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The subject of this article appeared in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
For the Forsaken Main Quest, see Pyrrhic Victory (Zombies).

"Alex Mason steps out of retirement to rescue his old friend Sgt. Frank Woods, held captive in Angola by narco terrorist Raul Menendez."
— Mission description

"Pyrrhic Victory" is the first campaign mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and the first set in the 1980s. In this mission, Alex Mason is called out of retirement by Jason Hudson to rescue their old friend, Frank Woods, who has been captured by Raul Menendez in Angola during that country's brutal civil war.



The mission initiates with Alex Mason vainly attempting to rescue an ally trapped in a burning Buffel. Mason tries to enlist assistance from UNITA commander Jonas Savimbi, but the latter remarks that it is too late as the militiaman succumbs to the flames. After offering Mason a machete, Savimbi notes that mortar fire from MPLA positions indicates their rivals' pending assault and rallies his troops for a counter-offensive.

Advancing in the surviving Buffels and a squadron of Eland-90 armored cars, Mason and the UNITA contingent halt upon encountering MPLA infantry. As the battle begins Savimbi charges Mason with eliminating the opposing mortar positions while Jason Hudson, providing aerial reconnaissance in an Alouette gunship, conducts a strafing run. Mason assumes control of the helicopter's weapons system, subsequently annihilating a unit of attacking T-62 tanks. Hudson comes under fire from several technicals in the area, which Mason also dispatches. His gunship returns and a second tank company is obliterated. At this point Savimbi concludes that the MPLA has been decisively weakened and determines to finish them. UNITA's final push successfully wipes out the remaining MPLA forces.

Hudson lands to pick up Mason; Savimbi informs them that their missing quarry, Frank Woods, is being held on a transport barge in the Cubango River. They depart to rescue Woods, but over the Cubango the Alouette is crippled by an RPG. Hijacking the barge, Mason utilises two mounted DShK machine guns to take out pursuing MPLA patrol craft. Once these gunboats have been repulsed the Americans uncover a disoriented Woods, trapped in a shipping container with several rotting corpses. Their reunion is cut short when an enemy Mi-24 Hind attempts to sink the barge. The Hind is downed with Valkyrie Rockets, but not before Woods and Hudson run aground. Bearing Woods, they flee into the nearby jungle, stumbling across a communications outpost manned by Cuban military advisers. Hudson proposes that they use any radios there to contact the UNITA for evacuation.

Infiltrating the outpost, Mason approaches radio operator Raul Menendez. Menendez destroys his equipment rather than surrender it, and tries to stab Mason when the latter uses him as a human shield. In the ensuing struggle, Menendez is shot in the face while Hudson, Mason, and Woods make a hurried getaway - holding back their assailants until they can reach the river. There, a second Hind confronts them: this aircraft is revealed to be Savimbi's exfil. As Hudson boards he is wounded by a Cuban soldier, who receives his final comeuppance from Woods as the trio make their escape.


Mason rescues Woods

Video Walkthrough


Completing two challenges unlocks the Fast Hands perk. Completing 5 challenges unlocks the Combat Axe.

  • Eliminate enemy personnel (x15) with machete.
  • Destroy all MPLA tanks.
  • Eliminate enemy personnel (x5) with one mortar explosion.
  • Sink enemy vessels (x5).
  • Dive to prone on an enemy grenade and survive.
  • Eliminate enemy personnel (x10) with animal traps.
  • Kill (x4) enemies with one mortar primed animal trap.
  • Use elevated improvised positions for confirmed sniper kills (x20).
  • Collect intel (x3).
  • 100% survivability rating.

Weapon Loadout

Recommended Loadout

Found in level

Access Kit Usage

  • During the battle at Jamba, a wrecked Buffel may be exploited by players for mortar shells.
  • A crate on the transport barge contains Flak Jackets, which offer reasonable protection against explosive damage.
  • An outhouse near the Cuban advisers' encampment includes several bloody Animal Traps, which can be fixed to the ground for damaging hostile NPCs. Mortar rounds may be added to these traps, turning them into improvised mines.


Intel Items

  • Intel No. 1: In a crater to the right of an overturned Buffel during the opening engagement.
  • Intel No. 2: In a corner on the upper deck, transport barge.
  • Intel No. 3: On the rightmost guard tower near the waterfall.


  • A "pyrrhic victory" is a victory secured at such unprofitable cost that it could be equated with defeat.
  • At the Cuban radio outpost, Menendez is initially speaking with Lev Kravchenko; he mentions Mullah Rahmaan.
  • The Black Ops' spawn theme is played when Hudson replaces his sunglasses at the end of the mission. This could also be a reference to the end of the Call of Duty: Black Ops mission "Revelations", in which Hudson does the same.
  • The player will be automatically transported next to the Buffel, if not already there, while controlling Hudson's helicopter.
  • If the player looks in the crate from above, they can see that nobody is inside until it is opened.
  • The child soldiers will not damage the player but will run to him and do nothing if the player was spotted.
  • Despite the recommended loadout including an M1911, Mason uses a Browning HP to hold Menendez hostage. If the player plays the campaign for the first time, then the Browning HP will be locked at the moment.
  • If the player takes down the Hind with only one rocket, the helicopter might keep firing until it crashes.
  • If graphic content is turned off, the burning man will not appear. However, the blood marks from his fingers will spontaneously appear, and Mason will still try to break open the glass, even though there is nobody in there.
    • Also, if graphic content is turned off, the crate on the transport barge where Woods is trapped in will not have the dead bodies in there, but blood on the walls.
      • In the crate, there are several bloodstains on the walls, several of which are the iconic grim reaper from Call of Duty: World at War.
  • As Savimbi gets down from the Buffel, he discards his MM1 Grenade Launcher, and replaces it with a FAL for the rest of the mission. The player cannot pick up the discarded MM1.
  • Alerting after you put down woods before taking Menedez hostage will result in respawning enemies with infinite ammo RPDs rushing you infinitely, it also becomes impossible to climb through the window.
  • When Mason has Menendez hostage, just before Menendez pulls out a grenade, a Cuban soldier on the right can be seen raising his hands up slightly, and he then proceeds to slowly put his gun down. This suggests he understood Mason.
  • In the beginning cutscene where Section & Harper are gathering information from Woods, Harper says "If you have information about a threat to national security, you got to tell us." Subtitles, however, display Woods' name as if he was talking.
  • This is the only time Menendez spoke Russian, since he was communicating with Kravchenko before being held hostage by Mason.
  • During the charge, you can move friendly vehicles around the map by shooting them with a rocket or grenade launcher, it is uncertain if this is intended or is a bug.
  • If you place an Assault Shield in front of a vehicle, it won’t proceed in the charge and would attempt to push it down, only to fail.
  • If the player decides not to shoot the tanks at all, while controlling Hudson, the tanks will mysteriously explode with Mason saying the same voice lines as if the player did shoot them.



Main article: Pyrrhic Victory/Transcript