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Even a Modern Battleship Would Have Been Sunk

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by wm., May 8, 2019.

  1. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    In "Titanic's Final Mystery" the self-declared Titanic detective Tim Maltin says that: even a modern battleship would have been sunk by that kind of impact.

    Is that true? Inquiring minds want to know...

    The other statement Titanic was built like a battleship is patently untrue.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    When was he writing? If it's been within the last couple of decades there's no such thing as a "modern battleship". If he's talking of a battleship that was built at the same time as the Titanic he may have a point.

    *** edit for *****
    Thinking a bit more about it. He may have a point but I'm skeptical and the more I think about it the more skeptical I become.
     
  3. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    It's a 2012 documentary film. I suppose modern = ww2 or better.
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Battleships of Titanic's era, particularly the older types, could be vulnerable; for example the (nearly new) dreadnought HMS Audacious sank from hitting a single mine. Incidentally Titanic's sister ship Olympic came along, witnessed and assisted efforts to save the ship, and took aboard some of her crew. Starting around WWI, capital ships began to incorporate torpedo defense systems, layers of watertight compartments along the sides, so damage like the bangs and holes along Titanic's hull would only flood the side compartments, perhaps 3-5 feet wide. This could cause a ship to list, but warships could compensate by deliberate counterflooding on the opposite side. Warships also had considerable pumping capability, and their crews were - or should be - well trained in damage control. Ships powered by oil could pump fuel between tanks to help even out the list.

    Titanic had watertight transverse bulkheads, but each compartment extended the full width of the ship, opening a large volume to flooding. Thus the ship remained on an even keel while sinking by the bow.

    It's often pointed out that Titanic's bulkheads allowed water to flood over them as the ship settled. There's a tradeoff between flooding protection and the need for people to be able to move forward and aft. Convenience for passengers and crew is more of a priority on a liner than a battleship; the warship's bulkheads would extend higher.

    The extreme bow of a battleship can't be as well protected as the midships area, but it also doesn't have as much volume. The ship might settle a bit by the bow, but not as much as the Titanic.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I hate to quibble, but I am not sure comparing Titanic to Audacious is a good or fair situation. A better comparison would be with her younger sister Britannic which did in fact strike a German mine in the Aegean during WWI. Despite being given higher water tight bulkheads in response to the Titanic disaster, she actually succumbed much faster nearly capsizing in the process. This was due in part to the force of the explosion which seems to have partially jammed two of her electronically controlled water tight doors from fully shutting and the desire to cool the ship by leaving open a significant number of port holes before taking on wounded from the Gallipoli campaign.

    In a somewhat related issue, Robert Ballard in a follow up dive on Titanic to determine why and when/where she broke up did some extensive computer modelling of the sinking and found something strange. The model tended to sink as much as a hour faster and capsizing in the process, which of course she historically did not do. It was only after factoring in the coal fires in bunkers 9/10 starboard side that the ship behaved as she did. The procedure as I understand it while under weigh was to use up all the coal in that bunker first, which Titanic had done before the collision. This creating a slight list to Port as she was no longer in balance. Having the result of a unintentional, but welcome, 'counter flooding' effect. Ironically a normally bad event might just have saved hundreds of lives
     
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  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I mentioned Audacious because the OP asked specifically about battleships.

    Just had a thought about Titanic; the door on E Deck port side was opened on Second Officer Lightoller's orders with the intention of loading additional passengers into the boats, but it soon became an additional source of flooding; I wonder if that might have helped keep the ship on an even keel?
     
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  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    It might have, not sure if it was properly modeled to see its affect, I thought the door was opened to help untangle a jammed lifeboat but could be mistaken.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Carronade posed a thought that compelled me to do some research (grumble, grumble). :)

    I found the testimony where Lightoller ordered several men below to open the passenger loading door on deck E so that some half filled (or less) lifeboats could come aside and load additional people from that point. I'm not sure many if any passengers were loaded from this point though.

    The twist, like so many in the Titanic story is that when Ballard made his discovery he found the door on D deck, one level up, swung out rather than on E deck. Later expeditions found the door had fallen off and it was recovered, restored and put on display. Since none of the men sent below survived we can only guess why the change. In the confusion they may have misunderstood the order, or may have reached E deck and found water there and decided to move one deck higher.

