Help creating single exploded war folder

I’m new to gradle and converting an ANT based multi-project build to Gradle. The gradle docs have been hugely helpful, but I’ve been stuck on creating a single exploded war folder. I’ve converted the projects to look similar to the example project described in

The war plugin created war archives in each subproject; however my attempts at merging them fail. How does one unzip the archives, and merge the contents and merge the various XML files?

Note: I tried using the War documentation
however “compile module” would not resolve the subproject, but “compile project” would? Was I on the right track? What is the difference between the two?