Says Titanic hit “growler” iceberg (1912)
Term applied by mariners to iceberg all but submerged
Speaking from his experience in ice fields both in the North and South Atlantic oceans, a former officer of an ocean liner said last night: “I fully believe that the Titanic struck what is known as a ‘growler.’ This is a berg, the top of which, in its long drift to the southward, has been melted so that only a small portion of it — a pinnacle, perhaps — remains in sight, while below, just under the surface, spreading out like a huge turtle’s back, lies the berg itself, weighing possibly thousands of tons — a fearful menace to a ship’s bottom.
“A ‘growler’ is hard enough to distinguish from the masthead or crow’s nest in the daytime and in clear weather, but in the night in a fog or hazy weather it could not be seen, and it would tear the bottom out of any ship coming at even less than half speed. All the Titanic’s bulkheads would not help her in such an emergency, for it would be like striking a solid rock, and, from what I have read of this great calamity, I believe the ship’s vitals — her engine and boiler compartments — were penetrated at the first blow.
“The wireless plant being so quickly put out of commission showed that there was trouble down there. This would also account for the pumps being unable to keep the ship afloat.”