Originally Posted by Paul Motter
Yeah - nevermind that they forgot the good binoculars in England, had reports of icebergs that were delivered to the captain and that the captain ignored them because he wanted to break the speed record with his first crossing.
FULL SPEED AHEAD AND DAMN THE TORPEDOS.
Paul, I'm surprised you are so misinformed on this topic. The binoculars for lookouts (there were not separate good and bad sets) were not left in England. Apparently they were lost in the shuffle of command when Chief Officer Wilde was added to the voyage, thus bumping the second officer off of the crew list (I can't remember the mans name at the moment, and no I'm not talking about Lightholler who did make the voyage and took this man's place). Apparently the original second officer had been in charge of the binoculars in question, and the consensus among the experts is that they were most likely locked up in his vacant cabin. The issue is irrelevant anyway as it was pretty well established by maritime experts at the time that the binoculars available in that era did NOT help the lookouts in initially spotting objects at night, but only in identifying them. Identifying the giant floating object in the ships path really wasn't necessary, once it was spotted. Night Vision goggles of course were non existent at the time as was radar, both of which might have helped the Titanic avoid this disaster. What was actually a much more important contributing factor was the fact that no bow lookouts were posted nor was the crow's nest look out strengthened. When Arthur Rostram ran north to rescue the Titanic survivors in the Carpathia, he posted no less then 6 look outs, and all of the bergs they dodged were first seen from deck level, not the crows nest.
Smith did not ignore the iceberg messages. He actually had the Titanic a good 20 miles south of the normal shipping lanes because of the ice messages he did receive. The trouble is that neither he nor his officers saw all of the messages and put together just how enormous the ice field they were steaming in to was. Some of the messages were received by him. Some of them were received by his officers. Some of them were plotted on the charts, some of them weren't. Some of the messages received by the Titanic never made it to any of the officers. The last and best message the Titanic received was possibly never sent out of the wireless room by the overworked operator, and the very final warning wasn't even completely heard because the Titanic's wireless operator cut off the sender, due to the senders improper use of protocol when contacting the Titanic. Smith was also not attempting to set a speed record as this was patently impossible to do. There was no way that the Titanic could match the Cunard speedsters in horsepower, hull form or speed. There were plans to light additional boilers the following morning for a full speed run, and the Titanic was traveling too fast for the conditions, but it is errant nonsense to say that Smith ignored the ice messages because he wanted to set a speed record.
The captain of the Titanic was eventually found by both official investigations to be traveling too fast for conditions, failing to maintain a proper lookout, and failing to establish a proper procedure for the use of navigational information received by wireless. The court case against White Star for negligence argued that Bruce Ismay managing director of the White Star line was privy to this situation because of his presence on board, and his knowledge of some of the ice warnings received (in particular he was shown an ice warning by the SS Baltic another White Star liner about mid afternoon on that fateful Sunday). As the case was settled out of court these allegations of negligence were neither proven or disproved.
Oh and Damn the Torpedoes is actually attributed to Admiral David Glasgow Farragut of the US Navy during the battle of Mobile Bay during the War between the States. The cry was uttered to encourage his officers and men by saying that sometimes risks have to be run to achieve victory, hardly appropriate to use when addressing the Titanic situation.
Sorry if I am boring anybody or derailing the thread but maritime history and ocean liner history is a major passion of mine. It bugs me to see inaccurate information on these subjects. I will now climb down off my soap box and return you to your regularly scheduled thread.