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Even a Modern Battleship Would Have Been Sunk

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

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not answering the question I asked...How are we defining substantiated.

    The Wilhelm certainly struck something, sources, however, differ on the amount of damage done.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

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

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    I would take the academic standard for credibility.
     
  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The Titanic wasn't sunk because of substandard hull or substandard anything else vs a battleship. It was sunk because it was running at flank speed through a known ice field (they had received warnings from other vessels transiting the area) in order to set a record. Worse, they were doing this at night in extremely calm seas. Calm seas mean no breakers on the ice and thus visibility in the sea haze at about a third of normal range. The Captain is entirely to blame, and yes I know the owner was on board ordering him to run at that speed, but that's why Captains make the big bucks and carry the big responsibility. He should have told the owner to go f... himself.

    Would a Battleship Captain do the same thing at the orders of an Admiral on board? Possibly, but then it would his responsibility at the courts martial, presuming he didn't do the decent thing and put a pistol in his mouth in his cabin as the ship went down.

    Modern warships of all kinds have completely sealable watertight compartments, rather than open at the top like Titanic so (probably) wouldn't go down as easily, but other things come into play. Warship compartments run both lateral (transverse) as well as fore and aft, so a rip along one hull and all that additional weight might well tip her over since the big weaponry on such vessels make them notoriously top heavy.

    At any rate, the story of Titanic (in my opinion) is more a lesson about poor seamanship than naval engineering.

    .
     
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  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That wasn't why she sank.

    First, the Titanic was not running at flank speed - not all of her boilers were on line, nor was she making maximum revolutions on her propellers.

    Second, the speed record is a myth, the Titanic was too slow to win the Blue Ribband from the Cunard 4-stackers - Lusitania & Mauretania. Although, there may be some truth that Ismay and Smith were trying to get the Titanic into port early. A few passengers overheard conversations between Captain Smith and Ismay, but there is also previous letters by Ismay and previous conversations regarding arriving at night, which he was against. Further, the "early" arrival only applied to passing the Ambrose Lightship marking the harbor entrance, docking at the wharf, would take several more hours. With the late evening arrrival, the passengers would have the option of disembarking or staying aboard overnight.

    Third, it had been standard procedure in commercial steamship lines for several years to travel through this area maintaining course and speed so as to transit the danger area quickly. Only slowing down if encountering fog or haze. These were Smith's orders that night, yet no fog or thick haze was encountered.

    Fourth, at high speed, the Titanic's rudder was more effective. That was the way it was designed. High speed gave the Titanic the best chance to avoid collisions.

    Now, as to what caused the collision, well the ship's officers believed that the spotting distances were greater than they actually were, and Lightoller testified to these ranges that he believed, given the clear weather condition, various sized icebergs and growlers could be spotted. The actual spotting distance was about half of what the officers believed.

    What sank the Titanic, was the decision to restart the engines and continue at slow speed. From testimony in both trials, the pumps were keeping up with the flooding, but were overwhelmed after the Titanic got back under way. That is what sank her. Had the liner remained stopped, she could have remained afloat indefinitely, or at least until after the ships coming to her rescue arrived.

    Hmmm, interesting comparison. Let's examine that a little more shall we.

    Would the Battleship Captain do it if he was ordered...Of course he would, it's an order.

    Now, the Battleship Captain knows that he has some Admiral who has spent to much time on the beach than at sea, but an order is an order...So what does he do?
    He posts additional lookouts. He warns the black gang to be on their toes to execute any emergency maneuvers. He stands watch with the OOD until the battleship has passed through the danger area, or takes any other precautionary actions so as to ensure the safety of his ship. But, Captain Smith does none of this. He takes no precautionary measures whatsoever. No extra lookouts, no warnings to engineering, no standing watch, etc.
    Sounds more like Captain Smith is his own man, and not taking orders from Ismay. Captain Smith is running the ship exactly as he has run Olympic, Adriatic, Baltic, Majestic, and Republic. However, Smith had become complacent, and did not take precautions that other Captains may have deemed prudent or necessary. That was his failing. It was Smith's responsibility. As I said, Smith had left standing orders to slow down if the ship encountered fog or thick haze, yet none were encountered, and the night remained clear with unlimited visibility.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    White Star Lines deliberately did not attempt to compete with the Cunard ships on the basis of speed; they chose instead to emphasize luxury. Their larger ships actually had less horsepower them Mauretania and Lusitania. While the Cunarders had four-shaft turbines, the Olympic class used two reciprocating engines and a centerline turbine powered by the exhaust steam from the pistons, to get the last bit of energy. Incidentally the turbine only functioned ahead; when the ship went full astern it was only the piston engines reversing.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

