This is in response to a number of inquiries re the French Croix de Guerre (War Cross); both the individual decoration and the fourragere.
The Croix de Guerre was established in 1915 and made retroactive to the beginning of the First World War. It was awarded extensively during both World Wars.
The decoration is awarded in four grades, each of which is represented by a small metal device worn on the suspension or service ribbon. The grades are:
Croix de Guerre avec Palme (War Cross with Palm [actually a bronze laurel branch]) = recipient has been cited by the President of France, Minister of Defense, Chief of Staff of the French Army or the commanding general of a field army.
. . . avec Etoile d'Argent (. . . with gilt [gold] star) = recipient has been cited by the commanding general of an army corps.
. . . avec Etoile d'Vermeil (. . . with silver star) = recipient has been cited by the commanding general of a division.
. . . avec Etoile d' Bronze (. . . with bronze star) = recipient has been cited by a brigade-, regimental- or battalion commander).
Both the award of the Legion d' Honneur to an officer and the award of the Medaille Militaire to an enlisted man carry with them an award of the Croix de Guerre avec Palme.
An individual holding multiple awards of the Croix de Guerre may wear only one such decoration but the suspension ribbon may be of whatever length necessary to accomodate the number of devices required to display the total number of awards to which he is entitled. Such an individual may, at his discretion, wear as many Croix de Guerre service ribbons (ribbon bars) as required to accomodate the number of devices necessary to display the total number of awards to which he is entitled but U. S. servicemen are encouraged to wear only one ribbon with no more than four devices representing the four highest awards received.
The Fourragere (Croix de Guerre) is a scarlet and green cord, woven in the fashion of a rope, worn looped around the left shoulder by members of a unit which has twice been awarded the Croix de Guerre. Members of the unit who were present during both actions for which the unit was cited may wear it as a permanent part of their uniform (i. e., even after they transfer to another unit) while those who participated in only one qualifying action or who transferred into the unit subsequent to both actions may wear it only while assigned to the cited unit.
Regulations for the award of the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the decoration and Fourragere, are similar, except that individuals, to qualify for the Fourragere,must have participated in both qualifying actions, The Belgian Fourragere IS NOT authorized for temporary wear as outlined above.