A squadron was historically a cavalry subunit, a company sized
military formation. The term is still used to refer to modern cavalry
units but can also be used as a designation for other arms and
services. In some countries, like Italy, the battalion-level cavalry
unit is called "Squadron Group".
1 United States
7 Notes and references
In the modern United States Army, a squadron is an armored cavalry,
air cavalry, or other reconnaissance unit whose organizational role
parallels that of a battalion and is commanded by a lieutenant
Prior to the revisions in the US Army structure in the 1880s, 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 squadrons tactical formations as well as
British Army and many other Commonwealth armies, a squadron is
the Royal Armoured
Corps counterpart of an infantry company or
artillery battery. A squadron is a sub-unit of a battalion-sized
formation (usually a regiment), and is usually made up of two or more
The designation is also used for company-sized units in the Special
Special Reconnaissance Regiment, Honourable Artillery
Company, Royal Engineers, Royal
Corps of Signals, Royal Army Medical
Corps, Royal Marine Commandos and Royal Logistic
Corps and in the
Corps of Transport.
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. For example, the Royal Armoured
Regiment assigns trainees to "Waterloo" Squadron, named
in honour of the significance the cavalry played in the Allied forces'
victory over Napoleon. In some special cases, squadrons can also be
named after a unique honour which has been bestowed on the
The modern French Army is composed of troupes à pied (foot soldiers
including infantry and combat engineers) and troupes à cheval
(mounted soldiers such as armored cavalry units, and transportation
units). Nowadays, the term escadron (squadron) is used to describe a
company (compagnie) of mounted soldiers but, for a long time, a
cavalry escadron corresponded to an infantry battalion, both units
grouping several companies (battalion and escadrons were tactical
units while the companies were administrative units). The term
compagnie has been discontinued and replaced by escadron in cavalry
units since 1815 and in transportation units since 1968.
In the "mounted arms" a captain (three galons, or braids) in charge of
an escadron is thus called a chef d'escadron (which is a title, not a
rank). However, his superior in the hierarchy (four galons) has the
rank of chef d'escadrons (the equivalent rank in infantry units being
chef de bataillon). After 1815 (in fact around 1826), the army began
to write chef d'escadrons with an s in cavalry units to reflect the
fact that this officer who used to be in charge of one squadron
(several companies before 1815) was now in charge of several squadrons
(i.e., companies). In other mounted branches (such as gendarmerie and
artillerie), chef d'escadron is still spelled without s.
Badge of the Assault Squadron 4 of the Armoured Battalion. It is used
on vehicles, uniforms and barracks.
The Norwegian army operates with units called eskadroner (pl.),
typically a company-equivalent unit, generally in armoured cavalry
units although not always.
The 2nd Battalion,
Brigade Nord, has a company-equivalent unit called
kavalerieskadronen, or "the cavalry squadron". It serves as the main
reconnaissance unit in the battalion. Like the mechanized infantry
units, it wears the distinct khaki-coloured beret of the battalion
instead of the normal black for cavalry units.
Battalion (Panserbataljonen) has the majority of its
constituents labeled eskadroner. Including the
Cavalry Squadron, the
Armoured Squadron and the Assault Squadrons. It also includes the
battalion's Support element, the Combat Support Squadron. Its members
are also referred to as dragoons, reflecting the nature of the unit.
Battalion also has a number of units labelled eskadroner.
This includes the Armoured Squadron, the
Cavalry Squadron and the
Combat Support Squadron.
Kampeskadronen (Kampeskadronen) (roughly translated to "The Battle
Squadron"), a Squadron consisting of two Mechanized Infantry Platoons,
mounted on CV90's, one Armoured
Platoon with Leopard 2's and a Combat
Service Support Unit. It's soldiers referred to as dragoons and
consisting mostly of conscripted troops. Used as OPFOR in exercise
operations with other parts of the Norwegian Army.
Squadron "szwadron" was used exclusively for companies (not
battalions) of cavalry before 1948. After 1948, the name has been used
for the armored formations of varying sizes.
In the Swedish cavalry a skvadron means a unit with the same size as a
kompani in the rest of the army (about a hundred men). Even Jäger and
military police units may have squadrons.
Notes and references
^ "Squadron". Oxford Dictionaries.com. Retrieved 24 December
^ Jobson, Christopher (2009). Looking Forward, Looking Back: Customs
and Traditions of the Australian Army. Wavell Heights, Queensland: Big
Sky Publishing. pp. 92–93. ISBN 9780980325164.
^ Before 1776, depending on the period, a cavalry squadron was made up
of two to four compagnies. From 1776 to 1788, a squadron was composed
of a single – larger – company but the French Army then reverted
to a two-company squadron that – although deemed not optimal by many
officers – lasted until 1815 when King Louis XVIII merged the two
organizations and abolished the term "company" in the cavalry.
^ Prior to 1776, a two-company squadron was led by the most senior of
its two captains. The single-company squadron of 1766 was led by a
captain assisted by a "captain in second". Then, when the cavalry went
back to two-company squadrons in 1788, the rank of "Chef d'escadron"
was created but discontinued after a few years and, when re-instated,
the chef d'escadron (without s) became a superior officier, typically
in charge of two or more squadrons during the napoleonic wars while
individual squadrons were again led by their senior captain. Then,
when the company was abolished in 1815, squadrons were led (as in
1776) by a captain assisted by a second-captain while a chef
d'escadron (without s) was in charge of several squadrons. A few years
later (around 1826), the cavalry got into the habit of spelling chef