Lusitania hundido - Historia

Lusitania hundido - Historia

Entre los 1.200 pasajeros del transatlántico Lusitania había 128 ciudadanos estadounidenses. El Lusitania fue hundido por un submarino alemán. El hundimiento del Lusitania envenenó las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Alemania, pero no resultó de inmediato en la intervención estadounidense en la guerra..


La Primera Guerra Mundial tampoco impidió que los viajes de estadounidenses y británicos cruzaran el Atlántico. La línea británica Cunard continuó navegando sus grandes transatlánticos entre Liverpool y Nueva York. El RMS Lusitania se puso en servicio en 1907 y fue el transatlántico más rápido en servicio para mantener una velocidad de 25 nudos. Si bien los alemanes habían comenzado a usar submarinos contra la navegación británica, el Lusitania confiaba en que era lo suficientemente rápido como para superar a cualquier submarino alemán. Los británicos compraban gran parte de sus armas a los Estados Unidos y gran parte de esas armas navegaban en barcos de pasajeros. La Embajada de Alemania en los Estados Unidos advirtió a América que viajar en esos barcos podría ser peligroso.

1.265 pasajeros y una tripulación de 694 se embarcaron en el barco cuando partió del muelle 54 de Nueva York el 1 de mayo de 1915. Además de los pasajeros, el barco también transportaba municiones para Gran Bretaña. A medida que el barco se acercaba a las Islas Británicas, la Royal Navy se preocupó por su seguridad y envió destructores para escoltarlo. Sin embargo, el barco se negó a comunicarse con la Royal Navy y los barcos de escolta nunca se cruzaron con el barco. El 30 de abril, el submarino alemán U-20 partió de Borkum hacia el mar de Irlanda. Atacó varios barcos mercantes hundiendo tres de ellos. El Almirantazgo británico sabía que estaba operando frente a la costa de Irlanda y advirtió a todos los barcos. El capitán del Lusitania Captain William Turner tomó lo que consideró prudentes, cerró puertas estancas y preparó sus botes salvavidas para botarlos en caso de que fuera necesario.

El 7 de mayo, el capitán del Sub-20 Walther Schwieger decidió que, dado que tenía pocos torpedos, debía regresar a casa. A las 12:45, mientras el submarino estaba en la superficie, los vigías avistaron un barco en el horizonte. Resultó ser un gran buque mercante, el Lusitania. Schwieger ordenó al submarino acercarse al objetivo. Cuando el Lusitania estaba a 700 metros de distancia, el U-20 disparó un torpedo. El torpedo golpeó debajo del puente causando una explosión secundaria masiva. El capitán ordenó al barco que se dirigiera a la costa irlandesa, pero los motores no pudieron responder. Pronto ordenó abandonar el barco, mientras que el operador inalámbrico envió un SOS. El Lusitania se hundió 18 minutos después de ser alcanzado por el torpedo. De las 1.959 personas a bordo cuando el torpedo golpeó, 1.195 se perdieron.

El hecho de que hubiera 128 estadounidenses a bordo del barco convirtió el hundimiento en una crisis entre Alemania y Estados Unidos. Aunque pasarían dos años antes de que Estados Unidos entrara en la guerra, el hundimiento comenzó a poner a la opinión pública estadounidense en contra de Alemania.


5. El capitán del Lusitania fue advertido de los hundimientos en la noche del 6 de mayo de 1915.

En los días previos al hundimiento del Lusitania, los submarinos estaban activos alrededor de la costa sur y oeste de Irlanda: varios barcos fueron hundidos y el Capitán Turner recibió al menos dos advertencias para alertarlo sobre este hecho.

Los británicos no enviaron escoltas ni tomaron ninguna otra precaución para ayudar a proteger el Lusitania, presumiblemente porque creían que no se hundiría sin una advertencia justa, dado su estatus como barco de pasajeros.


¿No tan inocente después de todo?

Pero quedan dudas sobre cómo el barco pudo haberse hundido tan rápidamente con una gran pérdida de vidas. El submarino disparó solo un torpedo, que golpeó el revestimiento debajo del puente, pero luego se produjo una explosión secundaria mucho mayor, que explotó la proa de estribor.

Luego, el barco se inclinó hacia estribor en un ángulo que hizo que el lanzamiento de los botes salvavidas fuera extremadamente difícil: de los 48 a bordo, más que suficientes para todos, solo seis entraron al agua y se mantuvieron a flote.

La fuente de la segunda explosión seguirá siendo un misterio durante mucho tiempo y muchos creen que quizás el barco transportaba algo más siniestro.

En 2008, los buzos descubrieron 15.000 cartuchos de munición .303 en cajas en la proa del barco y estimaron que podría haber estado transportando hasta 4 millones de cartuchos en total, lo que podría explicar la segunda explosión y habría provocado el impacto. Lusitania un objetivo legítimo para los alemanes.

Hasta el día de hoy, hay quienes creen que el naufragio, que se encuentra a 11 millas de Old Head of Kinsale, tiene aún más secretos que contar.


Contenido

Lusitania y Mauritania fueron encargados por Cunard, en respuesta a la creciente competencia de las empresas de pasajeros transatlánticas rivales, en particular la alemana Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) y la Hamburg America Line (HAPAG). Tenían barcos más grandes, más rápidos, más modernos y más lujosos que Cunard, y estaban mejor situados, partiendo de los puertos alemanes, para capturar el lucrativo comercio de emigrantes que salían de Europa hacia América del Norte. El forro NDL Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse capturó el Blue Riband de Cunard's Campania en 1897, antes de que el barco HAPAG se llevara el premio en 1900 Deutschland. NDL pronto arrebató el premio en 1903 con el nuevo Kaiser Wilhelm II y Kronprinz Wilhelm. Cunard vio su número de pasajeros afectado como resultado de los llamados "transatlánticos clase Kaiser". [15]

El empresario millonario estadounidense JP Morgan había decidido invertir en transporte transatlántico mediante la creación de una nueva empresa, International Mercantile Marine (IMM), y, en 1901, compró el transportista británico Frederick Leyland & amp Co. y una participación mayoritaria en el pasajero británico White Star. Forre y dóblelos en IMM. En 1902, IMM, NDL y HAPAG entraron en una "Comunidad de Interés" para fijar precios y dividir entre ellos el comercio transatlántico. Los socios también adquirieron una participación del 51% en Dutch Holland America Line. IMM hizo ofertas para comprar Cunard que, junto con la CGT francesa, era ahora su principal rival. [dieciséis]

El presidente de Cunard, Lord Inverclyde, se acercó al gobierno británico en busca de ayuda. Ante el inminente colapso de la flota británica y la consiguiente pérdida de prestigio nacional, así como la reserva de navegación para fines bélicos que representaba, aceptaron ayudar. Mediante un acuerdo firmado en junio de 1903, Cunard recibió un préstamo de 2,6 millones de libras esterlinas para financiar dos barcos, reembolsable en 20 años a una tasa de interés favorable del 2,75%. Los barcos recibirían un subsidio operativo anual de 75.000 libras esterlinas cada uno más un contrato de correo por valor de 68.000 libras esterlinas. A cambio, los barcos se construirían según las especificaciones del Almirantazgo para que pudieran usarse como cruceros auxiliares en tiempos de guerra. [17]

Diseño Editar

Cunard estableció un comité para decidir sobre el diseño de los nuevos barcos, del cual James Bain, Superintendente de Marina de Cunard era el presidente. Otros miembros incluyeron al contralmirante H. J. Oram, quien había estado involucrado en el diseño de barcos propulsados ​​por turbinas de vapor para la Royal Navy, y Charles Parsons, cuya compañía Parsons Marine ahora estaba produciendo motores de turbina.

Parsons sostuvo que podía diseñar motores capaces de mantener una velocidad de 25 nudos (46 km / h 29 mph), lo que requeriría 68.000 caballos de fuerza en el eje (51.000 kW). Los conjuntos de turbinas más grandes construidos hasta ahora habían sido de 23.000 shp (17.000 kW) para el Acorazado-clase acorazados, y 41.000 shp (31.000 kW) para InvencibleCruceros de batalla de clase, lo que significaba que los motores serían de un diseño nuevo y no probado. Las turbinas ofrecían las ventajas de generar menos vibraciones que los motores alternativos y una mayor confiabilidad en el funcionamiento a altas velocidades, combinado con un menor consumo de combustible. Se acordó que se haría una prueba instalando turbinas para Carmania, que ya estaba en construcción. El resultado fue un barco 1,5 nudos (2,8 km / h 1,7 mph) más rápido que su hermano de propulsión convencional. Caronia con las mejoras esperadas en la comodidad de los pasajeros y la economía operativa. [18]

El barco fue diseñado por Leonard Peskett [19] y construido por John Brown and Company de Clydebank, Escocia. El nombre del barco se tomó de Lusitania, una antigua provincia romana al oeste de la Península Ibérica, la región que ahora es el sur de Portugal y Extremadura (España). El nombre también había sido utilizado por un barco anterior construido en 1871 y naufragado en 1901, lo que hizo que el nombre estuviera disponible en Lloyds para el gigante de Cunard. [20] [21]

Peskett había construido un modelo grande del barco propuesto en 1902 mostrando un diseño de tres embudos. Un cuarto embudo se implementó en el diseño en 1904, ya que era necesario ventilar los gases de escape de las calderas adicionales instaladas después de que las turbinas de vapor se establecieran como planta de energía. El plan original requería tres hélices, pero esto se modificó a cuatro porque se consideró que la potencia necesaria no se podía transmitir a través de solo tres. Cuatro turbinas impulsarían cuatro hélices separadas, con turbinas de inversión adicionales para impulsar solo los dos ejes internos. Para mejorar la eficiencia, las dos hélices internas giraron hacia adentro, mientras que las exteriores giraron hacia afuera. Las turbinas externas operaban a alta presión y el vapor de escape pasaba luego a las internas a una presión relativamente baja.

Las hélices eran impulsadas directamente por las turbinas, ya que aún no se habían desarrollado cajas de cambios suficientemente robustas, y sólo estuvieron disponibles en 1916. En cambio, las turbinas tuvieron que diseñarse para funcionar a una velocidad mucho más baja que las normalmente aceptadas como óptimas. Por lo tanto, la eficiencia de las turbinas instaladas fue menor a bajas velocidades que una máquina de vapor alternativa convencional (pistón en cilindro), pero significativamente mejor cuando los motores funcionaban a alta velocidad, como solía ser el caso de un barco expreso. El barco estaba equipado con 23 calderas de dos extremos y dos de un solo extremo (que se ajustaban al espacio delantero donde el barco se estrechaba), operaban a un máximo de 195 psi y contenían 192 hornos individuales. [22]

El trabajo para refinar la forma del casco se llevó a cabo en el tanque experimental del Almirantazgo en Haslar, Gosport. Como resultado de los experimentos, la manga del barco se incrementó en 10 pies (3,0 m) por encima de la inicialmente destinada a mejorar la estabilidad. El casco inmediatamente delante del timón y el timón equilibrado en sí siguieron la práctica del diseño naval para mejorar la respuesta de giro del buque. El contrato del Almirantazgo requería que toda la maquinaria estuviera por debajo de la línea de flotación, donde se consideraba que estaba mejor protegida de los disparos, y el tercio de popa del barco debajo del agua se usaba para albergar las turbinas, los motores de dirección y cuatro motores de 375 kilovatios (503 hp). ) turbogeneradores de vapor. La mitad central contenía cuatro salas de calderas, y el espacio restante en el extremo delantero del barco se reservaba para carga y otro almacenamiento.

Se colocaron búnkeres de carbón a lo largo del barco fuera de las salas de calderas, con un búnker transversal grande inmediatamente en frente de la sala de calderas más delantera (número 1). Además de la conveniencia lista para su uso, se consideró que el carbón proporcionaba una protección adicional para los espacios centrales contra ataques. En la parte delantera estaban los casilleros de cadena para las enormes cadenas de ancla y los tanques de lastre para ajustar el asiento del barco.

El espacio del casco estaba dividido en doce compartimentos estancos, dos de los cuales podían inundarse sin riesgo de hundimiento del barco, conectados por 35 puertas estancas accionadas hidráulicamente. Un defecto crítico en la disposición de los compartimentos estancos era que las puertas correderas de los depósitos de carbón debían estar abiertas para proporcionar una alimentación constante de carbón mientras el barco estaba en funcionamiento, y cerrarlas en condiciones de emergencia podía resultar problemático. El barco tenía un doble fondo con el espacio entre dividido en celdas estancas separadas. La altura excepcional del barco se debió a las seis cubiertas de alojamiento de pasajeros por encima de la línea de flotación, en comparación con las cuatro cubiertas habituales en los transatlánticos existentes. [23]

Se utilizó acero de alta resistencia para el revestimiento del barco, a diferencia del acero dulce más convencional. Esto permitió una reducción en el espesor de la placa, reduciendo el peso pero aún proporcionando un 26 por ciento más de resistencia que de otra manera. Las placas se mantenían unidas por tres filas de remaches. El barco se calentó y enfrió por completo mediante un sistema de ventilación de tanque térmico, que utilizaba intercambiadores de calor impulsados ​​por vapor para calentar el aire a una temperatura constante de 18,3 ° C (65 ° F), mientras que se inyectaba vapor en el flujo de aire para mantener una humedad constante.

Cuarenta y nueve unidades separadas impulsadas por ventiladores eléctricos proporcionaron siete cambios completos de aire por hora en todo el barco, a través de un sistema interconectado, de modo que las unidades individuales pudieran apagarse para su mantenimiento. Un sistema separado de extractores de aire eliminó el aire de las cocinas y los baños. Tal como se construyó, el barco cumplió plenamente con las regulaciones de seguridad de la Junta de Comercio que requerían dieciséis botes salvavidas con una capacidad de aproximadamente 1,000 personas. [24]

En el momento de su finalización, Lusitania fue brevemente el barco más grande jamás construido, pero pronto fue eclipsado por el un poco más grande Mauritania que entró en servicio poco después. Era 3 pies (0,91 m) más larga, 2 nudos (3,7 km / h 2,3 mph) más rápida y tenía una capacidad de 10.000 toneladas brutas por encima de la del transatlántico alemán más moderno. Kronprinzessin Cecilie. El alojamiento de pasajeros era un 50% más grande que cualquiera de sus competidores, con 552 clase berlina, 460 clase cabina y 1.186 en tercera clase. Su tripulación estaba compuesta por 69 en cubierta, 369 motores en funcionamiento y calderas y 389 para atender a los pasajeros. Tanto ella como Mauritania tenía un telégrafo inalámbrico, iluminación eléctrica, ascensores eléctricos, interiores suntuosos y una forma temprana de aire acondicionado. [25]

Interiores Editar

En el momento de su introducción en el Atlántico Norte, ambos Lusitania y Mauritania Poseído entre los interiores más lujosos, espaciosos y cómodos a flote. El arquitecto escocés James Miller fue elegido para diseñar Lusitania interiores, mientras que Harold Peto fue elegido para diseñar Mauritania. Miller eligió usar yeserías para crear interiores, mientras que Peto hizo un uso extensivo de paneles de madera, con el resultado de que la impresión general dada por Lusitania era más brillante que Mauritania.

El alojamiento de pasajeros del barco se distribuyó en seis cubiertas desde la cubierta superior hasta la línea de flotación, eran Cubierta de botes (Cubierta A), Cubierta de paseo (Cubierta B), Cubierta de refugio (Cubierta C), Cubierta superior (Cubierta D), la cubierta principal (cubierta E) y la cubierta inferior (cubierta F), y cada una de las tres clases de pasajeros tiene asignado su propio espacio en el barco. Como se ve a bordo de todos los transatlánticos de la época, los pasajeros de primera, segunda y tercera clase estaban estrictamente separados unos de otros. Según su configuración original en 1907, fue diseñada para transportar 2198 pasajeros y 827 miembros de la tripulación. La Cunard Line se enorgullecía de tener un récord de satisfacción de los pasajeros.

Lusitania El alojamiento de primera clase estaba en la sección central del barco en las cinco cubiertas superiores, concentradas principalmente entre el primer y el cuarto embudo. Cuando esté completo, Lusitania podría atender a 552 pasajeros de primera clase. Al igual que todos los principales transatlánticos del período, Lusitania Los interiores de primera clase fueron decorados con una mezcla de estilos históricos. El salón comedor de primera clase era la más grande de las salas públicas del barco dispuestas en dos cubiertas con un pozo circular abierto en el centro y coronado por una elaborada cúpula de 29 pies (8,8 m), decorada con frescos al estilo de François Boucher. se realizó elegantemente en todo el estilo neoclásico Luis XVI. El piso inferior que mide 85 pies (26 m) podría acomodar a 323, con otros 147 en el piso superior de 65 pies (20 m). Las paredes se terminaron con paneles de caoba tallada en blanco y dorado, con columnas decoradas de estilo corintio que se requerían para sostener el piso de arriba. La única concesión a la vida en el mar era que los muebles estaban atornillados al piso, lo que significa que los pasajeros no podían reorganizar sus asientos para su conveniencia personal. [26]

Todas las demás salas públicas de primera clase estaban situadas en la cubierta del barco y comprendían un salón, una sala de lectura y escritura, una sala para fumadores y una cafetería con terraza. La última fue una innovación en un forro Cunard y, en climas cálidos, un lado de la cafetería se podía abrir para dar la impresión de estar sentado al aire libre. Esta habría sido una característica rara vez utilizada dado el clima a menudo inclemente del Atlántico Norte. [27]

El salón de primera clase estaba decorado en estilo georgiano con paneles de caoba con incrustaciones que rodeaban una alfombra verde jade con un patrón floral amarillo, que medía en total 68 pies (21 m). Tenía un tragaluz abovedado de cañón que se elevaba a 6,1 m (20 pies) con vidrieras que representaban cada una un mes del año.

