Military Wiki
Mongolian Armed Forces
Монгол Улсын Зэвсэгт Хүчин
Mongolian state honor guard 2011.jpg
Honor guards holding the White Banner of the Mongols
Service branches Mongolian Air Force
Mongolian General Purpose Force
Mongolian Internal Security Force
Mongolian Border Defence Force
Commander in Chief President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Minister for Defense Dashdembereliin Bat-Erdene
Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Tserendejidiin Byambajav[1]
Military age 18
Conscription yes
Available for
military service
898,546 males, age 16–49 (2010[4]),
891,192 females, age 16–49 (2010[4])
Fit for
military service
726,199 males, age 16–49 (2010[4]),
756,628 females, age 16–49 (2010[4])
Reaching military
age annually
30,829 males (2010[4]),
29,648 females (2010[4])
Active personnel 10,850+ (2012)[2][3]
Reserve personnel 137,000 (2012)[2]
Budget $115 million (2012)[5]
Percent of GDP 1.1%
Foreign suppliers  Russia
United States
Related articles
History Army of the Mongol Empire
Mongolian People's Army

The Mongolian Armed Forces (Mongolian language: Монгол улсын зэвсэгт хүчин, Mongol ulsyn zevsegt hüchin) are the military organization to protect the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Mongolia.

It consists of three branches: general purpose forces, border defense forces, and internal security forces.[6] This is defined as a peace-time structure. In case of war or a war-like situation, the structure could be changed and reorganized.


Mongol Empire and Post-Imperial

As a unified state, Mongolia traces its origins to the Mongol Empire created by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Genghis Khan unified the various tribes on the Mongol steppe, and his descendants eventually conquered almost the entirety of Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Eastern Europe. The military of the Mongol Empire is regarded to be the first modern military system.

The Mongol Army was organized into decimal units of tens, hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands. A notable feature of the army is that it was composed entirely of cavalry units, giving it the advantage of maneuverability. Siege weaponry was adapted from other cultures, with foreign experts integrated into the command structure.

The Mongols rarely used naval power, with a few exceptions. In the 1260s and 1270s they used seapower while conquering the Song Dynasty of China, though they were unable to mount successful seaborne campaigns against Japan. Around the Eastern Mediterranean, their campaigns were almost exclusively land-based, with the seas being controlled by the Crusader and Mamluk forces.

With the disintegration of the Mongol Empire in the late 13th century, the Mongol Army as a unified unit also crumbled. The Mongols retreated back to their homeland after the fall of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, and once again delved into civil war. Although the Mongols became united once again during the reign of Queen Mandukhai and Batmongkhe Dayan Khan, in the 17th century they were annexed into the Qing Dynasty.

Period under Qing Rule

Once Mongolia was under the Qing, the Mongol Armies were used to defeat the Ming dynasty, helping to consolidate Manchu Rule. Mongols proved a useful ally in the war, lending their expertise as cavalry archers. During most of the Qing Dynasty time, the Mongols gave military assistance to the Manchus.[7]

With the creation of the Eight Banners, Banner Armies were broadly divided along ethnic lines, namely Manchu and Mongol.

Bogd Khanate (1911–1919)

In 1911, Outer Mongolia declared independence as the Bogd Khaanate under the Bogd Khan. This initial independence did not last, with Mongolia being occupied successively by the Chinese Beiyang Government, and Baron Ungern's White Russian forces. The modern precursor to the Mongolian Armed Forces was placed, with men's conscription and a permanent military structure starting in 1912.[8]

Mongolian People's Republic

With Independence lost again to foreign forces, the newly created Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party created a native communist army in 1920 under the leadership of Damdin Sükhbaatar in order to fight against Russian troops from the White movement and Chinese forces. The MPRP was aided by the Red Army, which helped to secure the Mongolian People's Republic and remained in its territory until at least 1925. However, during the 1932 armed uprising in Mongolia and the initial Japanese border probes beginning in the mid-1930s, Soviet Red Army troops in Mongolia amounted to little more than instructors for the native army and as guards for diplomatic and trading installations.

Battles of Khalkhin Gol

Grigori Shtern, Khorloogiin Choibalsan and Georgy Zhukov at Khalkhin Gol.

Mongolian People's Army soldiers fight against Imperial Japanese soldiers. Khalkhin Gol, 1939.

The Battles of Khalkhin Gol began in 11 May 1939. A Mongolian cavalry unit of some 70–90 men had entered the disputed area in search of grazing for their horses. On that day, Manchukuoan cavalry attacked the Mongolians and drove them back across the Khalkhin Gol. On 13 May, the Mongolian force returned in greater numbers and the Manchukoans were unable to dislodge them.

