This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
You are right in assuming that a forward with redirect="true" will be processed as a response.sendredirect(). What you're missing is the fact that whenever you wish to go to a URL outside the current web application (regardless of whether it's on the same server or not) you must specify the full URL including the "http://". This is true whether you use a Struts global forward or whether you use the response.sendRedirect() command directly.