Cada extremo del salón tenía una chimenea de mármol verde de 4,3 m de altura que incorporaba paneles esmaltados de Alexander Fisher. El diseño se vinculó en general con yeserías decorativas. Las paredes de la biblioteca estaban decoradas con pilastras talladas y molduras que marcaban paneles de brocado de seda gris y crema. La alfombra era rosa, con cortinas y tapicería de seda Rose du Barry. Las sillas y los escritorios eran de caoba y las ventanas presentaban vidrio grabado. La sala de fumadores era de estilo Reina Ana, con paneles de nogal italiano y muebles rojos italianos. La gran escalera unía las seis cubiertas del alojamiento de pasajeros con amplios pasillos en cada nivel y dos ascensores. Las cabañas de primera clase iban desde una habitación compartida hasta varios arreglos de baño en una selección de estilos decorativos que culminaron en las dos majestuosas suites, cada una con dos dormitorios, comedor, salón y baño. La decoración de la suite del puerto se inspiró en el Petit Trianon. [28]

Lusitania El alojamiento de segunda clase estaba confinado a la popa, detrás del mástil de popa, donde se ubicaban los cuartos para 460 pasajeros de segunda clase. Las salas públicas de segunda clase estaban situadas en secciones divididas de las cubiertas del barco y del paseo ubicadas en una sección separada de la superestructura en la popa de los cuartos de pasajeros de primera clase. El trabajo de diseño fue delegado a Robert Whyte, quien era el arquitecto empleado por John Brown. Aunque más pequeño y sencillo, el diseño del comedor reflejaba el de primera clase, con solo un piso de comensales bajo un techo con una cúpula y un balcón más pequeños. Las paredes estaban revestidas con paneles y talladas con pilares decorados, todos en blanco. Como se ve en primera clase, el comedor estaba situado más abajo en el barco en la cubierta del salón. Los cuartos de fumadores y de damas ocuparon el espacio de alojamiento de la cubierta de paseo de segunda clase, con el salón en la cubierta de botes.

Cunard no había proporcionado previamente un salón separado para la segunda clase, la sala de 42 pies (13 m) tenía mesas, sillas y sofás de caoba colocados sobre una alfombra rosa. La sala de fumadores tenía 16 m (52 ​​pies) con paneles de caoba, techo y cúpula de yeso blanco. Una pared tenía un mosaico de la escena de un río en Bretaña, mientras que las ventanas corredizas estaban teñidas de azul. A los pasajeros de segunda clase se les asignaron camarotes compartidos, pero cómodos, de dos y cuatro literas, dispuestos en el refugio, las cubiertas superior y principal. [29]

Conocido como el principal sostén de las líneas marítimas transatlánticas, tercera clase a bordo Lusitania fue elogiado por la mejora en las condiciones de viaje que brindó a los pasajeros emigrantes Lusitania resultó ser un barco bastante popular para los inmigrantes. [30] En los días anteriores Lusitania e incluso todavía durante los años en los que Lusitania estaba en servicio, el alojamiento de tercera clase consistía en grandes espacios abiertos donde cientos de personas compartirían literas abiertas y espacios públicos construidos apresuradamente, que a menudo consistían en no más de una pequeña porción de espacio de cubierta abierta y algunas mesas construidas dentro de sus dormitorios. En un intento de romper ese molde, la Cunard Line comenzó a diseñar barcos como Lusitania con un alojamiento de tercera clase más cómodo.

Como en todos los transatlánticos de pasajeros de Cunard, el alojamiento de tercera clase a bordo Lusitania estaba ubicado en el extremo de proa del barco en el refugio, cubiertas superior, principal e inferior, y en comparación con otros barcos de la época, era cómodo y espacioso. El comedor de 79 pies (24 m) estaba en la proa del barco en la cubierta del salón, terminado en pino pulido al igual que las otras dos salas públicas de tercera clase, siendo la sala de humo y el baño de mujeres en la cubierta del refugio.

Cuando Lusitania estaba completamente reservado en tercera clase, el baño para fumadores y para mujeres se podía convertir fácilmente en comedores desbordados para mayor comodidad. Las comidas se comían en mesas largas con sillas giratorias y había dos sesiones para las comidas. Se proporcionó un piano para uso de los pasajeros. Lo que atrajo mucho a los inmigrantes y a los viajeros de clase baja fue que, en lugar de estar confinados a dormitorios abiertos, a bordo Lusitania era un panal de dos, cuatro, seis y ocho camarotes con literas asignados a pasajeros de tercera clase en las cubiertas principal e inferior. [31]

Bromsgrove Guild había diseñado y construido la mayor parte de los adornos en Lusitania. [32] Waring y Gillow licitaron por el contrato para amueblar todo el barco, pero al no conseguirlo suministraron algunos de los muebles.

Construcción y ensayos Editar

Lusitania La quilla se colocó en John Brown en Clydebank como yarda no. 367 el 17 de agosto de 1904, Lord Inverclyde martillaba el primer remache. Cunard la apodó 'el barco escocés' en contraste con Mauritania cuyo contrato fue para Swan Hunter en Inglaterra y que comenzó a construir tres meses después. Los detalles finales de los dos barcos se dejaron a los diseñadores en los dos astilleros para que los barcos difirieran en los detalles del diseño del casco y la estructura terminada. Los barcos se pueden distinguir más fácilmente en las fotografías a través de los ventiladores de techo plano utilizados en Lusitania, mientras que los de Mauritania usó una tapa redondeada más convencional. Mauritania fue diseñado un poco más largo, más ancho, más pesado y con una etapa de potencia adicional instalada en las turbinas.

El astillero de John Brown tuvo que ser reorganizado debido a su tamaño para poder lanzarlo en diagonal a través de la parte más ancha disponible del río Clyde donde se encuentra con un afluente, el ancho ordinario del río es de solo 610 pies (190 m) en comparación. al barco de 786 pies (240 m) de largo. La nueva grada ocupaba el espacio de dos existentes y se construyó sobre pilotes de refuerzo clavados profundamente en el suelo para garantizar que pudiera soportar el peso concentrado temporal de todo el barco mientras se deslizaba hacia el agua. Además, la empresa gastó £ 8.000 para dragar el Clyde, £ 6.500 en una nueva planta de gas, £ 6.500 en una nueva planta eléctrica, £ 18.000 para ampliar el muelle y £ 19.000 para una nueva grúa capaz de levantar 150 toneladas y £ 20.000 en maquinaria y equipo adicional. [33] La construcción comenzó en la proa trabajando hacia atrás, en lugar del enfoque tradicional de construir ambos extremos hacia el medio. Esto se debió a que los diseños de la popa y el diseño del motor no se finalizaron cuando comenzó la construcción. Las vías del tren se colocaron a lo largo del barco y a lo largo de las placas de la cubierta para llevar los materiales necesarios. El casco, terminado hasta el nivel de la cubierta principal pero sin equipamiento, pesaba aproximadamente 16.000 toneladas. [34]

Las anclas de la glorieta sin stock del barco pesaban 10 1 ⁄ 4 toneladas, unidas a 125 toneladas, 330 cadenas de brazas, todas fabricadas por N. Hingley & amp Sons Ltd. Los cabrestantes de vapor para levantarlos fueron construidos por Napier Brothers Ltd, de Glasgow. Las turbinas tenían 25 pies (7,6 m) de largo con rotores de 12 pies (3,7 m) de diámetro, el diámetro grande necesario debido a las velocidades relativamente bajas a las que operaban. Los rotores se construyeron en el sitio, mientras que las carcasas y los ejes se construyeron en la fábrica Atlas de John Brown en Sheffield. La maquinaria para impulsar el timón de 56 toneladas fue construida por Brown Brothers de Edimburgo. Un motor de dirección principal conducía el timón a través de un engranaje helicoidal y un embrague que funcionaba en una cremallera cuadrante dentada, con un motor de reserva que funcionaba por separado en la cremallera a través de una transmisión por cadena para uso de emergencia. Las hélices de tres palas de 17 pies (5,2 m) se instalaron y luego se recubrieron con madera para protegerlas durante el lanzamiento. [35]

