SQUADRON, a military and naval term for a body of mounted troops or a detachment of war vessels. The word is derived from squadra, a square, as a military term, according to Florio, applied to a " certain part of a company of souldiers of 20 or 25 whose chiefe was a corporal," and so called no doubt as being formed on parade or in battle array in squares. Squadra, square, is derived from the Low Latin exquadrare, an intensive form of quadrare (quadrus, four-cornered, quattuor, four). In military usage the term "squadron" is applied to the principal units into which a cavalry regiment is divided, corresponding to the company in an infantry battalion. The normal modern division of a cavalry regiment is into four squadrons of two to four troops each, this squadron numbering 120 to 200 men (see CAVALRY). In naval usage a squadron is a group of vessels either as forming one of the divisions of a fleet or as a separate detachment under a flag officer despatched on special service. In military use, "squad" (a shortened form of "squadron") is used of any small detachment of men detailed for drill, fatigue or other duty.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)