Despite the nationwide curfew, Captain Shin was able to get me a visit to the Mongolian Military History Museum. Outside amungst the tanks, aircraft, and artillery, I spotted the venerable T-34/85 tank that I had missed at the Volgograd museum. This tank was one of the most important military advancements of World War II. While the T-34 was not as good as the German tanks it was a simpler design that was easy to produce. The Russians mass produced this tank to the extent that the Germans were overwhelmed by their numbers. And unlike the Sherman tank, America’s main battle tank that was armed with a 75 millimeter main gun, the T-34 had a 90mm main gun that could penetrate the thick armor of the German tanks. I was very impressed to see this beautiful piece of history at this museum. The museum also had a wide range of historical military items including medeival torture devices like the finger cuffs below.
I was impressed by this bronze-age helmet that was excavated and added to the museum inventory. I don’t suppose that the owner of this helmet survived the battle based on the massive axe gouge and crack that ran down the back.
The museum had some Iraqi Freedom (2003-current) displays from the Mongolian Army contingent that have served in Iraq. One display had the schrapnel from a rocket that landed on the Mongolian compound at Diwaniyah. Other impressive exhibits included many bronze-age knives, axe heads, and a large collection of bronze arrow heads.
The museum also had two rare examples of Mosin Nagant (7.62x54mm) Russian sniper rifles. I have seen many of these rifles in museums around Eastern Europe but the sniper variant (with scope and down turned handle) are rare examples; I have never seen two different variants in the same museum. After missing all of the other museums in Ulaanbaatar due to the quarantine I felt very privileged to have been able to visit this museum.
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