In 1919, the new governments of the besieged Baltic states appealed desperately to the Allies for assistance. A small British flotilla of light cruisers and destroyers were sent to help, under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Walter Cowan. They were given no clear instructions as to what their objective was to be and so Cowan decided that he had to make his own policy. Despite facing a much greater force, Cowan improvised one of the most daring raids ever staged by the British Navy. He succeeded with devastating effect; outmanoeuvring his enemies, sinking two Russian Battleships and eventually freeing the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.