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Art BraunschweigerTue Apr-10-12 06:58 PM
Member since Nov 21st 2004
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#45864, "RE: Did the Titanic have to sink? "
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Wed Apr-11-12 06:23 AMby Art Braunschweiger




My response won't address the engineering considerations of your theory; I leave that to others. (Thank you for posting your theory in detail and providing all the responses you received elsewhere.) My comments are based what I believe would or would not have been done from the standpoint of command: what decisions we could reasonably expect the captain to make in this type of situation as it unfolded. This is my opinion only, you or others may disagree.

While your theory may be perfectly sound from a hydraulic standpoint, I can't see any ship's officer ordering full astern on a badly damaged ship. (There are a limited number of cases in history when ships did steam backwards after being damaged, but those were principally in wartime following the loss of the ship's bow where steaming in reverse served to keep the pressure off the exposed interior bulkheads.) Steaming astern after the collision would have been as illogical as steering to impact the iceberg bow-on, which some people have suggested would not have sunk the ship. Maybe so, but no officer would have ever considered that option, especially in the seconds he had to react.

It's also doubtful that any ship's officer would have known, or considered, factors such as water pressure on the hull from the ship moving in one direction or another with regard to a lateral rent in the shell plating.

Keep in mind that the extent of the damage wasn't known and events were rapidly unfolding. Crisis was overwhelming their ability to cope. They knew water was coming in, but they didn't know from where (exactly where the hull had been penetrated). All they knew is that they were taking on tons of water every minute, it was unstoppable and were going to founder rapidly. This must be factored into any discussion of this type, because it did affect the the decision-making process of those who were involved by restricting what they perceived as to options available to them.

Steaming in reverse at any speed would have also made launching the lifeboats impossible, although perhaps you're thinking that the ship would be stopped prior to launching.


Art Braunschweiger
TRMA Trustee


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Did the Titanic have to sink? [View all] , johnben, Tue Apr-10-12 01:23 PM
  RE: Did the Titanic have to sink? , Art Braunschweiger, Apr 10th 2012 #1

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