There are a variety of ways that warplanes get categorized: by function, by operator, by power system, by number of wings, and so forth. This page is intended to serve as a straightforward cross reference by type.

The four most basic types are Fighter, Bomber, Transport, Trainer. Of course, in real life, especially in time of war, it is never that simple or clear-cut. Fighters double as tactical bombers or lose their armament and become reconnaissance planes; all types get drafted into service as trainers; planes designed and designated as trainers can be armed or can be drafted into service as utility vehicles; bombers are converted to transports, indeed, most bombers double in transport and reconnaissance — only the US seems to have made a practice of assigning different designations for different uses. Additionally, there are categories for photo-reconnaissance (only the US made a separate class for these) and for light liaison, observation, reconnaissance planes.

This listing is far from comprehensive, but I have tried to include all of the operational types I can identify in the literature, as well as quite a few others. Most types that were obsoleted before the war and saw little or no action have been left out. I have generally assigned only one line or one link to an identified type, even though there may be many different airframes listed under that heading.

Flying magazine compiled a list, "Aircraft of the US Armed Forces," for their September, 1945, issue.

The Army manual FM-30-30, Recognition Pictorial Manual, also includes a listing of the various warplane manufacturers around the world.

Fighters Bombers Transports Trainers Photo-reconnaissance Liaison, Observation, Reconnaissance and "Grasshoppers"