At 4:40 am, 40 km to the north east of the DZ, a wild adventure is made. Major Melvin Zais' 3rd Battalion and most of its companies are scattered over 13 km on a rocky landscape from Seillans and through Fayence and Callian to Montauroux, all within a day's walk of the DZ A.
However, the day began badly for 1st Lt. Edward H. Athey, his plane crashed on the runway, and they will have to join the DZ A by glider, in the afternoon of August 15th.
On this mountainous landscape, many trooper suffer injuries during the jump by landing on rocky slopes and terraces. Difficulties are encountered on the mountains to locate the equipment bundles due to the malfunction of the lights. The Heavy Weapon Platoon locates all its machine guns and bazookas, while the Mortar Platoon locates two of its 81mm mortars. Communication Platoon is less lucky. Most of its equipment is lost and others are unusable due to breakage.
When the men start climbing and looking for equipment, three main groups appear: the first 10 planes near b, which include most of the men of I/517 and the Battalion Headquarters including Melvin Zais and most of the men from Communication Platoon for a total of about 160 men. About sixty men from Battalion HQ and H/517 land near Tourrettes. In the area of Callian and in the valley of the Camiole land 200 men of the 3rd Battalion and 60 men of the 3/596th Engineer, the Regimental Headquarters and the Service Company.
The three constituted groups are composed of a total of 480 men. About 35 have been injured and have remained in the rear. 75 others are a column heading towards DZ A, 30 have joined them separately, but about 50 men are too far to join their companies and thus remain in the region waging their own war for several days.
In Seillans, Major Zais does not waste time to start moving forward. After checking those unable to walk, Lieutenant Floyd Stott and six others remain with a doctor; The battalion's second in command, Major Bob McMahon insists on remaining in the heat of the action despite a severe cut in the leg.
The column is constituted at 8 o'clock in the morning. A group of P-38 then arrives in the area to bomb them, believing that they are Germans. The men lie down on the ground and the bombing ends when Captain Bill Pencak throws a yellow smoke grenade, a sign of recognition on the ground. Fortunately, there are no casualties. Major Zais gathers his column and starts again, the stop allows to blow up a piece of railway north of Claviers. In the dark, they reach Callas, form a perimeter of defense and await the rising of the day.
Battalion Headquarters Company Commander Captain Joe McGeever takes command of 60 men around Tourrettes, leaving ten wounded with a medical, Mc Geever's group must make heading south from Tourrettes at 11 o'clock. Outside the city, they are joined by 80 British paratroopers of the Major Blackwood. Arriving on the road Fayence-Bagnols, the column falls on a convoy of enemy trucks under fire coming from a stone house near the road. Six vehicles are arrested. It is the convoy of Grenadier-Regiments 327 and 372 sent from Grasse to reinforce the defense of Draguignan. The Germans get out of the vehicles and retaliate. The Americans of McGeever and the British of Blackwood join the party. The fight ends when a 81mm mortar comes into action. Five Germans surrendered, 10 or 12 were killed and the rest escaped into the countryside. Three men from the HQ Task Force are in the stone house, including a character who is no less than one of the FABTF: Lt. Col. Chester De Gavre. They then join the McGeever force. The column resumes its march towards the south, the equipment is some can lighten by three trucks captured.
About 260 men succeeded in assembling around Callian, by far, the greater part of the 7th serial. There's plenty of Lieutenant, but no other senior officer. The young lieutenants decided that Lt. Ludlow Gibbons of the H Company was the most senior. Under his command, the column formed and headed south-west. She met no opposition but the group of Gibbons meets the McGeever column at a the Bagnols-Fayence crossroad. Other men join the column along the way. At the moment when the combined force made a halt for the night, 8 kms north of Bagnols, it reached a respectable size of more than 400 men. The men of the battalion arrive at La Motte around 2 pm and from there, Zais gets a jeep from a glider unit. The paratroopers then continue to Sainte Roseline, which they reach at 4 pm and begin their attack for the capture of Les Arcs.
On August 19th, Captain McGeever with a 602nd GFAB officer and four jeeps, returned to the hills east of Tourettes and brought the wounded to the drop-off areas.