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The Kentares Massacre of 2796 was the largest single war crime in human history. Draconis Combine troops wiped out large portions of the population of Kentares IV during the First Succession War as an act of revenge for the death of Coordinator Minoru Kurita.
At the time of the First Succession War the Draconis Combine was on the offensive. The Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery under command of Coordinator Minoru Kurita overcame the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns's defenders and pushed deep into Davion territory. By 2796 Combine troops were only one jump away from New Avalon, but the supply lines were too stretched and vulnerable for the preparation of the final attack, especially after the Combine supply depot on New Rhodes III was destroyed. Minoru Kurita, landed on Kentares IV to personally oversee the establishment of a new forward base of operations.  
The Combine forces began to gain control of the planet during the summer of 2796, forcing the remaining Davion defending units to a single continent. Outside the town of New Snowfield, Minoru was so taken with the scenery that he left his BattleMaster and traveled on foot, accompanied by a small number of troops and a Buddhist priest. It was then that a sharpshooter from the 7th Crucis Lancers shot the Coordinator in the back, killing him. Since Minoru Kurita wore a standard DCMS uniform with Colonel's insignia, the Federated Suns sniper didn't realize whom he had killed. 
When Minoru's son Jinjiro learned of the assassination, after he arrived on Kentares he very calmly and quietly ordered his forces to "kill them all", executing one of his generals who dared to question his order. For five months, the Kurita forces systematically murdered everyone they could find on the planet, not even ComStar staff on-world were spared.  Jinjiro himself oversaw several of the mass murders and at one point forbade the use of modern weapons, instead requiring his troops to use their katana (swords) to behead the victims. When the priest who had been with Minoru in his final moments approached Jinjiro to beg him to stop the genocide, Jinjiro personally stabbed him, leaving his body to rot with the rest of his victims.  
The crew of Jinjiro's Daimyo HQ vehicle were so horrified at the massacre that when the Coordinator left the command vehicle to begin viewing the executions in person, they deliberately passed recordings of the events on to a local ComStar representative. Even as Combine troops were besieging his station, head of the Kentares HPG Nolan Mordiki continued to transmit news of the massacre against ComStar directives. Before long, the entire Inner Sphere knew of Jinjiro's actions on Kentares IV; when the actions of the HQ personnel were discovered, the crew were killed by Jinjiro's bodyguard, the Otomo. In February of 2797, when Jinjiro left the planet behind, over 90 percent of the civilian population had been murdered. In total, the Kuritan forces massacred over 52 million people.  
The Massacre was the turning point in the First Succession War. Up until that point, the Federated Suns seemed almost on the verge of collapse. The Massacre rallied the population and the AFFS, who soon began pushing back against the invaders. Contributing to this reversal was the demoralisation of the DCMS. The few soldiers who could stand it to be responsible for the mass murder of millions of civilians still saw it as a personal loss of honor according to bushido. By 2818 the AFFS pushed the Combine back to its pre-war borders. 
Horrified by news of the atrocity, the Eridani Light Horse mercenary unit attempted to break contract with the Combine in June 2798, only to suffer their own massacre in microcosm when the Combine official on their baseworld of Sendai killed all their dependents when the mercenaries refused to surrender. Dropping onto Sendai, the enraged Light Horse exacted a bloody vengeance before leaving for the Free Worlds League. 
The sniper who killed Minoru Kurita committed suicide after he realized that he was partially responsible for the Kentares Massacre.
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 57 "History - First Succession War - Kentares IV"
- Handbook: House Kurita, p. 41 History of the Nation - The First Succession War - Unforgiving Blood"
- ComStar, p. 16 "History of ComStar - The Foundation Years - Public Image"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 58-59 "History - First Succession War - The Massacre"
- Technical Readout: 3026 Revised, p. 96, "Daimyo HQ 67-K"
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. 204, "Daimyo HQ 67-K"
- Handbook: House Kurita, p. 42 "History of the Nation - The First Succession War - Unforgiving Blood - The Honor of the Daimyo"
- Handbook: House Kurita, p. 42 "History of the Nation - The First Succession War - Suns Ascending, Dragon Falling"
- Handbook: House Davion, p. 52 "Fate, Karma or Luck?"