- Dec 2013
I thought that too. But then I saw that when he commanded the RMS Olympic (Titanic's sister ship) there was an accident where Olympic collided with a warship while in harbor. Two of Olympics forward compartments flooded and the crew of the ship was held responsible for the accident.I might recall hearing or reading somewhere that Smith had never had a serious accident with a ship in his previous career, thus he was unprepared (had no experience) when Titanic hit the berg. I'm not saying that most captains had previously survived a sinking, but most captains had seen serious problems at sea - severe weather, man overboard, etc - and were better prepared psychologically to deal with crises.
I think that Smith simply had a very common view from that time that large liners like Titanic were basically immune to collisions with icebergs. When the enormity of the disaster began to sink in to Smith he apparently became staggeringly indecisive. Not only were the orders he gave uninspired and largely of little consequence, he didn't bother supervising his crew in carrying out those orders. As a result there was a staggeringly huge "leadership gap" aboard Titanic when it was needed most of all