The standard 1939 Iron Cross was issued in the following two grades:
Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse - abbreviated as EK II or E.K.II.)
Iron Cross 1st Class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse - abbreviated as EK I or E.K.I.)
The Iron Cross was awarded for bravery in battle as well as other military contributions in a battlefield environment.
The Iron Cross 2nd Class came with a ribbon and the cross itself was worn in one of two different ways:
From the second button in the tunic for the first day after award.
When in formal dress, the entire cross was worn mounted alone or as part of a medal bar.
Note that for everyday wear, only the ribbon itself was worn from the second buttonhole in the tunic.
The Iron Cross 1st Class was a pin-on medal with no ribbon and was worn centered on a uniform breast pocket, either on dress uniforms or everyday outfit. It was a progressive award, with the second class having to be earned before the first class and so on for the higher degrees. It is estimated that some four and a half million 2nd Class Iron Crosses were awarded during World War II, and 300,000 of the 1st Class.