    On Youtube you can view a realtime high quality animation of the Titanic sinking if you have 2 and a half hours to kill. :D For their video they did model the effect of the open door and after the sea reached D deck Titanic took on a 8 degree list to port, opposite the side that struck the iceberg.

    For decades the 'common wisdom' was that Titanic suffered a '300 foot gash' on her starboard (right) side as a result of the collision. Ballad made a point of looking for such damage or even a series of smaller gashes but could not find any evidence. He did find many rivets had popped off and some hull plates showed signs of separation. Now after modern computer modelling the generally accepted volume open to the sea on the starboard side was equal to that of a common doorway in your home, made up of dozens of small holes spread across 5 compartments.

    I still believe that emptying coal bunkers 9/10 did impart a slight port list prior to the collision allowing the ship to settle on a a more or less even keel. She probably was moving back to starboard until water reached D deck where a new 'hole' opened up on the port side. This opening was roughly equal in volume to the original damage to the starboard side, but was one large opening above the water tight bulkheads that resulted in a 8 degree list to port.

    Did Lightoller's (widely hailed as a hero) order sink Titanic as much as a hour faster?

    The OP posed a question, was the 'expert' correct, would a modern battleship also sink from such a collision? I don't think so.

    As Carronade points out the last generation (KGV's, Bismark's, Iowa's, Yamato's) would have shrugged off such damage, probably without serious impairment to their battle readiness. They did not use riveted hull plates and had torpedo protection spaces designed to take hull damage. If we look at battleships contemporaneity to Titanic, pre-dreadnoght's, dreadnought's and super dreadnought's I have serious doubts. They had water tight compartments all the way to the main deck, and many had water tight decks, with crews trained to deal with damage.

    Most passengers never felt the actual collision with the iceberg and only noticed anything out of the ordinary when the engine sounds ended. Those that felt the impact claimed that they felt at most a slight shudder. Compare this to a mine or torpedo which no one could sleep through.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well "modern" battleships have about 60mm of steel plating on the bow...the Titanic had 6mm. Dreadnoughts IIRC had about 20mm-40mm. Haven't looked into pre-dreanoughts. Of course the quality of the steel will also play a factor.
     
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  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Sorry 'bout that ;)
     
  11. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Nice find. Would help if it was sited right though. Date is mentioned. Not even what paper it's from.


    *** edit for ***
    Looks like it may be the New York Times and 7 years prior to Titanic sinking.
     
  13. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The artist took some liberties with that drawing. Looks like she drove straight into a glacier.
     
  15. Oregon Diver

    Oregon Diver Member

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    Here's a fairly simple comparison for you; two ships built in 1912, one is still around today, and Titanic is not; And USS TEXAS went through war. The biggest issue for Titanic is that, frankly speaking, she would have faired better if she hit the berg head on.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Based on what I've read of the recent analysis that's questionable. If the main leakage problem was sheared or popped rivets a head on impact especially at the speed she was traveling could have been considerably worse.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The problem with those that that make this assumption is that the Titanic does nothing to decrease it's speed and plows headlong into the iceberg...which is ludicrous.

    The Titanic had been tested from 22 knots to a dead stop, and did that in 850 yards. However she had about 1/2 to 2/3 that distance. So, by going full back on the engines, with the intention of colliding with the iceberg, she would have been traveling nowhere near 22 knots...more like 10 knots or less.

    Those Folks also seem to have very faith in the rivets, and take it for granted that the ship hits the iceberg head on at 22 knots and literally falls apart. Which is again ludicrous. While the would have been a good deal of damage to the bow, the deceleration to the rest of the ship would have been less than 1G, which the rivets should have been able to withstand.

    The damage would have opened the first two WT compartments to the sea, with probably the third opened as well, however that is considered survivable for the Titanic.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There's some built in timing assessments there. When do you start the clock? The report I read also suggested that it was popped rivets that were the source of much of the flooding. If a glancing blow causes rivet failure I'd think the direct impact would be even worse.
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    There is a factor we can't consider, the underwater shape of the iceberg. We know they are lager beneath the waves, so Titanic might have rode up on a ice shelf much like a ship grounding in shallow water. Any head on collision would have had some initial fatalities as crew berthing was in the first 3 compartments
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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