I have a question, for anyone that might know the answer.
Would it have made much of a difference if they had saved the last four boilers? Like, if weren’t going full speed when they hit the iceberg, and they had extra boiler capabilities, would they have been able to avoid the iceberg?
Alternatively, if they hadn’t been able to avoid the iceberg, would not going at full speed made any difference to the amount of damage it caused?
…wow, this question is poorly worded.
Well, don’t take that “lighting the last four boilers” bit as literal: it’s the film, not history. There is some evidence the Titanic was going faster that evening that before - passengers reported increasing vibration, and a few commented that she was going faster.
10 or 15 seconds either side, faster or slower, might have saved her, or so it has been estimated. Had the berg been sighted earlier, they might have avoided the ice altogether. Had it been later, she might have collided nose on. Now, the latter scenario is no guarantee she’d have stayed afloat…a headon collision had saved the “Arizona”, but the “Titanic” was a bigger, faster ship. There’s a possibility that the collision might have caused such a huge jar that it opened the forward expansion join to the sea, causing similar damage to that which sank her sister ship, Britannic, in WWI when she struck a mine. There’s some other evidence on damage from the “Britannic” that might have affected “Titanic” had she collided head on, but I’m not free to discuss it as it is being used in a doco.
There’s also the question of the crew and steerage quartered in the bow that would have perished had a hundred feet or so crumpled in, as they would have done had she struck nose on. Ultimately it might have saved her, and thus saved more lives, but it’s hard to tell. Murdoch didn’t really have a choice but to try and avoid the berg - Josephn Conrad wrote a piece in 1912 mocking what he called a new school of seamanship that proposed aiming ships at obstacles and ramming square on, and thus making one’s way across the Atlantic.
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