Adrian Roberts still remembers the horror of Long Tan.
He commanded 10 armoured troop carriers which went to help save the soldiers who were trapped and under heavy fire from Vietnamese soldiers on August 18, 1966.
"It was like a bloody great butcher's shop, an abattoir," he said of the field of battle.
Sitting in a nursing home in Canberra, he says he will never forget what happened. "You can't obliterate your memories."
But he praises the dramatisation of the events in the newly released film, Danger Close: the Battle of Long Tan. "I don't have a problem with the movie," he said.
There are details which are omitted and some are altered but he thinks the broad truth of what happened is reflected.
To the extent that it can be. "It spares the audience the true horror of war," he said.
I'm not a pacifist but men are the same on either side. People should realise the horror of war and then they wouldn't be so quick to get involved.Adrian Roberts, veteran of the Battle of Long Tan
"If you had ever seen someone hit in the tummy with their bowels hanging out, it would make people less bellicose, less jingoistic, less able to see the Vietnamese as the lower branch of the tree.
"If you scratch people, they're racist. I don't want to sound like a teenage trendy but you know what I mean."
Mr Roberts is not a teenage trendy. He is 79 years of age, with a quiet nobility. He sits up straight in his chair by a window and speaks in a matter-of-fact manner about the barely imaginable events in the banana and rubber plantations near the village of Long Tan more than half a century ago.
The battle involved the close-quarters slaughter of young men who knew that if they didn't kill they would be killed. It happened in the mud of a monsoon. Mr Roberts recounts and remembers the detail. "It was pretty grim and it's pretty grim to have it in your head ever since."
"I'm not a pacifist but men are the same on either side. People should realise the horror of war and then they wouldn't be so quick to get involved."
He says he felt no fear at the time. He had a task which took all his attention - "I was so absorbed in what I was doing".
And he was in his 20s, with the imagined invulnerability of youth. He was also in an armoured vehicle and that made him feel relatively invulnerable (though he wasn't - some of his comrades died there).
So, too, have some since, through their own hands as they struggled with the memories.
He feels he has been blessed. "I do thank Christ that I am sitting here," he said in his chair in his room at Fred Ward Gardens, the home run by the Returned and Services League.
One of the details which he said was omitted was the way the trapped soldiers kissed the sides of the armoured troop carriers when they arrived.
It doesn't alter the broad veracity of the film but he thinks that it would have been a nice dramatic moment. It happened in the battle so why not include it?
Another veteran who was there told The Canberra Times that some events had been changed but not so that the broader truth was altered.
And one incident in the film doesn't seem to have happened but was a nice "Hollywood moment": (spoiler alert) an Australian soldier caught in the fire-fight comes across two armed Vietnamese women removing the body of a loved one. The soldier raises his gun to shoot them and then allows the two to go in peace.
Dr Bob Grandin who was there says he had never heard that related by anyone. He said the soldier shown doing this noble deed (21-year-old Paul Large) died in the battle so he couldn't have told anyone about it.
At the time, Dr Grandin was Flight Lieutenant Bob Grandin. He features in the film as a helicopter pilot who delivered ammunition to the beleaguered troops just when they were about to run out of of it.
"The film was a very good representation," he said. "It's fabulous that the film came out, and I'm happy to be portrayed in the way I was."
As he watched the film, he said he was recreating his movements as a helicopter pilot in his cinema seat.
When he set out to relieve the trapped men he said he thought it was a "suicide mission" - "We were probably going to get shot out of the sky" - but the rain was so fierce that it may have protected the helicopter crew by blinding the Vietnamese soldiers on the ground - "When you looked up, you just got a face-full of rain".
He didn't feel that he was brave. "We did our job and we did it well. It didn't manifest in me that I had been horrendously brave."
But he did disobey an order not to go - he put his life on the line for others. "It was just regarded as something we shouldn't have done," he said. "It made me incredibly angry."
He feels the film honours those who put their lives at risk - and those who lost their lives doing what their country asked them to - and, in the case of conscripts, ordered them to do.
"People haven't actually stopped and thought 'what did those guys actually do and how did they do it?," he said.
He urges people who want to know about the Vietnam War to go and see the film.
- Danger Close: the Battle of Long Tan is in theatres now.