nanoseconds at times. Even rescue vehicles for the recent Russina Submarine were there within a short time. But in the speeds of 1912, a ship lying 10 miles away would require about an hour of travel to reach a vessel, if they left for it the instant that they knew what to do and where to go. And with the icy waters and limited time for rescue before the Titanic sunk...perhaps more would have been saved, but judging from some of the testimonies about people refusing to leave the warmth of Titanic. Maybe more would have died cause hey wouyld have been waiting to board the warmer, bigger ship on its way than to enter a stupid little tiny lifeboat. Who knows?

Michael Standart, along with others on another thread have helped me to undertstand some very technical stuff regarding this situation. I hope that this sharing is helpful.

But know this, once I argued with someone on this board about the flow of the currents in a particular area of the world. It was Erik Wood and I later discovered he is a sea captain...I was so embarrssed and he never came down hard on me. So, I am the hard headed one they warned you about.
Maureen.
happy.gif
 
Hello Gary, and bear in mind that NO suction could have been created by moving forward or in reverse. The pressure of the water outside was far greater then the air pressure inside. Had the ship been moving in any direction, the flow of water along the side would have increased the pressure, not decreased it, and the openings would in effect have acted like a ramscoop.

With a maximum pumping capacity of 1700 tons per hour, the most the pumps on the Titaic did was buy them a little time. In light of the volumn of water coming in, they were badly overmatched. The damage consisted of intermittent breaks, cracks and split seams spread out over three hundred feet of the ship's length and leaving fully six compartments open to the sea right from the very start.

Mo, who said you were hard headed? I've never noticed any such. A little point of information you may want to know, when the Titanic stopped, she was oriented in a northernly direction. A fact which tends to give some credence to the veiws that some manuevering was ordered and attempted after the collision.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dear Michael,
Me hardheaded? My mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, my boss,...oh you meant here on the board...well let's see there's...Michael, Randy, Shelley, Phil, Lilya and her twin Ilya....and then there's Dean with the suction sling shot thing with the Postal Service ....stop....oh what does rhetorical mean.....ahhhh.

Thanks for the orientation Michael and thanks for your vote of confidence. I gues what I was trying to say is that if The Californian was going towards a moving target (Titanic) and it was moving in a southwesterly direction and they were head east north east then they were going the wrong way. But I do remember our dicussion on the way Titanic was facing, that I think that maybe you , Dean and possibly randy and I had somewhere on this Board somewhere.

Thanks so much for helping me out. By the way, Randy's mom made the cheescake and he enjoyed it. It was nice to hear.
Maureen.
 
Mmmmmm...if memory serves, the Californian was oriented in a generally south eastern direction, but I could be mistaken on that. The Californian being hove to for the night, the only way she was moving was with the ocean current.

I haven't had a chance to make that cheesecake yet. Things have been kind of odd here with the shifts we work. By the way, would a dash of lemon juice work with this recipe? I intend to give it a try when things settle down some.(To say nothing of topping it with blueberries or cherries.)

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
happy.gif
Hey there Michael.
Have no idea about the lemon juice thingy. I would try it the way it is written first and then experiment with later versions and see.

Fresh Blueberries go great with the recipe.

But back to Californian. Somewhere way back up there on this thread someplace someone ventured a question of whether or not it would have done any good to keep moving...more precisely to keep moving towards the "light" that the Titanic saw.

All I was trying to point out was that if the Titanic had hit the iceberg and if they had made the decision to continue forward rather than stop (I also agree that this was unwise), but if they had done this and if they were moving towards the "light" that they saw. They would have been heading towards either a "mystery Ship" or The Californian. And if the ship the Titanic saw was the Californian and if the Californian then had seen the Titanic heading and travel to catch up with them in order to save the distressed ship. And if this had all happened, The Californian being about 10 miles away and Californian s top speed was about what 14-15 knots, then it would have taken all of the time to do this.

This was all based on the suposition that it would have been better for the titanic to keep going. My personal opinion is that it would have failed miserbly and I think that the crew of the Titanic made the best decision.

Now, you can take up that collection for my brain transplant. Cause I know this makes no sense.
(But I think we are on the same side of this...scarey isn;t it). And this of course does not take into account my point above that I feel that the engines surely would have exploded. And also no time to get life boats out to the ship prior to sinking.
Glad you are such an understanding guy to put up with me Michael!
Maureen.
 
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