On the Taxonomy of Spaceships



There are interesting points in this article. Ship taxonomy can often be a confused mess in SF (see Honor Harrington series, where battleships are the only ships not made for fleet combat).

Ship types are often originally from their roles (cruiser) or their main characteristic (corvette), sometimes from a long-forgotten etymology (frigate).
In addition to that, most modern-day navies, and quite a few SF settings simply class several of them by size, but also arbitrarily depending on the political situation, for example calling a new ship a ‘frigate’ instead of ‘destroyer’ because it sounds smaller and thus, the government sounds less militaristic. This is also because post-WWII naval warfare brought quite a few changes in ship roles in a few decades, so this was probably the least confusing way.

(Note: Surprisingly, the author is calling ship type “class” while explicitly differentiating it from actual ship classes.)

On battlecruisers, given their historically poor track record, I would keep the term for cruisers (or cruiser designs) that have been press-ganged into serving as capital ships after some modifications. A bad idea, but still better than having no capital ship at all.
Unless it is again a PR move from the shipbuilders, but then I would expect it to poorly fare (as in, KSP-style) when actually put in battle.

Also, obligatory Atomic Rocket link.

I’m just glad someone tried to make some sense of it all. I agree with all of it.