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 word of what had happened reached the AFFS High Command, First Prince John Davion reacted swiftly; as skilled an opponent as Minoru Kurita had been, his son, Jinjiro Kurita, was known to be a volatile, violent character, and the news of Minoru's death was met with great concern. John ordered the remaining AFFS forces on Kentares to fall back, in the hopes of denying Jinjiro a focus for his inevitable wrath. JumpShips diverted from Sonnia managed to evacuate the last AFFS forces just as Jinjiro arrived - a decision everyone came to regret. 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.   Sergeant Pischel was one of those who managed to escape from Kentares ahead of the massacre, only to later commit suicide when he learned of the consequences of his fateful shot.
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. 
In 2801, AFFS forces liberated Kentares IV, and discovered that a company-sized group of survivors from the Seventh had not only managed to survive on the planet, but under the command of Captain Kieran McKinnon, had managed to launch a spate of attacks and harassing actions against the remaining DCMS troops after Jinjiro had withdrawn from Kentares in 2797. The survivors - dubbed McKinnon's Raiders - made the liberation of Kentares considerably easier, and First Prince Paul Davion used their ability to conduct long-term, long-range raiding campaigns effectively during the various AFFS counteroffensives against the DCMS for the remainder of the war.
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. 
- 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"
- First Succession War, p. 86-87, "Bloody Kentares"
- Handbook: House Davion, p. 52 "Fate, Karma or Luck?"
- Handbook: House Kurita, p. 42 "History of the Nation - The First Succession War - Suns Ascending, Dragon Falling"
- First Succession War, p. 91, "The First AFFS Counteroffensive: Beating Back The Dragon"