Armored cruiser Jeanne d’Arc

The armoured cruiser Jeanne d'Arc was part of the French armament of the navy and was to strengthen both the armoured cruiser Dupuy de Lôme and the ships of the Amiral Charner class.


Launch and design:

Already at the beginning of the 90s of the 19th century, the first concepts for a large protected cruiser were available, which was intended for the French colonies under the name Jeanne d'Arc. In 1895, however, the naval architect Emile Bertin, Director of the Navy's Technical Department, transformed this concept into an armoured cruiser. The background for the transformation was the construction of the Amiral Charner class armoured cruisers and the orientation of the ships for the future task of disrupting the merchant ships of enemy states. Accordingly, the Jeanne d'Arc was no longer intended for the colonies but to support the new armoured cruisers.

Although the construction was oriented in some points to the Panzerkreuzer Pothuau and the ships of the Amiral Charner class, the Jeanne d'Arc was clearly larger overall and had a higher displacement. The ship had a length of 147 meters, a width of 19,42 meters and a maximum displacement of 11.445 tons.

The armament of the main guns remained at 2 x 194 mm guns of the Modèle 1893. Also the secondary armament received a higher number of 14 x 138,6 mm and 16 x 47 mm guns, but no larger caliber. Due to the size of the ship, many critics later considered the armament to be too weak overall, as a larger calibre would have been possible and would have had more penetrating power.

The armor along the ship's belt was up to 150 mm, the deck had an armor of 45 to 55 mm. The command turret was armoured with a thickness of 138 mm, the gun turrets with 161 mm, whereby the barbeds were only 60 to 140 mm thick. The armour was thus significantly smaller than that of comparable armoured cruisers.

The propulsion was provided by three triple expanding steam engines driven by 36 Guyot-du-Temple boilers with an output of 28.500 hp. This should have allowed the ship to reach a maximum speed of 23 knots, but during later voyages it turned out that only around 21 knots could be reached.

The ship was named after the French heroine Jeanne d'Arc from the Hundred Years' War against England (1412 - 1431).

The launch of the Jeanne d'Arc took place then on 8 June 1899, the commissioning on 10 March 1903.



Joan of Arc, namesake of the ship


Drawing of the Armored cruiser Jeanne d'Arc


Drawing of the Armored cruiser Jeanne d'Arc


Armored cruiser Jeanne d'Arc




History of Joan of Arc:

Already during the construction of the ship there were several delays. In the period from September 1896 to June 1898, for example, hardly any work was done on the ship after a dispute arose between the builder and the naval administration in October 1896. Further the technology of the planned engines was not yet fully developed and there were again and again problems with these, so that at the launch of the ship on 8 June 1899 only no engines were installed at all. These were assembled later. During the following test runs it turned out that the boiler rooms were too badly ventilated and the temperature was accordingly too high. Then the feed pumps also failed frequently, which led to overheating of the condensers. Due to the great effort required to solve these problems, the ship could only be officially handed over to the French navy on 10 March 1903.

The first operation of the Jeanne d'Arc was the voyage with the French president Émile Loubet to French North Africa. From there it went on on 29 April to Marseille around the ship on 1 June to the squadron north in Brest to assign. The first manoeuvres off the coast of Brittany were carried out with this squadron from July onwards. Due to problems with the propulsion, the Jeanne d'Arc had to be taken out of the squadron again as early as 14 September. Several attempts failed to solve the problems, so that the ship returned to the squadron again and again until May 1906, only to be taken out of the squadron again a short time later.

On 26th May 1906 the allocation into the Mediterranean squadron took place. First the ports in Tangier, Morocco and Gibraltar were served until it began with the annual maneuvers. These were only interrupted on 16 September, when the fleet was visited by the French President in Marseille to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone of the Rove Channel Tunnel.

1907 also began with visits to the ports of Morocco, Algeria and Cherbourg before it was overhauled in Brest in June and then in the port of Toulon from 20 July.

