Guilt-racked Victoria Cross winner Johnson Beharry told today how he tried to kill himself by driving into a lamppost at 100mph.
He said he hoped the car smash would "be my end" after being tormented by depression and nightmares from his time in Iraq.
L/Cpl Beharry, 30 - who was awarded Britain's highest military honour for twice saving colleagues while under fire - told The Sun: "Sometimes you just can't get away from the things you have seen."
Describing his crash, he said he stormed out of his house after an early-morning bust-up with his partner.
The soldier, of 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, drove off in his Lexus sports car and said he reached 100mph as he raced down a street in south-east London.
"I picked a lamppost which seemed to be next to a slightly raised section of pavement and drove straight for it," he told The Sun. "I looked at the road and there was nobody."
"So I thought if I could hit the side of the pavement and then the lamppost I could damage the fuel tank and hit the electricity to create a spark which would set the car on fire. So I did it.
"I heard a huge crash as the right hand side of my car collided with the lamppost. I closed my eyes and hoped that would be my end."
His car crumpled in the December 2008 collision and although L/Cpl Beharry was knocked unconscious, he escaped with minor scrapes and bumps.
Passers-by alerted emergency services and he was taken to hospital.
The Grenadan-born NCO has since promised his girlfriend and family he will never attempt suicide again.
L/Cpl Beharry said he was speaking out in a bid to help other soldiers with similar feelings.
"Yes, I'm the most decorated soldier in the British Army but I'm a human being as well - and I'm suffering," he said.
"Help and care needs to be ongoing and available to everyone who served on the battlefield."