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Naval gunfire support

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Naval gunfire support (NGFS) is the use of naval guns and other shipborne weapons such as multiple rocket launchers in the direct support of land forces, usually in amphibious warfare. It is distinct from close air support delivered by aircraft flying from aircraft carriers, and from deep land attack from ships. Land attack is to naval gunfire support as battlefield air interdiction is to close air support.

Early NGFS was direct fire, where the ship could see both the target and the friendly forces. As technology developed, indirect fire, with the attendant risks of friendly fire but also the benefits of being able to use heavier weapons on more distant targets, came into use. It soon became obvious that effective indirect fire required well-considered doctrine, techniques, and equipment for controlling close support to ground forces. Such techniques did not develop seriously until the Second World War.