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Old March 11th, 2012, 07:02 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by PragmaticStatistic View Post
Not objecting to your account, but there are factors you have not considered.

1) The passenger accounts could be that some viewed the scene from behind the aft section, away from the iceberg, and therefore it would appear from the rear as if the ship sank in one piece despite any twisting of the ship.
No doubt many were confused by their vantage... but also, people are generally poor observers. People not familiar with ships and sinkings in the dark might mistake the triangular prow surfacing for a chuck of ice...

But more likely is that they were focusing their attention on the people, those in the water and those on the ship.


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2) The 11:45 PM image you provided, shows the ship striking the iceberg and the bow rising out of the water. No where in your account, or any other that I have read, indicates the ship rose out of the water, or to what extent the iceberg projected out under the water.
I somewhat disagree- the drawing shows the ship heeling more than rising... however
keep in mind that red paint was seen on the iceberg... not underwater... yet the portion of the hull painted red is that portion underwater. Especially so when the ship is fully loaded, as she was.

For red paint to be visible above the water on the iceberg, the ship would have had to roll, and or lift to get red paint that high up.

Again- this evidence only strengthens the credibility of Thayers account and the accuracy of these drawings.


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What affect the ice under the ship would have on the ship's breaking up and sinking is unknown and not predictable. But, it could impact on how long the ship stayed afloat, and its twisting, before the ice entangled in the ship, or beneath the ship, broke off.

It was discovered, only a few years later, that the particular process used to make the steel the Titanic was composed of was flawed, and produced a steel that was un-expectedly brittle at temperatures below 40 degrees.

It appears that a sudden sharp blow in frigid temperatures caused the steel to shatter along the rivet lines.

The recent wreck of the Costa Concordia, heeled over to reveal the damage, gives a very good idea of what a hard object can do to a steel hull traveling at speed. And Concordia was steaming slow, compared to Titanic s speed that night.
And that was modern steel... not the brittle riveted steel of 1912
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Old March 11th, 2012, 07:06 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by larkin View Post
I have a theory based at the point of impact..

The story goes the iceberg tore a long gash along the side of the ship below the water line...

I disagree.

First point is that icebergs floating that far down South into the Mid-Atlantic become relatively smooth below the waterline due to melt.

Second point. I believe that the Ship did hit the iceberg but the inertia of a body with that much mass, caused the ship to keep going after it hit, popping a line of rivots all along one side opening a long seem between the poor quality iron plates allowing in a torrent of sea water. Only then did the weight of the moving ship push it passed the iceberg but the damage was already done.

This may have contributed to the break up several hours later.

I have never heard of any reports taking into accounts the huge weight of the ship and the damage trying to stop it would cause because of,...inertia.

See my point above about the brittle steel in her construction...
Icebergs often balloon wide a few feet below the waterline-

When she struck, she absolutely kept going, but the iceberg outmassed Titanic by 50 times or more. For her it would have been like glancing off a rock.
And we all can see what that rock did to the bottom of Costa Concordia.
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Old March 11th, 2012, 07:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Belgarion View Post
What do photographs of the wreck reveal? While the ship is in two main sections is there any evidence of the 'zipper' opening of the hull on the starboard side, or of the explosive release of air under pressure that would be the result of the bow section sinking rapidly in an almost vertical attitiude.
The portion that hit the iceberg is buried in muck as the front half of the ship hit prow first.
Also- she hit bottom with enough force to buckle and shear steel... so it would be hard to determine what damage to the bow was from the iceberg and which from the impact with the sea floor.

As to the attitude...
Actually... when ships sink, they almost always resume their normal attitude, once underwater- because that is how they are weighted.

Titanic front section shore away after the prow sank the second time and it sank almost level but with the nose somewhat down. This is because the nose was tapered and she moved more easily forward than backwards, and the torn and open hole in her midships end had more drag.

because of her downward nose heavy pitch, she Planed as she sank- and hit bottom over a mile away from the actual point on the surface where she went under.

The Stern, however, spilled all manner of debris, then, once under water, she righted herself and sank almost dead level... she hit with enough force to collapse the entire stern section vertically... deck upon deck.

