What does this cross mean?
It seems to be a combination of the Forked Cross and the Latin Cross, or a Forked Cross with a suppedaneum attached. As somebody has suggested, do they represent the arms of the deceased, pointing toward heaven as they see Paradise? There is certainly a similarity with the orans posture assumed when opening our arms and hearts to God in prayer.
The photos on the right were taken by WWI photographer of II. Bayerisches AOK at a cemetery somewhere in France. They are temporary grave markers, bearing the inscription "Freund und Feind vereint" (Friends and foes together) and date from around 1914/15. Similar stone WWII versions have been seen in the Commonwealth Graves Commission cemetery in Oignies, northeast France.
As suggested on the Great War forum, the "V" atop crosses:
- might represent the Masonic compass
- or the central device of the Shield of the Holy Trinity
- or might not be intended to represent anything, but simply facilitate the positioning of a wreath