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Mongolian People's Army

The Mongolian People's Army (Mongolian: Монголын Ардын Арми or Монгол Ардын Хувьсгалт Цэрэг) or Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army was an institution of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party constituting as the armed forces of the Mongolian People's Republic.

Mongolian People's Army
Монголын Ардын Арми
Emblem of Mongolian People's Army.svg
Emblem of Mongolian People's Army
FoundedMarch 1921
DisbandedFebruary 1992
Service branchesMongolian People's Army Ground Forces
Mongolian People's Air Force
Military age18
Reaching military
age annually
200,000 (1988)
Reserve personnel15,000
Foreign suppliers Soviet Union
 East Germany
 North Korea
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of the Mongolian People's Republic
Mongolian People's Army soldiers and Soviet commanders in 1920s, the uniform was the same as that of Red Army

It was established on 18 March 1921 as a secondary army under Soviet Red Army command during the 1920s and during World War II. In 1992, the army's structure changed and then reorganized and renamed as the General Purpose Force.

Creation of the armyEdit

Sükhbaatar is one of the founders of People's 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 conflictsEdit

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 Imperial Japanese Army forces under Michitarō Komatsubara.

Cold war eraEdit

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

The military of Mongolia'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.

Political indoctrinationEdit

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 motorizationEdit

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 People's Army renactors in 2006.

List of Mongolian Army divisions 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 ranks and insigniaEdit

Rank Insignia of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army until 1944
  • Conscript soldiers
Private (PVT)
Lance Corporal (LCPL)
Corporal (CPL)
Senior Corporal (SCPL)
  • NCO's
Junior Sergeant (JSGT)
Sergeant (SGT)
Senior Sergeant (SSG)
Training Sergeant (TSGT) = (SM)Sergeant Major
Lead Sergeant (LSGT) or Command Sergeant Major (CSM)
  • Officers
2nd Lieutenant (2LT)
1st Lieutenant (1LT)
Captain (CPT)
Major (MAJ)
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)
Colonel (COL)
Brigadier General (Br Gen)
Major General (MAJ GEN)
Lieutenant General (LT GEN)
General (GEN)


Because establishment of the Armed Forces was based on a Soviet military system in 1920s, 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 insignia were significantly changed to include shoulder insignia and camouflage cloaks, similar to Soviet uniform modifications but on olive green.

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.

A Soviet-Russian and Mongolian tiled mural at the World War II Zaisan Memorial, Ulan-Bator, from the People's Republic of Mongolia era.
A horseman with Soviet-style uniform performs during the opening ceremony for exercise Khaan Quest 2013 at the Five Hills Training Area in Mongolia Aug. 3, 2013

Military actionsEdit

Units of Mongolian People's Army were supported and allied with the Soviet Red Army in the Battle of Khalkhin 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. It also involved in many border conflicts against Manchukuo and the Kwantung Army (one of the largest parts of the Imperial Japanese Army) and the Chinese National Revolutionary Army. The 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 the border between Mongolia and Manchukuo.[2] Scores of Mongolian cavalry units engaged with a Manchukuo army patrol unit near the Buddhist temple of Halhamiao. The Manchukuo 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 the Japanese and Mongolian Armies use a small number of armoured fighting vehicles and military aircraft.

Stalinist repressions against Mongolian People's ArmyEdit

Mongolian cavalry in the Khalkhin Gol (1939)
Mongolian troops defend againsta Japanese counterattack on the western beach of river the Khalkhin Gol, 1939

Light equipmentEdit

Artillery and mortarsEdit

Multiple Rocket LaunchersEdit

Anti-aircraft WeaponEdit

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.


Armoured corpsEdit

Under Soviet support campaign for mechanization, the army formed its first mechanized unit in 1922. Also it was by structure 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 carsEdit

Light TanksEdit

Medium TanksEdit

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

Sps Tank destroyersEdit

Mongolian People's Army Air Force in 1925–1945Edit

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 aircraft and 1231 airmen. 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 aircraftEdit

