Professor Franz Schneider designed and built a armored battle suit but was forced to leave Germany due to the rise of the Nazi Party. His friend Helmut Gruler discovered Schneider's hidden laboratory and the battlesuit of Schneider's design. Schneider had hoped the armor could be used by a German champion if Adolf Hitler was ever ousted from power, or, if necessary, by an anti-Nazi German who would fight against Hitler. Gruler decided to wear the armor himself, calling himself the Iron Cross, hoping to fight, not against the Nazis, but for his fatherland, right or wrong. As the Iron Cross, Gruler kidnapped Schneider, hoping to force him in to making those improvements to the armor. The armor provides protection from physical and energy attacks and enhances his strength, endurance and durability. His armor has boot jets which allow him to fly and has its own air supply and is capable of limited space travel.
After living to be over 100 years old, Gruler relied on the Iron Cross armor to sustain his life. Nevertheless, Gruler remained a valuable member of the V-Battalion's inner circle, often participating in active missions such as their investigation into the activities of the terrorist organization Hydra, whose leader, Baron Strucker, was trying to take control of the the world using mind-altering nanotechnology. In order to stop the satellite machinery controlling the nanotechnology, Gruler discovered that it required a very precise amount of energy to do so. Sacrificing the energy which powered his armor, Gruler triggered the satellite's override shut-down at the cost of his own life.
|Arnim Zola was free to begin tinkering with the power of the reality-warping Tesseract to create new weapons for Hydra, he began to think on how to improve the standard tank. Attempting to rectify the mobility problems of the heavy vehicles, he envisioned a massive mechanical suit to serve a similar purpose. Because the recoil of standard ballistic weaponry would throw off the accuracy of his new mech suit, Arnim Zola created a massive sonic cannon, and mounted it on the suit's shoulder, allowing the Man-Propelled Tank to stun and cause panic in the ranks of the enemy, before closing in with a custom-designed ballistic-shield to engage and crush the debilitated foes in close range. After selecting a pilot, the massive Hydra enforcer, Iron Cross was born. The suit was piloted by Helmut Gruler, who wore the armor to battle Captain America. However Cap was able to take down the suit, deactivating it. It is unknown if the pilot survived.||Captain America: Super Soldier|