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Mongolian People's Army
Mongolian AF.gif
Army HQ in Ulan-bator, Mongolia
Active March 1921 - present (Later the structure changed and reorganized and renamed General Purpose Force in 1992)
Country Mongolia Mongolian People's Republic
Branch Army
Type cavalry, Infantry, aviation, artillery, armoured corps, engineering corps
Role Military force
Garrison/HQ Ulan Bator, Khovd, Bayan-tumen, Mongolia
Nickname(s) Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army

Soviet–Japanese border conflicts

World War II

Post war

The Mongolian People's Army (Mongolian: Монголын Ардын Арми or Монгол Ардын Хувьсгалт Цэрэг) or Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army was established on 18 March 1921 as a secondary army under Soviet Red Army command during the 1920s and during World War II.

Sükhbaatar in around 1920-1922

Creation of the army

One of the first actions of the new Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party authorities was the creation of a native communist army in 1920 under the leadership of adept cavalry commander Damdin Sükhbaatar in order to fight against Russian troops from the White movement and Chinese forces. The MPRP was aided by the Russian SFSR Red Army, which helped to secure the Mongolian People's Republic and remained in its territory until at least 1925.

1930s conflicts

Initially during the native revolts of the early 1930s and the 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.

However in the 1939 Battles of Khalkhin Gol (or Nomonhan) heavily armed Red Army forces under Georgy Zhukov assisted by Mongolian troops under Khorloogiin Choibalsan decisively defeated the IJA forces under Michitarō Komatsubara.

George Zhukov and Khorloogiin Choibalsan (right) consult during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol

Cold war era

During the Pei-ta-shan Incident, elite Qinghai Chinese Muslim cavalry were sent by the Chinese Kuomintang to destroy the Mongols and the Russians in 1947.[1]

The military of Mongolian's purpose was national defense, protection of local communist establishments, and collaboration with Soviet forces in future military actions against exterior enemies, up until the 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia.

File:50 years of the Mongolian People's Army.jpg

50 years of the Mongolian People's Army

Political indoctrination

The central Political Administration Unit was established in the army in 1921 to supervise the work of political commissars (Politruk) and party cells in all army units and to provide a political link with the Central Committee of the MPRP in the army. The unit served to raise morale and to prevent enemy political propaganda. Up to one third of army units were members of the party and others were in the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League.

The Red Mongol Army received sixty percent of the government budget in early years and it to expanded from 2,560 men in 1923 to 4,000 in 1924 and to 7,000 in 1927. The native armed forces stayed linked to Soviet Red Army intelligence groups and NKVD, Mongolian secret police, and Buryat Mongol Comintern agents acted as administrators and represented the real power in the country albeit under direct Soviet guidance.


By 1926 the government planned to train 10,000 conscripts annually and to increase the training period to six months. Chinese intelligence reports in 1927 indicated that between 40,000 and 50,000 reservists could be mustered at short notice. In 1929 a general mobilization was called to test the training and reserve system. The expected turnout was to have been 30,000 troops but only 2,000 men presented. This failure initiated serious reforms in recruiting and training systems.


In 1921-1927 the land forces, almost exclusively horsemen, numbered about 17,000 mounted troops and boasted more than 200 heavy machine guns, 50 mountain howitzers, 30 field guns, seven armored cars, and a maximum of up to 20 light tanks.

Basic units and motorization

The basic unit was the 2,000-man cavalry regiment consisting of three squadrons. Each 600-plus-man squadron was divided into five companies, a machine gun company, and an engineer unit. Cavalry regiments were organized into larger units--brigades or divisions—which included artillery and service support units. The chief advantage of this force was mobility over the great distances in Mongolia: small units were able to cover more than 160 km in 24 hours.

Mongolian cavalry in the Khalkhin Gol (1939)

List of Mongolian Army division and other units

  • 1st Cavalry Division
  • 2nd Cavalry Division
  • 3rd Cavalry Division
  • 4th Cavalry Division
  • 5th Cavalry Division
  • 6th Cavalry Division
  • 7th Cavalry Division
  • 8th Cavalry Division
  • 9th Cavalry Division
  • 10th Cavalry Division
  • 7th Motorized Armored Brigade
  • 3rd Separate Tank Regiment
  • 3rd Artillery Regiment
  • Aviation Mixed Division
  • Chemical defence-engineering regiment

Army rank and insignia


Because it was established on a Soviet military system, the Mongolian People's Army used similar uniforms with the Red Army, only with Mongolian distinctions. Until 1924, People's Army personnel wore traditional deel, which had their respective shoulder insignias. In the mid-1930s, the army adopted Soviet Gymnasterka and developed its true rank and distinction system. All personnel were distinct by their sleeve and collar insignias from the general population when the gymnastyorka was rather popular. After the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, slight modifications were made. In 1944 all uniforms and insignias were significantly changed to include shoulder insignia and camouflage cloaks, similar to Soviet uniform modifications. From the 1960s, the equipment and uniforms of the Mongolian People's Army were included a program to modernize the military. As before, the Mongolian People's Army (a Warsaw pact ally) was similar to the Soviet Red Army in appearance and structure.

The Soviet-Russian and Mongolian tiled mural at the World War II en:Zaisan Memorial, Ulan-Bator, from the People's Republic of Mongolia era.

A Horsemen with by Soviet similar uniform performs during the opening ceremony for exercise Khaan Quest 2013 at the Five Hills Training Area in Mongolia Aug. 3, 2013

Military actions

Units of Mongolian People's Army supported and allied with a Soviet Red Army in the Battle of Khalkhyn Gol in 1939 and on the western flank of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945. Domestically, it took part in the suppression of the 1932 armed uprising. Also involved to many border conflict against Manchukuo with a Kwantung Army (one of large part of the Imperial Japanese Army) and Chinese National Revolutionary Army.Imperial Japanese Army recorded 152 minor incidents on the border of Manchuria between 1932 and 1934. The number of incidents increased to over 150 per year in 1935 and 1936, and the scale of incidents became larger.

In January 1935, the first armed battle, Halhamiao incident (哈爾哈廟事件 Haruhabyō jiken?) occurred on border between Mongolia and Manchukuo.[2] Scores of Mongolia cavalry units engaged with Manchuko army patrol unit near the Buddhist temple Halhamiao. Manchuko Army incurred slight casualties, including a Japanese military advisor.

Between December 1935 and March 1936, the Orahodoga incident (オラホドガ事件 Orahodoga jiken?)(ja) and the Tauran incident (タウラン事件 Tauran jiken?) (ja) occurred. In these battles, both Japanese Army and Mongolian Army used a small number of armoured fighting vehicles and military aircraft.


Khorloogiin Choibalsan marshal High supreme commander of MPA. Between 1938 and 1952

Khalkhin Gol George Zhukov and Khorloogiin Choibalsan 1939

Stalinist repressions against Mongolian People's Army

Mongolian troops fight against it took part Japanese counterattack on the western beach of river the Khalkhin Gol, 1939

Light equipment

Mosin-Nagant, PPSh-41,


Russian M1910 Maxim,

SG-43 Goryunov,


Degtyaryov machine gun

Artillery and mortars

37 mm anti-tank gun M1930 (1-K)

76 mm regimental gun M1927

45 mm anti-tank gun M1937 (53-K)

76 mm regimental gun M1943

Multiple Rocket Launchers

BM-13 - 150

Anti-aircraft Weapon

Although little attention was paid to anti-aircraft weaponry in the Mongolian People's Army, a few dozen units of Soviet origin were known to be distributed to light armored outfits.


Armored corps

Under Soviet support campaign for mechanization, the army formed its first mechanized unit in 1922. Also it was by stucture in the ground force half-mechanization cavalry in the other units distributed to light armored vehicles until 1943. It began to process to motorised since 1943. This is a list of Mongolian People's Army tanks and armour during the 1922s-World War II period.

Armoured cars

Light Tanks

  • Soviet T-27- 10
  • Soviet BT-5 - ? (Unknown number)
  • Soviet BT-7 - 27

Medium Tanks

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

Sps Tank destroyers

Mongolian People's Army Aviation in 1925–1945

The Mongolian People's Army Aviation drastically improved with Soviet training and vastly ameliorated within a time span of several years. In May 1925, a Junkers F.13 entered service as the first aircraft in Mongolian civil and military-related aviation. In March 1931, the Soviet Union donated three Polikarpov R-1s to the Mongolian People's Army, with Mongolia further purchasing three R-1s.[3] In 1932, an uprising broke out against Collectivization, which saw both Soviet and Mongolian-operated R-1s taking part in actions against the rebellion. The aircraft carried out reconnaissance, leaflet dropping, and bombing missions[4] Chinese intelligence reports that in 1945 the Mongolian People's Air Force had been with a three-fighter and three-bomber aviation-regiment, and one flight training school and greater air squadrons. It was reported that headquartered in the Mukden Manchukuo spy-section in October 1944 air force whole units had been 180 activity aircrafts and 1231 flight and technical personnel. The Mongolian People's Army Aviation demonstrated its full potential during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, which was its largest engagement. Apart from intercepting intruding aircraft, People's Aviation was used heavily to repress domestic rebel movements.

The Mongolian People's Air Force has operated a variety of aircraft types.


Bomber and ground-attack aircraft

Fighter aircraft

Transport aircraft

Mongolian People's Army capability ( 1950-1990 )

Equipment Origin Versions Number Notes
Main Battle Tank/Medium Tank
SU-100  Soviet Union Self-propelled gun 10[5]
T-34/85  Soviet Union Medium Tank 40[5]
T-54  Soviet Union Medium Tank 250[5]
T-55  Soviet Union Medium Tank 250[5]
T-62  Soviet Union Main Battle Tank 100[5]
Infantry Fighting Vehicle/Armored Personnel Carrier
BMP-1  Soviet Union Infantry Fighting Vehicle 400[5]
BTR-40  Soviet Union Wheeled armoured personnel carrier 200[5]
BTR-60  Soviet Union Wheeled armoured personnel carrier 50[5]
BTR-152  Soviet Union Wheeled armoured personnel carrier 50[5]
BRDM-2  Soviet Union Armored Personnel Carrier 120[5]
Multiple rocket launcher
BM-21 Grad  Soviet Union 122 mm Multiple rocket launcher 130[5]
Towed artillery
85 mm divisional gun D-44  Soviet Union 85 mm divisional gun unknown number
122 mm gun M1931/37 (A-19)  Soviet Union 122 mm towed gun 20[5]
122 mm howitzer 2A18 (D-30)  Soviet Union 122 mm howitzer 50[5]
130 mm towed field gun M1954 (M-46)  Soviet Union 130 mm towed field gun unknown number
152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20)  Soviet Union 152 mm howitzer gun unknown number
122 mm howitzer M1938 (M-30)  Soviet Union 122 mm howitzer 100[5]
152 mm howitzer M1943 (D-1)  Soviet Union 152 mm field gun 50[5]
BM-37  Soviet Union 82 mm calibre mortar unknown number
PM-43  Soviet Union 120 mm calibre smoothbore mortar unknown number
M-160  Soviet Union 160 mm divishional mortar unknown number
Anti-tank gun
SPG-9  Soviet Union 73 mm anti-tank gun unknown number
85 mm antitank gun D-48  Soviet Union 85 mm anti-tank gun unknown number
100 mm field gun M1944 (BS-3)  Soviet Union 100 mm field gun 25[5]
T-12 antitank gun  Soviet Union 100 mm anti-tank gun 25[5]

Mongolian People's Army Air Force ( 1950-1990 )

