We really can’t do without August 15, a day that saw significant or even major allied successes in every single year of the war.
August 15, 1940:
“The Greatest Day” of the RAF, when major German attacks were defeated during the Battle of Britain. On this day, the Germans not only sent a massive airfleet across the English Channel, but also attacked Scotland and Northern England from Norway, expecting Fighter Command to have moved all its forces south. That turned out to be a big mistake. At the end of the day, the Luftwaffe had lost at least 161 planes and probably well over 200, to the RAF’s 34.
August 15, 1941:
Roosevelt and Churchill sent a joint message of assistance to Stalin, and proposed a meeting to be held in Moscow to discuss long term policies. The message concludes:
We realize fully how vitally important to the defeat of Hitlerism is the brave and steadfast resistance of the Soviet Union and we feel therefore that we must not in any circumstances fail to act quickly and immediately in this matter on planning the program for the future allocation of our joint resources.
American and British diplomats indeed met Stalin in Moscow later that year.
August 15, 1942:
After days of heavy Italian and German attacks, SS Ohio was towed into the harbor of Malta, severely damaged, but carrying a desperately needed fuel supply. An Axis blockade had virtually sealed off Malta from the outside world, and after several attempts had failed, Ohio and several other supply ships in the same convoy finally made it. Naval losses were disastrous, but keeping Malta in British hands was crucially important to breaking the Axis supply line into North Africa.
August 15, 1943:
US and Canadian troops took the isle of Kiska, concluding the reconquest of the Aleutian Isles. Despite the territorial gain, this wasn’t the most glorious of the August 15 success series: the Japanese had already left, and there significant casualties through friendly fire and booby traps.
August 15, 1944:
The Allies start Operation Dragoon, a major amphibious invasion of southern France. It was a major success, forcing the Germans out of the entire southern part of France and capturing large contingents of German soldiers who failed to do so in time.
August 15, 1945:
On this day, emperor Hirohito announced that Japan would accept the terms proposed by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference, which effectively meant the surrender of Japan and the end of World War 2. It was still August 14 in Washington when president Truman made the public announcement, but massive celebrations had already started all over the world. Here’s the iconic photograph: