The award was presented to German crews for the achievements of successful attacks against enemy shipping. In case of death the award was presented posthumously. Besides good conduct and distinction the award criteria is as follows:
- A minimum of twelve enemy actions. - When the mission was particularly successful and the individual displayed leadership or was killed in action.- Special circumstances of being wounded in action or survivors of ships sunk by enemy action. - To have performed a heroic action for which no other decoration was presented.