At the beginning of 1908 the ship changed to Gibraltar. There it came on 12 February 1908 to an accident, when one of the boilers of the ship exploded and 5 crew members died thereby. Because of the reparation the Jeanne d'Arc returned to Brest on 15 February. There first the reparations were carried out, then on 15 April the allocation took place in the reserve and some changes, so that the ship could be used for the task as training ship for naval cadets.

On 20 May 1911 the Jeanne d'Arc was put back into service and initially served the third section of the reserve squadron until it was assigned to the training squadron of the Atlantic fleet on 1 May 1912. For the training several larger round trips were undertaken with the Jeanne d'Arc. The first led from 10 October 1912 to 29 July 1913 by the Atlantic, the Mediterranean up to the Baltic Sea. The second voyage led from 10 October 1913 to 27 July 1914 via the Suez Canal into the Indian Ocean, before the ship was ordered back to France after the murder of the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne in Serbia due to increasing political tensions in Europe.



Photo of the armoured cruiser Jeanne d'Arc in April 1903 during the trip with the French President to Algeria


Armored cruiser Jeanne d'Arc


Armored cruiser Jeanne d'Arc


Armored cruiser Jeanne d'Arc




Use in war:

With the outbreak of the First World War the Jeanne d'Arc was again assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. With this the ship monitored the western English Channel to intercept German merchant ships.

In March 1915 the transfer to the allied fleet took place, which was located in front of the Dardanelles and tried to take the Ottoman positions there. At first the Jeanne d'Arc accompanied troop transports to Mudros before several landings of allied troops on the beaches began at the end of April. Joan of Arc supported the troops on the Anatolian side of the Dardanelles. The ship received two hits from Ottoman guns on 26 April. The first grenade did not explode and was thrown off board, the second exploded, igniting a smaller fire and injuring several crew members, some severely.

After the repair work, the ship was transferred to Port Said in Egypt and participated mainly in the blockade of the Levantine and Aegean coasts. From 30 to 31 August 1915 and on 28 December 1915, it also participated in the occupation of the islands of Ruad and Castellorizo.

At the end of March 1916, the ship was withdrawn from Port Said and moved back to France, where major maintenance and conversion work was carried out. After completion of the work, the transfer to the 4th light squadron near West India took place in January 1917.

After the signing of the armistice with the German Empire the Jeanne d'Arc was brought back to France and allocated to the reserve.




Post-war deployment:

In 1919 the Jeanne d'Arc was rebuilt so far that it could be used again as a training ship from August 1919.

During this time the ship undertook every year in September or October until the following July larger round trips for the training of the cadets.

After the last return home in 1928, the ship was replaced by the new armoured cruiser Edgar Quinet and allocated to the reserve.

In 1930 the ship was renamed Jeanne d'Arc II in order to make the name of the new armoured cruiser, specially built for training purposes, free.





On 15 February 1933 it was finally removed from the list of warships and on 9 July 1934 it was sold for scrapping.




Ship data:


Jeanne d'Arc

From 1930:
Jeanne d'Arc II



Type of ship:  

Armored cruiser


Single ship

Building yard:  

Arsenal de Toulon

Building costs:  



June 8th, 1899


March 10th, 1903


Sold for scrapping on 9 July 1934


147 meters


19,42 meters


Max. 8 meters


Max. 11.445 tons


651 men




triple expanding steam engines

36 Guyot-du-Temple cauldron


28.500 HP (21.300 kW)

Maximum speed:  

21 knots (39 kilometres per hour)




2 × 194 mm guns

14 × 138,6 mm guns

16 × 47 mm guns

2 × 450 mm torpedo tubes


Belt: 80 - 150 mm
Deck: 45 - 55 mm
Gun turrets: 161 mm
Command bridge: 138 mm
Bar beds: 138 mm






You can find the right literature here:


French Battleships 1914–45 (New Vanguard)

French Battleships 1914–45 (New Vanguard) Paperback – January 22, 2019

This authoritative study examines the French Navy's last battleships, using detailed color plates and historical photographs, taking them from their inception before World War I, through their service in World War II including the scuttling of the French fleet at Toulon in 1943, and the service of Richelieu in the war against Japan.

