14 February 1943 – St. Valentine´s Day Massacre

First recorded combat of US Marine Corps F4U Corsair, during the Kahili raid (Solomon Islands), later known as ´St. Valentine´s Day Massacre´.

Twelve F4Us, together with ten P-38 Lightnings, escorted nine PB4Y-1 Liberators on their mission to bomb Kahili-Buin area (some sources indicate Kahili airfield as the primary target while other say that Liberators aimed for ships in Buin bay).

The US formation was intercepted by 42 Japanese A6M Zeros and eight US aircraft were shot down, including two Corsairs. The Japanese lost only one fighter and its pilot.

An interesting fact is, that shortly after this air battle, both sides significantly overclaimed their air victories. American claims were no less than 14 Zeros and one floatplane shot down, the Japanese claimed 5 bombers and 17 fighters.

Due to heavy American losses during the daylight operations over Solomon Islands, they were suspended after the Kahili airfield raid, until adequate fighter protection could be secured.