Name Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Fighter aircraft
Polikarpov I-15  Soviet Union Fighter I-15 1+[6]
Polikarpov I-16  Soviet Union Fighter I-16 1+[6]
Polikarpov Po-2 Mule  Soviet Union Fighter U-2a 20[6]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot  Soviet Union Fighter MiG-15bis 48[6]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Fresco  Soviet Union Fighter MiG-17F 36[6]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed  Soviet Union Fighter MiG-21PFM/MF 30+12[5][6]
Polikarpov R-Z  Soviet Union Light Bomber R-Z unknown number[6]
Transport aircraft
Boeing 727 United States Narrow-body jet airliner Boeing 727-200 unknown number[6]
Tupolev Tu-104 Camel  Soviet Union Transport aircraft Tu-104 2[5]
Tupolev Tu-154 Careless  Soviet Union Transport aircraft Tu-154B-2 unknown number[6]
Ilyushin Il-2 Bark  Soviet Union Transport aircraft Il-2 unknown number[6] Could be up to 72
Ilyushin Il-12 Coach  Soviet Union Transport aircraft Il-12 unknown number[6]
Ilyushin Il-14 Crate  Soviet Union Transport aircraft Il-14 6[5]
Antonov An-2 Colt  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-2 30[6]
Antonov An-12 Cub  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-12 15[6]
Antonov An-14 Clod  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-14 2[6]
Antonov An-24 Coke  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-24 22[6]
Antonov An-26 Curl  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-26 4[6]
Antonov An-32 Cline  Soviet Union Transport aircraft An-32 1[6]
Harbin Y-12  China utility aircraft Y-12 5[6]
PZL-104 Wilga  Soviet Union utility aircraft Wilga-2 3[6]
Training aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot  Soviet Union Training aircraft MiG-15UTI 1[5]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Fresco  Soviet Union Training aircraft MiG-17PF 8[5]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed  Soviet Union Training aircraft MiG-21US unknown number[5]
Yakovlev UT-2 Mink  Soviet Union Training aircraft UT-2 1+[6]
Yakovlev Yak-6 Frank  Soviet Union Training aircraft Yak-6 unknown number[6]
Yakovlev Yak-9 Frank  Soviet Union Training aircraft Yak-9U unknown number[6]
Yakovlev Yak-11 Moose  Soviet Union Training aircraft Yak-11 10[5]
Yakovlev Yak-12 Creek  Soviet Union Training aircraft Yak-12 unknown number[6]
Yakovlev Yak-18 Max  Soviet Union Training aircraft Yak-18 10[5]
Attack Helicopter
Mil Mi-24 Hind  Soviet Union Attack helicopter Mi-24D/V 10[5] Ground support/Anti tank
Transport Helicopter
Mil Mi-1 Hare  Soviet Union Light helicopter Mi-1 5[5] Transport
Mil Mi-2 Hoplite  Soviet Union Light helicopter Mi-2 1[5] Transport
Mil Mi-4 Hound  Soviet Union Transport helicopter Mi-4A 5[5] Transport
Mil Mi-8 Hip  Soviet Union Transport helicopter Mi-8T/MT 10[5] Transport
Kamov Ka-26 Hoodlum  Soviet Union Light utility Ka-26 unknown number[5] Transport
S-75 Dvina  Soviet Union Strategic SAM system S-75 Dvina 1[5] 24 missiles[5]
S-200 Angara/Vega/Dubna  Soviet Union Strategic SAM system S-200 unknown number[7]
9K31 Strela-1  Soviet Union Vehicle-mounted SAM system 9K31 Strela-1 unknown number
Strela-2  Soviet Union Man portable SAM launcher Strela-2 1250[5]
Air Defence Artillery
ZPU-4  Soviet Union Anti-aircraft machine gun ZPU-4 unknown number
ZU-23-2  Soviet Union Anti-Aircraft Twin Autocannon ZU-23-2 unknown number
ZSU-23-4 "Shilka"  Soviet Union Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun ZSU-23-4 unknown number
S-60  Soviet Union Autocannon 57 mm S-60 unknown number
61-K  Soviet Union Air defense gun 37 mm M1939 unknown number

Group of Soviet Forces in Mongolia

17th Army (Soviet Union)

39th Army (Soviet Union)


  • Walg, A.J. "Wings Over the Steppes: Aerial warfare in Mongolia 1930–1945: Part One". pp. pp. 18–23. ISSN 0143-5450. 
  • Walg, A.J. "Wings Over the Steppes: Aerial warfare in Mongolia 1930–1945: Part Two". pp. pp. 25–23. ISSN 0143-5450. 
  • Walg, A.J. "Wings Over the Steppes: Aerial warfare in Mongolia 1930–1945: Part Three". pp. pp. 70–73. ISSN 0143-5450. 

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