In the GDR's diesel locomotive program, a 650-hp locomotive was planned for medium shunting services, of which two prototypes were manufactured in 1959 as the V 60. It also had to be able to be used on tight radii and not only be used by the Reichsbahn, but also in industrial combines and, if possible, also be exported. The required axle load of a maximum of 15 tonnes made four axles necessary, which had to be in one frame because of the drive via coupling rods. Two axles were connected to each other with a Beugniot frame in order to enable the axles to be moved sideways.
The prototypes were powered by a turbocharged V8, which, however, did not prove itself with the frequent load changes in shunting. Instead, the larger V12 from the V 100 and V 180 was used in production, which still achieved the required 650 hp after the omission of the turbocharger. The first 163 prodction engines of the V 6010 weighed 55 tonnes, the others were equipped with five tonnes of ballast and designated as V 6012. Production was soon relocated from Babelsberg to Hennigsdorf, with a total of 2,256 units built by 1982. The engines were listed as class 106 from 1968. After the completion of more than 1,000 engines, the class numbers 104 and 105 were used to comply with the three-digit serial numbers, since the 107 was already occupied by the V 75.
As planned, the V 60 was also used by a large number of industrial companies, even if the Reichsbahn later bought some of them. For the ferry port of Mukran on the island of Rügen, 14 examples were converted to a gauge of 1,520 mm and central buffer coupling in order to be able to take over the Soviet freight cars arriving there. Exports took place to Egypt, Bulgaria, Algeria and others.
After reunification, the locomotives were assigned to the classes 344 to 347. Many were gradually sold off, since the West German V 60 was more economical to use and some had already been equipped with remote control by the Bundesbahn. Even the fact that at that time some locomotives had already been rebuilt with a de-rated engine and a single-gear transmission to improve efficiency did not change that. The industry bought many more locomotives and in some cases used them for a longer period of time.