El barco fue botado el 7 de junio de 1906, ocho semanas después de lo planeado debido a huelgas laborales y ocho meses después de la muerte de Lord Inverclyde. La princesa Louise fue invitada a nombrar el barco, pero no pudo asistir, por lo que el honor recayó en la viuda de Inverclyde, Mary. [36] [1] Al lanzamiento asistieron 600 invitados y miles de espectadores. [37] Mil toneladas de cadenas de arrastre se unieron al casco mediante anillos temporales para desacelerarlo una vez que ingresó al agua. En el lanzamiento, se instalaron las hélices, pero en lanzamientos posteriores, las hélices se instalarían en dique seco, ya que podrían dañarse al chocar con otro objeto en el lanzamiento. [38] La estructura de soporte de madera estaba sujeta por cables para que una vez que el barco entrara en el agua se deslizara hacia adelante fuera de su soporte. Se dispuso de seis remolcadores para capturar el casco y trasladarlo a la litera de acondicionamiento. [39] Las pruebas de los motores del barco se llevaron a cabo en junio de 1907 antes de las pruebas completas programadas para julio. Un crucero preliminar, o Prueba del constructor, se organizó para el 27 de julio con representantes de Cunard, el Almirantazgo, la Junta de Comercio y John Brown a bordo. El barco alcanzó velocidades de 25,6 nudos (47,4 km / h 29,5 mph) en una medida de 1 milla (1,6 km) en Skelmorlie con turbinas funcionando a 194 revoluciones por minuto produciendo 76.000 shp. A altas velocidades, se descubrió que el barco sufría tal vibración en la popa que hacía inhabitable el alojamiento de segunda clase. Los invitados VIP ahora subieron a bordo para un crucero de dos días durante el cual el barco se probó en funcionamiento continuo a velocidades de 15, 18 y 21 nudos, pero no su velocidad máxima. El 29 de julio, los invitados partieron y comenzaron tres días de juicios completos. El barco viajó cuatro veces entre el Corsewall Light frente a Escocia y el Longship Light frente a Cornwall a 23 y 25 nudos, entre el Corsewall Light y la Isla de Man, y la Isla de Arran y Ailsa Craig. Más de 300 millas (480 km) se logró una velocidad promedio de 25,4 nudos, cómodamente mayor que los 24 nudos requeridos por el contrato de almirantazgo. El barco podría detenerse en 4 minutos en 3/4 de milla comenzando desde 23 nudos a 166 rpm y luego aplicando la marcha atrás completa. Logró una velocidad de 26 nudos en una milla medida cargada con un calado de 33 pies (10 m) y logró 26,5 nudos en un recorrido de 60 millas (97 km) dibujando 31,5 pies (9,6 m). A 180 revoluciones se realizó una prueba de giro y el barco realizó un círculo completo de diámetro de 1000 yardas en 50 segundos. El timón requirió 20 segundos para girar con fuerza a 35 grados. [40] [41]

Se determinó que la vibración fue causada por la interferencia entre la estela de las hélices externas e internas y empeoró al girar. A altas velocidades, la frecuencia de vibración resonaba con la popa del barco, lo que empeoraba las cosas. La solución fue agregar rigidez interna a la popa del barco, pero esto requirió destripar las áreas de segunda clase y luego reconstruirlas. Esto requirió la adición de una serie de pilares y arcos al esquema decorativo. El barco fue finalmente entregado a Cunard el 26 de agosto, aunque el problema de la vibración nunca se resolvió por completo y continuó con el trabajo de reparación durante toda su vida. [42]

Comparación con el olímpico clase Editar

The White Star Line's olímpico-los buques de clase eran casi 100 pies (30 m) más largos y ligeramente más anchos que Lusitania y Mauritania. Esto hizo que los buques White Star fueran unas 15.000 toneladas más grandes que los buques Cunard. Ambos Lusitania y Mauritania fueron lanzados y habían estado en servicio durante varios años antes olímpico, Titánico y británico estaban listos para la carrera del Atlántico Norte. Aunque significativamente más rápido que el olímpico La clase sería, la velocidad de los barcos de Cunard no era suficiente para permitir que la línea realizara un servicio transatlántico semanal de dos barcos desde cada lado del Atlántico. Se necesitaba un tercer barco para un servicio semanal, y en respuesta al plan anunciado de White Star para construir los tres olímpico-los barcos de clase, Cunard ordenó un tercer barco: Aquitania. Igual que olímpico, De Cunard Aquitania tenía una velocidad de servicio más baja, pero era una embarcación más grande y lujosa.

Debido a su mayor tamaño, olímpico-Los revestimientos de clase podrían ofrecer muchas más comodidades que Lusitania y Mauritania. Ambos olímpico y Titánico ofrecía piscinas, baños turcos, un gimnasio, una cancha de squash, grandes salones de recepción, restaurantes a la carta separados de los salones comedor y muchos más camarotes con baño privado que sus dos rivales de Cunard.

Fuertes vibraciones como subproducto de las cuatro turbinas de vapor en Lusitania y Mauritania plagaría a ambos barcos a lo largo de sus viajes. Cuando Lusitania navegando a máxima velocidad, las vibraciones resultantes eran tan severas que las secciones de segunda y tercera clase del barco podían volverse inhabitables. [43] Por el contrario, el olímpicoLos revestimientos de clase utilizan dos motores alternativos tradicionales y solo una turbina para la hélice central, lo que reduce en gran medida la vibración. Debido a su mayor tonelaje y haz más ancho, los olímpicoLos transatlánticos de clase también eran más estables en el mar y menos propensos a rodar. Lusitania y Mauritania Ambos presentaban proas rectas en contraste con las proas en ángulo de la olímpico-clase. Diseñado para que los barcos pudieran sumergirse a través de una ola en lugar de coronarla, la consecuencia imprevista fue que los transatlánticos Cunard se inclinarían hacia adelante de manera alarmante, incluso en un clima tranquilo, permitiendo que enormes olas salpicaran la proa y la parte delantera de la superestructura. [44] Este sería un factor importante en el daño que Lusitania sufrió a manos de una ola rebelde en enero de 1910.

Los vasos del olímpico la clase también difería de Lusitania y Mauritania en la forma en que estaban compartimentados por debajo de la línea de flotación. Los buques White Star estaban divididos por mamparos transversales estancos. Tiempo Lusitania También tenía mamparos transversales, también tenía mamparos longitudinales a lo largo del barco a cada lado, entre la caldera y las salas de máquinas y los búnkeres de carbón en el exterior del barco. La comisión británica que había investigado el hundimiento de Titánico en 1912 escuchó testimonios sobre la inundación de búnkeres de carbón que se encontraban fuera de los mamparos longitudinales. Al ser de considerable eslora, en caso de inundación, podrían aumentar la escora del barco y "hacer impracticable el arriado de los barcos en el otro lado" [45], y esto fue precisamente lo que sucedió más tarde con Lusitania. La estabilidad del barco era insuficiente para la disposición de mamparo utilizada: la inundación de solo tres búnkeres de carbón en un lado podría resultar en una altura metacéntrica negativa. [46] Por otro lado, Titánico se le dio amplia estabilidad y se hundió con solo unos pocos grados de inclinación, siendo el diseño tal que había muy poco riesgo de inundaciones desiguales y posible vuelco. [47]

Lusitania no llevaba suficientes botes salvavidas para todos sus pasajeros, oficiales y tripulación a bordo en el momento de su viaje inaugural (con cuatro botes salvavidas menos de Titánico llevaría en 1912). Esta era una práctica común para los grandes barcos de pasajeros en ese momento, ya que la creencia era que en las rutas de navegación concurridas la ayuda siempre estaría cerca y los pocos barcos disponibles serían adecuados para transportar a todos a bordo para rescatar barcos antes de un hundimiento. Después de la Titánico se hundió Lusitania y Mauritania fueron equipados con seis barcos de madera construidos con clinker adicionales bajo pescantes, lo que hace un total de 22 barcos aparejados en pescantes. El resto de los alojamientos de los botes salvavidas se complementaron con 26 botes salvavidas plegables, 18 almacenados directamente debajo de los botes salvavidas normales y ocho en la cubierta de popa. Los plegables se construyeron con fondos de madera huecos y costados de lona, ​​y debían ensamblarse en caso de que tuvieran que usarse. [48]

Esto contrasta con olímpico y británico que recibió una dotación completa de botes salvavidas, todos aparejados bajo pescantes. This difference would have been a major contributor to the high loss of life involved with Lusitania ' s sinking, since there was not sufficient time to assemble collapsible boats or life-rafts, had it not been for the fact that the ship's severe listing made it impossible for lifeboats on the port side of the vessel to be lowered, and the rapidity of the sinking did not allow the remaining lifeboats that could be directly lowered (as these were rigged under davits) to be filled and launched with passengers. Cuando británico, working as a hospital ship during World War I, sank in 1916 after hitting a mine in the Kea channel the already davited boats were swiftly lowered saving nearly all on board, but the ship took nearly three times as long to sink as Lusitania and thus the crew had more time to evacuate passengers.