Fighter aircraftEdit

Transport aircraftEdit

Mongolian People's Army capability (1950-1990)Edit

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

Name Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Fighter aircraft
Polikarpov I-15   Soviet Union Fighter I-15 1+[6]
Polikarpov I-16 I-16 1+[6]
Polikarpov Po-2 Mule U-2a 20[6]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot MiG-15bis 48[6]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Fresco MiG-17F 36[6]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed 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 of America 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 Tu-154B-2 unknown number[6]
Ilyushin Il-2 Bark Il-2 Could be up to 72
Ilyushin Il-12 Coach Il-12
Ilyushin Il-14 Crate Il-14 6[5]
Antonov An-2 Colt An-2 30[6]
Antonov An-12 Cub An-12 15[6]
Antonov An-14 Clod An-14 2[6]
Antonov An-24 Coke An-24 22[6]
Antonov An-26 Curl An-26 4[6]
Antonov An-32 Cline An-32 1[6]
Harbin Y-12   China utility aircraft Y-12 5[6]
PZL-104 Wilga   Poland Wilga-2 3[6]
Training aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fagot   Soviet Union Transport aircraft MiG-15UTI 1[5]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Fresco MiG-17PF 8[5]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed MiG-21US unknown number[5]
Yakovlev UT-2 Mink UT-2 1+[6]
Yakovlev Yak-6 Frank Yak-6 unknown number[6]
Yakovlev Yak-9 Frank Yak-9U
Yakovlev Yak-11 Moose Yak-11 10[5]
Yakovlev Yak-12 Creek Yak-12 unknown number[6]
Yakovlev Yak-18 Max 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 Mi-2 1[5]
Mil Mi-4 Hound Mi-4A 5[5]
Mil Mi-8 Hip Mi-8T/MT 10[5]
Kamov Ka-26 Hoodlum Light utility Ka-26 unknown number[5]
S-75 Dvina   Soviet Union Strategic SAM system S-75 Dvina 1[5] 24 missiles[5]
S-200 Angara/Vega/Dubna S-200 unknown number[7]
9K31 Strela-1 Vehicle-mounted SAM system 9K31 Strela-1
Strela-2 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 Anti-Aircraft Twin Autocannon ZU-23-2
ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun ZSU-23-4
S-60 Autocannon 57 mm S-60
61-K Air defense gun 37 mm M1939

See alsoEdit

Group of Soviet Forces in MongoliaEdit

17th Army   Soviet Union

39th Army   Soviet Union


  1. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 214. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  2. ^ <trans oldtip="Charles Otterstedt, " newtip="查尔斯·奥特斯特德">查尔斯·奥特斯特德</trans><trans oldtip="Kwantung Army and the Nomonhan Incident: Its Impact on National security" newtip="关东军与诺蒙汉事件对国家安全的影响">关东军与诺蒙汉事件对国家安全的影响</trans>
  3. ^ <trans oldtip="Walg " newtip="沃尔格">沃尔格</trans><trans oldtip="Air Enthusiast" newtip="空气热心">空气热心</trans><trans oldtip=" November/December 1996, pp. 18–19." newtip="1996年11月/12月,第18-19页。">1996年11月/12月,第18-19页。</trans>
  4. ^ <trans oldtip="Walg " newtip="沃尔格">沃尔格</trans><trans oldtip="Air Enthusiast" newtip="空气热心">空气热心</trans><trans oldtip=" November/December 1996, pp. 19–20." newtip="1996年11月/12月,第19-20页。">1996年11月/12月,第19-20页。</trans>
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag <trans oldtip="SIPRI" newtip="SIPRI">SIPRI</trans>[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t <trans oldtip="World Air Forces - Historical Listings Mongolia (MON)" newtip="世界空军-蒙古历史名录(MON)">世界空军-蒙古历史名录(MON)</trans> Archived 5 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine<trans oldtip=". Retrieved on 2013-08-27." newtip="。2013-08-27检索。">。2013-08-27检索。</trans>
  7. ^ <trans oldtip="World Missile Directory" newtip="世界导弹名录">世界导弹名录</trans><trans oldtip=", FLIGHT international, 1985" newtip=",国际航班,1985年">,国际航班,1985年</trans>

  • Walg, A.J. "Wings Over the Steppes: Aerial warfare in Mongolia 1930–1945: Part One". Air Enthusiast. No. 66, November/December 1996. pp. 18–23. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Walg, A.J. "Wings Over the Steppes: Aerial warfare in Mongolia 1930–1945: Part Two". Air Enthusiast. No. 67, January–February 1997. pp. 25–23. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Walg, A.J. "Wings Over the Steppes: Aerial warfare in Mongolia 1930–1945: Part Three". Air Enthusiast. No. 68, March–April 1997. pp. 70–73. ISSN 0143-5450.