A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

, subordinate to a squadron
Squadron (cavalry)
A squadron was historically a cavalry sub unit. It is still used to refer to modern cavalry units but can also be used as a designation for other arms and services.-United States:...

 and headed by the troop leader. In many armies a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

Section (military unit)
A section is a small military unit in some armies. In many armies, it is a squad of seven to twelve soldiers. However in France and armies based on the French model, it is the sub-division of a company .-Australian Army:...

 or platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

. Exceptions are the Royal Horse Artillery
Royal Horse Artillery
The regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery , dating from 1793, are part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery of the British Army...

 and the US Cavalry, where troop refers to an infantry company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

 or artillery battery
Artillery battery
In military organizations, an artillery battery is a unit of guns, mortars, rockets or missiles so grouped in order to facilitate better battlefield communication and command and control, as well as to provide dispersion for its constituent gunnery crews and their systems...


A cavalry soldier of private rank
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

 is called a trooper
Trooper (rank)
Trooper from the French "troupier" is the equivalent rank to private in a regiment with a cavalry tradition in the British Army and many other Commonwealth armies, including those of Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. Today, most cavalry units operate in the armoured role, equipped...

 (abbreviated Tpr., not to be confused with trouper).

A related sense of the term troop refers to soldiers collectively, as in the troops; see Troop (disambiguation)
Troop (disambiguation)
Troop may refer to the following:* Troop, a small unit of cavalry or some police forces* Troop , an R&B group from Pasadena* Troops , an independent spoof of COPS and Star Wars* F Troop, a satirical American television sitcom...


Troops in various forces

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

In the Australian army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 a troop is the equivalent of a platoon sized element in units of certain corps, those being:
  • Royal Australian Armoured Corps
  • Royal Australian Engineers
    Royal Australian Engineers
    The Royal Australian Engineers is a corps of the Australian Army . The RAE is ranked fourth in seniority of the corps of the Australian Army, behind the Staff Cadets, Armoured and Artillery Corps...

  • Royal Australian Corps of Signals
    Royal Australian Corps of Signals
    The Royal Australian Corps of Signals is one of the 'arms' of the Australian Army. It is responsible for installing, maintaining and operating all types of telecommunications equipment and information systems...

  • Australian Army Aviation
    Australian Army Aviation
    Australian Army Aviation is a corps of the Australian Army, and was formed on 1 July 1968 with a strength of 106 officer pilots, although it has a history dating back to 1911, when the Minister of Defence at the time, Senator George Pearce, decided there should be a flying school in the Defence...

  • Royal Australian Corps of Transport
    Royal Australian Corps of Transport
    The Royal Australian Corps of Transport is a corps within the Australian Army. It was formed in 1973 and is responsible for the operation of army surface transport assets.-Role:...

  • Royal Australian Survey Corps
    Royal Australian Survey Corps
    The Royal Australian Survey Corps was a Corps of the Australian Army that was formed on 1 July 1915 and disbanded on 1 July 1996. The Historical Collection of the Survey Corps is maintained by the at the School of Military Engineering, Steele Barracks, Moorebank, Sydney, New South Wales...

     (now disbanded)

In addition the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR), which is part of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps
Royal Australian Infantry Corps
The Royal Australian Infantry Corps is the parent corps for all infantry regiments of the Australian Army. It was established on 14 December 1948, with its Royal Corps status being conferred by His Majesty King George VI. At her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II became Colonel-in-Chief of the...

, also uses the term troop to refer to its platoon size elements. However SASR is the only Royal Australian Infantry unit to use the troop designation. 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 the organisation which use troop to refer to their platoon size element refer to the company sized element as a squadron and the battalion sized element as a regiment.
Privates in the RAAC and SASR are also hold the rank "Trooper" instead of private, this is not the case for any other Corps/Units whose platoon sized elements are called Troops.

In the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 the definition of a troop varies by corps
A corps is either a large formation, or an administrative grouping of troops within an armed force with a common function such as Artillery or Signals representing an arm of service...

  • Household Cavalry
    Household Cavalry
    The term Household Cavalry is used across the Commonwealth to describe the cavalry of the Household Divisions, a country’s most elite or historically senior military groupings or those military groupings that provide functions associated directly with the Head of state.Canada's Governor General's...

     and Royal Armoured Corps
    Royal Armoured Corps
    The Royal Armoured Corps is currently a collection of ten regular regiments, mostly converted from old horse cavalry regiments, and four Yeomanry regiments of the Territorial Army...

    : Three or four armoured fighting vehicle
    Armoured fighting vehicle
    An armoured fighting vehicle is a combat vehicle, protected by strong armour and armed with weapons. AFVs can be wheeled or tracked....

    s commanded by a subaltern
    Subaltern (rank)
    A subaltern is a chiefly British military term for a junior officer. Literally meaning "subordinate," subaltern is used to describe commissioned officers below the rank of captain and generally comprises the various grades of lieutenant. In the British Army the senior subaltern rank was...

    , i.e. effectively the same level element as an infantry platoon. A unit of two to four guns or launchers, or an equivalent headquarters unit. In the Royal Horse Artillery, a troop used to be the equivalent to a battery in other artillery units.
  • Royal Engineers
    Royal Engineers
    The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

    , Royal Corps of Signals
    Royal Corps of Signals
    The Royal Corps of Signals is one of the combat support arms of the British Army...

    , Royal Logistic Corps
    Royal Logistic Corps
    The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

    , Special Air Service
    Special Air Service
    Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

     and Honourable Artillery Company
    Honourable Artillery Company
    The Honourable Artillery Company was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII. Today it is a Registered Charity whose purpose is to attend to the “better defence of the realm"...

    : A unit equivalent in size to a platoon in other corps, divided into sections or Patrols.

Other army corps do not use the term.

In the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

, 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 are comprise the main elements of a squadron.

In the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, in the cavalry branch, a troop is the equivalent unit to the infantry company, commanded by a captain and consisting of 3 or 4 platoons, and subordinate to a squadron (battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

). Companies were renamed troops in 1883.

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

Troops in civilian organizations

In the United States, State Police
State police (United States)
In the United States, state police are a police body unique to each U.S. state, having statewide authority to conduct law enforcement activities and criminal investigations...

 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
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

, a troop is a unit made up of Scouts or Guides from the same locality under a leader
Scout Leader
A Scout Leader or Scouter generally refers to the trained adult leader of a Scout unit. The terms used vary from country to country, over time, and with the type of unit.-Roles:...

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