Why did the Titanic sink so quickly?
There are many theories about the sinking of the legendary ship, the Titanic, over a hundred years ago. However, from a vantage point of 30,000 feet. The answer to ‘Why did the Titanic sink so fast? ‘ is:
High speeds, a fatal wrong turn, low costs, weather conditions. Also, a key iceberg warning dismissed. In addition, to a fundamental lack of binoculars and lifeboats. Moreover, all contributed to one of the worst maritime dramas.
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The idea that the Titanic was built with substandard materials that led to its sinking is wrong.
In fact, many conspiracy theories have flooded the internet as to why the Titanic failed so many years ago. We will do our best to present a logical explanation for its sinking.
For starters, famed shipbuilding firm Harland and Wolff didn’t cut corners on Titanic’s design, nor did they use substandard materials for the time.
The steel used to build Olympic-class ocean liners would not be of the same quality as that used today. But it was of high quality for the time. Pieces of steel used to build Olympic still exist. And tests on steel in the early 2000s proved to be correct. These tests took into account the temperature differences on each side of the plate. It’s a non-starter.
The WSL and H&W were not cheap outfits. But it had been made clear that Olympic-class ships had to be built to very high standards. The quality of the vessel has been constantly supported by extensive discussion and research.
While there was a coal bunker fire. However, not uncommon for the time. It was largely extinguished on April 12 and 13. These fires are not raging and are closer to smoldering hot spots. As the coal is consumed, the fires are discovered and extinguished.
The “stain” in the photo in question does not appear in other photos taken around the same time.
With hindsight, one can argue about the original conception of Olympic class compartmentalization. The Titanic was designed to float with 2 flooded compartments. 3 of the first 5 or first 4 compartments flooded. It holds up and the math works.
However, what we tend to forget is that the iceberg opened the first 6 compartments to the sea. It’s just not survivable damage. It still would not have been possible to survive if the watertight bulkheads had been extended higher. It just didn’t matter. Even the most modern ships would struggle to survive this, and probably not. The Titanic was built to survive some pretty devastating damage. But what she encountered that night was just too much.
The explanation for the Titanic plowing over 20 knots through the ice is a little more complex and nuanced than simple negligence.
It was noted in subsequent surveys that the Titanic had just entered a temperature inversion zone. The logs of nearby ships that night are all clear in the weather remark “refraction”.
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Refraction causes some pretty interesting optical illusions.
In a nutshell, this refraction made the horizon appear higher than it was. As a result, the bridge crew and lookouts in the crow’s nest were looking much higher than they should have been.
They looked up at the sky instead of looking at the sea in front of them. Basically, they were looking over the iceberg. That’s why he snuck up on them the way he did. The sea was calm that night and visibility seemed unlimited. The crew had no reason to doubt that they could not spot an object directly in front of them. Refraction is an interesting phenomenon and you can google image search “refraction at sea” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Additionally, the temperature inversion was also noted by survey survivors.
They said the sudden cooling of the air and the formation of ice crystals indicated a cold temperature inversion. The takeaway here is that the crew didn’t realize the atmospheric optical illusion unfolding around them in time to avoid the iceberg. They just stared at the sky, and the iceberg was hidden by the hazy reflection of the horizon until it was too late.
The results of British and American investigations after the disaster support this argument. An interesting fact is that the Titanic did not reverse its engines before the collision. The order of events of the surviving crew is very clear. Testimony after testimony, who was where and when etc.
The court was very interested in the series of events in the 35 seconds before the collision. And they spent a lot of time putting it all together. Moreover, it is absolutely impossible that the engines could have been shot down. The shutters closed. Reverse motor engaged. And the entire system powered back up in less than 30 seconds. Steam power plants on ships don’t work like that.
The sworn testimony of the surviving crew made it possible to accurately discern the chronology of events.
Add to that a crew that was not ready for this order in the middle of the night. And we understand why the reaction time was so delayed. This was a commercial liner, not a combat warship expecting quick changes of speed and maneuvering. Unlike sailors on warships, crews on commercial ocean liners are not expected to perform sudden and drastic ship maneuvers in the dead of night. The Titanic simply turned to port and then to starboard in order to prevent her stern from striking. After walking a short distance, she stopped. The interesting part is that it is agreed by many at the inquest that she restarted the engines and drove a short distance.
There’s so much in the inquest transcripts and I don’t know why historians don’t seem to read them. Investigators had a good idea of the events of that night, and everything is written down and easily accessible. The whole “rear engine” thing has been around for almost a century, it seems, and doesn’t really have any evidence to back it up. I built a model of Titanic’s port piston engine, and during my research I became familiar with how the hybrid power plant works.
The general consensus is that the engines couldn’t have been reversed that quickly even if they wanted to, it just wasn’t possible.
It probably didn’t do him any favors when it came to flooding. Not very dramatic for movies either.
Titanic had some major flaws, however. First, the lifeboat situation was a moment of serious Edwardian pride. You can see their line of thinking though, the Titanic was surrounded by other ships, and it was not designed that it could sink until a rescue ship arrived.
She was designed to carry enough lifeboats, but they didn’t want to clutter the decks as the story progressed. A lack of imagination on the part of the WSL.
My other reviewer is Captain EJ Smith. As a captain with no previous experience in dealing with emergencies at sea, he had a nervous breakdown when the Titanic first hit the iceberg. There is no other way to say it. From the moment he realized the ship would sink, the Titanic no longer had a functioning captain.
A little more imagination on the part of officers and crew might also have saved more lives. For example, the lifeboats were criminally under capacity.
The Olympic-class liners weren’t poorly built or run by maniacs; they were good for their time. What caused the disaster was a lack of imagination and strange weather phenomena.
Written by Joseph Lavender
Why did the Titanic sink so quickly?
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