after a few hours of investigations i figured out that the jsp-api.jar should not be deployed otherwise tomcat breaks.
i think intellij should automatically remove this from the deplyoment as it does it with the servlet-api.jar!
others experienced the same things (probably in other tools)
the error i get is: org.apache.jasper.JasperException: /ts/gui/order_history.jsp(1,1) Unable to read TLD "META-INF/c.tld" from JAR file "file:/C:/temp/topazwebexploded/WEB-INF/lib/standard.jar": org.apache.jasper.JasperException: Failed to load or instantiate TagLibraryValidator class: org.apache.taglibs.standard.tlv.JstlCoreTLV
by setting the jsp-api.jar in the packing list to 'do not copy' it works!