On September 1, 1910, France became the last great naval power to lay down a dreadnought battleship, the Courbet. The ensuing Courbet and Bretagne-class dreadnoughts had a relatively quiet World War I, spending most of it at anchor off the entrance to the Adriatic, keeping watch over the Austro-Hungarian fleet. The constraints of the Washington Naval Treaty prevented new battleships being built until the 1930s, with the innovative Dunkerque-class and excellent Richelieu-class of battleships designed to counter new German designs.

After the fall of France in 1940, the dreadnoughts and fast battleships of the Marine Nationale had the unique experience of firing against German, Italian, British, and American targets during the war.

Click here!



French Battleships of World War One

French Battleships of World War One Hardcover – June 15, 2017

When war broke out in August 1914 France had only two dreadnoughts in service, with a second pair running trials. The main body of the elite Armée Navale was made up of the eleven battleships of the Patrie and Danton classes, both of which were intermediate designs with two main gun calibers. Older ships included survivors of the notorious Flotte d'echantillons ('fleet of samples') of the 1890 program and their successors designed during the 1890s.

This book traces the development of French battleships from 1890 to 1922, and also covers the extensive modifications made to the survivors during the interwar period. It is liberally illustrated throughout with line drawings and labelled schematics, plus photographs from the extensive Caresse collection, many of which are previously unpublished.

This is the most comprehensive account of these ships published in English or French, and is destined be the standard reference for many years to come.

Click here!



French Armoured Cruisers 1887–1932

French Armoured Cruisers 1887–1932 Hardcover – November 1, 2019

Of all the threats faced by the Royal Navy during the first years of the twentieth century, the one which stood out was the risk to Britain's sea lines of communication posed by France's armored cruisers. Fast, well-armed, and well-protected, these ships could have evaded any attempted blockade of the French ports and, supported by a worldwide network of overseas bases, could potentially have caused havoc on the trade routes.

The primary focus of the book is on the technical characteristics of the ships. Detailed and labeled drawings based on the official plans are provided by John Jordan, and each individual class of ship is illustrated by photographs from the extensive personal collection of Philippe Caresse. The technical section is followed by a history in two parts, covering the Great War (1914-18) and the postwar years, during which the surviving ships saw extensive deployment as "station" cruisers overseas and as training ships. This is the most comprehensive account published in English or in French and is destined to be the standard reference for many years to come.

Click here!



To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War

To Crown the Waves: The Great Navies of the First World War Hardcover – July 15, 2013

The only comparative analysis available of the great navies of World War I--each chapter is written by a recognzed expert fluent in the subject language. The work studies the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom (John Roberts), the German Kaiserliche Marine (Dr. Peter Schenk with Axel Niestlé and Dieter Thomaier) the United States Navy (Trent Hone), the French Marine Nationale (Jean Moulin), the Italian Regia Marina (Enrico Cernuschi and Vincent P. O'Hara) the Austro-Hungarian Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine (Zvonimir Freivogel), and the Imperial Russian Navy (Stephen McLaughlin) to demonstrate why the war was won, not in the trenches, but upon the waves. It explains why these seven fleets fought the way they did and why the war at sea did not develop as the admiralties and politicians of 1914 expected.

After discussing each navy's goals and circumstances and how their individual characteristics impacted the way they fought, the authors deliver a side-by-side analysis of the conflict's fleets, with each chapter covering a single navy. Parallel chapter structures assure consistent coverage of each fleet--history, training, organization, doctrine, materiel, and operations--and allow readers to easily compare information among the various navies. The book clearly demonstrates how the naval war was a collision of 19th century concepts with 20th century weapons that fostered unprecedented development within each navy and sparked the evolution of the submarine and aircraft carrier. The work is free from the national bias that infects so many other books on World War I navies. As they pioneer new ways of viewing the conflict, the authors provide insights and material that would otherwise require a massive library and mastery of multiple languages. Such a study has special relevance today as 20th-century navies struggle to adapt to 21st-century technologies.

Click here!






This post is also available in: Deutsch (German) Français (French) Italiano (Italian) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified)) Русский (Russian) Español (Spanish) العربية (Arabic)

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!