Military Wiki

K Troop, US 9th Cavalry

A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron. In many armies a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry section or platoon. Exceptions are the Royal Horse Artillery and the US Cavalry, where troop refers to an infantry company or artillery battery.

A cavalry soldier of private rank is called a trooper in many Commonwealth armies (abbreviated Tpr., not to be confused with trouper).

A related sense of the term troop refers to members of the military collectively, as in the troops; see Troop (disambiguation).

"Troop" shares a linguistic origin with "troupe", though their meanings had diverged.

Troops in various forces

Today, a troop is defined differently in different armed forces.

In the Australian Army a troop is the equivalent of a platoon sized element in units of certain corps, those being:[1]

The SASR is the only unit in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps to use the term troop to refer to its platoon size elements. SASR troops are also unusual as they are commanded by a captain—most troop/platoon sized elements are commanded by a lieutenant. In all cases, units which refer to platoon sized elements as troops refer to company-sized elements as squadrons and battalion-sized elements as regiments. Privates in the RAAC and SASR hold the rank "trooper", however this is not the case for any other Corps/units which use the term troops.[2]

12th Royal Lancers on manoeuvres.

In the British Army the definition of a troop varies by corps.

Other army corps do not use the term.

In the Royal Marines, a troop is the equivalent to an army platoon.

In the Canadian Army, a troop is the equivalent of a platoon within the Armoured, Artillery, Engineer, and Signals branches. Two to four troops comprise the main elements of a squadron.

In the United States Army, in the cavalry branch, a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry company, commanded by a captain and consisting of three or four platoons, and subordinate to a squadron (battalion). Companies were renamed troops in 1883.[3]

In the Russian Imperial Army (cavalry) troop was equivalent to eskadron (Russian squadron) or sotnia (Cossack formations).

Troops in civilian organizations

In the United States, state police forces are often regionally divided into troops. This usage came about from these organizations modeling themselves off the US Army, and especially the older cavalry units. For this same reason the state police and highway patrol personnel of most states are known as "trooper" rather than "officer".

In Scouting, a troop is a unit made up of Scouts or Guides from the same locality under a leader.


  1. Jobson, Christopher (2009). Looking Forward, Looking Back: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army. Wavell Heights, Queensland: Big Sky Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 9780980325164. 
  2. Jobson 2009, p. 15.

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).