An experimental and computational study of the bending response of steel sandwich panels with corrugated cores in both transverse and longitudinal loading orientations has been performed. Panel designs were chosen on the basis of failure mechanism maps, constructed using analytic models for failure initiation. The assessment affirms that the analytic models provide accurate predictions when failure initiation is controlled by yielding. However, discrepancies arise when failure initiation is governed by other mechanisms. One difficulty is related to the sensitivity of the buckling loads to the rotational constraints of the nodes, as well as to fabrication imperfections. The second relates to the compressive stresses beneath the loading platen. To address these deficiencies, existing models for core failure have been expanded. The new results have been validated by experimental measurements and finite element simulations. Limit loads have also been examined and found to be sensitive to the failure mechanism. When face yielding predominates, appreciable hardening follows the initial non-linearity, rendering robustness. Conversely, for designs controlled by buckling (either elastic or plastic) failure initiation is immediately followed by softening. The implication is that, when robustness is a key requirement, designs within the face failure domain are preferred.