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A squadron is a small unit or formation of cavalry, armour, aircraft (including balloons), or warships.

Army and Marines

A cavalry squadron (horse or armoured), typically consists of four troops.

United States

In the United States Army, a squadron is the Cavalry equivalent of an infantry battalion or artillery battalion, it is used for Armored Cavalry and Air Cavalry units. Prior to the revisions in the US Army structure in the first decade of the last century, US Cavalry Regiments were divided into companies, and the battalion was an administrative designation used only in garrison. The reorganizations converted companies to troops and battalions to squadrons and made the squadron a tactical formation as well as an administrative one.

UK and Commonwealth

In the British Army and many Commonwealth armies, it is the counterpart of an infantry company or artillery battery. The designation is also used for company-sized units in the Special Air Servicemarker, Honourable Artillery Company, Royal Engineers, Royal Corps of Signals, Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Logistic Corps, and formerly of the now defunct Royal Corps of Transport, as well as the Royal Marines.

Squadrons are commonly designated using letters or numbers (e.g. No. 1 Squadron or A Squadron). In some British Army units it is a tradition for squadrons to also be named after an important historical battle in which the regiment has taken part. In some special cases, squadrons can also be named after a unique honour which has been bestowed on the unit (e.g. The Queen's Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force's RAF Regiment).


An escadron (the French word for squadron) is another word for a cavalry division. For a long time, an escadron corresponded to a battalion, uniting several companies. Since the mid 20th century, an escadron has been the equivalent of a single company (typicall 13-tank strong [25159]).

In the cavalry (now called the "mounted arm") a captain (3 galons, or braids) commands an escadron (what would be a "company" in the infantry) and is thus called a chef d'escadron (with escadron in the singular). However, his superior in the hierarchy (4 galons) commands 2 escadrons and is thus called chef d'escadrons (with escadron in the plural). There are 2 exceptions - in the Gendarmerie and Artillerie (both accounted mounted arms), such a commander (again with 4 galons) is a chef d'escadron (singular).


An air force, army aviation or naval aviation squadron typically consists of three or four flight, with a total of 12 to 24 aircraft, depending on aircraft type and air force. In the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second World War, three air squadrons were assigned to each air regiment. Some air forces (including the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force) also use the term for air force ground units. Multiple squadrons (typically three to ten) make up a wing. An escadron is the equivalent unit in France's Armée de l'Air (with an as a subsection of an escadron) and Canada's air force.

In the Air Training Corps of the United Kingdommarker, a Squadron is a group of cadets who parade regularly.

In the Civil Air Patrol, a squadron is the basic administrative unit.


A naval squadron can be either a permanent battle formation or an ad hoc grouping of warships, typically capital ships (battleships, battlecruisers, cruisers, or aircraft carriers). In the United States Navy, several ships of a similar type, such as submarines and destroyers, are administered as squadrons.

See also


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