AskDefine | Define platoon

Dictionary Definition



1 a military unit that is a subdivision of a company; usually has a headquarters and two or more squads; usually commanded by a lieutenant
2 a team of policemen working under the military platoon system
3 a group of persons who are engaged in a common activity; "platoons of tourists poured out of the busses"; "the defensive platoon of the football team"

User Contributed Dictionary



From word peloton


  1. In the context of "military": A unit of thirty to forty soldiers typically commanded by a lieutenant


unit of 30-40 soldiers

See also

Extensive Definition

A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing about 30 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organised 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 platoon leader or platoon commander, usually a lieutenant. He is usually assisted by a senior non-commissioned officer — the platoon sergeant.
In some armies, platoon is used throughout the branches of the army. In others, such as the British Army, most platoons are infantry platoons, while some carry other designations such as tank, mortar, or heavy weapons platoons. In a few armies, such as the French Army, a platoon is specifically a cavalry unit, and the infantry use "section" as the equivalent unit.
The word is derived from the 17th-century French peloton, meaning a small ball or small detachment of men, which came from pelote, (originally from Latin 'pillula', meaning 'little ball'). The word peloton now means the pack of riders in a bicycle race, which moves as a unit.

Australian organisation

In the Australian Army, a platoon is commanded by a Lieutenant, assisted by a Platoon Sergeant (who holds the rank of Sergeant). A doctrinal platoon from an infantry company consists of three sections of nine men plus a platoon signalman, giving the platoon a strength of 30 men. Each section is commanded by a Corporal, a Lance Corporal is section second-in-command, the remaining seven men being privates.

British organisation

In the British Army, a platoon is commanded by either a Second Lieutenant or Lieutenant, assisted by a platoon Sergeant (holding the rank of Sergeant). A Rifle platoon from an infantry company consists of three sections of eight men, plus a signaller (operating the radio), Plt Sergeant, Plt Commdr and a Mortar Man operating a Light Mortar, this means the platoon has 27 men and one Officer. Each Section is commanded by a Corporal, with a Lance Corporal as second-in-command and 6 Privates divided into two fireteams. Other types of platoons (such as Mortar or Anti-tank) are generally smaller and are commanded by a Lieutenant or Captain.

Canadian organisation

In the Canadian Forces, the infantry Platoon Commander is a Lieutenant or Second Lieutenant, assisted by a Platoon Warrant (who usually actually holds the rank of Warrant Officer). It is usually divided into three eight-to-ten-person sections and a heavy weapons detachment which will deploy either a GPMG, Carl Gustav, or 60 mm mortar depending on mission requirements. Specialist platoons may be led by a Captain, assisted by a Warrant Officer. Some very large specialist platoons will actually have a Lieutenant as the second-in-command. In many corps, platoon-sized units are called troops instead.

Singapore organisation

In the Singapore Army, a platoon is a Lieutenant billet. In practice, usually a Second Lieutenant is appointed the platoon commander, and will eventually be promoted to this rank. A typical infantry platoon consists of three seven-man sections of riflemen and a machine gun team, both commanded by Third Sergeants, a platoon sergeant and a medical orderly for a total of 27 soldiers.

Thai organisation

In the Royal Thai Army, a platoon is commanded by a Lieutenant or Second Lieutenant assisted by a Platoon Sergeant, usually of the rank of sergeant major. In infantry units, rifle platoons are generally made up of fifty man squads (three rifle squads, one machine gun squad and command squad).

United States organization

In the United States Army, a platoon is commanded by a platoon leader, usually a Second Lieutenant or First Lieutenant, assisted by a platoon sergeant, usually of the rank of Sergeant First Class. Tank platoons consist of four tanks. In infantry units, rifle platoons are generally made up of four nine-man squads (three rifle squads and one weapons squad).
In the United States Marine Corps, platoons are commanded by a Platoon Commander, usually Second Lieutenant, even though the position is intended for a First Lieutenant. The billet of Platoon Sergeant is a position intended for a Staff Sergeant, but it can be held by a Marine ranking from Corporal to Gunnery Sergeant. In a Marine regiment, rifle platoons usually consist of three rifle squads of 13 men each, usually led by a Sergeant, with a Navy corpsman, a Platoon Commander, and a Platoon Sergeant. Each squad is further divided into 3 fireteams. A weapons platoon replaces the 3 squads with a 60mm mortar section, an assault section, and a medium machine gun section. The assault section consists of dual-purpose rockets such as the FGM-172 SRAW.
platoon in Bulgarian: Взвод
platoon in Catalan: Secció militar
platoon in Danish: deling
platoon in German: Platoon
platoon in Spanish: Sección
platoon in French: Peloton (militaire)
platoon in Hebrew: מחלקה (צבא)
platoon in Croatian: Vod
platoon in Italian: Plotone
platoon in Japanese: 小隊
platoon in Lithuanian: Būrys (karyba)
platoon in Dutch: Peloton (krijgsmacht)
platoon in Norwegian Bokmål: Tropp
platoon in Norwegian Nynorsk: Tropp
platoon in Polish: Pluton (wojsko)
platoon in Portuguese: Pelotão
platoon in Russian: Взвод
platoon in Russian: Плутонг
platoon in Slovenian: Vod
platoon in Finnish: Joukkue
platoon in Swedish: Pluton
platoon in Ukrainian: Взвод
platoon in Chinese: 排

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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