Huang Zu originally served as a general in the army of the Governor of Jing, Liu Biao. In 192 AD, Huang Zu fought in the Battle of Xiang Yang against Sun Jian, who was planning to get revenge for a surprise attack by Liu Biao. Sun Jian defeated Huang Zu, who in turn fled for Xiangyang Castle. Sun Jian pursued, but was felled by three arrows en route to the castle walls. A wounded Sun Jian left the front lines, and Sun Ce took command of the army and led them to victory, claiming Jing Province for himself. In 208 AD, after the death of Liu Biao, Huang Zu took command of the remnants of his master's army and his fleet attacked Sun Quan at Jiangxia. During this battle, his general Gan Ning was defeated, but Su Fei convinced Sun Quan to spare his life and let him serve Wu. Huang Zu, in the meantime, had left on a ship to attack Sun Quan's main camp. When he landed, he achieved surprise, but Zhou Yu set one of his gunpowder ships on fire and sent it ramming into his flagship. Huang Zu's army was destroyed and he was killed by an arrow shot by Gan Ning as he tried to escape the conflagration.