"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 1980's. 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 Angolan 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 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.

Video Walkthrough

BOII Mission 1 - Pyrrhic Victory Playthrough

BOII Mission 1 - Pyrrhic Victory Playthrough


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.
  • Pyrrhic Victory and Celerium are the only campaign levels in Call of Duty: Black Ops II not to feature player-determined actions.
  • During the final assault through the MPLA's disintegrating lines, Savimbi's troops take up a traditional Red Army battle cry ("Ura!").
  • At the Cuban radio outpost, Menendez is initially speaking with Lev Kravchenko; he mentions Mullah Rahman.
  • The Black Ops' spawn theme is played when Hudson replaces his sunglasses at the mission's end.
  • An M16A4 model from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare reappears in a cutscene portraying Woods' captivity in Da Nang. The weapon is identified by its squarish flash hider, taped magazine, and angular handguard.
  • The player will be automatically transported next to the Buffel if not already there while controlling Hudson's helicopter.
  • The child soldiers will not damage the player but will run to them and do nothing if the player was spotted.
  • This is the only mission where the player acquires an Access Kit weapon at the very start of the mission, the Machete.
  • Despite the recommended loadout including an M1911, Mason uses a Browning HP to hold Menendez hostage.
  • If the player takes down the Hind with only one rocket, the helicopter might keep firing until it crashes.
  • This is the only mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops II where Valkyrie Rockets can be used.
  • Menendez's knife reuses the same model as the SOG Knife from Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • 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 the blood on the walls.
  • 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.
  • This is the only mission where Hudson appears in a briefing cutscene.
  • This is the first time child soldiers can be seen.


No Man Left Behind (20 Gamerscore/ Bronze Trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Rescue Woods.

Old Fashioned (50 Gamerscore/ Silver Trophy Silver Trophy PS3 icon) - Complete "Pyrrhic Victory", "Old Wounds", "Time and Fate", and "Suffer with Me" in Veteran.


Main article: Pyrrhic Victory/Transcript
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