Squad vs Flight

Am I right in saying you use flight if it is 12 or more??

9 or more off the top of my head but it’s quite a while since I last delved into 818, @AlexCorbin will know for sure

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I had to check as I had forgotten (I’m dissapointed in myself and will be having a word) and without going through the entire 2000 times the word squad or flight appears I referred to the glossary of terms …

Squad - A small body of personnel formed for drill or working party.

Flight - A sub-unit, 2 or more of which comprise a squadron. Equates in size approximately to a naval or army platoon.

Depends on the context… For drill practice it’s probably right to use Squad but on ceremonial occasions where the Sqn is split in 2 for 2 flights I’d use flight.

But 9 has always been a rule of thumb I’ve heard


Alex has pretty much hit it.

9 persons is a commonly touted ‘limit’ but in actuality there is no number; it’s more a case of context. If you’ve got a group out doing drill they are a Squad.
If you have a formal sub-unit on a parade then they are a Flight.

However, if you are out practicing drill with just one of your multiple flights then there is nothing wrong with calling them “flight”; but you don’t need to just because you’ve got lots of them.

It’s just one of those fads that has become common… Another similar one is the idea that you form in 2 ranks with 8 cadets or less, but 3 ranks with 9 or more. That might be where this squad/flight ‘number limit’ has come from.
In truth, again, there is no specific number below which you automatically form in 2 ranks.

This is in the notes to “Get on parade” in AP818 - is the intention to form 2 ranks only for this command and it’s been misinterpreted?

  1. If there is less than nine persons to form a squad, they are to be formed up in two ranks with the same intervals between individuals as described.

No, that’s true actually. I had forgotten about that.

I had my mind elsewhere - That our first and final “parades” aren’t really parades. They are really just musters, and it doesn’t really matter how you put them together to call a roll. I’m rarely even bothered whether they’re sized for that. We’re not doing drill, we’re just standing in the hall. I normally just call “Fall in!” and they get into a small squad.

The common cadetism is that if there are 8 persons the cadets are supposed to just know and automatically form in 2 ranks when sizing. Of course, “sizing a squad” does not give any other drill than to form in three ranks.

Personally, I would always size them by the book (in three ranks) and then put them into two ranks as needed. It doesn’t really matter - but I like “Form Two Ranks” :smiley:

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It’s on my top 5

Somewhere behind “Left/Right Form” obviously.

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Love minds exploding when you throw that one in there

Almost as crazy as a left dress without intervals

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I bloody love a good form. It’s right up there with “on guard”.

Ah, now, see… Left dress is confusing for many because they rarely get taught it (everyone should be).
But it is at least logical enough to deduce. Look left, use your left arm.

Now, right dress with rifles at the shoulder on the other hand…


Have you read Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man’?

Chapter one in particular…


But will have a nosey

So, when do you use “Half Flight”?