The Orden Wojenny Virtuti Militari and the Silver Cross of the Order were instituted simultaneously on June 2nd, 1792, the latter as Fifth Grade of the Order. The Silver Cross – or Fifth Grade – was meant for non-commissioned officers and lower ranks for exeptional acts of courage. On August 1st, 1919, the requirements were amended. The Silver Cross could then be awarded to officers, non-commissioned officers and lower ranks for acts of exceptional courage at risk of life on the battlefield. The medal could be awarded after the person had been recommended by a commanding officer, usually on division or brigade level.
On March 25th, 1933, the requirements were amended once more. The Silver Cross could now be awarded to commanding officers having distinguished themselves by courageous and excellent execution of command and to other military personnel that had inspired their comrades by their courage and subsequently attributed to final victory in battle. It could also be awarded to units, towns and civilians. It was ultimately conferred by by the military commander on recommendation by the superior of the would be recipient.