Iron Cross 2nd Class

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.

The design of the cross symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross patty occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century. The black cross patty was also used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to March/April 1918, when it was replaced by the bar cross. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the modern German armed forces.