fixed the problem.
My directory structure was not good, which caused the classloader to be confused about where to look for what package.
I ended up with having one central folder, called "lib" in the deploy dir, where share libs like struts and velocity are put into.
You used a manifest file in my WARs for this kind of shared lib behaviour:
Class-Path: lib\struts.jar lib\velocity-dep-1.3.1.jar lib\jakarta-regexp-1.2.jar checkout.war\WEB-INF\classes