This German type of locomotive was built in large numbers and the most produced type of the so-called “Kriegslokomotiven” during the Second World War.
Derived from the pre-war Class 50, the Class 52 locs were faster to produce and needed fewer parts and expensive materials. Starting from 1942 to May 1945 more than 6,300 of these Class 52 locomotives were built.

After the war many passed into Russian ownership and were re-designated TE (TЭ). Other known operators of the DRB Class 52 were Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Norway and Turkey.