The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts. The Croix de guerre was also commonly bestowed on foreign military forces allied to France.
The Croix de guerre may either be awarded as an individual or unit award to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy. The medal is awarded to those who have been “mentioned in dispatches“, meaning a heroic deed or deeds were performed meriting a citation from an individual’s headquarters unit. The unit award of the Croix de guerre with palm was issued to military units whose members performed heroic deeds in combat and were subsequently recognized by headquarters.