Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Definition of troop

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    Avatar photoJonathan Gingerich

    Somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that “troop” referred to “NCOs and men” and have been using it that way. But upon reexamination, I haven’t seen it defined this way. Am I inventing syntax?

    Avatar photoAlan Hamilton

    In the (British) cavalry a Troop was half a Squadron which at full paper strength (1815) would be 1 Captain, 1-2 Lieutenants, 1 Cornet, 1 Sergeant-Major, 1 Farrier, 4 Sergeants, 4 Corporals, 1 Trumpeter, and 85 Troopers.

    The “NCOs and men” were and still are often referred to as “rank and file” sometimes “Other Ranks”.

    Avatar photoTony Hughes

    Possibly ‘troops’ may refer to the non-commissioned officers & privates in mess-room chat but it is more commonly used to refer to the whole of the fighting force.

    As in ‘send in the troops’. Probably ‘trooping the colours’ refers to the same sense – showing the colours to all the troops (i.e. the whole regiment).



    Avatar photoJohn D Salt

    Am I inventing syntax?


    You might possibly be inventing semantics, but certainly not syntax.

    All the best,


    Avatar photoJonathan Gingerich

    Now don’t be salty!-)
    Well talking about it stirs my memory – I picked it up from a French work – “la troupe” – Not sure if it is precisely NCOs and men in French usage, but that seemed to be the context.
    Sigh, all the alternatives are just as wordy as “NCOs and men”, but I’d like a distinct term for better clarity.


    Avatar photovtsaogames

    Enlisted men?  Rankers?

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    Avatar photoMartinR

    Depends on the context doesn’t it. Troop can refer to a large collection of soldiers, subsets thereof or a very specific unit of organisation (such as a cavalry or armoured troop), it can also mean walking along in a somewhat laborious manner.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoJonathan Gingerich

    Well “Other Ranks” it is then. While a Commonwealth term, it is also used by NATO, is less dismissive than “Lower Ranks”, has a formal definition, and a ready acronym OR. So I can use both depending upon space and won’t need to explain the acronym.
    Spurred by some flailing on TMP, I’ve added a few things – lances of the hussars, the official rules on wearing or slinging the pelisse, speculation on the rifled carbine (stutzer) bandolier of the heavy cavalry, some revisions on woodwork color based on my flag research, and some observations on the artillery prickers. Also a spell check;-)



    Avatar photoGreystreak

    Always appreciate your updates, Jonathan.

    Bryce Allen

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