1. September 1939 as the second grade of the re-instituted Order of the Iron Cross
The Iron Cross was awarded for particular bravery in the face of the enemy and for outstanding merit in troop leadership. The awarding of a higher grade required the previous awarding of the lower grade. Divisional commanders were authorized to award the Iron Cross 1. Class and stocks were kept at divisional level.
The Iron Cross 1. Class was produced by at least 26 manufacturers, not including variations amongst the individual companies. The crosses can be found either unmarked, with Präsidialkanzlei number (after the end of 1942 / early1943), or with LDO number for private purchase.
Accurate numbers are not known but the closest estimation is around 800,000 - 900,000 awarded and most likely double the number produced.
The division issued the award document in the format A5 in the name of the Führer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht (after mid-1943 only in the name of the Führer) and was signed by the divisional commander.
The cross was worn on the left breast pocket above any Wound Badge and war badges.