Lusitania, commanded by Commodore James Watt, moored at the Liverpool landing stage for her maiden voyage at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday 7 September 1907 as the onetime Blue Riband holder RMS Lucania vacated the pier. At the time Lusitania was the largest ocean liner in service and would continue to be until the introduction of Mauritania in November that year. A crowd of 200,000 people gathered to see her departure at 9:00 p.m. for Queenstown (renamed Cobh in 1920), where she was to take on more passengers. She anchored again at Roche's Point, off Queenstown, at 9:20 a.m. the following morning, where she was shortly joined by Lucania, which she had passed in the night, and 120 passengers were brought out to the ship by tender bringing her total of passengers to 2,320.

At 12:10 p.m. on Sunday Lusitania was again under way and passing the Daunt Rock Lightship. In the first 24 hours she achieved 561 miles (903 km), with further daily totals of 575, 570, 593 and 493 miles (793 km) before arriving at Sandy Hook at 9:05 a.m. Friday 13 September, taking in total 5 days and 54 minutes, 30 minutes outside the record time held by Kaiser Wilhelm II of the North German Lloyd line. Fog had delayed the ship on two days, and her engines were not yet run in. In New York hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the bank of the Hudson River from Battery Park to pier 56. All New York's police had been called out to control the crowd. From the start of the day, 100 horse-drawn cabs had been queuing, ready to take away passengers. During the week's stay the ship was made available for guided tours. At 3 p.m. on Saturday 21 September, the ship departed on the return journey, arriving Queenstown 4 a.m. 27 September and Liverpool 12 hours later. The return journey was 5 days 4 hours and 19 minutes, again delayed by fog. [49]

On her second voyage in better weather, Lusitania arrived at Sandy Hook on 11 October 1907 in the Blue Riband record time of 4 days, 19 hours and 53 minutes. She had to wait for the tide to enter harbour where news had preceded her and she was met by a fleet of small craft, whistles blaring. Lusitania averaged 23.99 knots (44.43 km/h) westbound and 23.61 knots (43.73 km/h) eastbound. In December 1907, Mauritania entered service and took the record for the fastest eastbound crossing. Lusitania made her fastest westbound crossing in 1909 after her propellers were changed, averaging 25.85 knots (47.87 km/h). She briefly recovered the record in July of that year, but Mauritania recaptured the Blue Riband the same month, retaining it until 1929, when it was taken by SS Bremen. [50] During her eight-year service, she made a total of 201 crossings on the Cunard Line's Liverpool-New York Route, carrying a total of 155,795 passengers westbound [51] and another 106,180 eastbound. [52]


Contenido

Cuando Lusitania was built, her construction and operating expenses were subsidized by the British government, with the provision that she could be converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser if need be. At the outbreak of the First World War, the British Admiralty considered her for requisition as an armed merchant cruiser, and she was put on the official list of AMCs. [5]

The Admiralty then canceled their earlier decision and decided not to use her as an AMC after all large liners such as Lusitania consumed enormous quantities of coal (910 tons/day, or 37.6 tons/hour) and became a serious drain on the Admiralty's fuel reserves, so express liners were deemed inappropriate for the role when smaller cruisers would do. They were also very distinctive so smaller liners were used as transports instead. Lusitania remained on the official AMC list and was listed as an auxiliary cruiser in the 1914 edition of Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships, along with Mauritania. [6]

At the outbreak of hostilities, fears for the safety of Lusitania and other great liners ran high. During the ship's first eastbound crossing after the war started, she was painted in a drab grey colour scheme in an attempt to mask her identity and make her more difficult to detect visually. When it turned out that the German Navy was kept in check by the Royal Navy, and their commerce threat almost entirely evaporated, it very soon seemed that the Atlantic was safe for ships like Lusitania, if the bookings justified the expense of keeping them in service.

Many of the large liners were laid up over the autumn and winter of 1914–1915, in part due to falling demand for passenger travel across the Atlantic, and in part to protect them from damage due to mines or other dangers. Among the most recognizable of these liners, some were eventually used as troop transports, while others became hospital ships. Lusitania remained in commercial service although bookings aboard her were by no means strong during that autumn and winter, demand was strong enough to keep her in civilian service. Economizing measures were taken, however. One of these was the shutting down of her No. 4 boiler room to conserve coal and crew costs this reduced her maximum speed from over 25 to 21 knots (46 to 39 km/h). Even so, she was the fastest first-class passenger liner left in commercial service.

With apparent dangers evaporating, the ship's disguised paint scheme was also dropped and she was returned to civilian colors. Her name was picked out in gilt, her funnels were repainted in their usual Cunard livery, and her superstructure was painted white again. One alteration was the addition of a bronze/gold colored band around the base of the superstructure just above the black paint. [7]

1915 Editar

The British established a naval blockade of Germany on the outbreak of war in August 1914, issuing a comprehensive list of contraband that included even foodstuffs, and in early November 1914 Britain declared the North Sea to be a war zone, with any ships entering the North Sea doing so at their own risk. [8] [9]

By early 1915, a new threat to British shipping began to materialise: U-boats (submarines). At first, the Germans used them only to attack naval vessels, and they achieved only occasional—but sometimes spectacular—successes. U-boats then began to attack merchant vessels at times, although almost always in accordance with the old cruiser rules. Desperate to gain an advantage on the Atlantic, the German government decided to step up its submarine campaign. On 4 February 1915, Germany declared the seas around the British Isles a war zone: from 18 February, Allied ships in the area would be sunk without warning. This was not wholly unrestricted submarine warfare, since efforts would be taken to avoid sinking neutral ships. [10]

Lusitania was scheduled to arrive in Liverpool on 6 March 1915. The Admiralty issued her specific instructions on how to avoid submarines. Despite a severe shortage of destroyers, Admiral Henry Oliver ordered HMS Luis y Laverock to escort Lusitania, and took the further precaution of sending the Q ship Lyon to patrol Liverpool Bay. [11] One of the destroyers' commanders attempted to discover the whereabouts of Lusitania by telephoning Cunard, who refused to give out any information and referred him to the Admiralty. At sea, the ships contacted Lusitania by radio, but did not have the codes used to communicate with merchant ships. Captain Daniel Dow of Lusitania refused to give his own position except in code, and since he was, in any case, some distance from the positions he gave, continued to Liverpool unescorted. [2] : 91–2 [12] [13] : 76–7

It seems that, in response to this new submarine threat, some alterations were made to Lusitania and her operation. She was ordered not to fly any flags in the war zone a number of warnings, plus advice, were sent to the ship's commander to help him decide how to best protect his ship against the new threat and it also seems that her funnels were most likely painted a dark grey to help make her less visible to enemy submarines. There was no hope of disguising her actual identity, since her profile was so well known, and no attempt was made to paint out the ship's name at the prow. [14]

Captain Dow, apparently suffering from stress from operating his ship in the war zone, and after a significant "false flag" controversy [ se necesita más explicación ] left the ship Cunard later explained that he was "tired and really ill." [15] He was replaced with a new commander, Captain William Thomas Turner, who had commanded Lusitania, Mauritania, y Aquitania in the years before the war.

On 17 April 1915, Lusitania left Liverpool on her 201st transatlantic voyage, arriving in New York on 24 April. A group of German–Americans, hoping to avoid controversy if Lusitania were attacked by a U-boat, discussed their concerns with a representative of the German Embassy. The embassy decided to warn passengers before her next crossing not to sail aboard Lusitania, and on 22 April placed a warning advertisement in 50 American newspapers, including those in New York: [16]

This warning was printed adjacent to an advertisement for Lusitania ' s return voyage. The warning led to some agitation in the press and worried the ship's passengers and crew.

