The König-Ludwig-Kreuz [King Ludwig Cross] was instituted by King Ludwig III. of Bavaria on 7th January 1916.
Created to fulfil the need for a decoration that could be awarded to persons who had rendered domestic services for the war effort and who were not eligible for any other military or civilian decoration, it was awarded for meritorious wartime volunteer work rendered in the homeland in the interest of the Bavarian Army or state. As such, the cross was the Bavarian equivalent of the Prussian Verdienstkreuz für Kriegshilfsdienst [Merit Cross for Work in Support of the War Effort] which would be instituted by Emperor and King Wilhelm II later that year on 5th December 1916.
The König-Ludwig-Kreuz was awarded irrespective of rank, status and gender and came in one class only, although some 250 pieces were manufactured in a special silver version (not class) for members of the royal cabinet and other high-ranking personalities. Apart from those, an estimated number of some 90,000 crosses were awarded.
Initially manufactured of bronze, then iron and finally zinc, the decoration was a rather modest, straightforward cross in blackened metal. The obverse of the cross bore the profile of King Ludwig III; the reverse showed the decoration's date of institution (7.I.1916) over the lozenge pattern of the Bavarian flag. The ribbon had broad blue vertical stripes on the outer edges and between them a pattern of narrow horizontal stripes alternating in the Bavarian colors of white and blue. (As a Bavarian, allow me to remark that this sequence is important: It's always "white and blue", never "blue and white". Confusing those will automatically reveal one to be a Prussian!)