On 14 May, Lt. Col. Yaozo Azuma led the reconnaissance regiment of 23rd Infantry Division, supported by the 64th Infantry Regiment of the same division, under Colonel Takemitsu Yamagata, into the territory and the Mongolians withdrew. Soviet and Mongolian troops returned to the disputed region, however, and Azuma's force again moved to evict them. This time things turned out differently, as the Soviet-Mongolian forces surrounded Azuma's force on 28 May and destroyed it.[9] The Azuma force suffered eight officers and 97 men killed and one officer and 33 men wounded, for 63% total casualties. The commander of the Soviet forces and the Far East Front was Comandarm Grigori Shtern from May 1938.[10]

Both sides began building up their forces in the area: soon Japan had 30,000 men in the theater. The Soviets dispatched a new Corps commander, Comcor Georgy Zhukov, who arrived on 5 June and brought more motorized and armored forces (I Army Group) to the combat zone.[11] Accompanying Zhukov was Comcor Yakov Smushkevich with his aviation unit. J. Lkhagvasuren, Corps Commissar of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army, was appointed Zhukov's deputy.

The Battles of Khalkhin Gol was ended on 16 September 1939.

World War II and immediate aftermath

A World War II memorial in Ulan Bator, featuring a T-34-85 tank.

In the beginning stage of World War II, the Mongolian People's Army was involved in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, when Japanese forces, together with the puppet state of Manchukuo, attempted to invade Mongolia from the Khalkha River. Soviet forces under the command of Georgy Zhukov, together with Mongolian forces, defeated the Japanese Sixth army and effectively ended the Soviet–Japanese Border Wars.

In 1945, Mongolian forces participated in the Soviet invasion of Manchuria under the command of the Red Army, among the last engagements of World War II. During 1946–1948, the Mongolian People's Army successfully repelled attacks from the Kuomintang's Hui regiment and their Kazakh allies in the border between Mongolia and Xinjiang. The attacks were propagated by the Ili Rebellion, a Soviet-backed revolt by the Second East Turkestan Republic against the Kuomintang Government of the Republic of China. This little-known border dispute between Mongolia and the Republic of China became known as the Pei-ta-shan Incident.

These engagements would be the last active battles the Mongolian Army would see, until after the democratic revolution.

After the Democratic Revolution

Military medical professionals from Mongolia, India, Canada, South Korea and the United States stand in formation at the cooperative health engagement and subject matter expert exchange closing ceremony for Khaan Quest 2013 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Aug. 13, 2013.

Mongolia underwent a democratic revolution in 1990, ending the communist one-party state that had existed since the early 1920s. In 2002, a law was passed that enabled Mongolian Army and police forces to conduct UN-backed and other international peacekeeping missions abroad.[8] In August 2003, Mongolia contributed troops to the Iraq War as part of the Multi-National Force – Iraq. Mongolian troops, numbering 180 at its peak, were under Multinational Division Central-South and were tasked with guarding the main Polish base, Camp Echo. Prior to that posting, they had been protecting a logistics base dubbed Camp Charlie in Hillah.[12]

Then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, visited Ulan Baator on 13 January 2004 and expressed his appreciation for the deployment of a 173-strong contingent to Iraq. He then inspected the 150th Peacekeeping Battalion, which was planned to send a fresh force to replace the first contingent later in January 2004.[13] All troops were withdrawn on September 25, 2008.[14]

In 2009, Mongolia sent 114 troops as part of the International Security Assistance Force to Afghanistan. The troops were sent, backing the U.S. surge in troop numbers. Mongolian forces in Afghanistan mostly assist NATO/International Security Assistance Force personnel in training on the former Warsaw Pact weapons that comprise the bulk of the military equipment available to the Afghan National Army.

Peacekeeping missions

A Mongolian soldier explains to a group of US Marines how to fire a Soviet-made-RPG during a threat weapons class.

Mongolian armed forces are performing peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Congo, Eritrea, Western Sahara and Afghanistan, and with the United Nations Mission in Liberia. In 2005/2006, Mongolian troops also served as part of the Belgian KFOR contingent in Kosovo. From 2009 Mongolian Armed Forces deploying its largest peace keeping mission to Chad and the government is planning to deploy its first fully self-sufficient UN mission there in mid-2011.

On November 17, 2009, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations, James Schear had lunch with Col. Ontsgoibayar and selected troops from the 150th Peacekeeping Battalion under his command, bound for Chad on November 20, 2009.[15] Afterwards Schear visited the Five Hills Regional Training Center, which hosts numerous combined multinational training opportunities for peacekeepers.


