I once asked my father what kind of pilots the Japanese had in WWII. He replied, “Stupid. They always came head-on into the box.” In other words, they attacked in precisely the way the “Staggered” or “Combat Box” formation was designed to most capably defeat.
Initially, formations were created in keeping with the pre-WWII doctrine that massed bombers could attack and destroy targets in daylight without fighter escort, relying on interlocking fire from their defensive machine guns.
However, the high altitudes of USAAF Heavy Bombers, such as the B-24, required a tighter bomb pattern and the Combat Box was favored even after fighter escorts were more readily available and could fly far ahead of the combat boxes in air supremacy mode.
5th BG (H) Training Illustration 1.5th BG (H) Training Illustration 2.
B-24s In Combat Box Note the relative positions of the paired aircraft.
23rd Bomb Squadron (Heavy) 6 DEC 43 – Bonis Strike