Built as a training cruiser for the French Marine Nationale the Jeanne d'Arc was both floating school and combat capable warship. During WWII she formed part of a flotilla taking French gold to Canada before joining Free French forces in 1943.
The single vessel of the Jeanne d’Arc-class was designed to use the same guns as the Duguay-Trouin-class. She was considered a training vessel and as such didn't require the speed or armour of a cruiser. Stationed in Martinique, she joined the Allies in 1943, receiving a refit in which her torpedo tubes and aircraft were removed, and improved anti-aircraft armament was fitted. After 1943 she served in the Mediterranean.