The cross is one of the awards in the award system of a number of states, primarily in Christian ones  . In some cases, it is a sign of the order, sometimes it is an independent distinction, occupying an intermediate position between orders and medals, is sometimes considered a kind of medals  .
As a rule, the cross is a military reward for personal courage. The term “cross” is commonly used in most European countries, it is difficult to get accustomed in Russia, and crosses are often recorded in “medals”, “orders” and “insignia” .
The cross, as a kind of reward, cannot include orders, even if the word “cross” is in their name, and, moreover, the order is “in the form of” a cross. There are no awards with the status of a “cross” in non-Christian countries and countries with a communist system. .
In some countries, the degree of "cross" is an addition to the existing degrees of orders, and, traditionally, is used to award "lower ranks", which can not be awarded the appropriate order. This is especially true in cases where the order system of the country was of a class nature, and only nobles could be recipients of the order, or the order gave the recipient an automatic right to the nobility. For example, in the Russian Empire, the Order of St. George served as a reward for distinguished officers, and the lower ranks received the George Cross for valor.
In other cases, the cross was established in countries with a class order system, as an extra-tribal reward both for soldiers and officers, for special courage and courage in battle, which has a very high level of prestige. These are the German Iron Cross and the British Victoria Cross .
Despite some democratization of the order systems, crosses continue to be used and even new ones are established, such as, for example, the Danish Cross of Valor .
Sometimes the subject of awarding a cross may not be related to military exploits, for example, the Wuerttemberg Charlotte Cross and the Saxon Cross of Military Merit were awarded to military doctors and philanthropists for the needs of the army. In this case, the word cross, underscored the distinctiveness of the award and its prestige, compared with the medal.
A number of crosses were awarded or are awarded for feats in non-combat conditions. These are the Nazi Military Merit Cross and the British George Cross .
In the US, the premium system is different from European. The highest award for valor there is the Medal of Honor , and it is followed by the crosses - the Naval Cross , the Cross "For Distinguished Service" , etc.
The Victoria Cross is the highest out-of-title military award for valor in the UK .
The Naval Cross is one of the awards for valor in the United States.
The Iron Cross is Prussia’s supreme, out-of-division military award, subsequently inherited by the German Empire and the Third Reich . Release of 1813.
George's Cross is the highest British reward for courage in non-combat conditions.
The Danish Cross of Valor is one of the youngest crosses, established in the 21st century.
Charlotte's Württemberg Cross is an award not directly related to courage in battle.
- Cross // Military Encyclopedia / P. S. Grachev . - Moscow: Military Publishing House, 1999. - Vol. 4. - p. 285. - ISBN 5-203-01876-6 .