|For the ship of the same name in Red Alert, see Gunboat (Red Alert 1).|
Gunboats were used to provide fire support to GDI ground forces operating close to shore. This does, however, put them in range of hostile fire from shore defences, engaging frequently with Nod Turrets and Obelisk of Light laser towers to a lesser extent. Gunboats are not used in the Second Tiberium War.
Gunboats are not directly buildable in Command & Conquer. They only appear in campaign missions as fire support for GDI. This is the case regardless what side the player is on.
Any gunboat placed on a mission map will move horizontally from right to left, turn around instantly when reaching the edge of the map, go back from left to right, and repeat the cycle at the other side. Players that own a gunboat can make it target specific enemies, but can't give it movement orders.
The gunboat ignores passability rules of terrain, so missions on which they appear must be designed to give them a continuous strait of water to move on. Gunboats travelling over structures can cause these structures to glitch and sometimes disappear altogether. Using mission scripting, the gunboat can be restricted to a shorter path, making it turn around at a specified point on the map instead of at the edge. Using such scripting to try to change its Y-coordinate on the map can cause unpredictable behaviour.
When reinforced onto a map through mission triggers, the gunboat will be completely passive, and will ignore any orders given to it. This behaviour was implemented specifically for GDI mission 9, where they only appear to show off the power of the Obelisk of Light. Another special logic implemented for this mission is the fact that the laser weapon of the Obelisk can kill any gunboat in one shot. Like the passive behaviour on reinforcing, this does not only apply to this specific mission, but is generally applied in the game, and can be used to the player's advantage on Nod missions.
The gunboat is the only vehicle in the game that actually changes its overall appearance after taking too much damage, like structures do, whereas normal vehicles would simply emit smoke particles.
Gunboat shares the same unused DOS cameo with Hovercraft.