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

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    You'd think they would at least have had enough wooden doors...
     
  7. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Much of the above is ... wrong. The Captain of a vessel is the Captain, owners or admirals notwithstanding. It is his responsibility, his duty, to disobey orders that endanger his ship. The admiral can say "go here" but he can't direct how the captain obeys that command. If the admiral wants to relieve him, assume command and do it his way, that is his prerogative, but then he would bear the responsibility.
    The seamanship question is more about the absolute calm seas they had that night. That calm meant no breakers on the ice and cut the visibility of the bergs to about 1/3rd (estimated by Titanic nerds) of normal. Icebergs are only glaring white objects in direct sunlight. At night they are misty gray objects that are hidden in the sea haze. I know much of this from direct observation, having spent some years of my life sailing in arctic water, though in the Bering and Chukchi seas. On that side the ice is flat rather than towering, but the same rules apply. At night, without breakers, they are pretty much invisible (and being flat on that side of North America, not easily detectable on radar) until you are right on top of them.
    I'll trust you guys are correct that they weren't going at speed (I always understood that they were), but whatever speed they were going it still stands that they were too close to the berg to turn in time. If I remember correctly, the officer on deck chose to back one screw and increase speed with the other two to make his turn. That has been criticized by others that speculate he might well have avoided the collision if he'd increased speed on all three for his turn.

    .
     
  8. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Just curious, I have never herd this as being such a strong conclusion. I never ready both inquiries cover to cover, but remember reading from other authors (like Walter Lord) that the telegraph orders after the collision were confusing to put together (depending on who had the recollection). Was this conclusion put together by maybe Edward Wilding from Harland and Wolf?
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The only thing wrong is you erroranous assumption that Captain Smith considered the ship to have been endangered. Smith's actions that night clearly show that he did not feel the ship was endangered by traveling at 22 knots.


    From Lightoller's testimony...He thought a low-lying growler could be spotted at 1 1/2 to 2 miles, a large iceberg at 3-4 miles, and an ice field at 5 miles.

    It might be too early, rather than too late. Murdoch was trying to port around the berg, but from the damage done, it appears that he swung back too early, and the bow made contact.


    I heard that story way back when...But testimony at the trials does not bear that out. The two versions there were that a crash back had been ordered and the other is that it was a stop engine order. The stop engine order has gained the most credence, since the dampers were ordered closed, and the engine telegraph was seen at STOP. Also, by going crash back, it would negate any effect the rudder would have.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    "The Last Log of the Titanic" by David G. Brown, 2001.

    The highlights can be found here; but his book is much more detailed.
    The Last Log of the Titanic
     
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  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I an not sure I can fully endorse the idea that restarting the engines was the cause for Titanic sinking. I can fully believe that it hastened the eventual sinking, perhaps by as much as a hour to a hour and a half. It would be interesting to speculate if the ship remained stopped and the D deck passenger door had been secured if Titanic lasted long enough for Carpathia to reach the scene.

    Unfortunately many things will remain unknown to us as no one senior enough survived. At very least Thomas Andrews, the ships designer, should have been placed in a lifeboat, at the point of a gun if needed. He could have provided much greater detail. Instead we got Ismay who was determined to shed blame for his actions and those of the White Star Line.
     
  12. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    I found this video kind of interesting regarding the D deck doors. I came across it a couple of weeks ago.

     
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