Departure Edit

While many British passenger ships had been called into duty for the war effort, Lusitania remained on her regular route between Liverpool and New York. She departed Pier 54 in New York on 1 May 1915 on her return trip to Liverpool with 1,959 people aboard. In addition to her crew of 694, she carried 1,265 passengers, mostly British nationals as well as a large number of Canadians, along with 128 Americans. [17] Her First Class accommodations, for which she was well regarded on the North Atlantic run, were booked at just over half capacity at 290. Second Class was severely overbooked with 601 passengers, far exceeding the maximum capacity of 460. While a large number of small children and infants helped reduce the squeeze into the limited number of two- and four-berth cabins, the situation was rectified by allowing some Second Class passengers to occupy empty First Class cabins. In Third Class, the situation was considered to be the norm for an eastbound crossing, with only 373 travelling in accommodations designed for 1,186. [18]

Captain Turner, known as "Bowler Bill" for his favourite shoreside headgear, had returned to his old command of Lusitania. He was commodore of the Cunard Line and a highly experienced master mariner, and had relieved Daniel Dow, the ship's regular captain. Dow had been instructed by his chairman, Alfred Booth, to take some leave, due to the stress of captaining the ship in U-boat infested sea lanes and for his protestations that the ship should not become an armed merchant cruiser, making her a prime target for German forces. [19] Turner tried to calm the passengers by explaining that the ship's speed made her safe from attack by submarine. [20] However, Cunard shut down one of the ship's four boiler rooms to reduce costs on sparsely subscribed wartime voyages, reducing her top speed from 25.5 to around 22 knots. [21]

Lusitania steamed out of New York at noon on 1 May, two hours behind schedule, because of a last-minute transfer of forty-one passengers and crew from the recently requisitioned Cameronia. [2] : 132–33 Shortly after departure three German-speaking men were found on board hiding in a steward's pantry. Detective Inspector William Pierpoint of the Liverpool police, who was travelling in the guise of a first-class passenger, interrogated them before locking them in the cells for further questioning when the ship reached Liverpool. [2] : 156, 445–46 Also among the crew was an Englishman, Neal Leach, who had been working as a tutor in Germany before the war. Leach had been interned but later released by Germany. The German embassy in Washington was notified about Leach's arrival in America, where he met known German agents. Leach and the three German stowaways went down with the ship. They had probably been tasked with spying on Lusitania and her cargo. Most probably, Pierpoint, who survived the sinking, [22] would already have been informed about Leach. [2] : 131–32, 445

Submarine activity Edit

As the liner steamed across the ocean, the British Admiralty had been tracking the movements of U-20, comandado por Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger, through wireless intercepts and radio direction finding. The submarine left Borkum on 30 April, heading north-west across the North Sea. On 2 May, she had reached Peterhead and proceeded around the north of Scotland and Ireland, and then along the western and southern coasts of Ireland, to enter the Irish Sea from the south. Although the submarine's departure, destination, and expected arrival time were known to Room 40 in the Admiralty, the activities of the decoding department were considered so secret that they were unknown even to the normal intelligence division which tracked enemy ships or to the trade division responsible for warning merchant vessels. Only the very highest officers in the Admiralty saw the information and passed on warnings only when they felt it essential. [23]

On 27 March, Room 40 had intercepted a message which clearly demonstrated that the Germans had broken the code used to pass messages to British merchant ships. Cruisers protecting merchant ships were warned not to use the code to give directions to shipping because it could just as easily attract enemy submarines as steer ships away from them. However, Queenstown (now Cobh) was not given this warning and continued to give directions in the compromised code, which was not changed until after Lusitania ' s sinking. At this time, the Royal Navy was significantly involved with operations leading up to the landings at Gallipoli, and the intelligence department had been undertaking a program of misinformation to convince Germany to expect an attack on her northern coast. As part of this, ordinary cross-channel traffic to the Netherlands was halted from 19 April and false reports were leaked about troop ship movements from ports on Britain's western and southern coasts. This led to a demand from the German army for offensive action against the expected troop movements and consequently, a surge in German submarine activity on the British west coast. The fleet was warned to expect additional submarines, but this warning was not passed on to those sections of the navy dealing with merchant vessels. The return of the battleship Orion from Devonport to Scotland was delayed until 4 May and she was given orders to stay 100 miles (160 km) from the Irish coast. [24]

On 5 May, U-20 stopped a merchant schooner, Earl of Lathom, off the Old Head of Kinsale, examined her papers, then ordered her crew to leave before sinking the schooner with gunfire. On 6 May, U-20 fired a torpedo at Cayo Romano from Cuba, a British steamer flying a neutral flag, off Fastnet Rock narrowly missing by a few feet. [25] At 22:30 on 5 May, the Royal Navy sent an uncoded warning to all ships – "Submarines active off the south coast of Ireland" – and at midnight an addition was made to the regular nightly warnings, "submarine off Fastnet". [26] On 6 May U-20 sank the 6,000 ton steamer Candidato. It then failed to get off a shot at the 16,000 ton liner Arábica, because although she kept a straight course the liner was too fast, but then sank another 6,000 ton British cargo ship flying no flag, Centurion, all in the region of the Coningbeg light ship. The specific mention of a submarine was dropped from the midnight broadcast on 6–7 May as news of the new sinkings had not yet reached the navy at Queenstown, and it was correctly assumed that there was no longer a submarine at Fastnet. [27]

Captain Turner of Lusitania was given a warning message twice on the evening of 6 May, and took what he felt were prudent precautions. That evening a Seamen's Charities fund concert took place throughout the ship and the captain was obliged to attend the event in the first-class lounge. [2] : 197

At about 11:00 on 7 May, the Admiralty radioed another warning to all ships, probably as a result of a request by Alfred Booth, who was concerned about Lusitania: "U-boats active in southern part of Irish Channel. Last heard of twenty miles south of Coningbeg Light Vessel". Booth and all of Liverpool had received news of the sinkings, which the Admiralty had known about by at least 3:00 that morning. [28] Turner adjusted his heading northeast, not knowing that this report related to events of the previous day and apparently thinking submarines would be more likely to keep to the open sea, so that Lusitania would be safer close to land. [13] : 184 At 13:00 another message was received, "Submarine five miles south of Cape Clear proceeding west when sighted at 10:00 am". This report was inaccurate as no submarine had been at that location, but gave the impression that at least one submarine had been safely passed. [29]

U-20 was low on fuel and had only three torpedoes left. On the morning of 7 May, visibility was poor and Schwieger decided to head for home. He submerged at 11:00 after sighting a fishing boat which he believed might be a British patrol and shortly after was passed while still submerged by a ship at high speed. This was the cruiser Juno returning to Queenstown, travelling fast and zig-zagging having received warning of submarine activity off Queenstown at 07:45. The Admiralty considered these old cruisers highly vulnerable to submarines, and indeed Schwieger attempted to target the ship. [2] : 216 [30]

Sinking Edit

On the morning of 6 May, Lusitania was 750 miles (1,210 km) west of southern Ireland. By 05:00 on 7 May, she reached a point 120 miles (190 km) west south west of Fastnet Rock (off the southern tip of Ireland), where she met the patrolling boarding vessel Perdiz. [31] By 06:00, heavy fog had arrived and extra lookouts were posted. As the ship came closer to Ireland, Captain Turner ordered depth soundings to be made and at 08:00 for speed to be reduced to eighteen knots, then to 15 knots and for the foghorn to be sounded. Some of the passengers were disturbed that the ship appeared to be advertising her presence. By 10:00, the fog began to lift, by noon it had been replaced by bright sunshine over a clear smooth sea and speed increased to 18 knots. [2] : 200–2

U-20 surfaced again at 12:45 as visibility was now excellent. At 13:20, something was sighted and Schwieger was summoned to the conning tower: at first it appeared to be several ships because of the number of funnels and masts, but this resolved into one large steamer appearing over the horizon. At 13:25, the submarine submerged to periscope depth of 11 metres and set a course to intercept the liner at her maximum submerged speed of 9 knots. When the ships had closed to 2 miles (3.2 km) Lusitania turned away, Schwieger feared he had lost his target, but she turned again, this time onto a near ideal course to bring her into position for an attack. At 14:10, with the target at 700m range he ordered one gyroscopic torpedo to be fired, set to run at a depth of three metres. [2] : 216–17 [32]

In Schwieger's own words, recorded in the log of U-20:

Torpedo hits starboard side right behind the bridge. An unusually heavy detonation takes place with a very strong explosive cloud. The explosion of the torpedo must have been followed by a second one [boiler or coal or powder?]. The ship stops immediately and heels over to starboard very quickly, immersing simultaneously at the bow. the name Lusitania becomes visible in golden letters. [33]

U-20 ' s torpedo officer, Raimund Weisbach, viewed the destruction through the vessel's periscope and felt the explosion was unusually severe. En seis minutos, Lusitania ' s forecastle began to submerge. Though Schwieger states the torpedo hit beneath the bridge, survivor testimony, including that of Captain Turner, gave a number of different locations: some stated it was between the first and second funnels, others between the third and fourth, and one claimed it struck below the capstan.

