Gaba Tepe is probably the weakest of the starting batteries. Gendarmerie, however, can be very dominant, depending on how many players are in the game. Even if all your opponents plan to remove you from Gendarmerie, if they have to attack each other while moving forward it may happen that none of them reaches you.
Even in 1v1, while one often loses Gendarmerie, the opportunity cost that the opponent suffers in having to throw everything against it is often the deciding factor. Gendarmerie is definitely not weak as a strategic asset.