Over 3 million Eastern Front Medals (Winterschlacht Im Osten) were awarded to personnel of Axis military forces and the Waffen-SS who served on the Eastern Front during the first winter of Operation Barbarossa. The colors of the medal and ribbon - black, red, and white - were meant to symbolize, respectively, death, blood, and snow. To receive the medal, certain criteria would have to be met; besides having to serve in the freezing conditions of the harsh Russian winter of 1941-42, a recipient would also have to have been wounded, or injured from frostbite.
Because of these criteria, the medal was sometimes referred to as the “Frozen Flesh Medal” (Gefrierfleischorden).
Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images