The formidably armed Messerschmitt ME 410 was said to be Hitler’s favourite. And, it was perhaps because of der Führer’s fondness for it, that Adolf Galland and others believed the Me 410 was being used even when it was tactically inappropriate to do so, thus leading to unnecessarily heavy losses (especially in the late stages of the war when replacement pilots simply did not exist). Indeed, according to the Wiki article on it, such imprudent use of the Me 410 was one of the reasons for the so-called Revolt of the Kommodores (or Fighter Pilots’ Revolt) when a group of high ranking Luftwaffe pilots challenged Göring. But I digress.
In both this article on the Me 410 (in the last two sentences of the second paragraph of the linked section) and in this video (between 1’25" and 2’00"), mention is made of the plane’s success in breaking up bomber formations by the use of its rockets. If I have understood the links correctly, the Me 410 would fire a rocket(s) towards the bomber formation causing the formation to break up. With the formation (the ‘box’) no longer intact, much of the mutual field-of-fire protection among the bombers was lost thereby rendering individual planes vulnerable to attack by the nearby fighters.
My question, then (finally), is why would this tactic be so successful? Why would firing a rocket at the bomber formation lead to its break up whereas an attack by fighters would not? And, in either case, couldn’t the maneuver be countered simply by having the bombers stay in formation except for those few planes towards which the rocket is heading? In other words, wouldn’t formation discipline be a successful countermeasure?