Everyone knows today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking. Would have been 2 mins after midnight our time. 2:02 am at the site, (two hours ahead of CDT). The fact that "everyone knows" is interesting. Why the fascination with this tidbit of history? I am a history buff, I love it. It's a hobby of mine. So, I am interested in such things. But, the masses are mostly disinterested in history....and in fact, too many can't remember, and don't care, what promises politicians make, and then fail to keep.
Watched a documentary on the Titanic recently and learned something new. After striking the berg, Captain Smith ordered "all stop," to give the engineers time to "sound the ship." The CEO of White Star, Irsmay (???) strongly urged Smith to get underway again and make for New York, still 300 miles away. The first three watertight compartments had been compromised by the damage and were flooding. The tipping point was 5 compartments. From the beginning, within the first minute after impact, the assistant chief engineer (can't recall his name) was personally leading the effort to contain the flooding. They were in the 4th compartment back from the bow, and had initiated the compartment pumps, which could pump out 28 tons of water/minute. While sitting motionless, Titanic was taking on 20 tons of water/minute. Meaning, the engineers were winning the battle. But then....
Against his better judgment, and based on the "okay" from Chief Engineer Bell, Smith ordered ahead half-speed. The forward motion of the ship forced more water into the breach, at a rate of 40 tons/minute. Compartment 4 was lost and the engineers fell back to the 5th, and last one needed to keep dry. The Asst Chief engineer was screaming for the ship to be stopped and sent a runner to the bridge asking for the ship to be stopped. But, Smith was deferring to the CEO and was waiting for a report from Bell. On his own, Smith ordered a second "all stop", but the additional 5 mins of forward motion had been enough. The bulkhead between the 4th and 5th compartments could not stand against the immense pressure of the thousands of tons of water pressing against it. After 12 mins, the engineers had succeeded in pumping the 5th compartment dry, and thought they would be okay. But, the bulkhead itself failed. With the flooding of the 5th compartment, the tipping point had been reached. The Titanic weighed 46,300 tons, and displaced 52,400 tons. That's only a 6,000 ton margin of error.
Engineers today say, had the ship been stopped after the impact, and not resumed forward motion, it would have stayed afloat at least 14 hours, not the mere 2 hours it did. The first of the rescue ships arrived in 10 hours after the impact.