When you see the recently published bottom map... you can see the splash mark of impact- and you can see the concentration of loose debris, boilers and shredded hull plating is all collected near the stern section, showing that she went down, right side up and level, almost directly below the point where she was on the surface.
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Old March 11th, 2012, 07:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by PragmaticStatistic View Post
A few minutes ago I thought of something that I should have included earlier. What impact would a 46,328 ton ship, traveling at 22 knots, have on a floating and drifting iceberg? Would it make the iceberg spin in the current, and in the process change the underwater ice shelf shape that is under the ship over a period of time. In other words, what impact would a rotating ice shelf of constantly changing elevations, being pushed by a sea current, have on the sinking ship?

I am simply amazed that none of the discussions on the other Titanic treads ever considered the impact of the iceberg on the ship beyond the initial contact.

Contrary to what you see in movies, bullets DO NOT cause people to fly thru the air with their impact...

In fact, Bullets entirely rely on the fact that your much greater inertia will hold you relatively still, so that they can poke a hole clean thru you.

The iceberg was massive. The weight of the Titanic was less than the amount of Ice ABOVE water, and there was 10 times that amount below water.
Further, the Titanic struck it a glancing blow. If Thayer's account is accurate, the Titanic may well have hit lower, nearly under the ship, as she was rolled to the left by the impact.

But the iceberg would have hardly been budged. It would be like you getting hit by a frisbee.
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Old March 11th, 2012, 07:35 PM   #25
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Another point about the ship lifting and heeling....

The passengers would not have felt this motion other than as a shudder.

This is because the combination of the heeling left, AS the ship was being Thrust to the left in rebounding off the iceberg, would have created inertial forces ( akin to centrifugal force) in which "down" would still feel like down...
It would have felt like being in an elevator as it first starts up and then stops.

In short, even wine in a wineglass would not have shown any significant change in level.
Like a plane in a banking turn, the acceleration to the left compensates for the tilt.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 03:06 AM   #26
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I somewhat disagree- the drawing shows the ship heeling more than rising... however
keep in mind that red paint was seen on the iceberg... not underwater... yet the portion of the hull painted red is that portion underwater. Especially so when the ship is fully loaded, as she was.

For red paint to be visible above the water on the iceberg, the ship would have had to roll, and or lift to get red paint that high up.

Again- this evidence only strengthens the credibility of Thayers account and the accuracy of these drawings.
I'll accept your description, however, it still proves the bottom of the bow was out of the water. If you read Parks Stephenson's description of events, in my previous post, he describes a similar event that fits Thayler's description of events. He claims the ship road up the embankment of the ice shelf, exposing the bow above water. Your concept of it being the bottom striking the upper portion of the iceberg fits that description.

From what I gather from this information, is that the hull was compromised, not in the side as most of us uninformed would assume, but in its bottom, away from the upper portion of the iceberg and that the aft section swung into the upper portion of the iceberg when the bottom struck the ice shelf. And , that the ship's leaning to port was due the contour of the ice shelf as the ship settled into the water.

Which I would assume would explain the splitting of the ship when it conformed to the shape of the ice self beneath it. Stephenson clearly makes a case for the impact of the ice shelf after initial contact with the upper portion of the iceberg.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 03:33 AM   #27

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I have heard or read somewhere that if the ship actually hit the iceberg head-on that it would have taken the blow a lot more and wouldnt have sank.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 09:41 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by PragmaticStatistic View Post
I'll accept your description, however, it still proves the bottom of the bow was out of the water. If you read Parks Stephenson's description of events, in my previous post, he describes a similar event that fits Thayler's description of events. He claims the ship road up the embankment of the ice shelf, exposing the bow above water. Your concept of it being the bottom striking the upper portion of the iceberg fits that description.

From what I gather from this information, is that the hull was compromised, not in the side as most of us uninformed would assume, but in its bottom, away from the upper portion of the iceberg and that the aft section swung into the upper portion of the iceberg when the bottom struck the ice shelf. And , that the ship's leaning to port was due the contour of the ice shelf as the ship settled into the water.

