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"Cavalry Squadron" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Guillaume deGuy Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2017 6:32 a.m. PST

Greetings all,
Does anyone have any idea when the term "squadron" came in to use (formally or informally) to describe two or more troops of horse and/or a subset of a regiment of horse?

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2017 11:00 a.m. PST

I know it isn't a primary source in itself, but according to the Osprey MAAs on Gustavus Adolphus's army, the author uses the term "squadron" to describe what are best described as "supra-regimental" formations of both foot and horse.

kustenjaeger31 May 2017 1:36 p.m. PST


The shorter Oxford Dictionary gives 1702 (unsourced) as first identified use in English for a sub division of cavalry.

However the OB of Rocroi in 1643 refer to escadrons, some references to tyw Swedish cavalry refer to squadrons.



Gustav A Inactive Member31 May 2017 1:46 p.m. PST

The Swedish word "Skvadron" (squadron) came into use in 1621 thanks to Gustavus Adolphus who used the word for both infantry and cavalry tactical units. It was also the name of the adiminstrative unit of cavalry units that were too small to be regiment (regiments were supposed to have 8 or more companies, cavalry squadrons had up to 5)but larger than single independent company. Tactical squadron was 2 to 5 companies strong but ideal squadron was 4 companies.

Guillaume deGuy Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

Thanks for the responses. They are helping me focus my thinking on the subject.

Ryan T04 Jun 2017 9:04 p.m. PST

I believe the term "squadron" had its roots in the development of the Spanish Tercio in the 16th Century. Tercio was an administrative designation; a Tercio in turn would be formed for battle in a cuadro or "square". Thus the cuadro or escuadrón or skvadron or squadron became the designation for the tactical unit or units of infantry or cavalry that were formed from a Tercio or regiment.

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