French cruiser Jeanne d'Arc (1930)

Jeanne d'Arc was a training cruiser built for the Marine Nationale (French Navy) during the late 1920s. She was designed both as a school ship and a fully capable warship. She saw service through the Second World War, escaping to Halifax after the fall of France and eventually joining the Free French forces before the end of the war. Post war, the cruiser resumed her duties as a training ship, being retired in 1964.

Jeanne d'Arc in 1935
Class overview
Operators:  French Navy
Preceded by: Duguay-Trouin class
Succeeded by: Émile Bertin
Built: 1928–1931
In commission: 1931–1964
Completed: 1
Retired: 1
Name: Jeanne d'Arc
Namesake: Joan of Arc
Builder: Saint-Nazaire
Laid down: September 1928
Launched: 1930
Christened: 14 February 1930
Commissioned: October 1931
Decommissioned: 1964
Homeport: Toulon
Nickname(s): "La Jeanne"
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Type: Training cruiser
Displacement: 6,500 t (6,400 long tons)
Length: 170 m (557 ft 9 in)
Beam: 17.7 m (58 ft 1 in)
Draught: 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in)
Installed power:
  • boilers
  • 32,500 shp (24,200 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts; 2 steam turbines
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) (27.8 on trials)
Range: 5,000 mi (4,300 nmi) at 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h; 16.7 mph)
  • 28 officers
  • 120 petty officers
  • 424 quarter-masters and sailors
  • 156 student officers
Aircraft carried: 2 CAMS reconnaissance airplanes

Design and description

Jeanne d'Arc was designed specifically to serve as a cadet training ship. The ship had an overall length of 170 meters (557 ft 9 in), a beam of 17.5 meters (57 ft 5 in), and a draft of 5.7 meters (18 ft 8 in). She displaced 6,600 metric tons (6,496 long tons) at standard load and 8,928 t (8,787 long tons) at deep load. The hull was divided by a 16 bulkheads into 17 watertight compartments. Her crew consisted of 482 and 156 officer cadets.[1]

Service history

In 1931, Jeanne d'Arc departed for her first cruise under Capitaine de vaisseau André Marquis. As a prestige ship, she toured countries of South America where France wanted to increase her influence. The cruiser visited some of the Black Sea states in 1932.[2]

A log of the ship and the nautical calculation notebook from 1937 can both be found at the "Mircea cel Batran" Naval Academy Museum[3] in Constanța, Romania. During that time, the ship undertook a training voyage around the earth, and the lieutenant kept a very rich log, illustrated with photographs.

During the Second World War, Jeanne d'Arc was assigned to the West Atlantic Naval Division, taking part in blockading German cargo ships in neutral harbours. In late May 1940, along with Émile Bertin, she departed from Brest for Canada with a cargo of gold from the Bank of France, under the command of Rear Admiral Rouyer. After an Atlantic rendezvous with the aircraft carrier Béarn, the flotilla reached Halifax safely.[4] Jeanne d'Arc then went to the French West Indies, where she remained in the Martinique until July 1943.

In 1943, Jeanne d'Arc joined the Free French. In December, she took part in operations in Corsica and in Operation Dragoon. She was mentioned in despatches at the order of the Army for services rendered during the war.

She later resumed her service as school cruiser with 27 cruises around the world, before being decommissioned in 1964.


  1. Jordan & Moulin, pp. 92–93
  2. Чонев, Чони. Корабите, том V, София 1997, с. 152 (Chonev, Choni. The ships, vol. 5, Sofia 1997, p. 152)
  4. Fish, pp. 174–178


  • Draper, Alfred (1979). Operation Fish The Race to Save Europe's Wealth 1939-1945. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-30068-3.
  • Jordan, John & Moulin, Jean (2013). French Cruisers 1922–1956. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-133-5.
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