This is one of the early war bronze versions approx 1939-40.
The cross is the type with a separately applied loop affixed to the top.
This award was created by Adolf Hitler in October 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars (similar medal but with a different ribbon). The award was graded in the same manner as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service “not in direct connection with combat”, and without swords given to civilians for meritorious service in “furtherance of the war effort”. Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.
The ribbon of the War Merit Cross was in red-white-black-white-red; that was, the red and black colours being reversed from the ribbon of the World War II version of the Iron Cross. The ribbon for the War Merit Medal was similar, but with a narrow vertical red strip in the centre of the black field. Soldiers who earned the War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords wore a small crossed-swords device on the ribbon. The War Merit Cross 1st Class was a pin-backed medal worn on the pocket of the tunic (like the Iron Cross 1st Class). The ribbon of the War Merit Cross 2nd Class could be worn like the ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd Class (through the second buttonhole. Nonetheless combat soldiers tended to hold the War Merit Cross in low regard, referring to its wearers as being in ‘Iron Cross Training’.
This Cross is in excellent condition with its original ribbon. Please see the pictures as these form part of our condition report.