The Karl Troop Cross (German: Karl-Truppenkreuz) was instituted on 13 December 1916 by Emperor Karl I of Austria-Hungary. The cross was awarded until the end of the First World War to soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Army, regardless of rank, who had been with a combatant unit for at least twelve weeks and who had actually served at the front.
The medal is of zinc and consists of a cross pattée resting on a laurel wreath. The obverse bears the Latin inscription "GRATI PRINCEPS ET PATRIA, CAROLVS IMP.ET REX", (A grateful prince and country, Karl, Emperor and King). The reverse shows the Austrian and Hungarian Imperial crowns above the letter "C" (for Carolus) with the inscription "VITAM ET SANGVINEM", (With life and blood) and the date MDCCCCXVI, (1916). The design is based on the design of the Army Cross of 1813-1814 (usually known as the ‘Cannon Cross’ – ‘Kanonenkreuz’).
The cross was worn on the left chest from a red ribbon with alternate red-white side strips towards each edge.
A total of 651,000 were awarded.