Until the 19th century the majority of battles were of short duration, many lasting a part of a day. (The Battle of Preston (1648), the Battle of Nations (1813) and the Battle of Gettysburg (1863) were exceptional in lasting three days. ) This was mainly due to the difficulty of supplying armies in the field, or conducting night operations. The means of prolonging a battle was typically by employment of siege warfare. Improvements in transportation and the sudden evolving of trench warfare, with its siege-like nature during World War I in the 20th century, lengthened the duration of battles to days and weeks. This created the requirement for unit rotation to prevent combat fatigue, with troops preferably not remaining in a combat area of operations for more than a month. Trench warfare had become largely obsolete in conflicts between advanced armies by the start of the Second World War.
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