Ian Payne is Leading Britain's Conversation.
If the Titanic had gone straight into the iceberg instead of trying to go around it, would it still have sunk?
Nigel, Covent Garden
Name: Gary, Meapham
Qualification: Genius of Titanic proportions
Answer: There is no definitive answer, but it would probably have sunk anyway. When you hit an iceberg, the ship below the water will hit the iceberg before the ship above the water line, so it would divert it off its course – it’s not like hitting a brick wall head-on. Secondly, the Titanic wasn’t build correctly, creating a structural flaw.
Name: Blair, Basildon
Qualification: Former Merchant Navy Sailor
Answer: That’s wrong – it would probably have survived. When a ship hits an iceberg head on, all the force would be transferred back to the ship, so it wouldn’t have ripped open, but crumpled round, so only 2-3 compartments would have been breached. It was built to survive with 4 compartments breached. The reason it sunk was because it tried to go around and scraped five compartments. Ships that hit harbour walls are at an angle under the water, so that the boat hits the wall, long before the bow hits, forcing it upwards and stopping it sinking. So I don’t believe it would have sunk.
(James O’Brien: I’ve no idea who is right… you both sound convincing.
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