The Königlich Württembergische Staatseisenbahnen (K.W.St.E.) urgently needed a universal tank locomotive at the beginning of the 20th century. In February 1910 its preferred supplier, Maschinenfabrik Esslingen, delivered the first three T5 series locomotives. They were an outstanding success. Three driven axles with a friction burden of 44 tonnes and excellent running properties in both directions enabled the locomotive to haul quite heavy and fast trains. It not only pulled the increasingly heavy passenger trains, but also express trains and light freight trains. Until 1920, a total of 96 locomotives of various series and with diverse sub-structures were put into service. Maschinenbaugesellschaft Heilbronn delivered two locomotives in 1915 and another two in 1917. The rest came from Maschinenfabrik Esslingen.
When Germany lost the First World War, four locomotives were delivered into the hands of the French. The others went to the DB via the DRG, where they were an indispensable asset in the passenger train service for many decades to come. It wasn’t until between 1960 and 1965 that they were gradually decommissioned and replaced by diesel locomotives. However, until that time they had unfailingly demonstrated their qualities.