I received this cross as a gift from a friend of our family, about 30 years ago. The medal was given to him by his father's uncle who served in France as an US Army Medic during WW2. The medal was taken off of the uniform of a dead German soldier as a war souvenir and brought back to the states after the war. The ribbon bar is a recent acquisition and as far as I can tell is original as well.
The War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords was given to soldiers for bravery, not necessarily in the face of the enemy. 6,134,950 of these medals were awarded during WW2. Here is a great descriptionof this medal and all of its various details:
War Merit Cross 2nd Class
The ribbon was often worn in the second button hole of the tunic when the medal or ribbon bar was not worn.
The ribbon bar displays the ribbons for the Iron Cross 2nd Class, War Merit Cross 2nd Class (without swords), and Russian Front Medal. Here are two great pages that describe these medals, along with the link listed above:
Iron Cross 2nd Class Eastern Front Medal
And here are a few historic photos from the era:
|Luftwaffe Soldiers receive War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords.|
|US Army Medics in Normandy, France.|