Jock column

During the Second World War, Jock columns were small combined arms groups of armoured cars, artillery and motorised infantry, generally drawn from the British 7th Armoured Division. They were used in the Western Desert Campaign by the British Army to harass German and Italian forces. The columns were named after an officer who was a superb exponent of the tactic and may have conceived it originally, Lieutenant Colonel John Charles "Jock" Campbell.[1][2]

However, once the British went on the offensive in mid-1941 with their Brevity and Battleaxe operations, "British doctrine had become weakened by the improvised over-use of Jock Columns". Rather than concentrating armor as Rommel tended to, the columns were further separating their tanks into groups which were more easily defeated. The splitting up of critical medium and heavy artillery made them less effective at covering assault troops, and "Royal Artillery commanders were critical of the lack of concentration of guns". [3]

See also


  1. Mead 2007, p. 88.
  2. Cox 1987, p. 205.
  3. Dando 2014, p. 96.


  • Cox, Geoffrey (1987). A Tale of Two Battles: Crete & Sidi Rezegh. London: William Kimber. ISBN 0-7183-0642-2. 
  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud: Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. 
  • Dando, Neal (2014). The impact of terrain on British operations and doctrine in North Africa 1940-1943 (Thesis). Plymouth University. 

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