Short summary - Capitaine Casse-Cou - Louis Henri Boussenard

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Capitaine Casse-Cou
Louis Henri Boussenard

VERY BRIEF: The young and wealthy Frenchman Jean Grandier voluntarily travels to Africa to help the Boers in the war against the British aggressors, and creates a fighting squad. For his courage, Jean is nicknamed "Captain Tear-off".

Part 1.


Boer farm. Court-martial. British officers sentenced the Boer David Potter to death for poisoning cavalry horses. A young man who suddenly appeared asks to postpone the execution for a huge bail, but the judges are adamant, and the Boer is shot. The young man leaves with Paul, the son of the murdered man. Suddenly it turns out that the young man is the famous Boer scout Jean Grandier, nicknamed "Captain Rip Head". The British begin to chase, but Jean and his friends manage to escape the pursuit.

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Boer War is underway. In a battle near the city of Ladysmith, the Boers defeat the British. Colonel Duke of Richmond, the chairman of the trial of the drill Potter, is captured by them. Soon he is killed by Paul Potter, avenging his father.

Captain Rip-head, during a night reconnaissance, is captured by the British and is imprisoned on a pontoon - a prisoner camp, standing in the sea bay. At night, Rip-head jumps into the sea, teeming with sharks, and swims to the coast. He makes his way to Fort Simonstown, accidentally finds women's clothes there, and, putting them on, passes the sentries into the city. There he pretends to be a girl and gets a job in the service of old Mrs. Adams.

Mrs. Adams receives word that her son, Captain Adams (another of Potter's executioners), is badly injured. Mrs. Adams with her false servant go to the front, to the hospital to her son. When they arrive at Olifansfontein, where the hospital is located, Adams is already dead.

The Boer positions are not far from here. Rip off the head jumps on a horse left by someone and gallops to the Boer outposts. Despite the shelling, he reaches the Boer positions and meets friends.

Part 2.

Struggle of giants

The battle of Kimberleyplace. Despite the victory over the British, the commander of the Boers, General Cronier, does not give the order to catch up and finally defeat the retreating. At night, the Boer camp comes under fire from an approaching British armored train. A detachment of "Molokosov" was instructed to blow up the bridge and the railroad tracks, which they successfully carry out. The Boers capture an armored train and its crew. Surrendering, the English captain brazenly shoots the Boer, and Captain Rip-head kills him. This murdered Englishman is Captain Harden, who tried David Potter.

Cronje sends Rip-head with a secret letter to General Joubert. The most convenient way to do this is by bicycles. Rip off the head takes with him his ally Fanfan. Having destroyed a whole detachment of English lancers along the way, having gone through enormous difficulties, they reach their goal. After resting, the friends go back to Cronier with a reply letter from Joubert.

Cronje's army is stationed at Magersfontein. A large British army gradually bypasses the Boers, surrounding them. Cronier does not believe in the possibility of being surrounded and does not take any action. Soon the Boer army is surrounded, and the British begin a massive shelling. After a week of resistance, the Boers give up. Jean Grandier, Fanfan and Paul Potter are captured by the British. Suddenly, the company commander of the Canadians, François Junot, recognizes his old friend Jean Grandier and, out of solidarity with his fellow Frenchmen, helps them escape from captivity.

While crossing the river, Paul suddenly disappears. Rip off the head and Fanfan encounter five Englishmen and they capture them. The squadron is commanded by Captain Russell, another executioner of David Potter. Russell orders to hang Captain Rip Head and Fanfan, but at the last moment Paul Potter appears in English uniform and shoots all the soldiers, preventing them from being executed. Friends hang Captain Roussel and leave for the Boer army.

Part 3.

Dynamite War

Command instructs Captain Rip-head to blow up the Taba-Ngu reservoir, controlled by the British. Jean Grandier, Fanfant and Paul, disguised as shepherdesses who have brought them to a watering hole, approach the reservoir. While Paul distracts the soldiers, his friends plant dynamite in the walls of the reservoir. After they leave, the reservoir explodes. The British lancers set off in pursuit of the saboteurs, but the Skins kill them, and the three survivors are forced to change into the clothes of shepherdesses and go back.

The scouts return to the farm where they were previously stationed. There are also several of their comrades in arms. Suddenly the farm is surrounded by a detachment of British. A firefight begins. Rip off the head comes up with how to break out of the environment. The besieged tying dynamite cartridges to the horns of cows, setting fire to cartridges and trying to drive the cows to the British, but the cows refuse to move. And then the old mistress of the farm with her daughters lure the animals out of the farm and die under their hooves. The cows run out, the dynamite starts to explode. The British are crushed and driven back.

The scouts set fire to the farm and leave, after which they encounter detachments of the British lancers and defeat them in a heavy battle. Tear off the head decides to go on reconnaissance in the enemy camp, and orders his soldiers to make their way to the Boer army.

Wearing clothes removed from a slain English soldier, he enters the camp under cover of night. Seeing everything that was needed, he tries to get on one of the horses and leave, but a restive horse throws him off, and a noise rises in the camp. Tear off the head hides in a large officers' tent and sees there Major Colville, known to him - the last surviving executioner David Potter. He ties up the sleeping Colville after hitting him in the head with a pistol and leaves the tent. The major's batman notices him and raises the alarm. Rip off the head again has to hide.

To successfully get out of the camp, he buys several bottles of whiskey from the store and distributes to the patrols that meet on his way. Already at the exit from the camp, he again attracts attention, killing a soldier who was trying to detain him. The alarm is raised again, but Rip-head successfully escapes from pursuit on a horse and gets to his own.

One day, Major Colville's lancer squad appears at the Blesbukfontein farm and brutally destroys all the inhabitants of the farm. The detachment of Captain Rip-head who arrived in time after this kills the British, including Colville.

The Boer army, under pressure from the British, is forced to leave for the Vaal River. The crossing is difficult, and the British are already close. The "Skins" are taken to detain them and almost all of them die. François Junot is again among the attackers and takes the wounded Jean and Fanfant from the battlefield.

A few months later, Jean Grandier writes a letter to his sister from Cape Town, where he says that he and Fanfan are in the infirmary under the strict supervision of the British, but they will still try to escape in order to continue to fight for freedom.