While the origin of the practice is often debated, the use of the ‘’Battle Cross’’ is mostly an American Military Tradition. Dating to The American Civil War, in the rush to bury (mostly unknown ) war dead, a Socket Bayonet was pushed into the ground as an impromptu marker. Some Historians cite The Middle Ages (in particular The Crusades) as the origins of The Battle Cross. Rushed burials of some Medieval Order Knights, marked the graves of their fallen by placing a Sword (point downwards), to mark the ground. The upright Handle and Crossbar thus resembled a Christian Cross.
The practice was seen in World War I and again in World War II (even by some in The German Army). Often, unserviceable rifles with bayonets fixed, were thrust into the ground. Often, a Helmet was placed on the upturned rifle butt. With The War on Terrorism in the late 1990s into The 21st Century, the practice of The Battle Cross was regulated into a Ceremonial procedure, often done at a Military Memorial Service (with or without a body). The addition of a single pair of “Combat Boots’’ (toes outward) along with a pair of Identification Badges (‘’Dogtags’’), were added. The Tradition is seen in use mostly within The US Army and Marine Corps.