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Admiral of the fleet • Fleet admiral
A squadron, or naval squadron, is (in modern usage) a unit of 3-4 major warships, transport ships, submarines, or sometimes small craft that may be part of a larger task force or a fleet. A squadron is usually composed of a homogeneous group of the same classification of ships, such as battleships, battlecruisers, cruisers, destroyers or frigates, or of various types tasked with a specific mission such as coastal patrol, blockade, or minesweeping. Smaller warships are usually grouped in flotillas.
A fleet is usually commanded by a flag officer such as a vice admiral or a rear admiral, but squadrons are sometimes commanded by commodores or simply the most senior captain (often the same thing), depending on the importance of the command. A large squadron will sometimes be divided into two or more divisions, each of which might be commanded by a subordinate captain. Like a fleet, a squadron is usually, but not necessarily, a permanent formation.
There are several types of squadron:
In modern navies, squadrons have tended to become administrative units. Most navies began to abandon the squadron as a tactical formation during the Second World War. The need to provide capital ships with the anti-submarine protection of a destroyer screen and air cover from an aircraft carrier led to the increasing use of the carrier battle group, or ad hoc task forces, composed of whichever ships were available for a particular operation.
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