Which I would assume would explain the splitting of the ship when it conformed to the shape of the ice self beneath it. Stephenson clearly makes a case for the impact of the ice shelf after initial contact with the upper portion of the iceberg.
The ice shelf was no where near the vessel as it broke up. The Titanic was not ON an ice shelf- and even if it rode up onto the ice briefly, the force could still have buckled and popped the riveting off the steel on the side of the ship- the underside being forced up would have caused shear stresses on the riveting along the side.

The passengers did not report a list to port. So the ship could not have been hung up on the ice... and the Vessel did continue to steam forward for minutes after the strike. A ship this size, at that speed, even with screws reversing, would take the better part of a mile to come to a stop.
( my grandfather witnessed a small navy destroyer, with screws reversing, cut its way thru 4 parallel wooden wharfs as it approached dead slow. )

The ship had to heel to mark the iceberg that high... and the only way the passengers drinks would not have sloshed over would have been if it was abruptly shoving to the port as it heeled.

Last edited by sculptingman; March 12th, 2012 at 09:49 AM.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 09:47 AM   #29
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I have heard or read somewhere that if the ship actually hit the iceberg head-on that it would have taken the blow a lot more and wouldnt have sank.
Also- the call "iceberg right ahead " specifically meant an iceberg to the right side of dead ahead... so the helmsman steered left.... however, the officer on watch also ordered to reverse left screws...

This was a mistake... a ship maneuvers faster with the most water washing across the rudder. This is called "steering way"- With the rudder hard left, and no actual prop thrust hitting the rudder on its left face, there is no real thrust turning the ship.

Had he simply turned the rudder and kept engine speed, the propwash would have shoved the stern of the ship right- and with the entire hull pointing more left, she would have very likely missed the iceberg entirely.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 04:14 PM   #30
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The ice shelf was no where near the vessel as it broke up. The Titanic was not ON an ice shelf- and even if it rode up onto the ice briefly, the force could still have buckled and popped the riveting off the steel on the side of the ship- the underside being forced up would have caused shear stresses on the riveting along the side.
Grounding of the Titanic

"Titanic's bow featured a distinct cutaway at the forefoot (Fig. 7). The keel member was straight beneath the engine spaces and boiler rooms. Just forward of bulkhead "B," it began to rise at approximately a 14 degree angle until it met the forefoot at the stem. As will be shown, the significance of this design is that Titanic did not attain its full draft until the after end of Hold #1, just before bulkhead "B." A grounding event would have brought two wedge shapes into contact: the shipís angled forefoot and the sloping underwater portion of the iceberg. There would be no hard impact of a vertical wall of steel against ice. Instead, the initial contact would have been lessened by the shapes of the objects involved. Titanic's forefoot rose at about a 14 degree angle so that beneath bulkhead "A" at frame 140, it was about 8' 4" above the depth of the keel. For this reason, the bottom along the forefoot would have absorbed just a small fraction of the ship's weight during the first instant of contact. As the wedge shapes of the hull and berg came into full contact, the steel hull pressing against the ice would have immediately crushed the softest portions of the ice, revealing the harder core underneath. Sliding onto mud or sand may produce almost no sound or vibrationÖriver barge operators may not notice their tows are aground until forward progress virtually disappears. In this case, the action of Titanicís steel hull striking the hard core of the ice surface can produce a sound like marbles pouring over sheet tin, or links of chain running out the hawsepipe:

"I was just sitting on the bed, just ready to turn the lights out. It did not seem to me that there was any very great impact at all. It was just as though we went over a thousand marbles. There was nothing terrifying about it..."
Mrs. J. Stuart White, Passenger, Cabin C-32"

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The passengers did not report a list to port. So the ship could not have been hung up on the ice... and the Vessel did continue to steam forward for minutes after the strike. A ship this size, at that speed, even with screws reversing, would take the better part of a mile to come to a stop.
( my grandfather witnessed a small navy destroyer, with screws reversing, cut its way thru 4 parallel wooden wharfs as it approached dead slow. )
Thayer's account of list/turn: Tim Brandsoy

"He returned to the stateroom (C-68) to get his parents They went to the starboard side of A deck where John B. Thayer senior thought he saw small pieces of ice floating around, but Jack saw nothing. As they crossed to the port side they noticed that the ship had developed a list to port."
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