/pleuh toohn"/, n.1. a military unit consisting of two or more squads or sections and a headquarters.2. a small unit of a police force.3. a company or group of persons: a platoon of visitors.4. Football. a group of players specially trained in one aspect of the game, as offense or defense, and used as a unit: a halfback on the offensive platoon.v.t.5. Sports.a. to use (a player) at a position in a game alternately with another player or players.b. to alternate (two different teams or units), as separate offensive and defensive squads.v.i.6. Sports.a. to alternate at a position with another player or players.b. to use players alternately at the same position.c. to alternate different teams.[1630-40; earlier plotton < F peloton little ball, group, platoon, dim. of pelote ball. See PELLET, -OON]
* * *Principal subdivision of a military company, battery, or troop.Usually commanded by a lieutenant, it consists of 25–50 soldiers organized into two or more squads led by noncommissioned officers. The term was first used in the 17th century to refer to a small body of musketeers who fired together in a volley alternately with another platoon. It has been used in U.S. military manuals since 1779, and throughout the 19th century it meant half a company. It was reintroduced into the British army in 1913. See also military unit.
* * *principal subdivision of a military company, battery, or troop. Usually commanded by a lieutenant, it consists of from 25 to 50 men organized into two or more sections, or squads, led by noncommissioned officers.In the 17th century the term referred to a small body of musketeers who fired together in a volley alternately with another platoon, and it has always retained some sense of systematic alternate employment. Hence “platoon fire” meant a regulated fire of alternating platoon volleys, and “platoon” sometimes referred to the volley itself. In the 18th century, battalions were often organized for tactical purposes into 16 platoons of about 24 men each, plus 2 or 4 platoons of grenadiers or light infantry.The term platoon has been used in U.S. military manuals since 1779 and throughout the 19th century meant half a company. The platoon was reintroduced into the British Army in 1913.The “platoon system” in municipal police and U.S. baseball and gridiron-football organizations signifies the use of two or more shifts or teams of comparable strength that alternate on duty.
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