On board the Lusitania, Leslie Morton, an eighteen-year-old lookout at the bow, had spotted thin lines of foam racing toward the ship. He shouted, "Torpedoes coming on the starboard side!" through a megaphone, thinking the bubbles came from two projectiles. The torpedo struck Lusitania under the bridge, sending a plume of debris, steel plating, and water upward and knocking lifeboat number five off its davits. "It sounded like a million-ton hammer hitting a steam boiler a hundred feet high," one passenger said. A second, more powerful explosion followed, sending a geyser of water, coal, dust, and debris high above the deck. Schwieger's log entries attest that he launched only one torpedo. Some doubt the validity of this claim, contending that the German government subsequently altered the published fair copy of Schwieger's log, [2] : 416–19 but accounts from other U-20 crew members corroborate it. The entries were also consistent with intercepted radio reports sent to Germany by U-20 once she had returned to the North Sea, before any possibility of an official coverup. [34]

German drawing of Lusitania being torpedoed which incorrectly depicts the torpedo hitting the port side of ship

British drawing of Lusitania being torpedoed shows disputed "second torpedo"

Lusitania is shown sinking as Irish fishermen race to the rescue. In fact, the launching of the lifeboats was more chaotic

At 14:12, Captain Turner ordered Quartermaster Johnston stationed at the ship's wheel to steer 'hard-a-starboard' towards the Irish coast, which Johnston confirmed, but the ship could not be steadied on the course and rapidly ceased to respond to the wheel. Turner signalled for the engines to be reversed to halt the ship, but although the signal was received in the engine room, nothing could be done. Steam pressure had collapsed from 195 psi before the explosion, to 50 psi and falling afterwards. [2] : 227 Lusitania ' s wireless operator sent out an immediate SOS, which was acknowledged by a coastal wireless station. Shortly afterward he transmitted the ship's position, 10 miles (16 km) south of the Old Head of Kinsale. [2] : 228 At 14:14, electrical power failed, plunging the cavernous interior of the ship into darkness. Radio signals continued on emergency batteries, but electric lifts failed, trapping passengers and crew bulkhead doors, that were closed as a precaution before the attack, could not be reopened to release trapped men. [2] : 238–40

About one minute after the electrical power failed, Captain Turner gave the order to abandon ship. Water had flooded the ship's starboard longitudinal compartments, causing a 15-degree list to starboard.

Lusitania ' s severe starboard list complicated the launch of her lifeboats. Ten minutes after the torpedoing, when she had slowed enough to start putting boats in the water, the lifeboats on the starboard side swung out too far to step aboard safely. [35] While it was still possible to board the lifeboats on the port side, lowering them presented a different problem. As was typical for the period, the hull plates of Lusitania were riveted, and as the lifeboats were lowered they dragged on the inch-high rivets, which threatened to seriously damage the boats before they landed in the water.

Many lifeboats overturned while loading or lowering, spilling passengers into the sea others were overturned by the ship's motion when they hit the water. It has been claimed [36] that some boats, because of the negligence of some officers, crashed down onto the deck, crushing other passengers, and sliding down towards the bridge. This has been disputed by passenger and crew testimony. [37] Some crewmen would lose their grip on ropes used to lower the lifeboats while trying to lower the boats into the ocean, and this caused the passengers to spill into the sea. Others tipped on launch as some panicking people jumped into the boat. Lusitania had 48 lifeboats, more than enough for all the crew and passengers, but only 6 were successfully lowered, all from the starboard side. Lifeboat 1 overturned as it was being lowered, spilling its original occupants into the sea, but it managed to right itself shortly afterwards and was later filled with people from in the water. Lifeboats 9 (5 people on board) and 11 (7 people on board) managed to reach the water safely with a few people, but both later picked up many swimmers. Lifeboats 13 and 15 also safely reached the water, overloaded with around 150 people. Finally, Lifeboat 21 (52 people on board) reached the water safely and cleared the ship moments before her final plunge. A few of her collapsible lifeboats washed off her decks as she sank and provided flotation for some survivors.

Two lifeboats on the port side cleared the ship as well. Lifeboat 14 (11 people on board) was lowered and launched safely, but because the boat plug was not in place, it filled with seawater and sank almost immediately after reaching the water. Later, Lifeboat 2 floated away from the ship with new occupants (its previous ones having been spilled into the sea when they upset the boat) after they removed a rope and one of the ship's "tentacle-like" funnel stays. They rowed away shortly before the ship sank.

There was panic and disorder on the decks. Schwieger had been observing this through U-20 's periscope, and by 14:25, he dropped the periscope and headed out to sea. [38] Later in the war, Schwieger was killed in action when, as he commanded U-88 the vessel struck a British mine and sank on 5 September 1917, north of Terschelling. There were no survivors from U-88 's sinking.

The track of Lusitania. View of casualties and survivors in the water and in lifeboats. Painting by William Lionel Wyllie

The second explosion made passengers believe U-20 had torpedoed Lusitania a second time

The effect of U-20's torpedo

Captain Turner was on the deck near the bridge clutching the ship's logbook and charts when a wave swept upward towards the bridge and the rest of the ship's forward superstructure, knocking him overboard into the sea. He managed to swim and find a chair floating in the water which he clung to. He survived, having been pulled unconscious from the water after spending three hours there. Lusitania ' s bow slammed into the bottom about 100 metres (330 ft) below at a shallow angle because of her forward momentum as she sank. Along the way, some boilers exploded. As he had taken the ship's logbook and charts with him, Turner's last navigational fix had been only two minutes before the torpedoing, and he was able to remember the ship's speed and bearing at the moment of the sinking. This was accurate enough to locate the wreck after the war. The ship travelled about two miles (3 km) from the time of the torpedoing to her final resting place, leaving a trail of debris and people behind. After her bow sank completely, Lusitania ' s stern rose out of the water, enough for her propellers to be seen, and went under. None of the four funnels collapsed, although some survivors testified that the third funnel swung and struck their lifeboat as they boarded it.

Lusitania sank in only 18 minutes, at a distance of 11.5 miles (19 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale. Despite being relatively close to shore, it took several hours for help to arrive from the Irish coast. By the time help arrived, however, many in the 52 °F (11 °C) water had succumbed to the cold. By the days' end, 764 passengers and crew from Lusitania had been rescued and landed at Queenstown. The final death toll for the disaster came to a catastrophic number. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard Lusitania at the time of her sinking, 1,195 had been lost. [39] In the days following the disaster, the Cunard line offered local fishermen and sea merchants a cash reward for the bodies floating all throughout the Irish Sea, some floating as far away as the Welsh coast. Only 289 bodies were recovered, 65 of which were never identified. The bodies of many of the victims were buried at either Queenstown, where 148 bodies were interred in the Old Church Cemetery, [40] or the Church of St Multose in Kinsale, but the bodies of the remaining 885 victims were never recovered.

Two days before, U-20 had sunk Earl of Lathom, but first allowed the crew to escape in boats. According to international maritime law, any military vessel stopping an unarmed civilian ship was required to allow those on board time to escape before sinking it. The conventions had been drawn up in a time before the invention of the submarine and took no account of the severe risk a small vessel, such as a submarine, faced if it gave up the advantage of a surprise attack. Schwieger could have allowed the crew and passengers of Lusitania to take to the boats, but he considered the danger of being rammed or fired upon by deck guns too great. [ cita necesaria ] Merchant ships had, in fact, been advised to steer directly at any U-boat that surfaced. A cash bonus had been offered for any that were sunk, though the advice was carefully worded so as not to amount to an order to ram. [41] This feat would be accomplished only once during the war by a commercial vessel when in 1918 the White Star Liner HMT olímpico, sister ship to the Titanic, rammed SM U-103 in the English Channel, sinking the submarine.

According to Bailey and Ryan, Lusitania was travelling without any flag and her name painted over with darkish dye. [42]

One story—an urban legend—states that when Lieutenant Schwieger of U-20 gave the order to fire, his quartermaster, Charles Voegele, would not take part in an attack on women and children, and refused to pass on the order to the torpedo room – a decision for which he was court-martialed and imprisoned at Kiel until the end of the war. [43] This rumour persisted from 1972, when the French daily paper Le Monde published a letter to the editor. [44] [45]


8 Famous People Who Missed the Lusitania

When the First World War began, in the summer of 1914, the Lusitania was among the most glamorous and celebrated ships in the world—at one time both the largest and fastest afloat. But the British passenger liner would earn a far more tragic place in history on May 7, 1915, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, with the loss of nearly 1,200 lives.

los Lusitania was not the first British ship to be torpedoed, and the German Navy had publicly vowed to destroy “every enemy merchant ship” it found in the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland. On the day the Lusitania set sail from New York, the German Embassy ran ads in U.S. newspapers, warning travelers to avoid liners flying the British flag.  But in the case of the Lusitania the warnings went largely unheeded, due in part to the belief that the powerful ship could outrun any pursuant. The ship's captain, W. T. Turner, offered additional reassurance. “It's the best joke I've heard in many days this talk of torpedoing,” he supposedly told reporters.

England and Germany had been at war for close to a year by that point, but the United States, whose citizens would account for about 120 of the Lusitania’s victims, had remained neutral ships sailing under the stars and stripes would not be the deliberate targets of German torpedoes. Though the U.S. didn’t officially enter the war until 1917, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the propaganda blitz that followed, proved a major factor in swaying public opinion in that direction.