Mongolia has a unique military policy due to its geopolitical position and economic situation. Being between two of the world's largest nations, Mongolian armed forces have a limited capability to protect its independence against foreign invasions; the country's national security therefore depends strongly on diplomacy, a notable part of which is the Third neighbor policy. The country's military ideal is to create and maintain a small but efficient and professional armed forces.[16]


Mongolian Armed Forces engineers with the 017 Construction Regiment receive instructions before participating in Khaan Quest 2013 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 22, 2013.

Mongolian soldiers march past an international delegation during the closing ceremony for Khaan Quest 2013 at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, Aug. 14, 2013.

The Ground Forces possess over 410 tanks, 650 Infantry Fighting Vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 500 mobile anti-aircraft weapons, more than 700 artillery and mortar and other military equipment. Most of them are old Soviet Union models designed between the late 1950s to early 1980s. There are a smaller number of newer models designed in post-Soviet Russia.

Air Force

On May 25, 1925 a Junkers F.13 entered service as the first aircraft in Mongolian civil and military aviation.[17] By 1935 Soviet aircraft were based in the country. In May 1937 the air force was renamed the Mongolian People's Republic Air Corps. During 1939–1945 the Soviets delivered Polikarpov I-15s, Polikarpov I-16s, Yak-9s and Ilyushin Il-2s. By 1966 the first SA-2 SAM units entered service, and the air force was renamed the Air Force of the Mongolian People's Republic. The MiG-15UTI and MiG-17 the first combat jet aircraft in the Mongolian inventory, entered service in 1970 and by the mid-1970s was joined by MiG-21s, Mi-8s and Ka-26s.

After the end of the Cold War and the advent of the Democratic Revolution, the air force was effectively grounded due to a lack of fuel and spare parts. However, the government has been trying to revive the air force since 2001. The current Armed Forces maintains an Air Forces Defense Command (Агаарын довтолгооноос хамгаалах цэргийн командлал), under the command of the General Staff. The country has the goal of developing a full air force in the future.[16]

In 2011, the Ministry of Defense announced that they would buy MiG-29s from Russia by the end of the year.[18] In October 2012 the Ministry of Defense "Returned" Airbus A310-300 to MIAT Mongolian Airlines.[19] In 2007 – 2011 all of MiG-21s are "Reduced".[20][21][22] In 2013 Mongolian Air Force is looking at buying three C-130J transport airplanes, manufactured by Lockheed Martin.[23]


  1. General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces. "Намтар". Retrieved 12 March 2012. [dead link]
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Mongolia Air Force. Retrieved on 2013-10-08.
  4. CIA World Factbook (2012). "Mongolia". Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  5. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2010). "The SIPRI Military Expenditure Database". Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  6. "МОНГОЛ УЛСЫН ХУУЛЬ – ЗЭВСЭГТ ХҮЧНИЙ ТУХАЙ". Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  7. Bernard Hung-Kay Luk, Amir Harrak-Contacts between cultures, Volume 4, p. 25
  8. 8.0 8.1 Зэвсэгт хүчний жанжин штаб. "ЗХ-ний түүх". Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  9. Drea, Edward J. "Leavenworth Papers No. 2 Nomonhan: Japanese Soviet Tactical Combat, 1939 – BIG MAPS – Map 3" – Retrieved: 13 May 2007.
  10. Grigoriy Shtern
  11. Baabar (1999), p. 386-7.
  12. Mongolian Contingent in Iraq. An Afghan Education from the Ground Up. Coalition Bulletin. December–January 2007.
  13. 'US defence chief visits Mongolia,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 21 January 2004, 16.
  14. A Salute to Our Gallant Allies in Iraq. February 27, 2005, updated January 28, 2007
  15. Cable 09ULAANBAATAR332, 18 November 2009
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Б.БАЯРМАГНАЙ: ЗЭВСЭГТ ХҮЧНИЙГ ГЭРЭЛТЭЙ, ГЭГЭЭТЭЙ ИРЭЭДҮЙ ХҮЛЭЭЖ БАЙНА". 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  17. (2001). "Mongolian Air Force". Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  18. (2011-07-15). "Монголын нисэх хүчин МиГ-29 сөнөөгчөөр зэвсэглэнэ". Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  19. - АЭРОБУС ОНГОЦЫГ БУЦААЖ ӨГНӨ. Retrieved on 2013-4-08.
  22. : Монголын цэргийнхэн Хойд Солонгосыг “зэвсэглэсэн үү”. Retrieved on 2013-04-16.
  23. eurasianet - Mongolia Planning To Buy U.S. Military Airplanes. Retrieved on 2013-4-08.

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).