A troop is a military unit, originally a small force of cavalry, subordinate to a squadron and headed by the troop leader. Cavalry soldiers of private rank are called troopers (abbreviated Tpr., not troupers). Today, troop has different specific meanings in different armed forces.
Generally, soldiers may be referred to as troops.
British Army and Royal Marines
In the British Army the definition of a troop varies by corps.
Other corps do not use the term, although in the Royal Horse Artillery a troop used to be the equivalent to a battery in other artillery units.
In the Royal Marines, a troop is the equivalent to an army platoon.
U.S. Cavalry usage
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 3 or 4 platoons, and subordinate to a squadron or battalion.
General military usage
The mass nouns troop or troops can also be used more generally:
- To refer to all active duty military (e.g. Support our troops, Bring the troops home).
- To refer to ground forces generally (e.g. combat troops).
When referring to a specific service different words are used (singular or plural):
Note that within the British Armed Forces, these specific terms are often used only to refer to non-commissioned personnel (an army officer may speak of "my soldiers", for instance).
In the British Boy Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, a troop is an organized local group that meets regularly.