Among the prominent American victims were such luminaries of the day as the theatrical impresario Charles Frohman, the popular writer Elbert Hubbard and the very rich Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. But the list of passengers who missed the Lusitania’s last voyage was equally illustrious. Ironically, it wasn’t the fear of a German U-boat attack that kept most of them off the doomed liner but more mundane matters, such as unfinished business, an uncooperative alarm clock or a demanding mistress.

Here are the stories of eight famous men and women who were lucky enough to dodge the torpedo.

Arturo Toscanini

The conductor Arturo Toscanini was set to return to Europe aboard the Lusitania when his season at New York’s Metropolitan Opera ended. Instead, he cut his concert schedule short and left a week earlier, apparently aboard the Italian liner Duca degli Abruzzi. Contemporary newspaper accounts attributed his hasty departure to doctor’s orders. “His illness amounts practically to a nervous breakdown due to overwork during the season and also to excitement over the European war,” los Tribuna de Nueva York informó.

In the years since, historians have offered other explanations, including the maestro’s battles with the Met’s management over budget cutbacks, a particularly bad performance of the opera Carmen and a recent ultimatum from his mistress, the singer and silent-movie actress Geraldine Farrar, that he leave his wife and family. Little wonder he set to sea.

Toscanini, who was then in his late 40s, lived for another four decades, until his death at age 89, in 1957. He recorded prolifically—an 85-disc boxed set released last year represents just a portion of his output—and became a celebrity in the U.S., conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra on radio and later television. In 1984, a quarter-century after his death, he received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement, sharing the honor that year with Charlie Parker and Chuck Berry.

Jerome Kern

Broadway composer Jerome Kern, then just 30 years old, supposedly planned to sail on the Lusitania with the producer Charles Frohman, but overslept when his alarm clock didn’t go off and missed the ship. The makers of the 1946 MGM musical biopic of Kern’s life, Till the Clouds Roll By, apparently didn’t consider that sufficiently dramatic, so the movie has Kern (played by Robert Walker) racing to the pier in a taxi and arriving just as the ship starts to pull away.

Kern would live for another three decades and write the music for such classics of the American songbook as “Ol’ Man River,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

He died in 1945 at the age of 60 of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Isadora Duncan

With her latest tour of the United States just ended, the American-born dancer Isadora Duncan had a number of ships to choose from for her return to Europe, where she was then living, among them the Lusitania. Though she had crossed the Atlantic on the luxurious liner before, she passed it up this time in favor of the more humble Dante Alighieri, which left New York eight days later. One reason may have been money: Her tour had been a financial disaster.

In fact, Duncan’s creditors had threatened to seize her trunks and keep her from leaving the country at all until she paid about $12,000 in debts racked up during her visit. In a newspaper interview Duncan pleaded, “I appeal to the generosity of the American people and ask them if they are willing to see me and my pupils disgraced after all I have done in the cause of art.”  Fortunately, within hours of the Dante’s departure, Duncan’s creditors had been placated and a benefactor had given her two $1,000 bills to buy the steamship tickets.

Several histories of the Lusitania disaster give the impression that Duncan sailed on the liner Nueva York with Ellen Terry (see below). Though Duncan idolized the older actress and even had a child with her son, theater director Edward Gordon Craig, it seems to have been one of Duncan’s young dancers rather than Duncan herself who accompanied Terry.

Duncan mentions the Lusitania briefly in her autobiography: “Life is a dream, and it is well that it is so, or who could survive some of its experiences? Such, for instance, as the sinking of the Lusitania. An experience like that should leave for ever an expression of horror upon the faces of the men and women who went through it, whereas we meet them everywhere smiling and happy.”

A dozen years later, Duncan would have a famously fatal encounter with another form of transportation, strangled when her scarf became entangled in one of the wheels of a car in which she was riding.


The primary events that led to the United States declaration of war against Germany were the Zimmerman Telegram and Germany’s announced intention to resume unrestricted submarine warfare. American sentiment had leaned toward the Allies and against the Central powers for some time.

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany. Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in 1917 became the primary motivation behind Wilson’s decision to lead the United States into World War I.


Spotted by a U-Boat

Approximately 14 miles off the coast of Southern Ireland at Old Head of Kinsale, neither the captain nor any of his crew realized that German U-boat U-20 had already spotted and targeted them. At 1:40 p.m., the U-boat launched a torpedo. The torpedo hit the starboard (right) side of the Lusitania. Almost immediately, another explosion rocked the ship.

At the time, the Allies thought the Germans had launched two or three torpedoes to sink the Lusitania. However, the Germans say their U-boat only fired one torpedo. Many believe the second explosion was caused by the ignition of ammunition hidden in the cargo hold. Others say that coal dust, kicked up when the torpedo hit, exploded. No matter what the exact cause, it was the damage from the second explosion that made the ship sink.


Lusitania Sunk - History

los Lusitania had left New York City on May 1 bound for Liverpool. On the afternoon of May 7 she was steaming off the coast of Ireland within easy sailing distance of her destination. Known as the "Greyhound of the Seas," the Lusitania was the fastest liner afloat and relied on her speed to defend against submarine attack. However, she was not running at full speed because of fog. Nor was the ship taking an evasive zigzag course. It was a sitting duck and was headed straight into the sights of the U-20.

The two ships converged at about 2 pm. After stalking his prey for an hour, Captain Schwieger unleashed one torpedo that hit its target amidships. The initial explosion was followed quickly by a second, more powerful, detonation. Within 20 minutes the great liner had slipped under the water, taking 1,198 victims with her. Among the dead were 138 Americans. Many in the United States were outraged. A declaration of war was narrowly averted when Germany vowed to cease her policy of unrestricted submarine warfare that allowed attacks on merchant ships without warning. However, American public opinion had turned against Germany and when she resurrected her unrestricted submarine warfare policy in February of 1917, America decided to go to war.

"Great confusion arose on the ship. . ."

Captain Schwieger kept a diary of the voyage. We join his story as he first catches sight of the Lusitania in the early afternoon of May 7, 1915:

Went to 11m and ran at high speed on a course converging with that of the steamer, in hopes that it would change course to starboard along the Irish Coast.

The steamer turned to starboard, headed for Queenstown and thus made it possible to approach for a shot. Ran at high speed till 3 pm in order to secure an advantageous position.

Clear bow shot at 700 m. . . angle of intersection 90 [degrees] estimated speed 22 nautical miles.

A contemporary illustration of the
attack shows the Lusitania pegar
by 2 torpedoes. Esto era
the explanation at the time
for the 2 explosions and the
rapid sinking of the ship.

Shot struck starboard side close behind the bridge. An extraordinary heavy detonation followed, with a very large cloud of smoke (far above the front funnel). A second explosion must have followed that of the torpedo (boiler or coal or powder?).

The superstructure above the point of impact and the bridge were torn apart fire broke out light smoke veiled the high bridge. The ship stopped immediately and quickly listed sharply to starboard, sinking deeper by the head at the same time.

Great confusion arose on the ship some of the boats were swung clear and lowered into the water. Many people must have lost their heads several boats loaded with people rushed downward, struck the water bow or stern first and filled at once.

On the port side, because of the sloping position, fewer boats were swung clear than on the starboard side.

The ship blew off steam at the bow the name &ldquoLusitania&rdquo in golden letters was visible. It was running 20 nautical miles.

Since it seemed as if the steamer could only remain above water for a short time, went to 24m. and ran toward the Sea. Nor could I have fired a second torpedo into this swarm of people who were trying to save themselves.

Went to 11m and took a look around. In the distance straight ahead a number of life-boats were moving nothing more was to be seen of the Lusitania. The wreck must lie 14 nautical miles from the Old Head of Kinsale light-house, at an angle of 358 degrees to the right of it, in 90m of water (27 nautical miles from Queenstown) 51 degrees 22&rsquo 6&rdquo N and 8 degrees 31&rsquo W. The land and the lighthouse could be seen very plainly.

Conditions for shot very favorable: no possibility of missing if torpedo kept its course. Torpedo did not strike. Since the telescope was cut off for some time after this shot the cause of failure could not be determined. . . The steamer or freighter was of the Cunard Line.

. . . Es notable que haya tanto tráfico en este día en particular, aunque el día anterior se hundieron dos grandes vapores al sur del canal George & rsquos. También es inexplicable que el Lusitania no se envió a través del Canal Norte & quot.

Referencias:
El diario de Walter Schwieger & rsquos forma parte de la colección de los Archivos Nacionales: Grupo de registros 45: Colección de registros navales de la Oficina de Registros Navales y Biblioteca, 1691 y 1945.
Otras referencias: Hickey, Des & Smith, Gus, Seven Days to Disaster (1982) Simpson, Colin, The Lusitania (1972).


Ver el vídeo: The sinking of the RMS Lusitania