The Declates Crusade was an Imperial Crusade against the Ork WAAAGH! Gitzmott carried out by the Crimson Fists and Black Templars Space Marine Chapters in the heavily-populated Declates System. When the Declates System got in the way of Ork WAAAGH! Gitzmott, entire worlds fell overnight. The Crimson Fists were dispatched quickly to stem the bleeding and deal with the Ork threat.
Upon arrival, the venerable Chapter at first scored victory after victory with hit-and-run attacks. However, the Crimson Fists began to lose ground as the immense Ork invasion brought its full weight to bear. It became apparent that help was needed, and fast. The massive Ork incursion was definitely heading in-system towards the valuable Forge World Declates IV and the densely populated hives of Declates V. The Imperium could not let these centres of civilization fall. The nearby Black Templars Chapter heeded the call to arms, and soon the campaign was brought back from the brink of defeat. It was on Declates VII that the fate of the star system was finally determined when both Chapters succeeded in slaying the Ork Warlord Gitzmott and the WAAAGH! subsequently collapsed without his leadership, saving the system from destruction and slavery at the hands of the Greenskin horde.
As a symbol of solidarity against what seemed to be an innumerable foe, Astartes from both Chapters "exchanged" iconography and often fought in mixed squads. Black Templars painted their left hands red, and Crimson Fists painted a Templar Cross onto their right knee. This unusual gesture of unity helped establish a tight bond that steeled the resolve of the brave warriors involved. Another instance of Battle-Brothers cementing their unity in the face of almost certain death was that of the red-and-black Templar cross. Adding a red sliver to each of the four spokes of the Black Templars Chapter symbol visually conveyed this bond.
Gitzmott was located and slain on the barren plains of Declates VII by an Emperor's Champion. Leaderless, Gitzmott's Ork forces lost focus and abandoned the field of battle. From there, it was a simple matter of mopping up the scattered alien troops. Hideous losses were incurred by both Chapters as the numbers they faced were often 5 to 1 against the Imperials. Despite these difficulties, both Chapters earned battlefield renown and are forever remembered as the heroes of the Declates System.
- Veteran Sergeant Demetrian of the Crimson Fists
- Heroes of the Space Marines (Anthology), "One Hate," by Aaron Dembski-Bowden