A squadron, or naval squadron, is a significant group of warships
which is nonetheless considered too small to be designated a fleet. A
squadron is typically a part of a fleet. Between different navies
there are no clear defining parameters to distinguish a squadron from
a fleet (or from a flotilla), and the size and strength of a naval
squadron varies greatly according to the country and time period.
Groups of small warships, or small groups of major warships, might
instead be designated flotillas by some navies according to their
terminology. Since the size of a naval squadron varies greatly, the
rank associated with command of a squadron also varies greatly.
Before 1864 the entire fleet of the
1 Command element 2 Squadron types 3 See also 4 References 5 External links
Command element A fleet is usually commanded by a flag officer such as a vice admiral or a rear admiral, but squadrons are sometimes commanded by commodores or simply the most senior captain (often the same thing), depending on the importance of the command. A large squadron will sometimes be divided into two or more divisions, each of which might be commanded by a subordinate captain. Like a fleet, a squadron is usually, but not necessarily, a permanent formation. Squadron types There are several types of squadron:
Independent squadrons. In effect, these are formations that are too small to be called a fleet. Independent squadrons may be assigned to and named after a particular ocean or sea, and the admiral commanding the squadron may be the naval commander in chief in that theatre. Temporary sub-divisions of a fleet. In the Age of Sail, fleets were divided into van, centre, and rear squadrons, named after each's place in the line of battle. A temporary detachment from a fleet would also be called a squadron.
The 2nd Battle Squadron of the Royal Navy's
Permanent battle formations. As warships evolved during the 19th
century, larger warships began to be formed into and trained as
permanent, numbered squadrons of the same class of warship such as the
5th Battle Squadron of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet. U.S. Navy
squadron types have included Battleship Squadrons, Cruiser Squadrons
In modern navies, squadrons have tended to become administrative units. Most navies began to abandon the squadron as a tactical formation during the Second World War. The need to provide capital ships with the anti-submarine protection of a destroyer screen and air cover from an aircraft carrier led to the increasing use of the carrier battle group, or ad hoc task forces, composed of whichever ships were available for a particular operation. As warships have grown larger, the term squadron has gradually replaced the term flotilla for formations of destroyers, frigates and submarines in many navies. See also
^ Keegan, John (1989). The Price of Admiralty. New York: Viking. p. 280. ISBN 0-670-81416-4. ^ OPNAV 29-P1000
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