I am so sick of the ongoing repetition of false theories on the sinking of the Titanic, and Cameron's grossly inaccurate portrayal that its time to set things somewhat right. Again.
In the hours after the sinking a survivor named Thayer seemed to be the only person who had any accurate understanding of how the ship went down... his testimony was so compelling to two of the crewman aboard the Carpathia that they actually made a series of 6 drawings, recorded only hours after the sinking.
here it is:
Because the majority of passengers, who knew nothing about ships, reported the ship going down in one piece, This far more reliable witness' story was discounted and pretty much forgotten about.
It shows several areas in which the traditional, and even the more recent notions of the sinking were way off.
First, it show, correctly, that the ship's stern did Not break off due to being hung up in the air... but that the ship FOLDED, under the waterline, with the Bow bending back UP to surface briefly, and that this breaking of the middle DOWN is what brought the stern up initially.
Only after the Bow then sinks again and tears free does the stern right itself slightly, and Then the stern section swiveled to face the opposite direction before going vertical and hanging there for 5 minutes before sinking. The bow probably tore away unevenly, imparting this spin to the stern.
There are two reasons why this drawing is compelling... first of all, it explains why the upper decks of the ship were far more damaged than the lower hull at the break...because those sections were crumpled by the fold hinging around the bottom of the hull. And it perfectly predicted that when the wreck was found, the the stern would be facing the wrong way. ( no unexplainable 'theories' of the stern spinning as it sank thru the water like a propellor are necessary )
But more importantly it shows the actual forces acting on the ship, that so many "theorists" entirely missed.
A ship stays at the surface thru displacement. Picture the Titanic before striking the iceberg... the decks below waterline, the holds, the engineering spaces- all filled with air... the ship sits in the water displacing the amount of water that equals the weight of the ship.
Now consider... during the sinking... at every moment the ship remained at the surface, even partially afloat, she must, the whole time, have been displacing the exact same amount of water.
Unlike Cameron's vision where water inside the ship can be seen at the same level as the water outside the ship, even with the bow submerged, a large portion of the spaces inside the bow had to be dry. Even more dry that you might imagine as the water inside the ship moves with the ship and so adds to the amount the ship has to displace to remain at the surface.
The weight of the water in the forward section lifts the stern out of the water, like a seesaw, true... however, consider that the stern, once out of the water is no longer displacing Any water... for it to remain above water, the portion of the ship below water must be displacing its share of the weight of the entire ship, plus the water inside it.
Water did not flow freely thru the passages and compartments of the bow. They filled, but often slowly... but when the water reached the wide open engineering spaces, these areas filled rapidly with little to impede the influx of water.
The result was that the engineering spaces, already the heaviest portion of the ship, became vastly heavier with all that water.
The middle of the ship was held at the surface by the submerged portions of the ship that were still filled with air... the increasing weight of the ship, supported at either end by sections with barely enough buoyancy.
Folding in two, at the heaviest point, with the tip of the bow rising back up- NOT the stern breaking down due to its weight.
Once all the decks at the break were compromised, the bow flooded more rapidly and sank again, the reverse bend tearing it loose, and allowing the stern to settle back somewhat...
But note that the drawings do not show the stern dropping back down level again ( as does the movie )
As the bow sank, it STILL had air in it. just not enough to displace the weight of the bow section. There must have been people in some compartments, who sank, alive, with the ship, ultimately killed as the air found its way out, or by the increasing pressure in the remaining air as she sank.
When you see the drawing of the ship down at the bow, its stern in the air- you have to try and visualize that, internally, the water level in the ship would have to be 20 to 30 feet Lower than the sea level outside... that is the only way the ship can remain at the surface.
It was the not the weight of the stern that broke the ship- it was the force of buoyancy trying to hold the ship UP against the increasing weight of the vessel, when that weight of ship and inboard flooding exceeded the the strength of the steel, it buckled.
The Drawing of Thayer's account not only perfectly predicted the damage to and distribution of the wreck as she was found... it also is the only account that actually agrees with the physics acting on the hull as she sank.