Defining Categories

Just to prove how OCD I am, I’ve given some thought to how I’m arranging the categories for the “category search” feature available in the right hand column of every page.  This actually will get into a little bit of a design/function talk.

If you’re actually interested, a brief explanation after the jump.

Superficially I suppose this is obvious.  If you want to look at all the Japanese aircraft I’ve done, select the “Japan” category and they should all come up in reverse chronological order (newest first).  So just a few notes.

Subjects may have multiple nationalities listed, one for the nation of manufacture, another for the user.

I’ll also include a “type” category.  This is more subjective than it may appear.  Not every nation uses the same sort of classification system.  And some categories like “Attack” or “Close Support” or “Fighter-Bomber” may have so much over-lap or grey area its truly not worth distinguishing them.  So I will classify types in ways that make the most sense to me, largely derived from over 40 years of war gaming experience.

“Fighter” will be by far the most common.  Its what I build the most of, and with only the one exception mentioned below, I won’t try to be more specific.  So if a plane was conceived as an “interceptor” or “bomber destroyer”, or was employed most often as an “escort fighter” or “light strike aircraft”; I’m not really going to sweat it. Aircraft considered “fighters” are expected to fulfill a broad range of missions, heavily biased towards air-to-air combat, so I’ll just call them all “Fighter” here.

That one exception will be for “Fighter – Night”.  These are more specialized machines that include airborne radar for a nocturnal/all-weather capability.  This was a pretty nifty new thing in World War II, unlike modern fighters where its pretty much basic equipment.

“Bomber” on the other hand, will always get a more specific descriptor.  For now, I’m planning on three, that best describe the subject in question.

First is “Bomber – Strategic”.  These are heavy, long range aircraft tasked with destroying an enemy’s industry and strategic assets.  I currently only have six types that qualify (B-17, B-24, B-29, Wellington, Lancaster, He 177).  There truly weren’t many types that qualify, and the Axis never took the role seriously.

The most common bomber type, by far, will be “Bomber – Tactical”.  This is a range of light to medium aircraft designed for everything from tank busting and dive bombing to bombing rail yards and supply depots.  Most such aircraft would perform a wide range of such missions, even on occasion, strategic work.  The range is so broad its tempting to try to subdivide it further, but I fear all such efforts would be doomed to frustration from blurred lines.

The last bomber type I’ll use is “Bomber – Naval”.  Most of this category is carrier capable types; usually considered either “Dive” or “Torpedo” bombers.  I’ll also include land based aircraft that were primarily used for naval strike missions.

A few other categories will pop up as they seem appropriate; Reconnaissance, Patrol, Trainer.  Maybe others.*

In all cases, the “Category” will be determined by the specific subject of the post.  So a Mosquito in the Banff Strike Wing might be tagged “Great Britain”, “Canada” and “Bomber – Naval”; while a US 416th NFS Mosquito would be tagged “Great Britain”, “USA” and “Fighter – Night”.

Vehicle categories will only be two.  “Armor” and “Vehicle”.  For “Armor” I mean all AFVs including Tanks, Tank Destroyers, Assault guns, armored cars…   “Vehicle” is all soft skinned machines.

I’ll eventually have a “Miscellaneous” category as well.  I’ve got a few things that aren’t easy to classify (ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft mounts).

And I’ll quit wasting everyone’s time now…

*—  A couple notes after a few years of doing this.  First, I’ve added an “Anti-tank” category.  Certain aircraft like a Hurricane IId or Ju 87G just really don’t fit my original very narrow categories.  Second, some aircraft will get multiple such categories, especially when I know a particular aircraft was used for multiple mission types (especially regards the new anti-tank category).  Fighter will continue to be all such fighters and fighter-bombers, even if they do a preponderance of close support work, unless the aircraft has been modified in a way that severely reduces its function in any air-to-air type mission (like previously mentioned Hurricane IId).

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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3 Responses to Defining Categories

  1. Theresa says:

    It is interesting the thought you placed into these separate categories.

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