Unique in that its designer was a contemporary serving soldier, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Krause, the medal was held in high regard by all branches of the Wehrmacht. Measuring 36mm in diameter, of (generally) zinc construction, the medal was given a gun-metal coloured coating. On one side an eagle grasps a Swastika and the reverse features the text "Winterschlacht Im Osten 1941/42" featuring a crossed sword and branch below the text. The helmet and outer ring were finished in a polished silver effect. A ribbon that accompanied the medal was coloured red , white and black (symbolic of blood, snow and death). The medal and ribbon were usually presented in a paper packet, but these were invariably discarded. Over 3 million were made by more than 26 confirmed firms by the time the order was officially decommissioned by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht on September 4th, 1944.
The medal itself was not worn on the combat tunic as per the 1st class Iron Cross & War Merit Cross for example, but worn as a ribbon bar, or as the ribbon alone stiched through the second from top tunic buttonhole as per 2nd Class Iron Cross and War Merit Cross.