WAR MERIT CROSS, WITH SWORDS 1st CLASS
The War Merit Cross, with Swords 2nd Class Medal, was Instituted to replace the non-combatant version of the Iron Cross,
The medal was awarded to military personnel for bravery not necessarily in the face of the enemy or for exceptional service in battle. Initially, the Cross consisted of only two classes, 1st, and 2nd, but as the needs arose the War Merit Medal and War Merit Cross were introduced.
All grades except for the War Merit Medal include an eight-pointed Maltese cross, with a pair of military-style swords to denote the combatant category, which has no swords but was otherwise identical.
The War Merit Cross 1st Class, with Swords, was awarded to military troops whose acts of courage were above the call of duty, which did not meet the criteria of the Iron Cross. These acts of bravery were generally not under combat operations and were eligible to all military arms without the distinction of rank.