Fleet Air Arm pilots direct the fleet’s largest guns

It was intended that a major element of the initial fire support provided to the landing forces following D-Day would be provided by naval guns from battleships and cruisers sitting off the coast. With the range of the largest of these weapons approaching 20 miles, airborne spotting would be necessary to direct them.

Large guns firing at the extent of their range were hardly precision weapons, especially when it was anticipated that many of their targets would be small and well-camouflaged. Given the proximity of friendly forces, a high degree of accuracy and rapid corrections were essential. Various spotter aircraft and pilots would be be required in large numbers.

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