This decoration was instituted on April 8th 1915 to commemmorate individual mentions in despatches and can be awarded to all French military personnel, regardless of rank and also to officers and men of Allied Forces for an individual feat of arms mentioned in a despatch. The despatch had to originate from an officer commanding an Army, an Army Corps, a Division, a Brigade or the C.O. of a Regiment or a corresponding unit of Naval Forces. Mention in Army Despatch merits a small bronze laurel branch, Army Corps Despatch a silver gilt star, Divisional a silver star, Regimental or similar Unit Despatch a bronze star; all these emblems to be worn on the ribbon of the Cross. For every mention the appropiate emblem will be awarded; if one person has been awarded five palms, he will wear a silver palm instead.
The ribbon of the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 differs from the original; it is coloured bright red with four vertical bands of green in the centre.